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The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

‘It’s all about the pink’

Students journey into Barbieland with a night of conversation

Students and faculty alike gathered in Burt Kahn Court on Oct. 5, for a night of all things pink at the “Ideas Live Forever–A Discussion of Barbie: The Movie” event.

Attendees were greeted by an explosion of pink as soon as they walked through the door. From balloons to the attire of nearly everyone in the room, there was no doubt that the door was a segue into Barbieland.

“Ideas Live Forever” was a unique event that strayed away from the activity-centered model of most university events and focused on conversations between students. Burt Kahn Court was transformed from the volleyball team’s home to a pink-ified discussion center.

Sixteen tables — all decked out in a “Barbie” theme — were spread across the room, each one with its own topic of conversation for attendees to dive into. Every table was headed by a discussion leader, who was there to help guide the dialogue on a wide range of themes.

For Hailey Tolson, a senior 3+1 biology major and discussion leader, her topic of mother-daughter relationships in the “Barbie” movie was not just about facilitating conversations between students, but also for herself.

“I very eagerly picked this topic,” Tolson said. “I’ve been really thinking a lot about my own relationship with my mother very heavily the past few years and how it’s influenced the career path I want to go into. I want to go into maternal fetal medicine, I want to ensure maternal wellness … so I just kind of gravitated towards that.”

Attendees finished taking their seats and snacking on pink cupcakes and pink lemonades that had been supplied by English and women and gender studies professor Melissa Kaplan. The event’s main organizer, Kim O’Neill, then took to the front of the room to kickoff the night (dressed as fan favorite “Barbie” character, Alan).

“We’re not doing yellow and blue (tonight). It’s all about the pink,” said O’Neill, the director of the women and gender studies program and an associate professor in the English department. “The ‘Barbie’ movie is not perfect, but it’s a movie that so many people have seen, that it offers us an opportunity to get together.”

The planning for the night started to unfold during a summer session between the women and gender studies faculty after the “Barbie” movie had recently come out. As they were discussing how the film would influence classes moving forward, Anat Biletzki, a philosophy and women and gender studies professor, suggested running a program around the film.

“We took that idea and ran with it,” O’Neill said. “I contacted some professors in media studies and film, television and media arts because they’re the experts on media … We really wanted an event that wasn’t just people talking at an audience, but everyone getting to talk together.”

The idea for small roundtable discussions came from media studies professor Lisa Burns, which proved to be a massive success. Over 120 students showed up to “Ideas Live Forever,” with 30 more attending as discussion leaders, according to sign-in numbers.

Students spent 20 minutes at each table, moving around to three different ones throughout the night. Each had a different topic, ranging from “The Best Soundtrack Ever” to “Too feminist or not feminist enough? Critiques of Barbie’s feminist messaging.” Attendees were encouraged to start their own conversations, though discussion leaders were there to lead interaction with note cards featuring possible topics.

Kira Beckerman, a senior film, television and media arts major, heard about the event through her senior seminar professor, who suggested she attend the event for research.

“I’m actually doing my final research project on patriarchy and the ‘Barbie’ movie,” Beckerman said. “Barbie is really such a nostalgic thing, especially for me, I had a ton of Barbies growing up. Also, I love feminist movies and the fact that it’s directed by Greta Gerwig … It was just so fun.”

As the night drew to a close, students and faculty regrouped at the tables for a cumulative conversation about their ideas and experiences throughout the event. Before attendees were sent out with pink cupcakes in their hands, O’Neill reminded everyone that “just for the record, feminism can be fun.”

“I’m honestly confused that not everybody on the whole campus wants to come,” O’Neill said. “Because has there ever been a better event?”

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Zoe Leone
Zoe Leone, Arts & Life Editor

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