Reese Witherspoon On Hollywood's 'Smurfette Syndrome' And Loneliness Of Being A Woman In Film

The Oscar-winning actress has opened about the lack of female representation in film and television and how it really feels to be the only woman on set

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It's not every day that actress Reese Witherspoon can be compared to the Smurfs character, Smurfette.

After all, apart from the pair's blonde 'dos, we can't remember the last time we saw the Academy Award-winner sporting blue skin and living in a mushroom-shaped house in the forest.

But, according to the 40 year-old star, she has a lot more in common with the Belgian animated character than you might think.

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Appearing at ELLE's Women in Television celebration over the weekend to promote her latest project, HBO's Big Little Lies (co-starring Shailene Woodley, Zoe Kravitx and Nicole Kidman), Witherspoon opened up about Hollywood's notorious 'Smurfette Syndrome'.

'For 25 years, I've been the only woman on set, so I had no other women to talk to … They call it "Smurfette Syndrome", because she's got a hundred Smurfs around her and she's the only girl,' she explained.

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Describing life on set with her co-stars for the series – which explores the lives of mothers, daughters and second wives whose seemingly perfect lives turn to murder – the mother-of-three said: 'Honestly, it's so refreshing to get to spend time with women.'

The actress – who is an executive producer on Big Little Lies – also took the opportunity to discuss the need for women's stories to be pushed to the forefront of the film and television industry.

it's so refreshing to get to spend time with women

She asked: 'We learn from art, and what can you do if you never see it reflected?'

'Things have to change — we have to start seeing women as they really are … We have to see real women's experience. Whether it involves domestic violence, whether it involves sexual assault, whether it involves motherhood or romance or infidelity or divorce. We need to see these things,' she added.

Her reason for jumping on board the Big Little Lies project? 'I'd just had enough.'

Hear, hear.

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