On “Conscious Uncoupling”
Well, “conscious uncoupling” was certainly the catchphrase of the week.
As expected, even the way Gwyneth Paltrow decided to announce the break up of her marriage was dissected and over-analyzed and people quickly divided into their respective “love her” or “hate her” camps. I don’t know. Maybe I am just too sensitive, but the energy that people put into hating public figures, the lengths they go to to share their negative opinions, the cruel words that people put out there so easily to mock another person and to attack their lifestyle choices…
It’s all puzzling to me.
As I’ve said before, of course not everyone is going to like Gwyneth Paltrow. Or any other public figure, for that matter. Clearly she is polarizing and her likes, dislikes and opinions may not mesh with yours. That’s all fine. But do we need to jump so quickly on the hate bandwagon as a result?
There are plenty of public (and private, for that matter) figures I don’t respect or relate to, but I’d rather use my voice to support the ones I do admire rather than spend my energy putting down the ones I don’t. Especially women. Especially women whose families are going through a major transition such as this one.
This piece in the New York Post probably disappointed me the most: “A Working Mom’s Open Letter to Gwyneth Paltrow.” Going after her from a mother’s perspective? Ridiculing every comment she has ever made about parenting, the work/life balance, how she makes her money? Why? What relevance could that possibly have to this story? And I am willing to bet the writer is also an intelligent woman who denounces the “mommy wars” every chance she gets…ironic.
Here’s the thing: why did they choose to announce their break up in Goop? Because that way, they would have some control over the messaging of the announcement instead of letting an outside media source do it based on a canned, impersonal statement from a publicist. Because then everyone would have called her canned and impersonal… Why announce it at all? Because if they didn’t, someone else eventually would have. And they wouldn’t have been able to fly their kids to the Bahamas immediately to avoid the aftermath. Or maybe one (or both) of them actually want to move on with their lives and couldn’t do that without a proper, public announcement. Why announce it as a “conscious uncoupling”? Who knows. For the same reason she likes cupping. It’s a personal choice of words that reflects them and their relationship and their break up. If people don’t like it, they should stop reading about it. And certainly stop talking about it.
Sensitive, I told you.
And not just because this is a Gwyneth Paltrow story. Because this is a story about public shaming and ridicule, a story about women rallying against their fellow woman, and a story about a family that is breaking up after 10+ years…a reality that can’t be easy, even for those living a surreal life.
I read a lot of stories on this topic this week – some from the “love her” camp, most from the “hate her” camp. A lot of it, from my perspective, rooted in not much more than negativity, hatred, jealousy and pettiness. Signs of our society that make me sad. That should make all of us a little sad.
Yes, clearly I may be biased.
But I am also a wife, married for almost ten years. And a mother to two. And a woman.
And I am very conscious of what all of that means.
*image above via Goop’s Instagram