At the 2011 MTV Movie Awards when Reese Witherspoon took the stage to accept her Generation Award, she used the moment to stand up for every young woman out there.
During her headline-making speech, she proudly told the girls watching the show that “I know it’s cool to be bad. I get it … but it’s also possible to make it in Hollywood without a reality show.” Now, many months later, Witherspoon sat down with MTV News on Tuesday (January 31) for “MTV First: This Means War.” And, during the lengthy chat, she opened up about her speech.
“Well, I have a 12-year-old daughter, and I take it all very seriously. I think there’s not a lot of positive images out there for young women, honestly,” she explained. “I don’t know, I just feel like shining the light on the good was an incredible move on MTV’s part and that you don’t have to sell yourself short and objectify yourself in order to be popular or liked or loved. And there’s many different ways to the watering hole and you can maintain you self-respect and still accomplish things.
“I don’t watch certain reality shows but there’s ones where people are doing cool, interesting things, like ‘Project Runway.’ But I’m not into women hating on other women or hitting each other or beating the crap out of each other to make money for a bunch of other people,” she continued. “I think that’s not what I want my kids to see.”
That feminist stance has made her the go-to role model for a new generation of stars, including Taylor Swift, who cites her as one of her idols. “I think it’s an accumulation of life experiences and hopefully you handle yourself with grace and dignity and life and that’s all you can hope for and hope to pass on to people,” she said of her own role-model status.
“And I think [Swift is] just an exemplary young lady,” she added. “It’s kind of interesting to see what a profound songwriter she is. I don’t even think anyone has realized, the long term is going to be the bigger revelation. It’s incredible how quickly she writes songs. We’ve hung out a couple of times; we live near each other in Nashville.”