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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35 Responses to “Reese Witherspoon: ‘I’m very passionate about women having their own money’”

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  1. Sayrah says:

    Um I had no idea who that was on your header photo. She had to have had something done.

    • Esmom says:

      Seriously. She is more unrecognizable to me than Renee Zellwegger was during her unrecognizable phase. That said, I woudn’t be surprised if it was photoshop shenanigans.

      • Kk2 says:

        She looks recognizable to me, though different because of the lack of makeup and a big smile, which is how she’s usually photographed.

        Wouldn’t shock me if she’s had stuff done, especially fillers, Botox etc. I assume most actresses have. But she doesn’t look unlike herself to me.

      • Snap Happy says:

        I thought it was Kristen Bell.

    • Harryg says:

      Her forehead is lifted or something. Her face used to be more crunched up. Not that she wasn’t pretty! But her eyes are different.

    • whatWHAT? says:

      the “something done” was photoshop.

      if you see pap pics or see her on film, she looks the same.

      the photo editor just made her look like someone who looks like Reese Witherspoon. this happens more and more often…I see a mag cover and say “huh, that looks like *insert celebrity name here*…” and then I realize that’s who it’s SUPPOSED to be, but the photo editor got a little overzealous. I understand removing blemishes and wrinkles, but to make the subject “prettier”, or “more attractive” to the point that they only slightly resemble themselves is TOO MUCH.

      I think he or she was trying to make Witherspoon look like her younger self but it’s a big fail.

    • lucy2 says:

      Pretty sure it’s a strange makeup/lighting/photoshop combo, there’s other photos of her recently and she looks the same as she always does. I think someone going a bit overboard with photoshop on a magazine cover is more likely than major plastic surgery.

  2. Tallia says:

    Her photo… I thought this was Robin Wright when I first saw it.

  3. Winnie Cooper's Mom says:

    She can’t help her family dynamics and, like anyone else, shouldn’t be judged on that. Good on her for learning from it to empower herself and other women to want more financial independence. I’m a big fan of her, love her new book, “whiskey in a teacup.” Also looking forward to her new show with Jen Aniston!

  4. Steff says:

    Reese has come a long way from where she was 6-7 years ago. Her star power was fading and she worked hard and hustled to get it back. Can’t knock her for it.

  5. Slowsnow says:

    So agree with this “I am very passionate about women having their own money”). I get regulalry crucified for saying that I don’t understand how a woman can not work (or at least have her own source of income) as if I’m insulting SAHM. I am not insulting anyone, I am worried that someone can risk having nothing should anything bad happen and I also happen to think that being independent builds confidence.
    This does not mean that my husband and I have not had moments when one of us was taking care of the kids for the other to invest in the career! We also have a joint account! But all of this has to be planned and with the possibility that both have a solid CV to go back to work when necessary.

  6. Moco says:

    I LOVE the cover shot – being perfectly made up with a big smile is her usual trademark so I love the no-makeup look. She looks amazing

  7. BANANIE says:

    I understand the supposed divide between the Southern genteel/feminist side of things but I resent that they even brought up the word “y’all” in that context. Like ooh look she can have deep thoughts about social issues even though she’s from the South. That’s bs.

    • Winnie Cooper's Mom says:

      Amen! She is a strong southern woman. I don’t like the notion that if someone is from the Deep South, that they aren’t capable of progressive thinking. I live in the Deep South and most women I know around here are all about standing up for themselves and being an equal partner in their relationships. We are not backwards, small-minded shrinking violets as the media likes to make us out to be.

    • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

      I thought the y’all reference was kitchy and inconsequential to the larger discussion as well. Way to dumb down subject matter you’re trying to elevate…y’all.

    • Dazed and confused says:

      This. All. Day.

      My roots are Southern. My maternal grandmother had a PhD and was a single mother by choice in the 1940s. My great aunt had her PhD in speech pathology and traveled around the country to teach others about her work. I grew up surrounded by strong, intelligent, accomplished Southern women. And they all told me how important it was for a woman to have her own money and credit.

      It gives you choices. If you are lucky, you don’t need to go there. If not, how fortuitous that you have it.

  8. Croatian says:

    You know, of all the people I’d thought would inspire me – I would never think it will be her, but it is.
    It’s impressive what she was able to do, she used everything, her resources, money and connections to start something different. Not all of us get that kind of platform, but she inspires me to do the same in the way I am able.
    She is very smart, sensible, driven and self-aware. And her ambition is SO welcomed!

  9. Gurl says:

    I agree she definitely puts on airs (“do you know who I am”) and tries so hard to be this classy and proper Southern lady.

    I think she should show off her stomach tattoo more often. It’s quite endearing.

  10. Marty says:

    I really like Reese at this stage in her life, and she’s doing some of her best work right now.

    • lucy2 says:

      I think so too. She’s really stepped up her game in terms of producing and creating a brand. Her book club has a big following and she’s turning a number of them into films/shows. BLL was excellent, and I’m looking forward to Little Fires Everywhere – good book, and I love Kerry Washington.

      She’s also totally right about the money – and women should be aware of stuff like mortgages, taxes, bills, etc. So many women don’t have any involvement in household finances and then are at a loss if they find themselves widowed or divorced.

  11. Tchotchke says:

    I don’t think she’s promoting little other than herself…She has Season 2 of “Big Little Lies” coming out in the spring.

  12. Jenns says:

    I also believe that women should have their own money and bank account. Even when their married. I get push back when I say this, but under no circumstances would I not have my own account. It’s a deal breaker for me.

    • Goldengirlslover34 says:

      Agree. I’ve been married for almost 9 years and we both have our own separate account in addition to joint accounts. People act like it’s crazy but it’s amazing and works for us. As a result we never have arguments about “what are you spending money on.” If I want to buy some absurd product or spend a day pampering myself I do it. I feel a level of freedom. I’ve seen women in my family really hindered by lack of access to money. Even when they work the money is not really theirs. It affected their ability to have a voice in their marriage.

      • Jackie says:

        My husband and I have been together for 10 year, married for 3, and still don’t have a joint bank account. People are always surprised by that but it works for us!

    • Harryg says:

      Completely agree. Have a joint account if you want, but also have your own account.

  13. Nan says:

    Yes, Reese. Yes. We need state-funded childcare.

  14. Maddie says:

    I thought that was Amanda Bynes in the pic at first.

  15. Ang says:

    It’s one of the most important things I’ve tried to teach my daughter, that you need to make your own way in this world and Not be dependent on any one for your success.

  16. Ali says:

    Maybe I’m alone in this day and age but I agreed to taking care of our kids in exchange for a spouse who took care of the bills without feeling like I had a right to say I wanted access to his earnings.
    I’m not uneducated. I just wanted to be a mom that could do pick up and drop off and I love so much the time I have with my children… in a perfect world I’d have a spouse that didn’t hold it against me.

    I don’t know what kind of example I am setting. I just know that I really truly with everything I am believe I’m a really good mom to these two young people. I love them just because they exist and tell them that everyday. I make their breakfast pack lunches go on field trips read bedtime stories take them to parks to the library any and everything in the time that I have because someone else puts a roof over our heads.

    I don’t know. I don’t have my own money but I have time. I’ve bartered for time with them.

    • Patty says:

      If you’re married his earning are your earnings. There shouldn’t be yours and mine in a marriage; everything should be ours.