When Celebrities Make Controversial Statements: Gwyneth Paltrow Vs. Charlize Theron

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Charlize Theron Gwyneth Paltrow 5-31-14

While poring through this morning's celebrity news and whatnot, something struck me about the way Gwyneth Paltrow‘s comments on motherhood and Twitter trolls (i.e. comparing Twitter abuse to going through “war”) have been reported versus Charlize Theron‘s bold use of the word “rape” to describe how she feels when the media intrudes on her life.  I found myself wondering why I was so quick to roll my eyes and sigh at Gwyneth, but was open to listening to Charlize explain her personal truth.  After reading a scathing statement addressed to Gwyneth by a Green Beret yesterday, I came to a few conclusions. (One of them being I hope everyone excuses my split-screen Microsoft Paint job.)

First, though, are the two controversial quotes in question.
Gwyneth, on suffering Twitter abuse:

“It's almost like how, in war, you go through this bloody, dehumanizing thing, and then something is defined out of it.”

Charlize, on Google being a gateway drug:

“I don’t [Google myself] — that’s my saving grace. When you start living in that world, and doing that, you start feeling raped. When it comes to your son and your private life…maybe that’s just me. Some people might relish in all of that stuff. But there are certain things in my life that I think of as very sacred, and I’m very protective over them.”

1. Gwyneth is notorious for being completely out-of-touch.
Between the $500 jars of organic honey she pilfers regularly via GOOP, to the public lamenting on working motherhood being, like, SEH HARD for her, she doesn't exactly give off a solid self-awareness vibe.  While I'm sure Charlize can afford jars of insect excrement equal to my monthly rent, she doesn't ever talk about things like that.  Sure, she's insanely beautiful and we all might assume her life is super wonderful, but she hasn't always had this type of life and doesn't regularly try to make me feel like a lowly serf.

2. Charlize appears to think before she speaks. 
While I don't take use of the word “rape” lightly–especially when celebrities use the word during an interview–I don't think she would have used that comparison if she didn't truly feel violated enough to feel that way.  She also didn't backtrack her answer or try to make an excuse for it.  Obviously Gwyneth didn't either, but I think it's valid to feel somewhat abused and certainly violated by the media–especially when you're a mother.  Actual victims of sexual violence may not agree with me at all, and they'd be completely valid in feeling that way.  I'm just saying I also don't think soldiers who have fought the front lines in Afghanistan, who have stared death and mutilation in the face, are nodding along to Gwyneth like, “yeah, totally.”

3. Being self-serving vs. protective
Even though we all know how she feels about being a working mother, Gwyneth's feelings on the matter all revolve around one main thing: her.  How hard it is for her, how tiring it is for her, how hard it is to read insults about herself on Twitter, etc.  She doesn't often go into what her kids find troubling about their life (and I'm willing to bet that someday, there will be a lot of things they find troubling).  Charlize talks about how hard it is to read shitty things about herself, but also in relation to being someone's mother/daughter/girlfriend and how hard that might be for her son/mother/Sean Penn (who, btw, ick).  She's protective and defensive over the issues and people that matter more than anything to her.  Not over her penchant for expensive rabbit food and 50-bajillion-thread-count-Icelandic-sheep's-wool-Christmas-pajamas.

(Photo: WENN)