Posted by: Stella Glass
While I know I’m a bit late to the party on this, I was inspired by the debate between the ladies over at Jezebel about “Gwyneth Paltrow: Is She Really so Bad?” Having been a long time disgustee of Gwyneth’s brand of self-satisfied entitlement, I was pleased to see that I was not alone. Since the launch of the stickily-named “GOOP”, her “lifestyle” newsletter , criticism of her snooty condescension has been rampant!
While it could be easy to write her off as just another harmlessly out of touch child of New York privilege, Gwynnie’s seemingly blithe indifference to the realities of life faced by 90% of the inhabitants of her city makes her smug elitism both offensive and irresponsible. You would think that a woman who smeared paint on her face, donned an “ethnic” neckpiece and stared beatifically out at the world just above the words I AM AFRICAN would be a little less shameless about her total and utter disregard for those of us who didn’t coast through life on our dad’s St.Elsewhere money, but you’d be wrong. Taken to task for the glib, lordly advice on GOOP, Gwyneth graciously replied “Fuck the haters…I am who I am. I can’t pretend to be somebody who makes $25,000 a year.” Perish the thought. But you could at least pretend to have some respect for the people who do.
Several years ago I read an interview with Gwyneth that stoked the fires of my raging dislike. Prior to that she was just some lady who was only in bad movies (I liked Sliding Doors) with shiny yellow hair and appeared to smell like insanely expensive night cream. This interview however, was intended to help me get to know the “real” Gwyneth, so a segment of the interview was devoted to talking about her “crazy schedule” and the whirlwind life that people who are married to Coldplay and have two children inevitably lead. When asked to describe a typical day, she rattled off a list of activities that sounded to me like a vacation schedule:
Wake up, breakfast with the family, a nice long yoga class, a little shopping, lunch with a friend, home with the kids again and then a restaurant dinner with her husband.
“Pretty glamorous, huh?,” she added smugly, attempting sarcasm. She was, ostensibly, deluded enough to believe that these activities were folksy and typical enough to convince people of her humanity. Actually, Gwyneth, that is pretty glamorous. Unless of course, I missed the part of the interview where you talked about waking up at 6 am, showering, getting the kids fed, dressed and packed up for the public school you drive them to on the way to your thankless 9-5 job.
Perhaps Gwynnie would be surprised to learn that most of the great unwashed masses she cannot be bothered to relate to could really give a shit about dining on quail in the English countryside with Madonna, schussing down the slopes in Gstaad next to Ethan Hawke or sunning themselves on the deck of Jay-Z’s yacht. “My life is good because I’m not passive about it” Gwyneth writes on GOOPs home page. No, sweet pea. Your life is good because your dad’s rich. And now you’re rich. And your kid’s lives will be good not because they are good people, or smart people, or hard working people but because their parents are rich. And this is where Gwyneth Paltrow ceases to be a real person. Not getting that for most people a day of yoga, unstructured time with one’s children and a dinner out with the spouse is an enormous luxury. This is why people don’t like you Gwyneth. In this period of struggle, while our economy collapses, jobs disappear and our country attempts to take the action required for the larger world to see us as a tolerant, compassionate and respectful nation it’s a little gross to sneer at the less fortunate and wash your hands of any responsibility for examining your words and actions. By characterizing anyone who objects to her newsletter’s treacly advice as miserable plebeians who deserve only her pity, Gwyneth outs herself as a spoiled milquetoast-bohemian princess woefully out-of touch with reality.
Perhaps instead of claiming affinity with Africa, Gwyneth would benefit from learning a little bit about the struggling families in her own city who do make $25,000 a year. Given her character, it’s unlikely that seeing the way real people take a “non-passive” approach to their survival would have any affect on her, but maybe it would give her pause next time she’s tempted to run her mouth against the very people who’s ticket purchases and magazine subscriptions have financed the life she is so very proud of.
Of course none of these transgressions are criminal–we’re talking about a has-been actress after all, not a dictator or policymaker. However, with GOOP and it’s ridiculous “insights” into child rearing, cooking, decorating and dining, Gwyneth Paltrow could pretty much be the poster girl for the kind of pre-recession excess and willful cultural ignorance that we should all be kind of ashamed of.
PLUS, on the most superficial level of all, doesn’t she seem like she would be the worst lay? Picture it!
“Ow….OW….that’s my hair. Stop. No, stop. It’s so hot, ugh, I’m really hot. STOP, God…no, It’s really hot and you’re on my hair, and you know what? Just, forget it. Seriously. No. I’m serious. Get off me, please.”
Cold play indeed.