Long story short, I think Gwyneth scared the crap out of Graydon Carter, editor of Vanity Fair. I’d read that Gwyneth sent a mass email to her network, forbidding them to talk to VF, who she’d heard was trying to dig up dirt to expose her in some way. Now this was sort of delicious scoop. Who doesn’t enjoy a little gossip, and who doesn’t enjoy a little gossip on someone as perfect as Gwyneth? I haven’t looked forward to reading Vanity Fair so much since before Dominick Dunne passed away.
At Penn Station, I spied the Gwyneth headline on the Hollywood Issue of Vanity Fair and scooped it up to savor on the Acela. To my dismay, the Gwyneth “story” was just an editor’s letter from Graydon Carter, explaining how the story came to be, and how it was eventually squashed. I stand by my statement that Graydon is afraid of Gwyneth’s wrath, and aside from being unpleasantly surprised that the magazine didn’t have a lengthy feature on Gwyneth’s dirty secrets, I was unpleasantly surprised that Graydon made me feel bad for wanting to read the dirt in the first place.
According to Carter, at an editor’s meeting: “Half the female staff admired her for creating a healthy family amid the maelstrom of modern-day celebrity- and with a handsome rock star husband, no less. They thought she was a great actress who deserved the Academy Award she received for Shakespeare in Love. And they envied her abs, her legs and the fact that she had built a business of being a lifestyle guru. The other half seemed to dislike her for pretty much the same reasons. Some had kind words for Goop, her Web site. Others criticized it both for its privileged Just get your butler to whip up a batch! tone and for what its perceived as a blatant, My life is better than yours thrust.”
I subscribe to Goop, and I love it and hate it at the same time. Yes, I am jealous of Gwyneth. I wish I had the money and time to edit and produce blog of such quality. I am jealous of Gwyneth’s willpower to eat clean and work out twice a day (with a trainer who comes to her house). I am jealous of Gwyneth’s hair and how she looks in clothes.
I am annoyed by Gwyneth’s seemingly holier-than-thou approach to clean eating, going gluten free, etc. But she’s no different from Oprah, with her megaphone-proclamations about dieting or some other fad, with the star power to amplify the maybe a little overzealous message. But I love Oprah, and she can do no wrong in my eyes. Of course no one is more judgmental and perfect than the original lifestyle guru, Martha Stewart, but I can laugh at Martha because Martha can sort of laugh at herself in her own, rigid way.
I think Gwyneth really gets under my skin because she is around my age, with kids around the age of my children.
Women always measure their own worth against other women: especially other moms. I hear myself and other women: “She works too much, she never sees her kids”/”She needs to get a life outside of volunteering at the elementary school”/”What does she do all day? She doesn’t volunteer at the school, she doesn’t work?!” and “She lets her kids play Call of Duty!”/ “She doesn’t allow the kids to watch TV at all!” Part of it is being too critical, part of it is being critical of ourselves.
As I recycled my Vanity Fair at the local library free magazine pile, I thought- women can’t win sometimes, even Gwyneth. Although she was stronger than Dick Cheney when it came to scaring Graydon Carter.