It turns out the Gwynster might be a whole lot more relatable than she seems.
Gwyneth Paltrow’s name is practically synonymous with pretense. Her Goop website doles out advice and tips that the general public can’t really relate to (err, $200 jeans?) and the recipes from her (gorgeous, I-want-them-on-my-coffee-table) cookbooks have been criticized as difficult to master, with hard to find ingredients (10-hour chicken anyone?).
These things, plus the fact that she’s sunny-California-blonde gorgeous, with a way slim figure, kick-ass skills in the kitchen and a once-enviable marriage to a world-renowned Brit rock star, make her easy to hate. When she gets divorced and refuses to call it that - but instead conscious uncoupling, or insults working moms everywhere, it’s especially irritating. And largely insensitive. I can’t help but wonder. Why on earth does she keep putting her foot in her mouth? Is it all an endless publicity stunt? Even though I realize many stars go to great lengths for publicity, I don’t want to believe that’s what’s behind the off-color, sometimes politically incorrect faux pas she spouts off. I think she is simply being herself.
Obviously being ourselves is an important thing - we just don’t want it to be at the cost of others. While some of the things Gwyneth says aren’t kind, she often says things aloud that many of us think too.
Case in point: Referring to her kids’ accents, she says she doesn’t mind that her daughter “says ‘Mummy’ instead of 'Mommy.’” But wouldn’t like “if she starts saying 'basil’ and 'pasta’ the English way, as that really drives me nuts." Another example: when she criticized actresses she admires, like Reese Witherspoon, for choosing "another stupid romantic comedy” for “money and status.”
Granted, these are pretty offensive statements - but I must say, if my future kids had a British accent, I’d be pretty damn happy! And I have certainly watched some of my favorite stars on screen - male and female - and wondered why on earth they would take certain roles. Gwynnie just says this stuff out loud and in very public ways.
In March she interviewed Chelsea Handler about her new book, Uganda Be Kidding Me. Gwyn told Chelsea that she really admires her, because the comedian’s actions and words mirror each other to a great degree.
“[Chelsea’s] so brazen about the truth and sometimes it’s uncomfortable - for other people that we might be dining with,” Gwyn said, both women laughing. “For me, I find it incredibly inspiring. I was raised to please and to be polite. I think what stems from that is I’m not saying who I really am. It’s taken me 40 years to get to the point to say, I’m not going to say that I want to go somewhere if I don’t want to go somewhere and I’m not going to say what you just said is acceptable if it’s not. It’s still hard for me, but sitting with you and the level of bravery and integrity that you display all the time is really astonishing. It’s also not the way that young girls, at least in our generation, were raised. It’s like, no, you didn’t really think that, behave, be quiet, sit there."
I think there is some truth to what Gwyneth says there. As women, we are often raised to be super courteous, to put others first, to keep our voices down. I like to go so far as to think that it’s the "curse” of being a girl. Now, not everyone is like that, for sure. For one, Chelsea Handler is, of course, outspoken and appears to be true to herself. My sister, unlike me, speaks her mind and does exactly what she wants to do.
What Gwyn says—about it taking her 40 years to realize it’s ok for her to say how she really feels—is a testament to the way she talks now. Maybe she has no filter - I’m not applauding that. I’m applauding the fact that she speaks her mind and follows her heart and does what she thinks is right - regardless of what other people say. Because you know when you’re a celebrity and you’re Gwyneth Paltrow, everyone has something to say.
I think we all have a “Gwyneth” in our lives (and maybe even buried deep down in ourselves). Someone who is a little preposterous, hard to like at times, but is ultimately good-hearted. Being at peace and not judging a women like that is the best thing we can do.
Maybe if we had her money and “status,” we would have done something different. But she’s doing what she feels gives her a voice and a purpose, with Goop and with her beliefs on health and divorce. And for Pete’s sake, she’s not actually hurting anyone.
Next time she says something irritating - because we all know it will happen - I’m going to hesitate before judging her. She’s a person too - trying to make sense of this crazy life and searching for some dignity along the way. I say we let her be.
Here are my top 7 favorite silly, crazy Gwynnie quotes:
★ “I am who I am. I can’t pretend to be somebody who makes $25,000 a year.” -Elle UK, 2009
★ "I love the English way, which is not as capitalistic as it is in America. People don’t talk about work and money; they talk about interesting things at dinner parties.“ -The Guardian, 2006
★ "I’d rather smoke crack than eat cheese from a can.” -promoting her second cookbook at the iTunes Festival in 2011. (Note: I’ve seen this quote referring to her saying “tin” instead of “can” - which I never understood - but now I get that she’s talking about products like Kraft’s “Easy Cheese,” which even in a zombie apocalypse, I think I’d avoid too. ::shudder::)
★ "I don’t hold on to fear as much as I used to, because I’ve learned a lot about genuinely not caring what strangers think of me. It’s very liberating. It’s very empowering and I’ve learned a lot of that from Jay - Shawn Carter - Z, because his approach to life is very internal. It’s a very good lesson to learn.“ -Harper’s Bazaar, April 2013
★ "I don’t really have drunk friends. My friends are kind of adult; they have a drink. But they hold their liquor. I think it’s incredibly embarrassing when people are drunk. It just looks so ridiculous. I find it very degrading.” -The Guardian, 2006
★ "Do you want me to be honest? [The Met Gala] sucked. It seems like it’s the best thing in the world, you always think, 'Oh my god, it’s gonna be so glamorous and amazing and you’re going to see all these people,’ and then you get there and it’s so hot and it’s so crowded and everyone’s pushing you.“ -Kyle and Jackie Show, May 2013
★ "There was a day the other week where I just started crying and I quit. I was like: 'I just can’t do it, I hate it.’” - Marie Claire UK, about her five-days-a-week fitness routine with her trainer Tracy Anderson.
Is it horrible that I kinda agree and understand where she’s coming from in the above? Hope this all—if nothing else—makes you laugh!
xoxo, H ♡