She has been called many things, usually only pertaining to her looks, but Reese Witherspoon is more than just a gorgeous face with just ‘celebrity’ as her job description.
In a remarkable essay she penned for Glamour, Reese wants you all to know that women with ambition are a force to be reckoned with, in all aspects of society.
Titled “We Have to Change the Idea That a Woman With Ambition Is Out Only for Herself”, Reese writes:
“I worked for a long time on my speech for Women of the Year (2015). At the time, I was reading a lot of articles about how people find ambition in women to be a negative trait. There was a Columbia University study that concluded that a woman with ambitious traits seemed selfish and less worthy of being hired than a man with the same traits, which made me wonder, What the heck is wrong with being ambitious?
I have been ambitious all my life. In fact, I vividly remember telling my third-grade teacher that I wanted to be the first female president of the United States. Ambition is simply a drive inside of you—it’s having a curiosity or a new idea and the desire to pursue it. I asked the audience a question that night in Carnegie Hall: What if all women were encouraged to be a bit more ambitious?”
And work on her ambitions she did: since 2015, Witherspoon’s work focused on highlighting issues affecting women, and has since been received with acclaim.
Big Little Lies, the HBO miniseries she produced and starred in, racked up 16 Emmy nominations.
Her two movies, Home Again, and the upcoming A Wrinkle In Time, were all directed by women, and her production company, Pacific Standard, and new multimedia company, Hello Sunshine, Witherspoon wants to go in on the demand for women’s stories and tell them in every single medium: TV, film, and online.
“And guess what else is great? People want to see dynamic women onscreen. Big Little Lies featured five actresses who were 25 to 50 years old, and 8.5 million people on average watched each episode. We had a pretty gender-balanced audience too, proving men are interested in women’s lives,” continued Reese.
While she is one of the many who will proudly recognize the steady opening of the flood gates that women-driven material are making in the entertainment industry, Reese is also among the first to call out inequality when she sees it and isn’t afraid to be deemed unlikeable because of it.
“As moms, we have a unique opportunity to keep changing this attitude that ambition is an ugly quality in women. That it makes you unlikeable. What is likeable anyway? I’m allergic to that word.”