About Gwyneth and Vanity Fair
I don’t write about Gwyneth Paltrow often (though you can read more on the inspiration behind this blog here) but a lot of people lately have been asking me what I think of this whole Vanity Fair situation and I thought I’d take a minute to share.
If you haven’t been following the story, Vanity Fair magazine is putting out a seemingly salacious exposé cover story on the actress (similar to ones they did on Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt) that she is not cooperating with. By not cooperating, it means she refuses to be interviewed, won’t comment, and apparently asked those closest to her to decline comment as well and to not work with the magazine moving forward.
Vanity Fair apparently doesn’t like to be told no so they have publicly stated they are moving forward with the feature and that she “forced their hand.” And the latest news is that it involves a story about her having an affair a few years back. Cue the headlines.
So what do I think? I am not writing this as the blogger behind WhatWouldGwynethDo. I am not writing this as someone who is a fan and who respects and admires her work, her causes and her public persona.
I am writing this as a Vanity Fair reader, a woman and a journalism graduate. And I think the whole thing is very sad.
This love/hate fascination with Paltrow has intrigued me from the first time I hit publish on this blog. She is so polarizing, especially to women, and I always find it amazing to see people devote so much hatred and energy to someone they have never met. I know that what we see and “know” of celebrities these days is a) merely a fraction of the true person they are and b) mostly none of our business. I love that people are insulted and angered by the aspirational lifestyle she promotes. If you don’t want to buy a $500 Rag & Bone sweater, then don’t. But maybe I do. Should I be insulted by the myriad of other celebrity brands and endorsements I don’t relate to? No, I choose to skip over them and move on. Should we really take offense to her wanting her children to eat healthy, organic diets? Or that she busts her butt to stay in shape post-babies? Or that she chooses to keep her marriage and private life….private? Should we really, in any way, shape or form, be directing so much hostility and anger to another woman who is really just trying to do what she can for her family, her career and her body?
You don’t have to like Paltrow. You can have your opinion and be entitled to it, of course. But for a national magazine to turn someone’s private life into a feature story based on third-party commentary and assumptions simply to generate headlines and sales, is a sad state for journalism. It’s a sad portrayal of their readers, many of whom have expressed glee at the mere thought of a Gwyneth takedown publicly. It’s another sad example of today’s backwards celebrity culture where we feel so entitled to want these public figures to fail, to fuck up and to be publicly shamed…so we can get a laugh or a witty Tweet out of it.
And I think it’s particularly sad for this woman and her family, her children and her mother, her husband. Her business associates and her friends.
So will I be reading the Vanity Fair article? Yes. I am not going to lie. I don’t subscribe, but my parents do and I often snag their copy (clearly Graydon Carter had no issues with Jay Z given his GLOWING feature on him this month). I am curious, like everyone else, to see what all the headlines are about. But I certainly have a new, tainted impression of Vanity Fair now. Of editor in chief Graydon Carter. Of the woman writing the piece, Vanessa Grigoriadis. I hope the story is weak. I hope it tells me nothing new and nothing I care to know and nothing I should know. I hope Paltrow continues to opt out of cooperating on things that make her uncomfortable or seem wrong. Because she has that right. Just as we have a right to love her or hate her, she has a right to keep her private life private and to protect her family. She has that right as a public figure yes, but more importantly, as a woman. And I think as fellow women – love her or hate her – we should support that right.
*image via here