Gwyneth Paltrow looking over her shoulder on the red carpet.

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Gwyneth Paltrow wearing red lipstick on the red carpet.
Gwyneth Paltrow in a transparent dress on the red carpet.

Why hating on Gwyneth Paltrow is a feminist issue

opinion

She just wants women to like her. Why won’t we like her?

 

Gwyneth Paltrow wearing red lipstick on the red carpet.

Poor Gwyneth Paltrow - she just can’t get us to like her. Everything that she says, ever, seems to be made fun of and derided as soon as she says it. She wants her kids to eat healthily? WHAT A SNOB. She’s got some nice suggestions for our summer wardrobe? COME ON GWYNETH WE’RE NOT ALL RICH. She thinks the internet is a ‘dangerous place for children’? SHUT UP GWYNNIE, A BIT OF PORN NEVER HURT ANY 7 YEAR OLD.

 

And in the latest unfortunate report into ‘let’s all hate Gwyneth’, the internet collectively laughed at her attempts to stop Vanity Fair – who’ve previously run soul-crushing, ego-tearing exposes on Tom Cruise and the production difficulties of Brad Pitt’s World War Z – running a similar reputation-crushing cover on her. “Vanity Fair is threatening to put me on the cover of their magazine,” she reportedly emailed her friends. "If you are asked for quotes or comments, please decline. Also, I recommend you all never do this magazine again." Which is basically what you’d say, only you’d probably swear more and confuse things with the odd mis-spelling (ugh, typing emails on iPads, amirite?). Only everyone laughed at Gwyneth again. One US magazine went as far to suggest her “dark secret” she was “desperate to hide” might be that she’s cheating on husband Chris Martin. Er, could it just be that she doesn’t want to sound like an insane famous person, just like Tom Cruise did after his Vanity Fair cover?

Gwyneth Paltrow in a transparent dress on the red carpet.
Er, could it just be that she doesn’t want to sound like an insane famous person, just like Tom Cruise did after his Vanity Fair cover?

And that’s the problem – Gwyneth seems to make totally logical people think they can say whatever they like and it’s fine. I’m not saying I haven’t made fun of Gwyneth myself – like when her GOOP lifestyle newsletter just went ahead and assumed I had a ‘wood-burning pizza oven’ in my garden (the only thing that comes close is when I accidentally left a wooden spoon on the stove), or when her recipe for mint tea took three steps to say ‘put mint leaf in boiling water’. But if any other celebrity was shouted down by the world, told to shut up and stop talking, there would be outrage. Remember when Adele got cut off at the BRIT Awards and we all talked about it for about three months? No woman should be silenced for daring to give an opinion. Unless it’s Gwyneth, talking about her actually quite logical belief that she’d rather “smoke crack than eat cheese from a can”, apparently. Canned cheese? That EXISTS? That's not OK. 

And here’s the icky part: it only seems to be women who don’t like Gwyneth.

And here’s the icky part: it only seems to be women who don’t like Gwyneth. When was the last time your boyfriend, brother or dad was all: “Ugh, I cannot STAND Gwyneth Paltrow!” Go on, ask the nearest man what he thinks of her. He’ll almost certainly say she stripped to a sports bra in Iron Man 3, which is a problem for another time (Robert Downey Jnr doesn’t have to strip, the film only just scrapes through the Bechdel Test). But no man will respond with “Eeew, she’s such a macrobiotic snob!”

 

The irony of the intense hatred some women seem to have of Gwyneth is that the actress herself is a bit of a feminist hero. She doesn’t conform to Hollywood body fascism (she recently told Ellen DeGeneres she ‘rocks a 70s vibe down there’), she’s endlessly supportive of other women – best friend Beyoncé, personal trainer-turned-business partner Tracey Anderson, new celeb mate Cameron Diaz – and is so honest and open about her struggles with post-natal depression. In The Conversation she talks about what was CLEARLY a terrible time in her life that she might prefer to keep private, because she doesn’t want other women to suffer in silence. “Can’t we just be on each other’s side?” she says.

 

Which is kind of a good point, right? Gwyneth might have once described herself as a “bad feminist” but she doesn’t seem like one at all. Really, all Gwyneth seems to have done is try and make herself better as a person and try to live her life in a healthy, happy way – and her crime seems to be talking about that. When you say she’s irritating, I hear ‘can women keep their opinions to themselves please?’. So please can we stop the women-on-women hate and just try to be nice? We’re still not forgiving her for the whole ‘Glee’ thing, but that’s a different story.

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