Reese Witherspoon: “Women need to be more supportive of each other”


I already had a preview of Reese Witherspoon’s Elle UK cover last week, but now we have some additional images from the cover shoot, as well as some additional quotes. It’s like what CB was talking about yesterday – Reese is shilling her wedding story and photos because she really wants Water for Elephants to be a big hit. She needs a hit, and she needs to keep being one of the top-grossing women in Hollywood. I don’t really know why she feels like she needs this all so badly, but she does, and she’s being really obvious about it. I tend to forgive Reese for the most part, though. I think because I buy her celebrity persona for the most part – she fronts (and actively cultivates) an image of herself that is anal-retentive, un-Hollywood, down-to-earth, and boring-mom. I genuinely think that’s who she is in real life, and I think that this shilling game is kind of new to her. Anyway, here are some additional highlights from Reese’s Elle interview:

Reese Witherspoon is candid about the entertainment industry, from rejection (“They can really kick ya, you know?”) to the pressure to always look perfect.

“I feel for these women,” she says. “The guys get dressed and it’s no big deal, and they’re there because they’ve given a great performance. For every woman it’s, ‘What is she wearing?’ And, ‘But did she wear that to the last awards show?’ And, ‘What will she wear to the next awards show?’ And none of it is about her performance or how hard she worked—and those are the women who did extraordinary work.”

“I’m not going to lie, it’s fun to watch. But at a certain point, I go, ‘Wait, strip it all down.’ These girls—I shouldn’t say girls, these women—worked really hard, really hard, and now it’s reduced to … ‘She looks frumpy.’ How hard we are on people who are just doing their best. When we start measuring women on their appearance … We’re just too hard on each other. Women need to be more supportive of each other, stop tearing each other apart. There’s plenty of room for all of us. There’s plenty of men for all of us. There’s plenty of jobs. There’s plenty of room! I really believe it. Another actress out there has a number-one movie? They’re going to make more movies about women. A female writer sells a script? They’re going to look at another script from another woman. The better one woman does, the better all women do.”

Miss Witherspoon is starring in a new film, released at the end of this month, called Water For Elephants, in which she plays glamorous circus star Marlena Rosenbluth alongside Robert Pattinson, who plays circus vet Jacob Jankowski. But she said that her life as an actress is not glamorous, especially when she works hard to juggle her career and motherhood.

She said: “There’s this fallacy that we can have it all. I get it often, ‘Oh, you have it all’ – and I don’t. It’s hard. And there are times I take two years off and I don’t work. And there are times I go to work and I feel sick because I can’t see my kids for five days. And it’s real hard to go. Work is important to me. The kids are important to me. My relationship’s important to me. But all three can’t be functioning at 100 per cent at all times.’

[From The Mail & Fashion Etc.]

Do I really think Reese is the pragmatic feminist that she seems to be selling in this interview? Eh. I think she wants to see more female-dominated stories in Hollywood, and I think she wants more women to work in Hollywood, but I suspect all of this Ra-Ra-Sisterhood stuff is more about Reese in particular wanting to work and Reese in particular wanting better scripts. All of the half-decent romantic comedy scripts are going to other actresses! Wah, feminism!!!

By the way, here’s Reese’s Hello! cover this week – I like this shot so much more than the People cover.


More shots from Elle UK:




Photos courtesy of The Mail.

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48 Responses to “Reese Witherspoon: “Women need to be more supportive of each other””

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  1. brin says:

    I like the Hello cover better,too, but why isn’t the dress pink?

  2. Zelda says:

    The wedding dress makes her look square and I already said it elsewhere but she is sporting mall hair. I like the Elle covers. She is so boring, though.

  3. TXCinderella says:

    I agree. Johnny Depp shows up looking like he just jumped out of a dumpster and everyone thinks he is awesome. Don’t get me wrong, I think he is hot, but the way he dresses, he just looks dirty and smelly.

  4. beth says:

    i don’t know… that could have been me up there saying all those things.
    women really tear each other down in a way that’s so deconstructive to our own advancement then we complain how men are always getting paid more.
    men get paid more because they nominate each other into their boys clubs.
    there’s no such thing as a girls club.
    we have the gall to bitch how sexist it all is, and i do agree, MEN can be pretty damn sexist, but so many of us reinforce THEM and then turn around and bitchslap the next good woman we’re intimidated by instead of seeing the comrade inside the competitor.
    i think reese is being real…
    what else should she talk about?
    “OMG!!! you should see the elephant poop in front my trailer one morning!’

  5. jinni says:

    That is true about Johnny, but than Helena Bonham Carter doesn’t follow fashion trends either and gets the same treatment as Johnny. I think if an actor shows that they don’t care what people say about what they wear than they are usually admired and given a pass (another exp. Tilda Swinton).

    Also, men’s fashion doesn’t really change much, how much can you really say about a tux. Other than Johnny and RDJ, most actors stick to the same old suit at award shows and only change up the tie.

  6. jemshoes says:

    She has a point, and, yes, I don’t mind admitting that I buy her spin. She’s doing a good job raising her kids, she makes OK films, she’s not behaving badly and she doesn’t wash her dirty laundry in public. Sometimes, the vanilla / beige celebrities are a nice change from all usual unnecessary dramas and divas.

  7. Jenny says:

    Sometimes I think a woman’s worst enemy is another woman. Men can act like total idiots and people here and eleswhere swoon and give them the benefit of the doubt (most recently Franco) and Depp does look like he has not seen a bathtub or shampoo in months and again “isn’t he hot, isn’t he cool”. A woman shows up with a wrinkle in ther dress and she is trashed. Men can go out on a photo op with their children and its more ooos annd ahs. Women are bashed for pimping out their children. Men do charity work and again are swooned over, women are just doing it for publicity.

    Hilary Clinton is a strong, ambitious and successful woman, but she has her hair and clothing scrutinized more than anyone else. Women should be more of a sisterhood, but get called “bitchy” more often by other women. Sad, but oh so true.

  8. SHump says:

    I agree with Beth. I’m pretty much with Reese all the way on this one. Also, I like her with “mall hair”. She’s pretty and she doesn’t have to try hard. So why should she? Anyway, I don’t think I’d ever criticize how someone chose to look at their own wedding. If there’s one day where you should look and feel completely at ease with yourself and exactly how you like, then that is the day.

  9. Wresa says:

    I actually like the way she comes across here…

  10. Flan says:

    Lots of women ARE very supportive of each other. I have always been able to rely on my female friends and mother.

    Depicting women as always backstabbing each other is a stereotype, men backstab each other at least as much.

  11. Chris says:

    When you consider that 99.9% of people, regardless of gender, are never going to be making it in Hollywood, I think most women would see better wages and conditions for women in the workforce as more meaningful progress towards equality than seeing more women make it in Hollywood. But feel free to correct me ladies.

  12. GQ says:

    Not a fan of Reese, but she’s right about everything here

  13. leuce7 says:


    I don’t think she’s necessarily dismissing all women as bitchy (at least I hope not), but when you’re coming from a place where women are still trying to break through so they’re no longer a minority in numbers, I can totally see the comment above coming out.

    I mean, it’s Hollywood, so unless you’re an actual ethnic minority, then you pretty much have to struggle more, and compete more, as a woman (for good roles, scripts, projects, whatever) than the men do in general, and as a woman, you have way less (if any) leeway at all physically, making it just one more way you’re competing with other women only instead of with other actors, men and women. It has a tendency to create a crab barrel mentality.

    Outside of Hollywood, for the most part, in general working adulthood, I agree with you (although I have seen the bitchy women–it’s true that they exist–but I think more as an exception than a rule).

    Edited to add: @Chris, ITA.

  14. Reality says:

    @ Jenny, I completely agree, women can be the worst! They’re the clingy/desperate/slutty/uptight shrews in every relationship, always too skinny or too fat, either too many wrinkles or too much botox- they just can’t win for trying.

    On that note, onto the bitching-

    I like Reese fine, but I still wish she was being less ‘accessible’ with regards to her private life. My favourite actresses are Charlize Theron, Cate Blachett, and Marion Cotillard, partly because they’re so beautiful and talented, and partly because I know nothing about their personal lives. If any of them became tabloid fodder, I’d probably respect them a lot less.

  15. Kasey says:

    My first thought in light of her recent pal’ing around with Chelsea Handler was “are you for real or does she get a pass b/c she puts other women and their children down for the sake of comedy/her work?”.

    But then I realized that good ‘ol Reesey is a clever one. If she plays her cards right she’ll be schooling Handler and Chels will soon be walking the straight and narrow and she’ll be getting the good girl credit and recognition. Either that or she’ll turn on Reese and use her efforts as further fuel for her craft.

    BTW, I like Reese I find her refreshingly boring in a down-to-earth way, smart and normal. Yet I’m not being sarcastic about her being a good influence on Handler nor about being aware of how it could help her own image or career.

  16. Patty says:

    The Chelsea Handler episode aside, Reese is always a class act! She’s beautiful, smart, talented AND a good role model.

  17. anyhoo says:

    yeah i like her too and agree with what she is saying here.

    and yes, it’s obvious she WANTS this movie to be a hit and is doing everything in her power to make it happen, but so what?

  18. t says:

    I like Reese, too, but maybe when a woman says she didn’t like another woman’s dress at an awards show, it’s not because she’s afraid there’s not “plenty of room for all of us”, or there’s not “plenty of men for all of us”, or there’s not “plenty of jobs”, or she has some dark psychological need for “tearing her apart”.

    Maybe she really just didn’t like the dress.

    Reese is calling for women to support eachother. Well, if my mother or friend said to me, “hey, don’t wear that dress tonight…it makes you look frumpy”, I would thank her for her support and for saving me from a fashion disaster. :)

  19. JenJen says:

    Men are just as bad, that’s why I am my man’s best friend (and vice-versa) and he has no problem saying it.

  20. Ms. Candy says:

    I agree with Reese in all that she says-
    There is a lack of support from women

  21. TQB says:

    Look no further than a couple of yesterday’s discussion if you want to see how quick to judge and unsupportive women often are to each other.

    I have always admired Reese for being Hollywood’s goody-goody and I am right with her this time, too.

  22. serena says:

    Maybe she was speaking for herself only, but she is right. Women need to be allies of women, if that was the truth we’d rule the world.

  23. Siren6 says:

    When a pink dress is color corrected to look white it just makes me wonder how much else is being photoshopped, which is a shame because this is a much better picture than the People cover.

  24. Runs with Scissors says:

    @Beth: “women really tear each other down in a way that’s so deconstructive to our own advancement then we complain how men are always getting paid more.
    men get paid more because they nominate each other into their boys clubs.
    there’s no such thing as a girls club.
    we have the gall to bitch how sexist it all is, and i do agree, MEN can be pretty damn sexist, but so many of us reinforce THEM and then turn around and bitchslap the next good woman we’re intimidated by instead of seeing the comrade inside the competition”

    Awesome, couldn’t agree more. We tend to support each other emotionally, but not professionally.

  25. Lolita says:

    For any doubts as to women having each others’ backs, so to speak, read the previous article and readers’ comments about Ashley Judd. They are about as heinous as the New York publication about the 11 year old, here in Texas, who was gang raped on several occasions. Feminism is absolutely dead. I’m truely shocked that so many females are openly misogynists.

  26. helen says:

    You’d have to be pretty crazy or unobservant not to cosign on Reeses’s entire statement. Good for her.

  27. mln76 says:

    I think Reese looks great in the top photo. I love Reese when she seems real and tough but I am not liking the PR desperation for this movie she isn’t someone who can fake the PR believably.And I co-sign 100% with her statement.

  28. poppy says:

    Reese wore two different dresses, the pink for the wedding and the white for the reception.
    Now Reese needs a hit desperately, her last was the Johnny Cash movie years ago and her last movie did not even recover her salary.
    So sell those wedding pictures and hang with Chelsea Handler anything to get a hit movie.

  29. Stephy2585 says:

    I beleive it!
    Feminism benefits everyone, regardless of what some people think…It isn’t solely about women, it’s about supporting/helping whole groups of people who are marginalized by society.
    Sure, it’s a woman centered movement but it’s (mostly) women who are marginalized and oppressed by virtue of their gender alone.

    Women tearing women down is just crabs in the bucket..I don’t think it happens solely in Hollywood but that’s Reece’s unique perception, seeing as how she’s a woman actor in Hollywood

  30. Nanea says:

    I don’t think that anyone who calls her own production company “Type A Films” is a “down-to-earth” person and “boring mom” in real life.

    No real Type A person would be caught dead shilling for her latest project by selling her wedding pics to the likes of People nor appearing at the AMC awards, so she must be slipping. That – and Chelsea Handler.

    BTW, I’m not snarking or tearing down anyone, Miss Reese – just stating facts.

  31. Miss Beca says:

    i think she looks really pretty on the Hello! cover, but the sash/flowers placement makes me think she’s wearing a dress with cut-outs on the side. I thought so when i first saw it, thought so again here. eeek!

  32. Jeri says:

    Reese is right. When I started reading this blog it was generally supportive of most actresses except for the obvious loosers (like Lindsay), now it has gotten snarkier and is rarely complimentary of anyone except a very few favorites.

    Everyone has an ulterior motive for everything and nothing is taken at face value. Maybe it’s not the women written about that have ulterior motives.

    Lainie has the same attitude about women.

  33. Kim says:

    I have to say i am sick of hearing women in show business say this. Lets be honest its a business meant to make most women feel inferior.

  34. Kira says:

    Ok. Then, why hang out with Chelsea Handler, Reese? I think Chelsea says some of the nastiest stuff about women I’ve heard. It’s not even comedic. It’s straight up, “You’re ugly, and I hate you” meangirl attacks. Ugh. I think most celeb interviews are pure BS. They say whatever they think their audience wants to hear. It’s probably scripted by some publicist.

  35. Angel says:

    oh, geez. These comments are so meta and I am loving it.

    Reese is super-cute and a little spitfire, I’ve always thought so. She does big things with ease; whatever it is she is going for I think she’ll get it.

  36. Victoire says:

    I agree with Reese, but still I see the point in comments #34 and #35

  37. dj says:

    I really like and respect Reese. Love the Hello cover. Definitely, co-sign what she is saying about women in general. It is tough for us to have it all and we need to remember to be more supportive of our gender in general. Well stated. Also, love that vampy picture of her in the blue chair.

  38. TQB says:

    well, I have to say that many of these posts have made me feel MUCH better about yesterday…

  39. dahlia1947 says:

    AAAaahh, these covers look so much better than that People one! Please Reese don’t ever do that again. :}

  40. gabs says:

    I agree with everything Reese is saying. I dont get why youre so bitchy saying shes just saying it to sell a movie. Isnt it possible she believes that and really wants to make a statement?

  41. Erin says:

    I totally agree with her 100%. Also, I don’t get why people aren’t “buying” her feeling this way. I do, and I feel the same way – I’m a “girl’s girl”.

  42. oh hey says:

    Yeah, tell that to the “females” that commented in the Ashley Judd post about her memoirs.

  43. Becky says:

    She’s right about women often being their own worst enemies. I hear women criticize each other all of the time for everything from their life choices (whether or not to have kids, parenting styles, etc.) all the way down to the way someone wears her hair. Yes, I’ve admittedly participated in it from time to time (and have been on the receiving end, too) but over the last several years have made a major effort not to do it-it’s destructive, unattractive and sometimes just downright cruel.

    On the other hand, I have a double standard when it comes to celebrities (both female and male). They choose to put themselves out there, they make a ton of money and get many special privileges. If you go to a public event and you’re a celebrity, you are most likely going to have your appearance scrutinized-you put yourself out there to be looked at and people will accordingly look at you and make comments. A big part of the reason that celebrity males often get a pass in this area is that their fashion choices are much more limited (and less interesting) than their female counterparts.

  44. Newbie says:

    I agree with her. Even the nicest woman gets strange and possessive when it comes to how she looks, who she dates and what she wants to do in her career. Thus, the adage, “if women weren’t so busy tearing each other down, they’d be ruling the world”. I had girls sucking up to me and talking terribly behind my back because they wanted my husband, my job, etc. And I’d be lying if I said I never put down a girl because I wanted her success. But I’ve tried not to do it. We all have struggles and we need each other. Men don’t always understand us as well as we understand each other. GIANT disclaimer: this is a celeb site. Celebs sign up for the criticism when they make a circus of their lives. I don’t envy them that and I feel it’s fine to state our opinions on it.

  45. Newbie says:

    I’m in love with that first pic. I’m going to try doing it myself. Holy gorgeous.

  46. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    We all treat each other like crap, if we didn’t why would God have given us dogs and diamonds to sit in the spot meant for humans?

  47. Fire says:

    @ Miss Beca – You really think Reese Witherspoon would wear a dress with cut-outs on her wedding day? No way, no how