Saucy Reese Witherspoon's 7 Most Feminist Pieces of Advice
The world realized long ago that Reese Witherspoon doesn't always live up to her America's Sweetheart title when that memorable drunk driving video came out ("you're about to find out who I am"), but it's still a surprise every time the actress shows off her feistier side. At this year's Met Ball, for instance, Witherspoon's hilarious, drunken elevator antics reminded us of that part of her personality quite clearly; between the generous amount of F-bombs and quick dismissal of anyone's help in pronouncing Cara Delevingne's name, Witherspoon's wilder self has never been more evident, or as enjoyable to witness.
And then there's the advice. At the video's end, Witherspoon, after several failed attempts at pronouncing Delevingne's name correctly (hey, it's complicated), reminds her famous friends that "the most important thing in a name, for a girl" is "that a man can whisper it in his pillow.” Woah there, Elle Woods.
Although Witherspoon's words of wisdom are certainly entertaining, they're not exactly the most feminist-friendly. Still, it got us thinking about some past female-aimed advice from the actress (who identifies as a feminist), many of which are lot more empowering than that sentence in the elevator. Reese Witherspoon's best advice for women, below:
1. "Have strength and self-respect and... never give those things away."
While accepting her Oscar for Walk the Line, Witherspoon thanked her grandmother for instilling in her the same values that she saw in June Carter, values that all women — and men — should hold close.
2. "You have to be the best version of yourself and, if that means you have to be a bit self-promoting, then it’s okay. It really is. Because who’s going to believe in you more than yourself?"
During an interview with Red, a British magazine, Witherspoon spoke passionately about the issue of gender inequality, also advising women that "there is a balance between being an arrogant jerk and being someone who is proud of their accomplishments." Successful women shouldn't be ashamed of their success, Witherspoon said, "because men don't spend any time putting themselves down."
3. "Just powering through, no matter what, can give you the confidence you need when you feel like you’ve got nothing to offer."
This piece of advice isn't only applicable to women, of course, but seeing as it comes from Witherspoon's "Lean In" story, it's clear that it's aimed at the audience most likely to follow Sheryl Sandberg's female-empowering movement.
4. "If you take naked pictures of yourself on your cell phone, you hide your face, people, you hide your face!"
This was just one of many gems in Witherspoon's Generation Award acceptance speech at the MTV Movie Awards in 2012. Others include "it's possible to make it in Hollywood without a reality show" and "for all the girls out there, it's possible to be a good girl, and I'm gonna try to make it cool." This is also the speech where Witherspoon called herself a "motherfucker" and made fun of Chelsea Handler, so you know it's important.
5. "If I'm going to be a partner in a law firm by the time I'm 30, I need a boyfriend who's not such a complete bonehead."
All of Legally Blonde is awesomely feminist, from its focus on female friendships to its secret shoutout to women's rights icons ("would you call Gloria Steinem a skank?"). This quote, said by Elle to Warner when he tries to win her back, is a stand-out for its perfect acknowledgment that Elle, and all women, shouldn't let anyone or anything hold them back from achieving their dreams.
6. "My problem is that it's 2 A.M. My problem is I'm asleep. I'm on a tour bus with eight stinkin' men. Rule number one: Don't propose to a girl on a bus, you got that? Rule number two: Don't tell her it's because you had a bad dream."
This advice, said by Witherspoon's June Carter in Walk the Line, is really aimed at men, but it's also a lesson to women to keep their standards high when it comes to something as important as a proposal. Don't settle for anything less than you deserve.
7. "I spent a lot of my 20s just trying to make other people happy, rather than trying to figure out if doing that made me happy.”
From a 2008 interview. Amen to that.