The Case of Gwyneth Paltrow

Recently, Entertainment Weekly film critic, Owen Gleiberman, wrote an op-ed titled, “Gwyneth Paltrow: Why do so many people hate on her?” in which he defends the polarizing movie star. He writes:

Why the hate? Why do so many entertainment junkies seem to feel that Gwyneth Paltrow, one of our finest actresses, is somehow an imposition, a girl on a pedestal who needs to be knocked down?

I think it has something to do with how celebrity itself got tawdrier and more exposed — dunked into the tabloid muck — around the time that Paltrow was becoming a movie star. In another era, the fact that she’d had a privileged upbringing would hardly have been a strike against her; that Blythe Danner was her mother would have made her seem like acting royalty.

Gleiberman goes on to pinpoint the blame on jealous rivalry. Fans resent Gwyneth Paltrow for being brought up in a cushy environment and thus, have their guns blazing for her at all times. While there’s definitely a grain of truth in what he’s saying, I think people’s disdain for Paltrow has more to do with the fact that she comes off as an aloof nightmare. Back in October, I wrote my own op-ed about Gwyneth Paltrow in which I criticized her for being so blissfully out-of-touch.

Since we’ve entered the ’00s, Paltrow has changed a bit for the worse. She married the dopey dude from Coldplay, had two children and gifted them with the ultimate “I Have Celebrity Parents” names, and started a lifestyle newsletter called, GOOP, in which she doles out WASPy advice that is inapplicable to anyone not earning a six-figure salary. In a RECENT article, Paltrow provides a guide to the city of San Francisco, recommending hotels such as The Four Seasons and The Clift. Regarding The Four Seasons, Paltrow says, “Although I find that the Four Seasons can be hit and miss, this elegant and airy space right in the middle of downtown San Francisco is ideally located for walking around the heart of the city.”

Unlike some naysayers, I don’t hold Gwyneth’s wealthy upbringing against her. On the contrary, I love it! Growing up rich is super fun and not usually an issue if you have a good head on your shoulders. It’s unfortunate that some people actually get upset over things like that. After all, someone doesn’t choose to be born rich as much as someone doesn’t choose to be born poor. The key though is to have a certain level of self-awareness about your privilege and to acknowledge that opulent lifestyles may be fun, but they’re also ridiculous and inconceivable to most people. Ever since Paltrow started Gooping all over the internet, it’s been made pretty obvious that she doesn’t have much self-awareness or even a sense of humor about herself. Not acknowledging the absurdity in suggesting The Four Seasons as if it’s a Best Western is a prime example of why so many people hate her.

At the same time, Paltrow suggesting a hotel she wouldn’t personally stay in would be disingenuous and offensive. The only thing that’s more insulting than a haughty rich person is someone with money pretending to be poor out of guilt. To strike a balance with her fans, Gwyneth needs to own her privilege while still understanding that the rest of the world doesn’t live like she does. As of right now, I don’t think she’s gotten that memo and until she does, people will continue to roll their eyes at the very mention of her name and check Goop for their daily LOL. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

image: Two Lovers

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