Barbie or Barbarism? Oscar snub stirs more outrage than plight of Gaza women, activists say

Barbie or Barbarism? Oscar snub stirs more outrage than plight of Gaza women, activists say
Online activists have claimed that Western feminists care more about the Barbie film's Oscars snub than the struggles of women in Gaza under Israeli assault.
3 min read
26 January, 2024
Two mothers in Gaza are killed every hour as Israel assaults the Palestinian enclave [Getty]

Pro-Palestine activists have claimed that Western feminists have been more outraged by the lack of Oscar nominations for the hit movie 'Barbie' than the struggles of women in Gaza, who have endured three months of brutal siege and bombings.

Film fans - mostly in the UK and US - took to X, formerly Twitter, to express their anger over Barbie director Greta Gerwig and actress Margot Robbie being left out of the contention for the upcoming Academy Awards.

They claimed the snub was a product of sexism in Hollywood and therefore a feminist issue.

Other feminists slammed Hollywood and some Barbie fans for their perceived lack of concern for the plight of women in Gaza.

"Western white liberal feminism is being outraged about the lack of Oscar nominations for Barbie instead of showing any outrage about the atrocities being committed against women in Gaza. Shows what some people’s priorities are," wrote @Puffindor, a pro-Palestine X user and attorney.

Things got particularly heated when former US Secretary of State and First Lady Hilary Clinton weighed in on the 'Barbie' controversy, posting to X: "Greta & Margot, While it can sting to win the box office but not take home the gold, your millions of fans love you. You’re both so much more than Kenough."

This prompted a flurry of outraged tweets from pro-Palestinian activists and feminists, particularly due to Clinton’s staunch pro-Israel views, including her support for the current war on Gaza.  

Replying to Clinton, X user called Hania Tayara wrote: "Women and girls in Gaza are using tent scraps as period products, but let’s talk about Barbie! White feminism is gross […] so is Hillary Clinton saying 'kenough'".

Hollywood has faced wider accusations of a pro-Israel bias.

Much of Hollywood has been silent about Israel’s war on Gaza compared to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Some of those who have spoken out about Gaza have faced serious repercussions.

Mexican actress Melissa Barrera – star of the horror film franchise 'Scream' – was recently fired by a Hollywood studio from taking part in the next installment of the hugely lucrative series after accusing Israel of "genocide" and "ethnic cleansing" of Palestinians on social media. Her co-star Jenna Ortega then resigned from the film in what was apparently an act of solidarity.

That two women of Latin American descent were prepared to take a stand for Gaza has led some to believe there is a clear disconnect between the priorities of "white" or "Western" feminism and feminist issues affecting women in the rest of the world.

Women and children have disproportionately suffered in Israel's relentless ground and air assault on Gaza that began on 7 October.

Of the 26,000 Palestinians killed by Israel, 70 percent are women and children. Two mothers are killed every hour in the Palestinian enclave.

Women in Gaza are also suffering from a severe shortage of sanitary pads, sterilisers, and vital personal hygiene equipment, leading to an increased risk of bacterial infections and other dangerous complications. 

Rates of miscarriage in Gaza have skyrocketed, going up 300 percent since the war began.