Was Gwyneth Paltrow right to call a reporter’s question misogynistic?

06.05.15 3 years ago

Gwyneth Paltrow is an actress who runs a business called Goop, and she didn't take too kindly to a TIME reporter's question about whether she checks out the wares of other business-running actresses like Jessica Alba, Reese Witherspoon, and Blake Lively.

In the Q&A, TIME asked Paltrow, “There are several sites started by successful actresses. Do you look at these sites?”

As excerpted by JustJared, Paltrow's response read as follows: 

“This is a very interesting question, because I wonder if George Clooney would be asked about Puff Daddy’s ancillary liquor line,” she said. “I”m fascinated how the media in particular are so confounded by entrepreneurial women doing something outside of their box.”

“Jessica, especially, who”s a friend of mine-our businesses could not be more different. There”s not a lifestyle piece to her business. The fundamentals of our sites are very different. Reese launched-our businesses have similarities, but hers has retail,” Gwyneth added. “People are grasping at straws to tie us together and I get it, because it makes a good story, but I”m slightly offended by this sort of generalization that happens with myself and Jessica and Reese and Blake. Yes, there are similarities. But there aren”t stories in TIME written saying, “Wow, look at Arnold Schwarzenegger, who did x, y, and z!”

“I feel there”s something slightly misogynistic about it,” she continued.

“This is a common theme. I think Reese and Jessica and I-I don”t know Blake Lively, and I don”t know if Jessica and Reese know each other-I”m friends with both of them and I speak to both of them and I want to do everything I can to support their businesses. I”m not articulating it well, because I haven”t completely worked out what it is, but I feel very proud when Jessica was on the cover of Forbes. I think that's amazing. You can quantitatively say, 'Look what she”s done, she”s been able to conceive of a business and scale it to that size, in that amount of time.” But we have such different businesses.”

This actually points to why Gwyneth Paltrow is (secretly?) one of our most valuable celebrities: Whether or not you agree with her, she isn't compulsively diplomatic in an age where seemingly every actor and actress gives hundreds of interviews without ever sounding curt or self-serious. She is opinionated and lets reporters and fans know, and though she is often criticized, she obviously doesn't mind inviting criticism either. She is a self-possessed celebrity who isn't relying on a semblance of adorkable self-deprecation to seem unthreatening. The uncomfortable thing about Paltrow is that — even in her Goop-centric world where phrases like “conscious uncoupling” are completely normal — she's actually sincere. I'm not sure if TIME's question counts as misogynistic, but I think it's rad, enlightening, and kind of a relief to hear Paltrow explain why she thought it was. 

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