America Ferrera knows just how valuable it can be to forge bonds between women.
In conversation with feminist icon Gloria Steinem at the MAKERS conference on Monday night, Ferrera spoke about how she has been influenced by women over the course of her life. She was raised primarily by her mother, who she described as “an incredible force of nature,” in a house of six children — five of whom were girls. “There were so many women in my life,” said Ferrera. “Strong women — not always mentally sane women — but strong women.”
She also spoke about the life-altering importance of “unlearning” the cultural idea that women must be in constant competition with each other.
“This is something that I had to unlearn in culture,” Ferrera said. “When I stopped thinking of other women as competition to me and started thinking about them as my partners in life, when that happened for me as a young woman, my whole experience of life changed.”
That simple mental switch paved the way for Ferrera’s future connection and collaboration with incredible women — something she hopes younger women see modeled in the world around them.
“Now I have so many friends and dear, dear mentors, and women in my life who keep me going, and I couldn’t ever trade it,” said Ferrera. “And I hope for so many young women growing up today, that the stories we’re telling them about [themselves] and their female relationships are positive ones.”
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