Gwyneth And Me: Changing The World, One Shampoo Bottle At A Time

BlogHer Original Post

I've been hard on Gwyneth Paltrow in this space. I've been hard on Gwyneth Paltrow in a lot of spaces. I find her a little bit hard to take. I find her website, GOOP, a LOT hard to take. Maybe it's the don't you all want to be just like me? tone of the site, maybe it's the total out-of-touchness of it all (why, no, Gwynnie, I am not interested in where you stay on your weekend jaunts to Paris because, you know, I don't cope with the stresses of motherhood with first-class global travel. Funny, huh?) Whatever it is, it bugs me. That said, however, I can't and won't begrudge her her concern with environmental toxins and how these affect the health of our families.

The Daily Mail reported this week that Gwyneth had recently been waxing ridiculous on GOOP about the dangers of shampoo. She had, they said, been talking nonsense and had, accordingly, "been branded ‘loopy’ by scientists after warning that products such as shampoo could be linked to cancer." Celebuzz took the same tone -"perhaps Paltrow should turn her concern to more pressing issues facing the world's children. Such as the negative effects of naming them Moses and Apple" - as did CelebSlam - "Gwyneth may actually be right. Overexposing yourself to particular items can sometimes cause people to come down with serious mental disorders. And in Gwyneth's case, it's pretty apparent what she's developed: Vanity" - and GabbyBabble - "So who do you believe, the experts who are doctors and professors or Gwyneth who did her own “research?”"

Which, I get it. As I said above, I find Gwyneth pretty irritating. And on the face of it, 'Gwyneth wages war on shampoo' seems pretty ridiculous. So why not mock her?

Well, it was only a few weeks ago that I wrote about my own fears about shampoo. Because other moms that I trust are worried about it, and because, um, the Washington Post is worried about it. Because it might contain carcinogens. CANCER-CAUSING AGENTS. That's scary, people. I don't care if you need to factor in scientific fallibility and all that stuff about how we don't know this and we don't know that and, now, the fact that Gwyneth Paltrow is prattling on about it. IT'S STILL SCARY. Even if there's only a 1% chance that certain brands of shampoo might cause my baby to sprout tumors, that's 1% more than I'm willing to tolerate.

So maybe Gwyneth Paltrow is out of touch and maybe she's prone to spouting off on stuff that she doesn't really know about and maybe that makes her an easy target for mockery. Maybe. But she's still a mom who worries about her kids and about the environment and about whether or not she should just be chucking it in and heading off-grid to make her own (no doubt destined-for-sale-at-Bergdorfs) soap.

Which makes her just a little bit like you and me, don't you think? If for that reason alone, I'm willing to cut her some slack on this one.

Catherine blogs at Her Bad Mother, where she's been holding her mom's hand as she enters the world of blogging and - for kicks! -  has been trying to convince other bloggers to join her on a trip around the world! You want in?



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