Why Women Should Trust Their Gut

6 min read

In the realm of storytelling, movies often serve as a mirror to society, reflecting the complexities of human relationships and highlighting societal issues. One such film that delves into the intricate dynamics between men and women, trust, and mental health is “Barbarian.”

Directed by an acclaimed filmmaker, Zach Cregger, the movie offers a thought-provoking commentary on themes including men’s mistrust of women, women sacrificing comfort for others, women not trusting their own instincts, and the profound impact of mental health on these dynamics. The film identifies and highlights points conveyed in the book The Gift of Fear regarding the transformative power of recognizing and trusting our innate gift of fear. Through its compelling narrative, nuanced character portrayals, and exploration of mental health, “Barbarian” invites viewers to reflect on the underlying societal biases, challenges individuals face, and the importance of empathy and understanding.

Men Not Respecting Women’s Judgment: Overcoming Biases and Embracing Intuition

The initial relationship in the story of “Barbarian” involves Keith and Tess, as they decide to share an Airbnb that appears to have been double-booked. Tess discovers a room in the basement clearly set up for captivity; when she tells Keith what she saw, he decides he cannot believe her until he sees for himself. As he travels down into the basement, despite Tess’ continual pleas that he not enter, Keith starts being hunted by the “Barbarian.” This results in Tess being captured and held captive in this basement for weeks after she attempts to save Keith, whom she just met.

Later in the film, we are also introduced to a new male character, AJ, an actor who was recently accused of sexual assault. We never meet the woman; instead, AJ becomes a main character, even a sort of protagonist. Eventually, AJ finds himself in the basement with Tess, who has survived, and he ignores all of her advice about how to survive in this setting, though she has found a way to stay alive.

Tess finds a way out and encounters two male police officers, who refuse to believe her story and write her off as unstable, assuming she must be drug-addicted. Tess eventually finds a way back into the home to attempt to save AJ. After an unfortunate accident that results in Tess being wounded, AJ seemingly has a change of heart and decides to work toward being a good person. This is, of course, brief, because they encounter another life-threatening situation. AJ immediately leaves Tess behind and then attempts to sacrifice her even though she has worked hard the entire movie to save two male strangers. As the narrative unfolds, “Barbarian” sheds light on the societal conditioning contributing to these biases, encouraging viewers to question ingrained stereotypes about women, their knowledge, and survival skills.

AJ is a presumed main character whose introduction to the film involves discrediting a woman’s accusations. Keith meets his demise due to his failure to listen to and value a woman’s judgment.

Women Sacrificing Comfort for Others: Struggles and Empowerment

The film “Barbarian” illuminates the societal expectation for women to sacrifice their comfort for the sake of others selflessly. Further, it highlights the expectation of a woman of color to be the savior for these two white men. The film portrays Tess’ relentless dedication to a caregiving role, often at the expense of her own safety. It is not until the very end of the movie, after AJ sacrifices her to the “Barbarian,” that Tess discovers her own agency and chooses to protect herself first. This act is traditionally considered selfish for women, but survival for men. “Barbarian” emphasizes the significance of self-care and empowerment, and the recognition that women should not be confined to predefined roles.

Women Should Trust Their Guts: Reclaiming Confidence and Autonomy

One of the central themes in “Barbarian” is Tess’ struggles in trusting her own instincts and intuition. This struggle is present in most women as society conditions women to distrust their instincts. Tess often initially has the right idea but is then convinced by male characters to ignore her instincts. She initially looks for a hotel instead of staying in the rental property with Keith but is convinced by him that it is fine because he tells her no other hotels are available.

The film portrays female characters frequently dismissed or doubted when expressing their concerns or intuitions. Tess has moments of gradually gaining confidence in her own judgment and reclaiming her voice. When she is at an event and tells someone where she is staying, the other character remarks that it is not a good part of town for her to be in (they were right), but Tess retorts that she is “tough.” When she is being ignored by the police officers, Tess yells, “I’m not a crackhead, I am a woman who has been held captive,” but is still not believed. “Barbarian” challenges the societal conditioning that undermines women’s trust in themselves and encourages viewers to embrace and value their own intuition and wisdom.

“The Gift of Fear”: The Empowering Force of Intuition

One might assume that the film “Barbarian” draws inspiration from The Gift of Fear, a transformative book by Gavin de Becker emphasizing the importance of embracing our innate gift of fear and intuition. The film intertwines the principles outlined in the book, highlighting the significance of recognizing and trusting the signals that guide us away from danger or harmful situations. By incorporating these insights, “Barbarian” prompts viewers to reflect on intuition’s invaluable role in personal safety and fostering healthy relationships built on trust and respect.

The film depicts moments when characters face potentially dangerous situations, and their intuition becomes a guiding force. It showcases the transformative power of listening to one’s inner voice and the potential consequences of ignoring those signals. “Barbarian” encourages viewers to cultivate a deeper awareness of their own intuitive responses and to honor the messages that arise within them, ultimately empowering them to navigate relationships and life’s challenges with greater confidence.

Intuition Essential Reads


“Barbarian” is a captivating film that skillfully weaves together gender dynamics, trust, and intuition, inviting viewers to critically examine societal biases, empathize with individuals’ challenges, and foster dialogue surrounding these topics. By delving into themes of men not trusting women, women sacrificing comfort, women not trusting their instincts, and the transformative power of recognizing our inherent gift of fear, “Barbarian” serves as a catalyst for reflection and dialogue. The film reminds us of the importance of cultivating empathy, embracing intuition, and building relationships founded on trust and authenticity. In a world where trust and understanding are paramount, “Barbarian” invites viewers to reimagine societal norms, foster empathy, and embrace the transformative potential of embracing our true selves.

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