When I heard that People Magazine named Gwyneth Paltrow the world’s most beautiful woman for 2013, my first thought, like a lot of people, was, “Oooooh no.” Unlike most people, however, I didn’t react that way because I was outraged at her selection. I reacted that way because I knew she was going to get ripped a new one.
Spend a little time googling “Gwyneth Paltrow” and you will see that a lot of people hate her. A lot. On a scale of hated celebrities she ranks above Anne Hathaway but below OJ Simpson. Why do people hate her so much? Some common knocks on Gwyneth include her upscale lifestyle blog, Goop, her cookbook full of pricey recipes, and the fact she named one of her kids after a piece of fruit.
Personally, I like her. I’ve enjoyed a number of movies she’s been in and liked her performances on Glee. I do think she’s a bit hoity-toity and out of touch of with the lives of regular folks, but what celebrity isn’t? I mean, Lady Gaga wears dresses made out of meat.
Being named the world’s most beautiful women, though, opened Gwyneth up to a whole new level of criticism, and her detractors were quick to hop on their computers. The comment sections under the articles I read announcing her selection were packed with junior high-level disses: “She’s ugly!” “She a bitch!” “She’s old!” What these commenters most wanted to make clear, though, was that “OMG SHE ISN’T THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN IN THE WORLD!!!!”
My response to that is… settle down, people. Of course Gwyneth Paltrow isn’t the most beautiful woman in the world. Could dozens of more beautiful women be found on any college campus in America, as one youth obsessed commenter suggested? Probably. But Gwyneth is a beautiful woman, and I’ve got news for you. None of People Magazine’s past Most Beautiful Women in the World were actually the most beautiful woman in the world, nor were any of their Sexiest Men Alive the sexiest man alive (except maybe for Brad Pitt).
What Gwyneth happens to be – just as the previous selections were – is a beautiful woman who A) is a celebrity B) hasn’t been selected before, C) has a project coming out (in her case Iron Man 3) and D) will be a selection that sells a lot of copies. That latter is undoubtedly a big reason why People chose her. They knew her selection was a bold one and would get people talking.
For all the debate though, these “special” issues are pretty silly. I wish magazines would have their beauty issues without feeling the need to crown the fairest of them all, especially since beauty is so subjective anyway. And while these issues do recognize a few people for their inner beauty (which is great), their photos are always hidden away on the inside. Why not put one of them on the cover?
With all that said I’m okay with Gwyneth’s selection. It’s nice to see the beauty of a woman in her forties acknowledged. People very easily could have gone with a twenty-year-old model (which undoubtedly would have pleased the “on any college campus” commenter). More than anything, though, I wish people wouldn’t feel the need to rip apart celebrities so intensely. All this negativity creates an unhealthy culture of judgment and ridicule that trickles down to how we treat each other, and how our children treat each other. So congratulations, Gwyneth. Just, uh, don’t read the comments.
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