What is the Powder Room?

Why does Gwyneth Paltrow make me sympathize with internet haters?

With almost any celebrity, I could sympathize with the pain of hearing cruel things said by anonymous internet posters. But it's just different with Gwyneth. All bets are off. Maybe it's her pretentiousness, her entitlement and her utter cluelessness about how rarified her world is. Maybe the essence of Goop is anathema to me. It's just so.....GOOPY.

I can't quite justify my response but when I heard this quote (reported by the Detroit Free Press from a speech that she recently gave to the Code Conference), I just reflexively rolled my eyes:

"You come across (online comments) about yourself and about your friends, and it's a very dehumanizing thing. It's almost like how, in war, you go through this bloody, dehumanizing thing, and then something is defined out of it. My hope is, as we get out of it, we'll reach the next level of conscience."


In so many ways, I find myself agreeing with what she said. The internet can be cruel and dehumanizing, especially to women as we age, as we fall out of love, as we try to succeed and as we inevitably don't live up to expectations. I am not sure it is exactly like war, but the pain is real and powerful. It can feel like remaining a confident woman is an impossible task when confronted by a critical world. So, Kudos to Gwyneth. You have managed to convince even a dedicated long-time hater like me to have a moment of ambivalence and empathy with your honest account of your experience.

But it is only ambivalence. Don't confuse it with love or even a grudging respect. I mean, maybe it's not okay to snark about some things but come on, girl. You got to admit that you say some things that are really ridiculous. The internet does occasionally successfully spot a jerk. And even as I try to justify my continued mockery of her, I know it reflects on me and my hateful little heart. And yes, I can understand the need to troll her. She brings out my basest impulses. I just can't help it.

I will never stop snarking against you, even as I acknowledge your humanity. I may aspire to rise to the next level of consciousness but I still think that time you referred to Billy Joel as "Katie Lee Joel's husband, William" deserves mockery. All the mockery. Or what about your statement that you'd rather "smoke crack than eat cheese from a tin?" What is up with that shit? Unless you are just saying that you really like crack, I guess and then I suppose it makes sense.

And yes, if this makes me a jerk or a hypocrite, I shall accept that label. There is just something about certain celebrities that makes me sympathize with internet haters.


image from Salon.com

Eta: Yes, I did change the title from internet trolls to haters. There is a difference.

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