In Barbie, Margot Robbie’s character keeps brushing Ryan Gosling’s Ken off, and there was admittedly a subtle explanation for that in Gerwig’s movie.
Barbie and Ken are the most famous doll couple in the world, and they are quite often portrayed as the perfect couple. Sure, Ken’s not nearly as popular as his “wife,” but he’s always there with her, for her, and is only mentioned next to Barbie… However, in Greta Gerwig’s movie, that wasn’t the case at all.
For the most part of the movie, Robbie’s Barbie keeps brushing Gosling’s Ken off over and over, and when he suggests that he takes her on a date sometime, she claims that “every night is girls’ night.” Other Barbies are also only seen going about their daily business while other Kens only seem to wait for their attention on the beach.
This feels rather odd since the two dolls are typically suggested to be a couple; however, the movie actually gives a subtle explanation of this phenomenon.
It was revealed that Gloria’s thoughts are subconsciously transported to Barbie’s head, and that’s the reason why the doll is plagued with all those existential and mundane concerns. This is what starts Barbie and Ken’s adventure in the first place, but this connection is also essential to understanding the two dolls’ relationship.
As Gloria shared later in the movie, she never had a Ken doll — and this is where her subconscious connection to Barbie comes into play. If Gloria never thought that a Barbie doll needs a Ken doll, and Gloria’s thoughts transfer to Robbie’s Barbie, then she’d also think that she, Barbie, doesn’t need a Ken! So, every night’s a girls’ night.
However, her journey with Ken changes Barbie’s perception of life and helps her develop her own thoughts that are separate from Gloria’s. Having spent some time with Ken on their adventure, in the end, Barbie decides to give him a chance — and claims that, after all, not every night has to be a girls’ night.