Reese Witherspoon Wants To See More Females Elected In Government

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Reese Witherspoon gets it. She has a daughter of her own, she has worked in Hollywood for many years, and knows the importance of strong female role models. Recently she attended a young women’s conference at her daughter’s school in Los Angeles, and was joined by female powerhouses in their own right Maria Shriver and Mindy Kaling to join in the discussion.

She spoke to the Huffington Post about the significance of having good female role models, and how in her family it has never been a question. It was a must.

“[My Daughter Ava] has a lot of self-confidence. I came from a very long line of very strong, hard-working women. So I think she gets a lot of inspiration from her grandmothers on both sides,” says the 37 year old mother of three.

She spoke about the importance of perseverance, and how achieving a goal isn’t the end, it is where the hard work actually begins.

“Whatever you’ve accomplished in your life, you have to keep going. You have to get up the next day. It doesn’t matter if you win the Oscar, or an Emmy. You’re Mindy Kaling and you get your show on the air, and now, oh crap, you have to write the show. You can have the greatest ratings ever, but the next day you have to do it again. Or do the next television show or do the next movie. And I want to make that movie even better than the last movie that I did. It’s about always challenging yourself and creating new goals for yourself.”

Why is that so important? Because although there are more and more women coming to the forefront of an industry like Hollywood, there is still a long way to go until we reach 100% gender equality. We all have to do our part.

“Women got only 28 percent of speaking roles in the 100 top-grossing fictional films from 2012. About 32 percent of female characters wore “sexy” clothing, compared to 7 percent of male characters, and 31 percent of these women were shown partially nude, compared to 9 percent of men,” says Huffpost associate editor Kathleen Miles.

“Seventy-seven percent of Academy voters are male, 99 percent of “Best Director” winners are male, and 98 percent of both producers and writers are white.”

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It is 2014 people! But this is where women supporting women comes into play in a big way. We should be elevating the achievements of ladies like Lupita Nyong’o, Kathryn Bigelow, Megan Ellison and others who are changing the status quo of gender roles in film.

Another industry we need to see more women in politics. Reese is a big supporter of women in office to better guide the issues that are relevant to us.

“I feel that we are grossly underrepresented. [We need to] really support a lot of female political candidates. And I think there are some great organizations that are doing that. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and the whole Off the Sidelines campaign for young women to get them inspired to join in — because there’s a sensibility that women don’t volunteer themselves. It’s hard to put yourself out there. We are all afraid of being marked as that girl who’s “really ambitious” — as if that’s a bad thing!”

Perception can be a difficult thing to change, but it starts with small steps. For instance, instead of calling a girl ‘bossy’ give her a positive label.

“For men, that’s considered leadership quality. But it’s not when a woman speaks her mind or is ambitious. Sheryl Sandberg’s book says you shouldn’t call little girls bossy. But I love that Sheryl says you should say she has “leadership qualities.” So it’s sort of about re-writing the script. Changing people’s perspectives about what women are capable of, and also seeing what we’ve already accomplished.”

Reese says she has no intention of ever playing a ‘weak’ woman on screen. Let’s be honest, most of her characters are the furthest thing from weak, especially bubbly blonde Elle Woods from ‘Legally Blonde’. She believes woman can achieve a lot if they really tap into their own strength and not hold back. This is something she wants to always portray in the characters she plays.

“We are capable of anything. And we do it all. We do it all so well. I don’t know any weak women. I honestly don’t. People say to me, ‘why don’t you play weak characters?’ And I say, ‘I don’t know any weak women!’ I have no intention of putting that out in the world. It’s not reality.”

You may not be an A-list Hollywood actress, but if you are a female you do have the power to be amazing in your world. There can be many confusing messages out there, but you have to be confident in yourself and forge your own path. Don’t be afraid of the “No’s” or rejection, instead view it as an opportunity to create something different and unique.

There’s a good chance when Reese was starting out in her career, no one ever thought a young blonde who was being cast in stereotypical girly roles would won day win an Academy Award for playing June Carter Cash in 2005’s ‘Walk The Line’. Here’s to living life not living up to others’ expectations, but breaking down barriers and changing perspectives instead.

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9 Comments

  1. Pingback: I don’t need feminism because… oh. Wait. I do. | I was a high-school feminist

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