Last Wednesday I got an email from Gwyneth. Not Gwyneth Paltrow, just Gwyneth. My first thought was that the actress-turned-businesswoman is cute as a fox because no matter how cynical you get that email and see through the fake intimacy, it still feels intimate. Although as part of the celebrations for Gwyneth’s 50th birthday it went to women all over the world.
I’ve been getting emails from their website goop, their “modern lifestyle brand” for many years, have subscribed voluntarily and have never had a desire to unsubscribe. I bought a pair of sandals that she once recommended. I’ve printed off some of her online recipes, put them in a binder and some are the usual family favourites.
She’s not just about candles that smell like her vagina, vibrators, and woo-woo health advice. There’s a lot to admire about Gwyneth, not least how she’s turned women who wanted to be like her into a multi-million dollar business without feeling like that was going to happen. But lately I’ve often felt like I’m being manipulated a bit too much.
Wednesday’s email was part of a week of writing from Goop marking and celebrating its 50th birthday, which took place last Tuesday.
Or maybe let’s say didn’t fell. Maybe fell is a bit negative. The key message of all Gwyneth turns 50 messages is that there is nothing negative about turning 50. Nothing.
For this reason, Gywneth was brave enough to have her photo taken nude without a smear of gold paint and put it online for the world to see. I say brave because it’s all framed so nicely. She’s not doing it to make anyone think, “God, I wish my 50-year-old body looked like this after two kids.” God forbid. That’s a wrong thought, as is any fleeting thought that with money for trainers and chefs and staff in general, of course it can look like this. Gwyneth’s nudity is meant to say, if she can do it, so can you.
Or maybe you can do it too if you buy the stuff.
That’s the cynical view. The alternative is to embrace the sense of empowerment that Gwyneth clearly feels and her desire to spread the word that self-love comes with age and that she is fitter, happier, and more confident than she was when she was young.
That’s good news, of course, but basically Goop is a business and Gwyneth is a businesswoman. It’s great that she’s happy enough to go nude at 50 and call herself a vastly enhanced version of her younger self, but I’m not convinced that this necessarily makes women of the same age feel empowered be.
Instead, like the fake orgasm scene in Harry and Sally, other women are more likely to think they’ll have what she has. And luckily everything Gwyneth has is for sale on goop.
To date, goop has given birth to its own clean skincare routine, a clothesline — she told us last week from a realization that “charging $6,000 for a blazer was astronomical” — the candles that smell of body acceptance, and more recently hers too Selection of vibrators.
I have no doubts about Gwyneth’s desire to spread the message of self-love, but I increasingly feel like I’m being played.
For example, every bright and shiny person featured on their site uses a lot of Goop skincare and often wears the clothes as well, which gives the site an advertorial quality, and as much as I’m a beauty product sucker, I do not like making you feel like a full-grown idiot.
I came to Gwyneth’s 50th with a sour eye as I also turned 50 this year. Of course, 50 is all around me as my age group is reaching the same age — and turning 50 is a pretty big deal right now. A milestone that once marked the point where everything went wrong is now heralded as a new beginning.
Menopause, finally out of the shadows, is the life stage of the moment. I’ve found that heightened awareness on the verge of being competitive is at least perimenopausal, and if you’re not seeing yourself embrace your hormonal changes and living your best hot flash life, then something really is wrong with you.
When Gwyneth turned 50 last week, I was excited to see how she would play it. God knows if anyone thought carefully about it, she did.
There was an “essay” about how she grew. There was a timeline of photos and words, culminating in how she first knew true intimacy in her second marriage to Brad Falchuk, with mention of her first, to Chris Martin, simply noting that she married him three weeks after her father’s death, which somehow relegated him to the status of a mourning crutch. And then there was the nude golden photo. This is what 50 looks like, they said.
Or should look like. Or could look like this. But is that only true if you’re buying everything – the message, the clothes, the candles, the supplements, the skin care and maybe even the vibrators?
Gwyneth’s millions bear witness to the argument that even if we go broke, many of us are willing to see if this works
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/buy-gwyneth-paltrows-candles-clothes-and-creams-and-youll-look-like-a-golden-goddess-at-50-too-42032777.html Shop for Gwyneth Paltrow candles, clothes and creams and you’ll still look like a golden goddess at 50