Let’s cut each other some slack {+ in defense of Gwyneth Paltrow}

She’s one of those celebs that people love to hate… but I refuse to be snarky about Gwyneth Paltrow. (I also refuse to refer to her as Gwynnie.) Its true that some of her product suggestions and often-mocked gift guides aren’t financially realistic for the average woman. But how is that so different from just about any magazine or blog on the market? Does anyone write bitchy articles about how outlandish it is for Elle magazine to feature a $445 espadrille? Or for Travel + Leisure to suggest a hotel where the cheapest room is $1,400 a night?? Gwyneth can recommend whatever damn pricey silk pj’s or fancy olive oil that she pleases. (And for the record, her 2013 gift guide has some pretty great ideas at many price points…)

She’s an accomplished actress, obviously, but also an extremely successful business owner, cookbook author and mom. But what inspired me to write this post was something she said in goop, in which she talked about ending the “mommy wars.” Earlier this year there was a lot of backlash over something she reportedly said in an interview, the gist of which was that “working moms have it easy compared to being an actress” which of course rubbed a lot of people the wrong way and spurred all sorts of snarky essays and blog posts, which got a ton of media play. Gwyneth responded in a recent goop issue, and I absolutely loved what she had to say:

“A few weeks ago during an interview, I was asked why I have only worked on one film a year since having children. My answer was this: Film work takes one away from home and requires 12-14 hours a day, making it difficult to be the one to make the kids their lunch, drive them to school, and put them to bed. So I have found it easier on my family life to make a film the exception, and my 9-5 job the rule. This somehow was taken to mean I had said a 9-5 job is easier, and a lot of heat was thrown my way, especially by other working mothers who somehow used my out-of-context quote as an opportunity to express feelings (perhaps projected) on the subject. As the mommy wars rage on, I am constantly perplexed and amazed by how little slack we cut each other as women….

 …. Why do we feel so entitled to opine, often so negatively, on the choices of other women? Perhaps because there is so much pressure to do it all, and do it all well all at the same time (impossible). ”

I don’t have kids yet, so this may seem like an odd thing for me to have such a strong opinion on. But I think this is part of a much larger issue that’s affecting ALL women – as Gwyneth puts it, “how little slack we cut each other as women.” There’s so much judgement on everything and anything that women do, not only as mothers (manifested in the ‘mommy wars’) but as women in general (she’s too skinny; she’s too fat; she should wear makeup; she’s wearing way too much makeup) and SO MUCH of it comes from other women! There’s something wrong with that. We need to build each other up, not go out of our way to tear each other apart.

Its a tough issue to change, because so much of this negativity and tendency to judge is deeply engrained in our culture. I’m certainly not perfect in this regard, but I have been making a conscious effort to be more uplifting to others and to avoid judgment – I find that overall I’m happier and calmer when I’m projecting kindness out to the world. Which brings me back to Gwyneth. Haters gonna hate, but I for one am a fan.


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