You guys—did you know Gwyneth Paltrow used to have problem areas? It’s true. Just ask celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson, who has since transformed her into a vision of physical perfection.
Anderson—the creator of the Tracy Anderson Method, which purports to make any woman a size two—contributed to a piece discussing how horrible Paltrow used to look back in 2006. You know, after she gave birth to her second kid? They met through friends just before Paltrow began shooting Iron Man, and Anderson helpfully pointed out her outer thigh problems and how she had a long butt. But this story has a happy Hollywood ending: Paltrow trained with Anderson, got into amazing shape and lived happily ever after.
As Lainey from LaineyGossip points out, “Language like this though, to describe a woman’s body, and HER body at that, is ridiculous. And it’s destructive. Because if Gwyneth Paltrow has ‘significant problem areas’, what hope is there for everyone else?” And that’s exactly it: Hate speech comes in many forms, and it finds its root in self-hate. The more we support this kind of thinking—and the speech surrounding this kind of thinking—the more we encourage an environment of shame that ultimately masks things that really need changing in this world.
Nobody’s saying you can’t improve things you want to improve upon, physical or otherwise…but what kind of language are you using in creating that change for yourself? If you’ve hit the cheesecake too hard and it’s time to dial it down, that’s one thing. If you’re engaging in intense self-punishment and harrowing verbal scrutiny for it, that’s entirely another—and might be something worth digging into. Change should be empowering, not degrading. And if it’s the latter, that should serve as a warning bell.
Ultimately, Anderson’s comments about Paltrow’s body say way more about who she is as a trainer, businesswoman, and a human than it does about Paltrow’s physical state. Would you want to be trained by someone who talked about you like this? Didn’t think so.