Why Does Ken Sing “Push” In Barbie? Matchbox 20’s Song Explained


If you’ve watched the Barbie movie, you might have been surprised to hear Ken, voiced by none other than Ryan Gosling, belting out a rendition of “Push” by Matchbox 20. The song, a hit from the late ’90s, seems like an odd choice for a children’s film, but there’s more to this musical selection than meets the eye. This article will delve into the reasons behind this unexpected musical moment, exploring the song’s original meaning and how it ties into the themes of the Barbie movie.

“Push” is a song about an emotionally abusive relationship, written by Matchbox 20’s lead singer Rob Thomas. The song’s lyrics, which include lines like “I wanna push you around” and “I wanna take you for granted,” have often been misinterpreted as promoting abusive behaviour. However, as Thomas has explained, the song is actually about his own experiences as a victim of manipulation and emotional abuse.

The Meaning of “Push” by Matchbox 20


Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

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In the Barbie movie, Ken and his fellow Kens perform “Push” in a scene that is both hilarious and poignant. The Kens, having misunderstood the meaning of the song, use it to assert their newfound dominance over the Barbies. The song’s lyrics, which talk about pushing someone around and taking them for granted, are used to comedic effect, with the Kens dramatically overpronouncing the words to mimic Rob Thomas’s singing style.

However, the song’s original meaning adds a layer of depth to this scene. According to Thomas (via Genius.com), “Push” is about a relationship where he was being manipulated, but he turned the lyrics around to make himself appear as the manipulator. This misunderstanding of the song’s meaning mirrors Ken’s misunderstanding of gender relations and society, which leads to the creation of the Kendom in the Barbie movie.

Ken’s Misunderstanding in Barbie


Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

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When Ken visits The Real World in the Barbie movie, he misinterprets what he sees and brings back a distorted view of gender relations to Barbieland. Instead of recognising the equality between men and women in The Real World, Ken sees an opportunity to assert male dominance over the Barbies. This leads to the creation of the Kendom, where the Kens sing “Push” to their respective Barbies, asserting their dominance.

The Kens’ performance of “Push” in the Barbie movie is a comedic highlight, but it also represents a deeper theme in the film. Just like the song’s original meaning is often misunderstood by listeners, Ken misunderstands the nature of gender relations and society. This misunderstanding leads to the creation of the Kendom and the Kens’ comedic performance of “Push.”

The Impact of “Push” in Barbie


Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

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The performance of “Push” in the Barbie movie is not just a comedic moment, but also a commentary on the misunderstanding of gender relations and societal norms. The Kens’ performance of the song, with its overexaggerated pronunciation and misunderstood lyrics, highlights their misguided views on gender roles and relationships.

The song’s original meaning, which is about the victim of manipulation becoming the villain through his own lyrics, is reflected in Ken’s transformation in the movie. Ken, who initially sees himself as a victim in Barbieland, becomes the villain in the Kendom, asserting his dominance over the Barbies and misunderstanding the true nature of gender relations.

Final Thoughts on Ken Singing “Push” in the Barbie movie


Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

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The inclusion of “Push” by Matchbox 20 in the Barbie movie is a clever choice that adds depth to the film’s themes. The song’s misunderstood lyrics and original meaning mirror Ken’s misunderstanding of gender relations and society, leading to comedic moments and poignant commentary. So, the next time you watch the Barbie movie and hear Ken singing “Push,” remember that there’s more to this musical moment than just a catchy tune.

What do you make of this feature? Do you understand know why Greta Gerwig opted to use Matchbox 20’s song, “Push”, in her Barbie movie? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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