Reese Witherspoon's Women Of The Year Speech Will Motivate You

Photo: Gregory Pace/REX Shutterstock.
At the Glamour Women of the Year Awards, Reese Witherspoon revealed what her "most hated question" is. Witherspoon recoils when she reads a script and a woman asks a man, "What do we do now?"

In a powerful, motivating speech, Witherspoon described how she started her own production company, Pacific Standard Films, after being frustrated by studios not developing films with women in lead roles.

She explained:

I dread reading scripts that have no women involved in their creation because, inevitably, I get to that part where the girl turns to the guy, and she says, "What do we do now?!" Do you know any woman in any crisis situation who has absolutely no idea what to do? I mean, don’t they tell people in crisis, even children, "If you're in trouble, talk to a woman." It’s ridiculous that a woman wouldn’t know what to do.

So, anyway, after going to these studios and telling people about how there’s barely any female leads in films and the industry’s in crisis, people were aghast. "That’s horrible," they said. And then, they changed the subject and moved on with their dinner and moved on with their lives. But I could not change the subject. I couldn’t turn to some man and say, "What do we do now?" This is my lif
e.

Witherspoon encouraged her audience to direct this very question not toward men, but toward themselves. "So here’s my hope: If you’re in politics, media, the tech industry, or working as an entrepreneur or a teacher or a construction worker or a caregiver, you know the problems we are all facing," she said. "I urge each one of you to ask yourselves: What do we do now?" She added: "I believe ambition is not a dirty word. It’s just believing in yourself and your abilities."

The actress also gave a shoutout to the "passionate and strong and flawed" women she has portrayed onscreen. We basically already knew that she and Elle Woods were kindred spirits, but now we're even more certain. Witherspoon explained how people cautioned that her company would not survive because "there just wasn't a market for buying female-driven material." She added: "But like Elle Woods, I do not like to be underestimated."

You can read Witherspoon's full speech over at Glamour. She was honored alongside women including Caitlyn Jenner and Misty Copeland.
Advertisement

More from Pop Culture

Watch

R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Documentary
Five love stories behind diverse, multicultural marriages.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Life experiments, 5 days at a time.
Watch Now
Fashion
The style of subculture.
Watch Now
Beauty
Viral trends, tried and tested.
Watch Now
Documentary
From vibrators to lipstick, learn how your favorite products are made.
Watch Now
Documentary
Extraordinary, one-of-a-kind individuals
Watch Now
Documentary
The latest stories to watch.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Inside the homes of millennial women — & what they paid for them
Watch Now
Comedy
Let's talk about sex, baby.
Watch Now
Documentary
Female artisans around the world
Watch Now
Politics
Made by and for smart, opinionated women.
Watch Now
Film
We helped 12 female directors claim their power.