bitchy | Reese Witherspoon: ‘I’m very passionate about women having their own money’


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Reese Witherspoon covers the February issue of Vogue to promote little more than her brand as a feminist and celebrity. She’s involved with a million different projects as a producer, actress, activist, writer and lifestyle-site-owner, but I can’t find one particular project that she’s promoting in this piece. This cover story reads more like a statement: Reese Witherspoon is powerful and she’s got credibility. Her reputation barely took a hit from the “I’m An American Citizen” drunken arrest, and if anything, she’s become an even bigger star since then. She’s also done the work, to her credit. I used to think that Reese leaned into white feminism too much, perhaps without even knowing it or understanding what she was doing. But she’s opened her mind, done the research and she now talks about intersectionality with some authenticity in Vogue. You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

Why she began her production company: “I was sick of making movies where I was the only female lead on the set. I was sick of seeing scripts where there was one female role, badly written, and yet every actress in town wanted the part because there was nothing else. I finally asked myself, Why does it have to be the same 20 people making all the movies? Maybe there is room for a more inclusive idea about who can be on-screen and who can get it funded. Maybe there are different ways to get content made so that the world we see on-screen looks more like the world we walk through in real life.”

Intersectionality & Southern gentility: She uses the word “y’all” a lot, but she also uses the word intersectional, which is common to the parlance of social justice and refers to a particular framework for looking at feminism. Lest you think there’s any incongruity between talking like a Tumblr feminist and publishing a book about Southern gentility that includes tips on hosting Kentucky Derby parties, Witherspoon will tell you that “we have to stop thinking about things as extremely one way or another. Things are not binary. There’s a whole lot of stuff in the middle.”

On Harvey Weinstein: “I think I felt like a lot of people in that I was shocked that I didn’t know. I’d heard rumors, but then again I’ve heard rumors about me that aren’t true! I always try not to judge people based on rumors. I never in my imagination thought that any of that was happening. I did not. And here I am.”

On some tabloid rumors about her father: “I’m not really at liberty to talk about my family’s finances. I don’t think it’s appropriate. But it’s not what it seemed like. There is a book I will write one day that is probably a little more. . . . There were just . . . there are reasons I’m passionate about a lot of things, you know? I think there’s a time and a place and there will be a moment when I can speak about it. But there’s a reason I’m very passionate about women having their own money. I have a lot of friends and I have a lot of personal experiences with women feeling afraid and making life choices because they felt completely paralyzed or in a stasis because they didn’t know what to do financially. And you can’t have liberation if you don’t have that.”

[From Vogue]

I found the section about her family very interesting – for years, there has been a lot of gossip about John Witherspoon, gossip that involves words like “bigamy” and “alcoholism.” I think Reese desperately wants her brand to be about high-end Southern gal, but her family’s background is more relatable and tabloidy than most people realize. She’s right though – it’s so important for women to be in control of their own finances. And I’m proud of her for using her platform to discuss intersectionality.

Here’s a video Reese made with Vogue:

Cover courtesy of Vogue.

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