Reese, You Gotta Keep Your Punches Up

Some musings on privilege, hypocrisy, feminism, and the state of content for women.

Ah, Reese Witherspoon. Reese did a bad, bad thing. 

Last week, Reese Witherspoon was at the WSJ. Magazine’s 2017 Innovator Awards, giving a powerful speech about sexism, the lack of control women have in mass media, and the need to improve and expand the stories of women. 

And then she made a mistake, which ironically was tactfully edited out of most of the videos. While talking about content and her company, Hello Sunshine, she said that reaching women on multiple platforms with quality content is vital. And then she added: “And I’m not talking about mommy blogs and 14 ways to cook a turkey.

And the so-called "mommy blogs" didn't miss this slight. Nope. 

You done fucked up, Reese.

I've hated referring to my parenthood status in virtually all situations after becoming one. Yes, I am a mom. But that's certainly not all I am. I love my kid. But I don't subscribe to the 50s goodwife philosophy of making my family my whole world. Get where I'm going with this? I don't like the idea of being shoved in a box for someone to label, and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one. All weekend long I've been reading the angry thoughts of women who resent being referred to as a mommy blogger. Hell, I myself feel the same way about the word. It's right up there on the lists of words that is not nice to call people because you're implying that they're "less than."

Reese isn't the most likeable actress out there for a lot of reasons. She's got fame, fortune, and a hell of a lot of power. She's got privilege in spades. Does this make her unbearable in some ways? Yeah. Does this mean we should not invite her to the girl parties?

I really hope not.

Here's the thing: once you sweep aside all the hurt feelings, the nugget of truth is still there. When you look at the media targeting women, particularly of our age bracket, it. is. limited. Is there value to 14 Ways to Cook a Turkey? 100%. Hell, I frigging love cooking for Thanksgiving. I love reading stories about parenting fails and amazing household tips. But I also look at publications like Teen Vogue and The Rolling Stone and wonder why not me, too?

Why is there so much of my inner woman unserviced and rooting around in more subversive sources for soul-feeding material?

You done fucked up, Reese. When you're the 50 foot woman, and you want to be a hero of the city, you want to use your strength and power to tackle Godzilla while he's rampaging downtown. You don't want to step on the civilians. That's just going to piss them off and make them hate your guts.

If someone says to me they've never once made a mistake or said something dumb, I'll show you a liar. But unfortunately, in many people's eyes, that one lousy sentence actually set fire to everything good about her speech. And there was a lot of good in there.

We can yell at her, justifiably, for her careless feet, but I hope we don't ignore the fact that she's willing to fight Godzilla.




RELATED: Feminism Means Sometimes You and I Will Disagree About Parenting

Anne is one of those people who usually speaks to others in memes, pop culture references, and SAT words. On those occasions she can be understood at all, she likes to entertain others with a sense of humour usually described by friends as “hilarious—once you get to know her.”