Angelina Jolie is lending some advice to her kids.
In the latest issue of ELLE, the 44-year-old actress and philanthropist writes an essay in praise of strong women and the men who support them. Throughout the piece, Jolie reflects on how women are often unfairly treated as witches in what she calls “the ultimate conspiracy theory” and links back to the Salem trials.
In that context, Jolie mentions the six children she shares with her ex, Brad Pitt — Maddox, who celebrates his 18th birthday on Monday, Pax, 15, Zahara, 14, Shiloh, 13, and 11-year-old twins Vivienne and Knox.
“I could not be prouder of my sons for the men they are becoming, the way they respect their sisters and are respected by them,” Jolie praises, before revealing the advice she bestows on her daughters.
“I often tell my daughters that the most important thing they can do is to develop their minds,” she shares. “You can always put on a pretty dress, but it doesn’t matter what you wear on the outside if your mind isn’t strong.”
“There is nothing more attractive — you might even say enchanting — than a woman with an independent will and her own opinions,” Jolie adds.
The Maleficent star also spoke generally about how she chooses to reclaim the term “wicked women.”
“‘Wicked women’ are just women who are tired of injustice and abuse,” she writes. “Women who refuse to follow rules and codes they don’t believe are best for themselves or their families. Women who won’t give up on their voice and rights, even at the risk of death or imprisonment or rejection by their families and communities.”
“If that is wickedness, then the world needs more wicked women,” she continues. “But it is also true that women don’t wake up every morning wanting to fight. We want to be able to be soft and nurturing and graceful and loving — not everyone is born to fight. And we don’t have magical powers. What we do have is the ability to support one another, and to work with the many great men who value and respect women as their equals.”
Additionally, Jolie touches on how women go about finding themselves in a world that has so many opinions about how they behave.
“Who we are meant to be in life is something we all have to work out for ourselves. I think we can often go offtrack as women, because our instinct is to nurture or to adjust ourselves to society’s expectations,” she ponders. “It can be hard to take the time to ask ourselves who we truly want to be — not what we think other people will approve of or accept, but who we really are.”
“But when you listen to yourself, you can make the choice to step forward and learn and change,” she adds.
Jolie dedicated her essay “with love to all the wicked women, and the men who understand them.”