Kate's Blog

A Lesson In Sobriety From The Barbie Movie

On the face of it, the Barbie movie has nothing to do with alcohol. 

(In fact, there are hardly any booze references in the film itself.)

However, there’s a brilliant monologue in the middle of the movie that has everything to do with why women drink.

It’s so important to talk about the many, many pressures placed on women, about not feeling good enough and the desire to numb out from it all.

And that’s exactly what I’m doing in today’s video…

Here’s the Barbie monologue in full:

“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.

“You have to be thin, but not too thin. And you can never say you want to be thin. You have to say you want to be healthy, but also you have 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 behaviour, 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 grateful. But never forget that 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.”

The desire to numb out

I often work with women who tell me that they don’t really know why they drink. On paper, their life looks pretty perfect. They feel bad that they’re not just grateful for what they’ve got. Instead, at the end of most days, they have a strong urge to escape the world and numb out from their lives.

When you look at the monologue from the Barbie movie and consider the many different societal expectations placed on women, you can start to understand why many of us do look for ways to numb out. Alcohol seems to help you switch off and ignore your supposed shortcomings.

Remember this

Alcohol is not a good, long-term solution. In fact, it always gives you more of what you don’t want. If you drink because you feel like you’re not doing a great job juggling motherhood and work, alcohol will just amplify that. It will have you rolling into work with a hangover and coming home with an even shorter fuse and missing the events you wanted to go to.

It doesn’t matter what you’re drinking to avoid, the same principle holds true. Think you’re not thin enough, not rich enough, not successful enough? Alcohol will distract you from that for a moment, but in the long run, it will make you fatter, poorer and less successful. Crucially, booze robs you of the time and energy to work on yourself and realise the one thing every woman should know: you are already enough. You are enough, just as you are.

Looking to create an alcohol-free life you love? Click here to learn more about my Getting Unstuck course.

Hi, I'm Kate

I founded The Sober School to show you there’s another way out of your shame that doesn’t involve AA or rehab. 

Comments

18 Responses

  1. Great video, Kate. I just saw the movie and this hits home. We all need to remember to tell ourselves “I AM enough” and having self compassion is something I am working on. Thank you!!

    1. The only thing that matters is what you think of you. We create our reality by what we think about ourselves and that needs to be love and compassion ❤️

  2. When I heard the monologue in the movie I had the desire to stand up and cheer or at least sit in my seat and applaud, and was shocked when no one in the theater did just that. The movie was nothing at all what I was expecting and this speech sums up exactly the major ‘theme’ if you will, as well as why I find myself saying almost daily, “life is hard”.

    I am forever thankful that Kate helped me to stopped drinking, because drinking was only making this hard life harder for me,

    1. Ann, I’m with you on ALL that you wrote…Right from the heart.
      And, I too thank Kate for the lead to a AF life.

      Great segment, Kate!!

  3. Thank you for the video, this hit home for me because of the demands of not just taking care of adult kids, but also my Mom, and my grand kids, my marriage, and the house, and my job…and getting older but still trying to look good… It really is silly to put so many burdens on myself.

  4. I have not seen the movie yet, but have heard lots about it and will be going. Great monologue – very insightful. Following from a previous comment, I will certainly attempt to applaud. I will let you know if anyone follows suit (or not!).

    I had originally aimed to take my 9 year old daughter, but as I learn more about the movie I am becoming less sure that she will be able to translate the message appropriately. It is a 12 after all. Perhaps wait until a little more mature.

  5. Wow! I cried when I listened to this video. I could never figure out what was wrong with me, why I kept drinking. I knew I drank to “forget my problems”, to numb myself to the things that happened in my life (or so I thought). I like to think I have insight into why I do what I do and then work hard to better my behavior. But a lightbulb went off when I listened to the monologue and everything was made clear to me. Thank you so much Kate for what you do, you are an earth angel! Today is my first day of sobriety!

  6. I would just like to add that I cried too Margaret. I am currently doing Kate’s course and now 37 days without a drink. Kate I have a near perfect life on paper (just couldn’t manage to be a mother though). A could name a thousand reasons to drink and just as many why I need not. For me it is as you say in your video. I just needed one to take the edge off at the end of the day and that’s where the big problem all started. As for the monologue, the beauty of that scene was the daughters realization of her mother’s strength and her life battles of living within a patriarchy. That was applause enough for me.

  7. The Barbie monolog was quite interesting! I had not planned on watching the movie; but may consider watching it at some point in time. I am really glad that you shared it! Pretty spot on!

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