Barbie dissertation

Hi Barbie! Meet the student who has written her entire dissertation on the Barbie movie

Not her supervisor’s name being Ken!


A final year student at The University of Stirling has written her entire dissertation on the Barbie movie and I am fully obsessed.

Marketing student Nieve McKay wrote 12,002 words on Barbie with the title “‘Living in a Barbie World’: How Marketing for Greta Gerwig’s Barbie Used Nostalgia to Create an Immersive Experience and Altered Consumer Perceptions of Barbie Dolls and the Barbie Brand.”

Speaking to The Tab, Nieve said she was inspired to write her diss after seeing the “seas of people wearing pink heading in the direction of the cinema” and the “inescapable” marketing campaign of the movie.

“I knew I wanted to have an Elle Woods sort of moment with my topic,” she said. “Something that on the surface seemed pink and silly but explored something deeper while still being interesting for people to read.” She even used Barbie pink binding on her physical copy too. Iconic!

And so the Barbie movie came out just as she got an email from her uni to start thinking about potential diss topics. “Just like everyone else I was so excited to see the film I had grown up with Barbie dolls and the animated Barbie movies and I’m a fan of Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie so I knew I was going to be there the day it was released,” Nieve said.

“And I was! I went with my sister and we wore pink and I loved the film so much. It was such a beautiful and thought-provoking film and the more people saw it the more people talked about it it was just even more like we were living in Barbie world.”

Nieve was particularly struck by the trend of girls buying Barbie dolls for themselves or their mums and getting their old ones out to heal their inner child. “It was clear the movie had changed or shifted something”, she told the Tab. “Our whole childhood we can’t wait to grow up and especially for girls we reject playing with dolls and toys and anything ‘girly’ as soon as we can because we are told time and time again it’s immature.”

“It was so lovely to see so many girls re-embracing their girly side whether it was wearing pink again or wearing bows in their hair, last summer just felt like one for the girls.” And so her diss was born!

“It was so lovely to see so many girls re-embracing their girly side whether it was wearing pink again or wearing bows in their hair, last summer just felt like one for the girls.” And so her diss was born!

The whole thing explores nostalgia in the Barbie Movie’s marketing as well as looking at “the Barbie brand’s attempt to diversity and promote inclusivity through both the movie and their dolls and the impact of that on the brand’s image.”

She told The Tab: “I got to have so many lovely and personal conversations with different people as they shared their own anecdotes relating to Barbie and their other childhood toys, as well as the impact the movie had on them. The overwhelming consensus was that the movie had created a sense of belonging particularly among girls and women.”

Nieve even shared an old childhood pic of her playing with her Barbies and tell me why I’m getting emotional all over again! Alexa, play What Was I Made For by Billie Eilish, please.

Barbie dissertation

Speaking about whether her uni was supportive of her topic, Nieve revealed that her supervisor’s name was actually Ken and I can’t think of anything more iconic.

Sadly Ryan Gosling himself isn’t a lecturer at Stirling Uni but Ken was “so supportive and enthusiastic about the topic” from their very first meeting. As he should be!

“He would even email me whenever he saw Barbie-related things in the news. He definitely wasn’t the target demographic and hadn’t seen the movie but said it was such an interesting learning experience for him too which was so cute,” the student said.

Barbie dissertation

She watched the movie twice before she started writing, once during the writing process and a final time after submitting the diss in celebration. “I think the movie will always have a special place in. my heart,” she said.

And despite her “eyes twitching from stress” for the writing process, Nieve said she “enjoyed writing it as much as I possibly could have.”

Barbie dissertation

“This was a topic that came with its own soundtrack, colour scheme and merch which made it fun too. Not many people can say that about their topic! I worked really hard on it and I’m really proud of the final outcome so hopeful my grade will reflect that.”

I don’t know about you but I’m gonna need Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie to see and read this ASAP.

Have you written your diss on something equally as iconic and wanna be featured? Let us know by emailing [email protected]

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