Movie enthusiasts in certain Middle Eastern regions will have to wait a bit longer to see Greta Gerwig’s popular movie “Barbie,” a colorful blockbuster based on the well-known Mattel toy. Despite earning over $1 billion worldwide since its recent release, the film’s launch in regional cinemas faced several postponements due to discussions and disagreements over its themes, which touch on gender, feminism, and sexuality.
Unexpectedly, Kuwait, a conservative state, announced a complete ban on the film, asserting that it promotes ideas and beliefs that are unfamiliar to their society. Similarly, Lebanon’s culture minister demanded a ban, citing conflicts with religious values and morality, as well as allegations of promoting homosexuality and sexual transformation.
Although the final decision lies with Beirut’s censors, this controversy concerning a film that achieved record-breaking success globally is occurring against the backdrop of escalating anti-LGBT+ rhetoric in Lebanon. This rhetoric is often exploited by sectarian political leaders to mobilize support.
Contrastingly, other Gulf Arab countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Bahrain, have taken a different approach. They have screened Barbie, capitalizing on their efforts to boost entertainment, tourism, and foreign workforce rates.
This tension is evident even in Lebanon, a relatively liberal country in the region with a history of vibrant LGBT+ communities. Unfortunately, these communities have faced increased criticism from both strict Christian and Muslim political leaders, resulting in a crackdown on civil liberties.
Elsewhere in the area, Iraqi regulators have mandated media outlets and phone companies to replace the term “homosexuality” with “sexual deviance.” This move is part of an escalating crackdown on LGBT+ rights, resulting in several prosecutions for “indecent content” online in Iraq.
Initially slated for a global release on July 19, “Barbie” faced delays in certain Middle Eastern areas until August 31 due to ongoing debates about censoring some of its content.
Algeria has banned the movie “Barbie,”
The movie “Barbie” has been prohibited in Algeria after being screened in certain cinemas for a few weeks, as reported by the local news site 24H Algerie on Monday.
According to the news report, an official source stated that the film “promotes homosexuality and other Western deviances,” and that it doesn’t align with Algeria’s religious and cultural values.
Featuring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling in the roles of Barbie and Ken, the film follows the doll from Mattel Inc (MAT.O) on a journey into the real world. Since its release on July 21, the movie has achieved over $1 billion in global box office sales.
Lebanon and Kuwait have also previously banned the same movie.
The Algerian Culture Ministry oversees the content of films shown in cinemas and possesses the authority to prevent their screening.
Barbie faces ban in Pakistan’s Punjab over ‘objectionable content’
Greta Gerwig’s latest film, “Barbie,” has received a global release and has been drawing large audiences in the US since its premiere last Friday. The movie stars Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken, alongside a talented ensemble cast including Will Ferrell, America Ferrera, Simu Liu, and Dua Lipa, among others. Despite its widespread positive reception, the film has encountered an obstacle in Pakistan, leading to a temporary delay in its release there.
Reports indicate that the authorities in Islamabad are considering a ban on the movie due to its LGBTQ+ themes.
Temporary Suspension of “Barbie” in Pakistan
The Censor Board in Punjab province, Pakistan, has decided to temporarily ban the film citing ‘objectionable’ content. The ban is expected to be lifted once the censor board reassesses the content and edits out the objectionable material from the movie. The film is anticipated to return to Pakistani cinemas at a later date, which is currently unspecified, as the editing process will take several days to complete.
Barbie banned in other Muslim countries
Pakistan is not the only Muslim country to ban the film. Other Islamic nations like UAE, Egypt, Qatar, Iran and Saudi Arabia have banned the film as most Islamic nations don’t view pro-LGBTQ content with enthusiasm. Hollywood films and serials that carry pro-LGBTQ content are often scrutinised in these countries. They either are banned or face major censorship.