Reese Witherspoon calls out the sexist question every female character asks in movies
We already knew that Reese Witherspoon was a Hollywood hero, but last night she was officially given that title at Glamour’s 25th Women of the Year Awards—and she further proved it in her powerful speech on gender equality.
One of the most illuminating moments was when she revealed a simple, but significant sign of sexism in movies. She explained that she’s turned off of movies if the script contains a question spoken by a female character: “What do we do now?”
Both she and the audience laughed, but the root of this pet peeve is no joke. “I’m serious,” she continued. “Go back and watch any movie, you will see this line over and over.” And she’s right. Female characters are often portrayed as helpless in fictional times of crisis, when that isn’t the case in real life.
So she decided to do something about it. After sitting down with seven studio heads in 2012, she asked them what movies they were planning with female leads. Their answer? Silence.
So along with Bruna Papandrea, Witherspoon founded Pacific Standard, a production company that went on to produce huge blockbusters like Gone Girl and Wild, which Witherspoon starred in herself. Both films earned big at the box office and landed Academy Award nominations.
“Female-driven films work,” Reese continued. “Films with women at the center are not a public service project, they are a big-time, bottom line-enhancing, money-making commodity.”
And if you thought Reese’s speech couldn’t get any better, there was a brilliant call out to Amy Schumer.
Read her full speech here, because there is so, so much more wisdom to be absorbed (plus a shout out to Tracy Flick).