I’M a 90s baby through and through. I grew up in the era of the three holy Bs – Barbie, Bratz and Britney Spears. When I found out that Mattel was turning Barbie into a film, and that Margot Robbie would be playing Barbie no less, the countdown to its release activated in my brain.

There’s something so thrilling and warm to me about indulging in nostalgia from such an innocent period of my life. I often find myself yearning for those days, and it’s so comforting as an adult to revisit the times when nothing else really mattered.

The fact that the film was due to intertwine with a feminist perspective was the cherry on top, as that once innocent Barbie fan grew into a fiercely dedicated feminist woman.

And while Barbie, on some levels, always spoke to certain aspects of feminism, it also massively contributed to patriarchy. If Barbie was really going to modernise and become as feminist as it originally set out to be, this film had to hit the right notes and it seemed like that’s exactly where it was headed.

I couldn’t imagine a more perfect film, and even with such high expectations, I was not disappointed.

I was abroad when Barbie was released, so had to wait a few days before I could see it which didn’t do much to manage my expectations. The reviews were incredible and I couldn’t scroll one social media platform or even walk one stretch of road without seeing the frankly ingenious efforts of the Barbie marketing department before me.

I’m a tough crowd, and generally speaking, find that having high expectations about anything at all is a surefire way to set yourself up for disappointment. But, truly, nothing could have prepared me for this film.

It was funnier, more touching and more cleverly executed than I would ever have expected it to be. Greta Gerwig is nothing short of a genius for what she has created.

From the way there was no running water in Barbie Land, to the “weird” Barbie on the hill that represented all of the ways we used to denigrate our Barbie dolls, to the nod to the rivalry between Barbie and Bratz in the 2000s. It harnessed the very essence of Barbie and rang true for those of us who so fondly remember our Barbie days.

All the while hammering home its fiercely anti-patriarchy purpose through the comedic genius of Ryan Gosling, whose Oscar-worthy performance has the power to educate an entire generation of young men about the dangers of patriarchy and the limits it imposes on both men and women alike.

Naturally, conservatives are losing their minds about it. Usual suspects like Piers Morgan are outraged that a male character has been reduced solely to his relationship with the main character and his classically Ken good looks – unbeknownst to them, this is the very point Gerwig wants to make.

It turned classic filmography on its head, with the ridiculousness of Gosling’s character being a representation of the reality for women. We are usually the ones reduced to our relationship status, our looks often deemed our most important asset. A notion that transcends the borders of filmography and bleeds into the real world.

When this story was told from a male perspective in an alternate reality, all of a sudden, the ridiculousness of it is laid bare in a much harsher light than men are used to.

For men that have never invested any interest in their relationship to misogyny and patriarchy, it’s easy to arrive at the conclusion that this film is inherently anti-man. The reality is that it shines a light on the limitations of patriarchy for men as well as women.

It demonstrates beautifully what feminists have argued for years – that patriarchy is detrimental to men’s mental health. That it sabotages their ability to just be and feel and experience life from a raw human perspective instead of playing the masculine character they have been raised to play. That we would all be better off without it and that while it is inherently more harmful to women, men are not immune to its consequences.

Ultimately, throughout the course of the film, Barbie and Ken discover how patriarchy fails them both, albeit in different ways.

I think what it did most beautifully was address and take responsibility for Barbie’s own contributions to patriarchy.

For decades Barbie’s popularity was pinned on the fact that she was stereotypically beautiful, so much so that her proportions and perfection were utterly unattainable. In many ways, she defined what beauty meant to society. For any woman that was not thin with impossibly long legs or blonde hair, it was hard to compare.

Although, in recent years, Barbie has harnessed diversity and has embodied more feminist and inclusive principles, I think the brand needed this opportunity to demonstrate that it understands its own contributions in order for those efforts to be taken seriously. And it did it perfectly.

While conservatives shed tears about this “anti-man” film, women are busy living in a deeply anti-women real world. As America Ferrera’s character tells us: “It is literally impossible to be a woman.”

You can’t get it right for getting it wrong. You can’t have an opinion, or partake in democracy, or live authentically as yourself without judgement and ridicule.

As a young woman in politics – and as I have been reminded yet again this week by the unhinged online abuse that has come to define my presence – if I want a seat at this table, I better be willing to accept that judgement and abuse as a consequence.

I could say the sky is blue and I’d still have a poorly written blog rant by a glorified internet possum slapped across social media about me within 24 hours.

Even if I speak from a place of truth and compassion, it matters not what I say, it matters only that I am a young woman who dares to speak.

I also make mistakes, as a flawed being and not a robot, sometimes I say the wrong thing. Or I don’t articulate myself how I intend. But – outwith the Barbie Land utopia – women are not allowed to make such mistakes.

This is the reality of what being an empowered woman is and why women were in such desperate need of this feminist film. Barbie showed us that an alternative is possible, and better for all involved.

If Barbie serves as nothing else other than as an escape from that reality, it’s achieved monumental things. But I have a feeling it’s going to far out-do that.