Home Entertainment America Ferrera Rejects Criticism That ‘Barbie’ Is an Oversimplification of Feminism: ‘There...

America Ferrera Rejects Criticism That ‘Barbie’ Is an Oversimplification of Feminism: ‘There Are a Lot of People Who Need Feminism 101’


America Ferrera has found herself in the Oscar race for supporting actress thanks to her role in “Barbie,” which is largely defined by a nearly three-minute monologue in which her character, Gloria, passionately rails against double standards women face on a daily basis. Both the speech and “Barbie” at large have been criticized by some for being an oversimplification of feminism, but Ferrera rejected such criticism during a recent interview with The New York Times.

“We can know things and still need to hear them out loud. It can still be a cathartic,” Ferrera said. “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. Also, boys and men who may have never spent any time thinking about feminist theory. 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,” the actor continued. “Assuming that everybody is on the same level of knowing and understanding the experience of womanhood is an oversimplification.”

Ferrera revealed in an interview with Vanity Fair last year that her “Barbie” monologue was filmed over the course of two days.

“It’s one part of a much bigger scene with lots of characters in it. I had to do it many, many times for other people’s coverage and to get through the whole scene and over the course of two days,” she said, adding that it felt like she filmed 500 takes of the monolgue. “It was probably 30 to 50 full runs of it, top to bottom. By the end, [co-star Ariana Greenblatt] recited the monologue to me because she had memorized it because that’s how many times I had said it.”

Ferrera also was given the opportunity to tweak the monologue as needed. The film’s director, Greta Gerwig, co-wrote the “Barbie” script with Noah Baumbach, but Gerwig was keen on getting Ferrera’s point of view when it came to filming Gloria’s speech.

“The text evolved a little bit,” she told The Times. “Greta asked me, ‘Why don’t you just tell me what you would say? Write it in your own words. What would you add?’ Not every director starts out by inviting actors to rewrite their work. Some of what we talked about made it into the script. The line, ‘Always be grateful’ came out of that conversation with Greta. She expounded on it adding, ‘But never forget that the system is rigged.’ There were many versions that we did. We ended in tears. It ended in laughter, it got big, it got small, and I was able to do that because I really trusted Greta to know what would be right for the film.”

“Barbie” is now available to stream on Max.