America Ferrera Defends Her ‘Barbie’ Monologue: “There Are A Lot Of People Who Need Feminism 101”
While many audiences have written off her Barbie character’s feminist monologue as either unnecessary or an oversimplification of the ideology’s rhetoric, actress America Ferrera is standing by its inclusion in the film on the grounds that, in her opinion, the world is desperately in needed of a lesson in “Feminism 101”.
Ferrara, who stars in the film opposite Margot Robbie’s Barbie as her real-world companion Gloria, offered this reflection on what was arguably the most praised and equally criticized movie moment of the last summer during a January 2024 career retrospective interview given to The New York Times.
Pressed by the outlet’s Carlos Aguilar as to what she thought “the first time you saw Gloria’s now incredibly popular speech”, the actress asserted, “It definitely felt like an important moment, but Gloria was shining from the very beginning.”Pressed by the outlet’s Carlos Aguilar as to what she thought “the first time you saw Gloria’s now incredibly popular speech”, the actress asserted, “It definitely felt like an important moment, but Gloria was shining from the very beginning.
“She represents this quest for the permission to express yourself,” continued the franchise voice actress for How to Train Your Dragon‘s Astrid Hofferson. “She has to play the role of Mom and of responsible career woman, while hiding everything she loves underneath the corporate suit, being what she thought she needed to be. From the moment we meet her with her pink sneakers on to her getting to drive in that car chase, there was so much wish fulfillment and release for somebody who has been repressing so much.”
“The monologue felt so right for Gloria,” added Ferrera. “Yes, it breaks the Barbies out of their moment, but it’s also the natural breaking point for Gloria, where she has to say what she’s discovering on this journey. I recognized that it was a big moment and that it needed to work, but it also didn’t work independent of her entire search for more freedom for herself.”
From there, the actress was asked for her “thoughts on the discourse that some people believe Gloria’s speech oversimplifies feminism”, to which she declared, “We can know things and still need to hear them out loud. It can still be a cathartic.”
“There are a lot of people who need Feminism 101, whole generations of girls who are just coming up now and who don’t have words for the culture that they’re being raised in,” she then posited. “Also, boys and men who may have never spent any time thinking about feminist theory.”
Drawing her thoughts on the monologue to a close, Ferrera ultimately opined, “If you are well-versed in feminism, then it might seem like an oversimplification, but there are entire countries that banned this film for a reason.”
“To say that something that is maybe foundational, or, in some people’s view, basic feminism isn’t needed is an oversimplification,” she said. “Assuming that everybody is on the same level of knowing and understanding the experience of womanhood is an oversimplification.”
As of writing, Ferrra’s next confirmed project Elio, an animated Disney/Pixar film in which she voices the military mother of its space-faring, adolescent protagonist, is currently in production ahead of its planned June 13th, 2025 release date.