Here Are The Best Viral 'Barbie' Moments, From Malala To Clashing Kens (2024)

Barbie continues to paint the box office pink, the film currently on track to earn a billion worldwide.

With the help of the “Barbenheimer” meme, glowing reviews and savvy marketing, Barbie has become a cultural phenomenon, inspiring fans to attend screenings in pink outfits and sparking plenty of viral stories online.

Here are the best viral moments from the Barbie movie:

“Barbenheimer” becomes official on Wikipedia.

If you didn’t already know, “Barbenheimer” is a meme celebrating the fact that Barbie and Oppenheimer were released on the same day, July 21. The two movies make an amusing tonal clash, and the internet embraced the idea of watching both in a single trip to the cinema.

Like “Gentleminions,” the Barbenheimer meme emerged online before being integrated into the marketing of the film, even acknowledged by the actors; the meme's ubiquity was arguably a factor in the film’s success.

On July 1st, the meme was granted an official entry into Wikipedia, and Wikipedia editors instantly began feuding over the legitimacy of the page, and debated using the alternative name for the meme, “Oppenbarbie.”

In the case against Barbenheimer, skeptical editors cited the “20-Year Test,” a rule stating that only things likely to be remembered in 20 years time should be immortalized in a Wikipedia page.

Thus, the editors voted on it, and the majority decided that Barbenheimer deserved to be remembered.

Greta Gerwig laments a lost fart joke.

In lesser hands, a Barbie movie could have easily played like a corporate cash-grab, but director Greta Gerwig managed to make the movie feel much more meaningful than a feature-length toy commercial.

Gerwig inserted some clever meta commentary and feminist themes into her Barbie film, but she didn’t manage to squeeze in a fart joke.

During an appearance on IndieWire's Filmmaker Toolkit podcast, Gerwig revealed that she originally wanted to include a "giant fart opera" in the middle of Barbie. She said she “thought it was really funny" but the idea proved unpopular in test screenings.

Gerwig went on to reveal that she has tried to insert a touch of toilet humor into her previous films, Little Women and Ladybird, but the fart jokes have always been removed in the final edit.

Online, Barbie fans reacted to Gerwig’s admission with a sigh of relief, happy that the fart opera never made the final cut, while others jokingly demanded that the “fart cut” be released.

Meeting the “real” Ken.

Barbie inspired moviegoers to dress up for the occasion, leading to a memorable moment in the movie theater that was captured on TikTok.

One fan who attended a screening of the film dressed as Ken (memorably played by Ryan Gosling), resulted in the little girl sitting behind him to believe that he was the real deal. The two posed for pictures, and a TikTok clip of the adorable moment went viral with more than 17 million views, and an approving comment from the official TikTok account of the Barbie movie.

Commentators begged for the photos to be released online, and eventually, TikTok sleuths tracked down the girl’s mother to ask if she would post them.

She approved, and TikTokers seeking closure were satisfied.

Pretty in pink, but AI-generated.

Barbie fans dressed in pink might be a common sight, but photos of basketball star Lebron James dressed in vibrant pink for the occasion turned out to be a hoax.

Much like the pope’s puffer jacket, the images were created by generative AI, but appeared real at first glance. As is often the case with AI-generated images, the hands were the only major clue that the images were fake, with unnaturally long fingers and distorted shapes.

An AI-generated image of Elon Musk dressed in pink for the Barbie movie was posted online and never meant to be perceived as real, but Musk himself took the time to correct the record, writing: “I wouldn’t wear pink if you put a gun to my head”

Right-wing outrage campaign falls flat.

Right-wing content creators reacted to the pop feminism of Barbie with performative outrage, framing the film’s depiction of patriarchy and matriarchy as an attack against masculinity.

But the backlash fell flat, as the general audience reacted positively to Barbie, and few viewed the film as some kind of aggressive screed against men, simply because it wasn’t. Indeed, Ken proved to be one of the most popular characters in the film, with arguably the strongest arc.

The discourse sparked a conversation about media literacy (or lack thereof) and resulted in right-wing content creators, such as Ben Shapiro, being mocked online.

Some even questioned why right-wing commentators had not seized the cultural moment and heralded Barbie as an “anti-woke masterpiece,” as they did the Super Mario Bros. Movie.

Barbie Foot Challenge leads to a warning.

A now-iconic shot from Barbie which debuted in the first trailer for the film sees Barbie (Margot Robbie) step out of her high-heeled shoes, only for her feet to remain arched, just like a real Barbie doll.

Greta Gerwig refused to resort to CGI to film the foot scene, emphasizing that the shot would have been an uncanny “nightmare.” Margot Robbie confirmed that the shot did not require a harness or any other behind-the-scenes trickery, and only took her 8 takes to pull off perfectly.

The shot inspired the “Barbie Foot Challenge” on TikTok, a trend created by TikToker Shanna Scribner, who posted the first video imitating Robbie taking off her shoes, and gained over 198,000 views.

On Instagram, Chrissy Teigen joined in on the trend, and received over 298,000 likes. The popularity of the trend soon sparked concerns from podiatrists, who warned that repeated attempts to emulate the shot could lead to “ligament sprains and injuries,” stating:

“To walk on your toes without heels isn't sustainable, and, in fact, the reality in the movie is that Barbie actually has flat feet, along with 30 percent of the population. Considering we aren't trained ballerinas, let's keep the fad to movie stars who have props and multiple takes to make it look perfect."

Two Kens get too close.

An awkward moment between the two Kens, Simu Liu and Ryan Gosling, recently went viral as fans interpreted Gosling as seeking distance from Liu.

The clip sees Gosling and Liu posing for photos, before Liu spontaneously wraps his arm around Gosling’s waist. In response, Gosling steps back and appears to brush off Liu. The footage was shot in June during the Barbie press day in Toronto, but resurfaced after the release of the film, with many poking fun at the perceived tension.

In response to the clip, one Twitter user wrote: “Oh I'd literally never show my face again.” The tweet was viewed more than 56 million times.

Others argued that the two actors were staying in character, as their Kens are rivals in the movie.

Liu ended up responding to the clip on Instagram Story, clarifying that there was no tension between himself and Gosling, posting a photo of the two actors smiling next to each other with the caption “I’d beach off with this Kenadian again in a heartbeat.”

He’s Just Ken.

The giant Barbie toy boxes for cinemagoers to pose in have proved immensely popular, with many fans going viral for great outfits and funny captions.

One such photo was snapped by Malala Yousafzai, the vocal activist for women’s right to education who famously survived being shot in the head by a Taliban gunman and went on to become the youngest person to win the Nobel Prize, at 17 years old.

Yousafzai’s tweet celebrating her achievement and jokingly referring to her husband, Asser Malik, as “just Ken” earned one million likes on Twitter (which was recently renamed to X) and viewed more than 48 million times.

The two seem to have embraced the “Barbenheimer” combo, with Yousafzai dressed in pink and Malik opting for a black suit.

Yousafzai also posted the photo on Instagram, where Malik replied with a quote from the film: “I’m Kenough.”

Here Are The Best Viral 'Barbie' Moments, From Malala To Clashing Kens (2024)
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