What Barbie & Ken taught us about sexism
Many of us will have all seen the 2023 Barbie movie by now. Having spent months seeing pink clothes and blonde wigs on every street corner we finally sat down to watch it and were shocked by the amount of issues raised in this movie, that reflect on so many aspects of our relationships. From feminism to existential crisis to corporate consumerism, what did you find resonated with you?
For us here at Aligned with Love we saw this as a chance to talk about the importance of equality in a relationship.
How sexism can hide in relationship
Often we see men and women put into categories with set roles in a relationship, a woman is a caretaker, a mother and a cook whilst a man is a worker, a fixer and a father. Barbie showed us that both men and women can fall into the traps of sexism and both men and women can feel repressed, unsupported and unseen by their partners. These feelings can undoubtedly lead to issues in a relationship as well as feelings of self-doubt.
During a wedding, we vow to stay together for better or for worse but this includes more than just bereavement or job loss, partners might decide to share everything from feelings to chores. Oftentimes men’s emotions can go unnoticed and a partner may forget to ask how they are doing after a long day of work. For that partner, these feelings can become overwhelming, he may become exhausted, forgetting to do housework or struggling to care for the kids. Whilst on the other side, women are often taken for granted, emotions and tears are not taken seriously and a woman is expected to care for a family as though it is an easy job to do alone!
Supporting our partners fairly
These issues are so common in relationships however these issues are rooted in unfair expectations from times of inequality and sexism. What can we do to change our beliefs and to better support our partners?
Firstly, it is important to understand that not all men and women fit into these stereotypes. A man may struggle to work everyday and support a family whilst a woman may wish to work rather than care for her children day in and day out. More than this, it is perfectly okay for a man to be more emotional than a woman as we have our own patterns that are unique to ourselves.
Now we understand how these unfair expectations can show up, take time to consider how your partner may be feeling and be empathetic towards the areas of life that they find stressful. Communication is one of the most important aspects of a healthy relationship, ensuring you and your partner are communicating your thoughts and feelings regularly. Communication around work and daily life is important, ensure your partner and yourself are splitting responsibilities fairly and listen to your partner about any concerns they may have.
Overall, Barbie explored subjects that are often ignored in fictional movies and it was great to see equality for both men and women being spoken about in a way that we can share with the younger generation. We hope this is a step forward in teaching young people how to thrive in relationships. We recently wrote an article about educating children about relationships in school here.