Watch Reese Witherspoon Slam Sexism & Ageism In Hollywood
Sure, we love Reese Witherspoon for her unforgettable performances in Cruel Intentions, Legally Blonde, and more recently, Wild, but the fact that, like Jennifer Lawrence, she never shies away from calling out the double-standards in Hollywood is what makes us fall in love with her over and over again.
"Like Elle Woods, I do not like to be underestimated."
At the Glamour Women Of The Year Awards, the 39-year-old actress was honored for her production company Pacific Standard and fashion line Draper James. But instead of using her stage time to promote her brands, she addressed the work that still needs to be done in Hollywood, attacking ageism and sexism in the industry with full force.
"I hope, Amy Schumer — and all the other incredible nominees — that you'll give me the rights to your biopic first," she said. "Although, Amy, I'm five years older than you, so I'll probably have to play your grandmother in the movie, by Hollywood standards, and you'll probably have to play your own mother."
A major mission of hers is to get more movies with female leads, so she took the matter into her own hands and started a production company called Pacific Standard.
"My mother, a very strong Southern woman, said to me, 'If you want something done, Honey, do it yourself,'" said the Oscar winner.
But it hasn't been easy. When many tried to discourage Witherspoon from creating more female-centered films, she borrowed the mentality of her breakthrough character:
"Like Elle Woods, I do not like to be underestimated," she said. "Films with women at the center are not a public service project. They are a big-time, bottom line-enhancing, money-making commodity."
Then, she made sure to emphasize that issues of sexism are not limited strictly to Hollywood: "Women are underrepresented and underpaid in leadership positions," she said. "How can we expect legislation with our rights and needs being preserved if we don't have equal representation?"
Witherspoon concluded her speech with encouraging words for her predominantly female audience: "Imagine this: What would happen if we were all brave enough to believe in our own ability? To be a little bit more ambitious? I think the world would change."