Why do people hate Gwyneth Paltrow?
Once upon a time, I was doing a movie podcast and I mentioned Gwyneth Paltrow and how I loved her. My co-host at the time spluttered with disgust and said, “Ugh I thought you were INTELLIGENT!” It threw me for a moment before I laughed it off and continued to chat about the movie.
I was a little stung by it though, it was a weirdly extreme reaction to something I considered a harmless opinion on an actress. Why do I like Gwyneth? I like her movies, I like her cookbooks, I like her lifestyle brand, and I like her style. I love that she is passionate and is so measured when she discusses her life, she never apologises for things she has been dragged for and she embraces who she is flaws and all. It did get me thinking though, why are people so offended by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow? Is it because she makes money from a lifestyle brand that is a little intense and quirky? I get it, she isn’t for everyone. But why is she hated? Does Gwyneth throw her cookbooks onto your kitchen counter and slap you when you eat carbs?
I started thinking about other women who are openly disliked and why:
Anne Hathaway tried too hard and was ‘unbearable’ during her Oscars campaign.
Megan Fox said ‘hey I don’t want to only be sexualised in movies’ and was slut-shamed.
Taylor Swift became famous for writing songs about her beaus but didn’t clarify which party she was going to vote for in the 2016 elections. She was ‘too much’ yet not enough at the same time. She constantly talks of empowering women but is considered the ‘wrong’ type of feminist.
Katherine Heigl gave her writers an ultimatum: better storylines or a role elsewhere and was blacklisted as ‘problematic’ and a ‘diva’.
Brad Pitt (allegedly) cheated on Jen Aniston with Angelina Jolie. Was Pitt despised, blacklisted, shamed on late night monologues? No, it was Ange’s name that has been dragged through the mud for the last 15 years. A common tag line associated with Ange is “man-eater”
More recently, Jordyn Woods was called every name under the sun when it came to light that she was implicated in a cheating scandal, this is potentially something that will define her for the rest of her life. Tristan will probably continue to play basketball… and that’s it. Thankfully, after a couple of days after this scandal broke, people seemed quick to forgive her BUT the initial knee jerk reaction was to completely shame this 21-year-old.
Good grief, I could truly go on and on and on. And these are just the names off the top of my head, I could probably write a longer and more detailed (possibly accurate) list if I researched it a little more. But you know what? I don’t want to because hating on people is exhausting! The consensus seems to be: women are punished forever for not conforming to society’s ever-changing standards.
I am definitely oversimplifying why particular celebrities are disliked and everyone is 100% entitled to dislike or like whomever they choose, but there are some pretty gnarly think pieces out in the world that deliberately pick a person apart for things that don’t really have much of an effect on any of our lives, right?
It’s the way we, as a society, speak about them, the way we try to discredit them, the ‘cancelled’ culture that is applied to someone who maybe did something terrible or maybe not that gets my Goopy senses tingling. I feel the need to stand up for my girl Gwyneth and tell the haters to back down a little bit.
I know what you’re thinking – something to the effect of, ‘Oh no, these poor beautiful, successful millionaires are being made fun of. Boo hoo!’ and puh-leeeease don’t assume I’m writing this today to lament, “Why can’t we all just get along fam?” My concern is this: if we hate these beautiful, successful strangers simply because they ill-advisedly suggested we all steam our vaginas, where does it end?
We idolise actors, actresses, singers, authors, comedians and talk show hosts, and I think it’s so damaging when we grow tired of someone and inevitably publicly pick them apart. I feel that by doing this, we could begin to put those extreme expectations on everyone, not just people we see on Instagram, but people we see in real life, like our friends, a stranger down the street… ourselves.
Women are told to be confident, be their own person, not to conform to someone else’s idea of who they should be, go after what they want, work hard, don’t take shit from anyone. But fuck… don’t do any of those things too much.
Be confident but not too confident because healthy self-esteem is grating to someone who may have low self-esteem. But the appearance of low self-esteem or general awkwardness also infuriates people. So figure out the safe middle ground (spoiler alert: there is none).
Take yourself seriously, but don’t like… put it out there that you want recognition for your work and accomplishments because it is very unbecoming.
We try to bolster each other up but at the same time bring another person down for seemingly similar reasons. How can we tell our girlfriends to be confident, to be brave, and to be unique but 30 seconds later degrade Miley Cyrus for doing the same thing?
We don’t have to adore and support every single woman we encounter, whether it be in real life or online, but we certainly don’t have to hate them so openly either. I won’t end this piece with a public plea to listen to the Goop podcast (but like… maybe you should because I personally find it very soothing) but rather a plea for civility. Love yourselves, love your sisters and in the wise words of everyone’s mum or grandmother: if you don’t have anything nice to say, best to say nothing at all.