No it wasn’t enough that she – in her all-knowing perfection – has the power to cure hangovers, is hip to all the coolest places to visit in all major cities, looks hotter naked at 40 than you did at 20, and knows exactly which shoes to pair with a Stella McCartney jersey tank dress (Gwyneth: “What, you don’t have one? Why, it’s only $2,200!”). Oh no, not even close to enough. Now she’s got the whole Being-A-Wife-And-Mom thing all figured out (remember her advice for working moms? CLASSIC!), and wouldn’t you know it, it involves women putting themselves second to their husband’s career and needs. OF COURSE IT DOES! That’s what perfect wives do, ladies!
In the Harper’s Bazaar interview “The Real Gwyneth,” Paltrow goes on record supporting a very traditional role as wife and mother, putting her husband’s career before hers:
“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.”
On the one hand, the quote isn’t terribly shock-inducing – are we REALLY HORRIBLY SUPRISED that Gwyenth Paltrow isn’t a staunch feminist, considering her career and interests (and let’s be real: when you talk about having a nanny AND a driver AND a chef, it’s pretty easy to talk about putting family first, isn’t it? When all that really involves is taking baths with the kids (for fun!) and going on extravagant trips with them to watch Daddy play arenas)? But on the other hand, when put in the larger historical context of know-it-all Gwyenthisms (see links above), it’s fairly eye roll-inducing. Really Gwyneth, do I HAVE TO “be a wife” and put him first, like you told your friend she had to if she wanted a family? What about actual compromise, in which BOTH PEOPLE IN THE COUPLE equitably share the burden of a their life together, and make equal sacrifices regarding their careers and everything else? No? That doesn’t work? Iiiiinteresting.
What do you think, ladies? Is Gwyneth onto something here, or completely and absurdly out of touch and over-privileged?
Read more from Tracey Gaughran-Perez at her personal blog Sweetney.com