Barbie, a movie that has triggered discussions on feminism and patriarchy, is on track to become the highest grossing film in the U.S. this year.
To learn more about how the film has impacted viewers’ opinions about gender issues in the workplace, in August, ResumeBuilder.com surveyed 300 Americans who have seen the film.
- 53% of viewers say Barbie improved their opinion of women in the workplace
- 74% of conservative men say Barbie improved their view of women in leadership positions
- Percentage of people who feel women make the best leaders jumped from 20% before watching the film to 29% afterward
- 2 in 3 say the movie made them more aware of patriarchy in the workplace
- 62% say the film led to self-reflection
Half of viewers say the movie improved their opinion of women in the workplace
The majority of people who watched the movie say they either loved or liked it.
Overall, 62% of women loved Barbie and 31% liked it, while 50% of men say they loved the movie, and 43% liked it.
Nearly all viewers (94%) say they had a favorable opinion of women in the workplace prior to watching the film, however, after watching Barbie 53% of viewers say it improved their opinion.
This was slightly more true of men (54%) than women (51%). It was also more true of younger viewers.
Additionally, 57% of viewers who say they have conservative political views, 56% of moderates, and 47% of liberals say the film improved their opinion of women in the workplace.
3 in 4 conservative men say Barbie improved their view of women in leadership roles
Similarly, the majority (97%) of viewers say before watching the movie they had a ‘very favorable’ (63%) or ‘somewhat favorable’ (32%) opinion of women in leadership. The film improved the opinion of women as leaders for 57% of viewers.
This was more true again of men as well as younger and more conservative viewers. In fact, 74% of conservative men say Barbie improved their view of women in leadership positions.
Overall, prior to watching the film 19% believed women were stronger leaders than men, but after watching the film that percent rose ten points to 29%.
Furthermore, since watching the film 73% of viewers say they think women work better together than men do. Before watching the film, this belief was held by two-thirds (67%) of viewers.
Co-founder and CEO of AIScreen Nikita Sherbina believes Barbie effectively explores gender stereotypes and patriarchy in the workplace.
“By contrasting Barbieland’s initial perfect world with the discovery of male-dominated systems, the film subtly addresses the issue of patriarchy and its effects on women’s empowerment in both fictional and real settings.
“The movie actively challenges stereotypes about women. By showcasing Barbie’s journey through struggles and self-discovery, including facing doubts and insecurities, the film breaks away from traditional notions and portrays women as multi-dimensional individuals with diverse strengths and weaknesses.
“The Barbie movie adeptly portrays women as effective leaders through its depiction of Barbieland, where dolls can excel in various professions like lawyers, doctors, physicists, and even presidents. This representation emphasizes women’s capabilities in leadership roles, reflecting a positive and empowering image.”
Nearly 2 in 3 say the movie made them more aware of patriarchy in the workplace
Overall, 81% of respondents believe that patriarchy affects the workplace, and of this group, 79% say the movie ‘definitely’ (34%) or ‘somewhat’ (45%) made them more aware of this (or 64% of the total sample).
Men are slightly less likely to believe patriarchy affects the workplace than women (77% vs. 84%); however, men who believe patriarchy affects the workplace were more likely than women to say the movie made them more aware of it (82% vs. 76%).
Younger viewers were also more likely to say they think patriarchy affects the workplace and that the movie increased their level of awareness.
When it comes to political leaning, only 57% of conservatives, compared to 87% of liberals and 80% of moderates, say patriarchy impacts the workplace. However, 85% of conservative viewers who hold the belief that patriarchy affects the workplace say the movie boosted their level of awareness of the issue.
“The dynamics in Barbie Land, with Kens being more about appearances and Barbies being about substance and achievement, aren’t just for laughs,” says Phillippa Quigley who runs a women’s wellness clinic and is a senior editor at Soma Analytics.
“It’s as if someone flipped the script of our reality. Having worked one-on-one with so many women, I’ve often witnessed firsthand the pressures they face, from managing perceptions to fighting unwarranted biases. This humorous yet sharp commentary in the movie, I believe, can be an eye-opener for many.”
6 in 10 say the film led to self-reflection
Overall, 62% of viewers said the film led to self-reflection, including 63% of women and 61% of men.
Younger and more liberal viewers were more likely to say the movie caused them to self-reflect.
Additionally, the vast majority (89%) of viewers found the film ‘very inspiring’ (60%) or ‘somewhat inspiring’ (29%).
“Contrary to what some might believe, I reckon movies like this aren’t about promoting toxic femininity. Instead, they’re about establishing an inclusive narrative, dismantling outdated norms, and planting seeds for a more equitable future,” says Quigley.
This survey was commissioned by ResumeBuilder.com and conducted online by the survey platform Pollfish. It was launched on August 10, 2023. In total, 300 U.S. respondents were surveyed. To qualify for the survey all participants had to pass through a screening question indicating they watched the movie Barbie.
The survey was census balanced for region and included an equal number of male and female respondents as well as an equal number of respondents across age groups.
To avoid bias Pollfish employs Random Device Engagement (RDE) to ensure both random and organic surveying. Learn more about Pollfish’s survey methodology or contact [email protected] for more information.