For the record I do not know Gwyneth Paltrow. As a matter of fact, I know very little about her; but in the past few days I’ve become somewhat fascinated with how much a portion of the population seems to enjoy bashing her. This past weekend when opening up the newsfeed on my Facebook page, I came across a recent article about Ms. Paltrow. The piece, posted by someone I didn’t know, appeared on my newsfeed because it was posted on one of my Facebook Friend’s page. The post referenced a comment made by Ms. Paltrow. “Gwyneth Paltrow said in People Magazine, “I’m incredibly close to the common woman, in that I’m a woman and I’m a mother, and we are all in a physical body with beating hearts, with compassion and love.” The post continues….”please decipher for the common woman and common mother.” Since reading this post on Saturday morning, this quote from Ms. Paltrow has made more rounds on the internet…thousands and thousands actually. The comments being said about her, based on that one reference are in the millions at this point. Millions. And none of them are nice. Here’s a small sampling: “Ms. Paltrow is like a common woman only if a common woman is full of shit.” “Bruce Jenner is more of a common woman.” “She needs to march her organic eating, gloop writing ass onto her spaceship and go back to her planet.” “What a f’ing MORON!” As the founder of a girls empowerment program and the mother to two children, these words disturb me…not just a little bit, but a lot. I decided to dig a little deeper. I found the original piece featuring Ms. Paltrow and was not surprised to see that she was set up by the interviewer to respond with the word “common” as part of her response. The interviewer uses the expression “common woman” in her question: “So do you think you are anything remotely close to the common woman now?” Her response when taken out of context, as was done here by People Magazine and even CNN the originator of the interview, intentionally takes us to our worst common denominator…to the negative and mean comments being said about her. As someone who works with young girls…I try to teach that so much of what we see and read on the web is pulled out of context in order to generate this kind of vitriolic debate and in the end…dollars for the publications . Here is a link to the original interview. http://money.cnn.com/video/luxury/2015/03/17/gwyneth-paltrow-goop-im-close-to-the-common-woman.cnnmoney/ As a flip to the story, watch what happens when I pull Ms. Paltrow’s comments out of context, like this, instead: “…I’m a woman and I’m a mother and we are all in a physical body with beating hearts with compassion and love. We are all seekers. We all want fulfillment. We all want to live our best lives. We want to be healthy and happy and squeeze the most we can out of life. I think that’s all women.” Totally different perspective, right? Whatever the case, I see Celebrity Bashing as no different than bullying. It’s mean. It’s hurtful. It’s painful. It’s unproductive. And to put it as simply as I possibly can. It makes me mad and even more so, sad. And yet the part that REALLY gets to me and is THE bigger challenge I find in having this dialogue is best articulated by my friend Omar Sharif. “This sort of bashing is not really the problem. It’s a symptom of a much deeper self-loathing.” And boy do I get it. I get it totally. I’ve been there, done that and still find myself there every once in a while. And so for me the even harder question is how can I somehow express compassion for those who bash…because after all…it’s the lack of it that led to the bashing in the first place.
My guess is…somewhere along the line the bashing and bullying started because someone bashed and bullied them. And this is the point in all of this where my frustration levels go crazy. How do we stop this endless insane way of engaging with the world around us?
It’s not easy. It’s kind of like looking in the mirror using a mirror. The anger begets more anger and so the image continues.
So, I guess I just gotta keep doing what I’m doing. Asking the hard questions, trying my darnedest to be kind to the people around me and adding some compassion to the answer…including a toss of it in your direction.