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America Ferrera’s Speech in Barbie (2023): A Powerful Commentary on Womanhood

America Ferrera's Speech in Barbie (2023): A Powerful Commentary on Womanhood

The best part of the Barbie movie was, without a doubt, the America Ferrera speech.

“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.

Like, we have to always be extraordinary, but somehow we’re always doing it wrong.

We have to be thin but not too thin. And you can never say you want to be thin.

You have to have money, but you can’t ask for money because that’s crass.

You have to be a boss, but you can’t be mean. You have to lead, but you can’t squash other people’s ideas.

You’re supposed to love being a mother but don’t talk about your kids all the damn time.

You have to be a career woman, but also always be looking out for other people.

You have to answer for men’s bad behavior, WHICH IS INSANE, but if you point that out, you’re accused of complaining.

You’re supposed to stay pretty for men, but not so pretty that you tempt them too much or that you threaten other women because you’re supposed to be a part of the sisterhood.

But always stand out and always be very grateful. But never forget the system is rigged. So find a way to acknowledge that but also always be grateful.

You have to never get old, never be rude, never show off, never be selfish, never fall down, never fail, never show fear, never get out of line.

It’s too hard! It’s too contradictory and nobody gives you a medal or says thank you. And it turns out in fact, that not only are you doing everything wrong, but also everything is your fault.

I’m just so tired of watching myself 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.” America Ferrera as Gloria — Barbie (2023)

In 2023, Mattel’s iconic plastic doll Barbie took a leap from the playroom to the silver screen in an engaging and unexpected way.


Though chock-full of visual splendor and light-hearted moments, the Barbie movie was elevated to a new level by an unforgettable speech delivered by America Ferrera’s character, Gloria.

In a deeply heartfelt and incisive monologue, Gloria articulates the overwhelming expectations and contradictions that shape the lives of women in our society.

Ferrera’s poignant portrayal of Gloria’s emotional exhaustion is both heart-rending and liberating. “It is literally impossible to be a woman,” she says, standing on a metaphorical precipice of societal norms, expectations, and stereotypes.

Through Gloria, Ferrera explores the vast sea of dichotomies that women are expected to navigate: being thin but not too thin, being wealthy but not overtly desirous of wealth, and being a leader without being perceived as bossy or domineering. The script meticulously weaves a web of societal expectations that can often confound and bind women in their pursuit of personal and professional satisfaction.

Gloria’s impassioned speech is a critique of the contradictory nature of the feminine ideal. “You’re supposed to love being a mother but don’t talk about your kids all the damn time,” she laments, highlighting the relentless push-and-pull of societal norms that dictate how women should express their personal and professional identities.

Ferrera’s Gloria calls out society’s unreasonable expectations on women, putting them in an impossible situation where they must answer for men’s misbehavior and remain eternally youthful while suppressing their ambition, pride, and emotions. She draws attention to the fact that the burden of these expectations often comes without recognition, without reward.


This speech, embedded in the heart of a seemingly lighthearted movie, does not merely question societal norms and stereotypes. It is a call to action and reflection, an invitation to question the paradoxical pressures faced by women daily.

In this stirring monologue, Ferrera’s Gloria captures the essence of the female experience with raw honesty and unflinching courage. In an unexpected turn of events, the Barbie movie becomes a platform for a powerful and much-needed discourse on womanhood in the modern world.

In conclusion, America Ferrera’s speech in the Barbie movie is a powerful piece of cinema that shines a light on the conflicting expectations that shape women’s lives. It is a wake-up call that offers viewers the opportunity to reflect on the ways in which they contribute to or combat these pressures.

This unforgettable moment in the Barbie movie shows that even a doll’s world isn’t as plastic and uncomplicated as it seems – an important reminder to all, regardless of gender, to strive for understanding, compassion, and change.


author avatar
Tracy Tegan
Tracy Tegan has spent the last seventeen years as a professional blogger about relationships, dating, and issues pertaining to gender equality at In her spare time, she writes romance novels that are available at Amazon.  You can check out Tracy Tegan's latest romance novel, Crescent Moon at Amazon.

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America Ferrera’s Speech in Barbie (2023): A Powerful Commentary on Womanhood

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