In Defense of...Gwyneth Paltrow

In Defense of...Gwyneth Paltrow

I, too, used to be a Gwyneth Paltrow hater.

It was back in college, around senior year, 2000-2001. I was big into reading E! Online at the time, reading Ted Casablanca and whatnot. Gwyneth always seemed so snobby, so perfect, so being shoved down our throats (and at that point, it wasn’t even her doing the shoving).

I think I started to like her after she did Shallow Hal and Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums. She was great in those movies, and her inclusion in them proved that maybe she actually did have a sense of humor about herself.

I really started to like her after she began dating Chris Martin. I don’t know. Maybe it was like I had figured her out. She was this sad woman after her dad died, and then she met this rock star, whom she had had a crush on, who was going to save her life. It all struck me as very romantic and, like, good for her. She was broken and he “fixed” her.

I pay way too much attention to gossip and gossip blogs and whatnot, so you’d think that I’d be the president of the We Hate Gwyenth  Club, but it’s not like that at all. I actually really like her. Here’s why.

1. She’s honest. Whether or not you like what she says, when Gwyneth speaks or blogs, she tells the truth, at least for her. That’s really refreshing. So many celebrities spew so much bullshit, it’s nice to see someone who means what she says, even if she says shit people don’t like to hear. Folks got very bent out of shape about her comments regarding women who work 9-5 jobs and being an actress, and thus having a much more volatile schedule. She was not wrong. Sure, she has nannies and assistants and whoever to help her, but she also seems like a fairly hands on mother (at least that’s what she’d like us to believe). Either way, take the rich actress context out of what she said: People with 9-5 jobs have more regimented schedules than people with jobs that have less predictable hours. Maybe people didn’t like the way she said it or think she’s not entitled to this opinion because of her privilege, but it’s not rocket science. (Also, would people be as up in arms if it were a CEO or film producer saying the same thing, or it is just because it’s Gwyneth?)

2. She lives where she lives. I know people think she’s pretentious and, yeah, sure she is. Her godfather is Steven Spielberg. She grew up with a silver spoon in her mouth. Of course she likes fancy resorts and special kale grown by monks in the Swiss Alps. Would you rather she pretend to shop at Wal-Mart? A big part of the reason we’re so obsessed with her (and, yeah, even the haters — especially the haters — are obsessed with her) is because she is unapologetically willing and eager to show us how the other half lives. And she wants us to rise to her level. She’s challenging us.

3. She’s curious. I have both of her cookbooks. In each, there is a lovely forward detailing the reasoning behind formulating the recipes. She does not pretend to have all the answers, but she’s constantly looking for them and constantly revising her POV. I can respect that.

4. She works hard. People have have been making fun of “conscious uncoupling” all week, which, sure, but I have no doubt that she and Chris Martin tried hard to make their marriage last. Knowing what we know about Gwyneth, I’m sure the failure of her marriage was the last thing she wanted. I find it refreshing that she admits that marriage is difficult and takes a lot of effort and that sometimes it doesn’t work out. Of course her marriage doesn’t work out better than your marriage doesn’t work out, but that’s just the beauty of Gwyneth.

5. She seems like fun. If you actually read or watch her interviews instead of just experiencing them in little soundbites on the news or in a random blog post, she has a very dry sense of humor. I think it doesn’t always translate well to print, which is where she gets herself in trouble. I hope she doesn’t try to rectify this. Never change, Gwyneth.

OK, you. Change my mind. Make me hate Gwyneth.

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