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Makers explain the controversial ‘Barbie’ map which got it banned in Vietnam

Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling’s upcoming film ‘Barbie’ hit a bit of a snag when it got banned in Vietnam due to a crayon drawing by Barbie featuring a controversial map that includes the nine-dash line.

Explaining the drawing, an executive said that the picture is a childish drawing which depicts Barbie’s transition from the Barbie world to the ‘real world’.
Explaining the map in ‘Barbie’, a spokesperson for Warner Bros. Film told Variety: “The map in Barbie Land is a child-like crayon drawing.”

He added: “The doodles depict Barbie’s make-believe journey from Barbie Land to the ‘real world.’ It was not intended to make any type of statement.”

The ‘nine-dash line’ is a controversial topic in both Vietnam as they dispute it due to China’s claims over the South China Sea. As there are only eight lines in the ‘Barbie’ map which differ from global maps, this was seen as strengthening China’s claims and violating Vietnam’s sovereignty.

“What some have taken to represent the nine-dash line is what one source described as ‘journey lines’, the serial dashes often used in family animation and kid’s drawings to represent where a character has travelled to or from.”

“Representatives for Gerwig and Warner Bros. would not comment on plot points of the film. Depicted in high resolution above, the map features other so-called “journey lines” as well as arrows and boats,” as reported by Variety.

The filmmakers have decided to keep the spoilers to a minimum, keeping most of the details under wraps, though the drawing has been described as essentially Barbie’s road to enlightenment.  

‘Barbie’ stars Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Kate McKinnon, America Ferrera, Will Ferrell, Hari Nef, Issa Rae and Simu Liu in lead roles. The movie will hit theatres on July 21, 2023.

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