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Gwyneth Paltrow doesn’t understand history

Gwynnie’s at it again. More advice, from the woman who has it all together:

“I have little kids in school. I want to maintain my marriage and my family, so I have to be here when he comes home.” Hence her recent advice to a girlfriend (who remains tantalizingly unnamed): “She is an actress and in a new relationship with someone else with a big career, and I said this may not be feminist, but you have to compromise. It’s been all about you and you’re a big deal. And if you want what you’re saying you want—a family—you have to be a wife, and that is part of the equation. Gloria Steinem may string me up by my toes, but all I can do is my best, and I can do only what works for me and my family.”

A lot of people have opinions about her actual advice. I’m not one of them. I think whatever happens in her marriage is her business. But I’m damn angry about the way she completely misunderstands feminism and is so willing to reject it as trivial as if disparaging feminism makes her edgy or wise.

Why on earth would Gloria Steinem want to “string her up” for making a conscious choice? And why does Gwyneth say that as if she’s a rebellious child trying to act cool? The problem is that Gwyneth doesn’t seem to understand that the very fact that she’s allowed to be printed in the news disparaging feminism is because of the hard work feminists did to allow her to have a voice.

I am just so tired of these women who live lives made possible by feminism acting as if feminism is a bad word.

Here’s a history lesson, Ms. Paltrow:

150 years ago, you would not have been Gwyneth Paltrow. You would have been Mrs. Chris Martin. The only place your words would have been allowed in print were as submissions in your church cookbook. You wouldn’t have been able to vote, and no one would have cared what you thought unless it was another wife and mother about how to starch your husband’s collar. Putting your children to bed and being there when your husband got home would not have been a choice–you would have been there because that was your only option.

You have a choice.

And that’s what feminism is: Working so that women (people, really) are full participants and can CHOOSE how they spend their time and what they focus their energies toward.

Choosing to be home when your partner comes home is completely feminist. So is your partner being home when you come home. So is skyping each other because you’re both on the road. So is not having a partner.

My life, being able to work at a job that I enjoy that pays me well, being in grad school, being divorced, living by myself with my children, having a website that people read, is a direct result of the sacrifices feminists have been making for hundreds of years.

Your life is a result of their sacrifices, too.

If you are at work, and no one grabbed your ass today, thank a feminist.

If you are at home with your kids and you had some say in that, thank a feminist.

If you own property in your name–house, car, computer–thank a feminist.

If you watched Ellen or Kelly on TV this morning, thank a feminist.

If you intend to vote at the end of this miserable election cycle, thank a feminist.

If you are wearing pants, thank a feminist.

Gwyneth Paltrow, I am glad that you have chosen to be there for your husband. But don’t you dare insult Gloria Steinem or any of the other women who made that choice possible by denying feminism. It makes you look like a little girl.

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