Women are breaking up with their boyfriends over their reactions to 'Barbie.' Here's what to consider if that sounds tempting, according to relationship experts.
- Some women realized their values are different from their partners because of the "Barbie" movie.
- Insider spoke to two relationship experts about what to do if you disagree with your partner.
The "Barbie" movie is a huge hit, but for some women it's more than just a summer blockbuster: it has given them the push they needed to break up with their boyfriends.
Women have been disappointed that their partners haven't understood or agreed with the "Barbie" movie's message, which director Greta Gerwig has called feminist, and which highlights how men and women are treated differently. For some, their partner's reaction was more proof that their values didn't align.
One TikToker, who'd had fights with her boyfriend before she saw the movie, said that "Barbie" motivated her to break up with him. She said: "Thank you Barbie for empowering me, for giving me confidence, for making me realize that I deserve better."
Meanwhile, Theresa Arzate, 27, told HuffPost that she and her now-ex were having issues already, but she realized that they needed to part ways when he didn't understand why a feminist speech in the movie made her cry. The movie showed her they were "just not on the same wavelength" when it came to their views on gender, she said.
"Barbie has helped me graduate out of a cycle of overextending myself into spaces or around people I don't truly resonate with, to get myself back to discovering what I want out of life," she said.
Insider spoke to Kelly Minter, a licensed mental health counselor who specializes in relationships and who has made content about "Barbie," and Nicholas Balaišis, a psychotherapist who specializes in relationship issues and who wrote about the gender dynamics of "Barbie" for Psychology Today,
They told Insider how to try to resolve things or decide to cut ties if you realize you and your partner have different values.
Have difficult conversations using active listening
You may want to avoid conflict, but both Minter and Balaišis suggested trying to first discuss your differing values with your partner.
Balaišis said that swallowing your differences and not properly addressing them is a recipe for resenting each other in the future.
Minter recommended using "I" statements, like "this is how I feel" or "this is my experience," while Balaišis said to avoid targeted statements, like "I can't believe you are," so that your partner doesn't feel attacked.
Active listening is an important tool for addressing relationship issues, according to Balaišis, who said to make sure you listen to what your partner is saying, without refuting it, and asking open questions — like "how do you feel about X?", or "can you explain what is making you upset?"
This can prevent discussions about different values becoming patronizing if one partner is trying to "educate" the other, or vicious if either of you feels attacked.
You don't necessarily need to break up if they didn't like "Barbie"
You don't want your partner to be another version of you. "Part of the appeal of someone else might in fact be some of their differences," Balaišis said, "and a little friction or even conflict over opinions can add dynamism to a relationship." So, it is healthy for you and your partner to disagree on some things.
"We need to be very careful not to conflate our partner's discomfort or anger about a film such as "Barbie" with some of the misogyny online," he said.
And if your partner just isn't into comedies or takes issues with the cinematography of the movie, you're probably okay, Minter said.
But if they belittle the feelings the movie conjures up in you, such as an emotional reaction to the feminism or sexism shown in the film, that probably isn't someone you want to be with, she said.
Look at how your partner approaches the disagreement
Minter said to look at how your partner approaches a difficult conversation. If they are able to discuss why you feel a certain way, where those feelings are coming from, and to try to understand your position without belittling it, that's a good sign.
However, it's a red flag if they do belittle your feelings or experiences, label the things you identify with as stupid, or don't try to understand where you're coming from, Minter said.
They should be willing to try to understand your position even if they don't share your feelings, and they should want to know what they can do to move forward in the relationship, Minter said.
"I firmly believe that in a relationship, there's nothing that can't be overcome, if all members of the relationship are absolutely invested in bettering the relationships and making changes," she said.
Don't stay with them if there's a violence or disrespect
If a partner's views ever align with prejudice against you, such as misogyny, or there is verbal or physical violence, get out of the relationship, Minter said.
Similarly, she said, even if your partner hasn't been violent, if their 'opinions' deny your value as a human, that isn't a good basis for a relationship.
If you feel like "Barbie" gave you the permission to leave a relationship, or that your partner's views on it are the straw that breaks the camel's back, that is a perfectly acceptable reason to break up, Minter said.
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