It’s Not Her, It’s You: Gwyneth (UPDATED)

Dean Posted by Dean at March 14, 2013 19:14:26 March 14, 2013 19:14:26

(Lainey: get ready. There will be multiple Gwyneth posts for you today, because your cuticles need trimming. Here's Dean's take first.)

There’s no denying that LaineyGossip is a pro-Gwyneth organization. It’s a Paltrow Safe Zone. We love her (BECAUSE she’s a dick most of the time). While acknowledging that bias though, I have still been, if not surprised, disturbed by all the sh-t that’s been thrown at GP in the past 24 hours. Her latest crime against the humanity? Gwyneth’s released a healthy cookbook.

Yesterday the New York Post published their review of It’s All Good, Gwynnie’s latest kitchen tome that’s all about her “elimination diet” (no coffee, eggs, meat, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, corn, wheat) and they really tore her to shreds like never before. They called it a cookbook by someone who hates food. They laughed at the book’s inspiration, which Gwyneth says was a combo panic attack/migraine. They compare her to anorexic college girls, writing…

“The book reads like the manifesto to some sort of creepy healthy-girl sorority with members who use beet juice rather than permanent marker to circle the “problem areas” on each other’s bodies.”

Obviously I understand that Gwyneth is an object of ridicule. I like to laugh at her too. What I don’t understand here, though, is what’s so offensive about trying to eat well? Yes, this diet seems extreme. Yes, there’s a sanctimonious element. Yes, it’s annoying to get unsolicited advice from rich and beautiful actresses. But that doesn’t mean GOOP’s got it wrong. The fact is the average Western person eats a lot of garbage and it would be nice to cut some of that garbage out while still preparing delicious food.

The Post also goes after her role as a mom. Gwyneth is criticized for photos “offering a rare glimpse of Paltrow’s family, and, it seems, an attempt to position herself as a sort of everywoman”. This is the moment that reveals Gwyneth just can’t win. If she acts too bougie, she’s a freak. If she tries to look normal, she’s a phoney. The opposite of Gwyn’s elitism is Rachel Ray’s middlebrow Yummers-culture, and don’t people hate her just as much?

I, for one, am happy to hear about what she does to try to raise healthy kids. I want to see what life looks like at the far end of the healthy spectrum, and expect nothing but the most extreme from Gwyneth. What does the New York Post want her to suggest? That after school she serves Apple and Moses a trio of Pizza Pops on a bed of Hamburger Helper?

Then there’s the whole anorexic thing, the argument that all of Gwyneth’s restrictions are just her way of gussying up an eating disorder. This is inaccurate; this is part of the irritatingly popular “eat a sandwich” attitude, and this is the position taken by someone who’s never actually witnessed anorexia. When you’re anorexic you don’t eat food, but you also don’t talk about food and you certainly would NEVER put the breaks on your Hollywood success to start a new career where you cook, talk and blog about food all damn day.

I’m not trying to say that everyone should buy or follow Gwyneth’s new book. I’m certainly not going to be giving up coffee any time soon. I just wish a conversation about eating well wasn’t always met with so much hostility. If you simply hate Gwyneth too much to take advice from her but you’re still interested in reading about healthy cooking, I strongly suggest the new book coming out from New York Time’s writer Mark Bittman called VB6 (Vegan Before 6:00). It uses some of the same basic principles, but they might be easier to swallow coming from someone who wasn’t the star of Shallow Hal.

UPDATE: Dean would like to add that his reading of Gwyneth Paltrow's habits are based on his own experience as a teenager with anorexia.

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