IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Why America Ferrera's 'Barbie' monologue resonates with women

Across social media, women have been sharing the text of a speech Ferrera's character gives to Barbie during the film. Warning: Spoilers for "Barbie" ahead.
Image: America Ferrera attends the "Barbie" Celebration Party at Museum of Contemporary Art on June 30, 2023 in Sydney.
America Ferrera attends the "Barbie" Celebration Party at Museum of Contemporary Art on June 30 in Sydney.Hanna Lassen / Getty Images file

"Barbie" has dominated social media since its wide release on Friday, but one moment in particular has become a rallying call for the women who've seen the film.

The text of a speech given by America Ferrera's character, Gloria, about the expectations women are held to has been shared across social media by women of all ages, many of them saying they feel the monologue outlines the challenges women face under the patriarchy.

The speech has especially resonated with Latina women, who appreciate that Ferrera was the messenger of this resonant movie moment.

In "Barbie," after the titular Barbie, played by Margot Robbie, returns to Barbieland with Gloria and her daughter Sasha, played by Ariana Greenblatt, she's devastated to find the Kens have taken over and brainwashed the rest of the Barbies.

Barbie sobs, telling Gloria that she feels she'll never be good enough, which is when Gloria launches into a monologue about the contradictions of womanhood.

"It is literally impossible to be a woman. You are so beautiful, and so smart, and it kills me that you don’t think you’re good enough," Gloria tells Barbie. "Like, we have to always be extraordinary, but somehow we’re always doing it wrong."

She then goes on to talk about how women are expected to "be thin, but not too thin," and to "have money, but you can’t ask for money because that’s crass," and to be "a boss, but you can’t be mean."

Gloria runs through the series of contradictions and expectations, finally concluding that she is tired of watching herself "and every single other woman tie herself into knots so that people will like us."

"And if all of that is also true for a doll just representing women, then I don’t even know," she finishes.

The scene felt like a truth Ferrera had always known, she told The Los Angeles Times.

"There’s no woman in my life who those words aren’t true for," Ferrera told the Times. "Not a single one. And when we hear the truth, it hits in a certain way, and you can’t unhear it, right?"

Director Greta Gerwig said Ferrera was the right person to deliver the remarks in the film because, "America's us."

“America has lived in the world as a person and can kind of articulate all this. Barbie just got flat feet yesterday,” Gerwig explained to the Times.

Still, Ferrera said she felt her role in the film was a "miracle."

"That kind of thing doesn’t often happen for Latinas in this industry. There are so few roles created for us, and it’s not in $100 million movies that are about cultural icons," she said.

Ferrera told Vanity Fair the scene took two days and between 30 to 50 takes to film.

On social media, the moment has become a touchstone for women who feel that the speech perfectly articulates silent expectations they have been forced to contend with.

"This is what the inside of my brain sounds like EVERY DAY. The movie depicts womanhood like nothing I’ve seen before," one person tweeted.

Another person posted, "this monologue could have either made or broken the film i’m so serious…..i am so glad it was perfect. i was sobbing."

One person wrote the speech needed to "to be printed off, read daily and taught in school."

While many said the speech was an important, powerful moment, others called it "corny" and claimed it amounted to "feminism 101."

"i’m going to say something controversial, but people who are amazed by this monologue are people who have never thought critically about feminism or being a woman before," one person tweeted.

Still, many who saw the film said the monologue will resonate with them long after "Barbie" leaves theaters.

"I started sobbing when I realized how big of a role America Ferrera had in the Barbie movie. I loved my Barbies growing up and I would routinely ask my dad how I could get lighter skin to look like my Barbies. AND NOW A LATINA IS HOLDING IT DOWN FOR THE BARBIE MOVIE," one person tweeted. "I’m so happy for those little girls who hopefully won’t ask for lighter skin because they saw America taking up space."