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Reese Witherspoon’s Contest With Her Kids: Spot All the Gender Disparity on TV

”You just have to ask yourself, ‘What am I not seeing?'“ actress says

Reese Witherspoon undoubtedly plays lots of games with her children, but this is by far the most woke children’s game we’ve ever heard of.

The actress told a reporter for Fast Company about an exercise she does with her family when they watch TV — a rare occurrence — to measure gender disparity on screen.

After the group views a a commercial — like a recent Adidas spot that showed athletes, models, and DJs discussing what was cool around a table — Witherspoon will press pause and say to her kids, “What did you see?”

In response to this particular ad, the children said “they saw a mix of people who were interesting and creative. And I said, ‘You know what I see? Three women and 13 men at the table. That’s what I see.’ ”

Witherspoon says her family has asked her to play the ad over again to make sure she was right — and she usually is. “Now my husband sees it all the time,” Witherspoon said. “You just have to ask yourself, ‘What am I not seeing?'”

The article also discussed Witherspoon’s attempts to challenge the patriarchy when pitching TV and film projects under her Hello Sunshine banner, essentially asking studios to perform the same exercise as her children.

For her upcoming Zendaya-led flick “A White Lie,” Witherspoon hired TV screenwriter and producer Monica Beletsky to adapt the period piece about Anita Hemmings, a light-skinned African-American woman at the turn of the 20th century, into a thriller. Beletsky, who is half black and half Jewish, made multimedia production pitches to potential buyers that included images from the time period, thoughts on identity and  Zendaya’s personal take on”colorism.”

Lauren Neustadter, Hello Sunshine’s head of TV and film development, told Fast Company, “At the end of one meeting, a potential buyer said, ‘Well, the good news is that we’re living in a world where people are more open-minded.'”

Neustadter said the comment upset Witherspoon, who asked her assistant to gather recent photos of the boards of big companies and Congress. These were included in the second pitch meeting, which focused on the disparity we still see today. “‘Reese got very emotional and she said to the room, ‘We wish that we lived in a world where that was different,'” Neustadter told Fast Company.