Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop: Annoying or Tolerable?


Gwyneth Paltrow has finally updated her Goop advice website with the content of the newsletters she’s been sending out over the past few weeks. I learned about this amazing development from reader Granger, who e-mailed me a tip with the introduction “I just visited and nearly died laughing – but in a horrified kind of way… I can’t help picturing the women who would take her site seriously, and they all went to prep school with Gwyneth, or met her while sipping champagne at a Donatella Versace party. Too funny.”

Browsing the site, I found it just a little more self-important than the average high end women’s magazine, but not glaringly more so. We’re often encouraged to covet things that are way out of our price league and given advice about how we should live our lives. Usually it comes from a team of writers, though, and not one high profile woman who thinks her lifestyle is so wonderful that we should all aspire to be like her. With that in mind, here are the pros and cons of the site.


Annoying
Gwyneth’s high end taste Gwyneth makes recommendations for hotels and restaurants in London that are beyond many people’s means. She seems to realize this, because she acknowledges in her introduction that “the hotels are on the pricey side, but my GOOP girls are doing some research into some more affordable places.”

In the fashion section, Gwyneth recommends designer clothing that only rich women, or women who make significant sacrifices for fashion, can afford. She does include one or two low priced alternatives, like an American Apparel tank top and a Topshop dress, but her emphasis is on high end shoes and accessories. She talks about leaving her Chanel dress to her daughter, and calls it “the dress you save up for and pass down to your daughter because it never goes out of style.”

Gwyneth’s sense of importance
Gwyneth writes in a way that assumes people want to immediately start living and dressing like her. It was like she was compelled to launch the site because there were so many people clamoring for her advice.

“Many of my friends, or friends of friends, have asked me for ‘my London’ so that when someone is traveling here, or lives here but wants some extra info, it is compiled in one place.” [From Goop]

“Here are some suggestions for several interesting exhibitions to go see, possibly in a city near you. Some of them I have been to and loved. And some of them came from friends who I trust in all matters of culture.” [From Goop]

The site’s format – The site is difficult to navigate and confusing. This is a real sticking point for me as a former web designer. Goop is made up of seemingly arbitrary sections like “Make,” “Do,” and “Be” with little icons that aren’t easily identified with each category. The content doesn’t intuitively belong in a specific section because the names are so vague. Once you’re inside, the icons remain at the top as navigation but don’t include the name of the section they’re supposed to represent.

Links for recent articles can also be found to the right of each second level in the site, but not all the sections are there and you have to use a pop-down to get around. If you get down one level deeper to the full article the navigation disappears and you’re just left with Gwyneth’s words of wisdom and no way back. Some full text sections are presented as images of text and others are just text. Overall it’s a poorly designed site without a clear way to get around or find your way to a specific story.


Tolerable
If you compare Gwyneth’s site to a women’s fashion and designer lifestyle magazine, like Vogue, it’s not all that different. She has recommendations for us and what makes them obnoxious is the way they’re presented, not her tastes, which are understandably expensive because she’s become richer than most of the world by working a few months at a time.

I appreciate the museum section as public art is something that everyone can experience, and her recipes are explained well with ingredients that seem accessible for most people. Her fashion section, while full of designer goods, does include useful tips for dressing like her. She has a unique sense of style that mixes classic staples with risky pieces.

She quotes several experts in her health and well being articles. While some statements from the experts will cause you to roll your eyes, they do include useful advice about living well and being happy.

Maybe if Gwyneth would have launched a regular blog instead of this bloated confusing site she would be winning more fans instead of confirming people’s negative opinions of her. She should also learn to write in a more conversational and friendly tone. All I can picture when I read this is Gwyneth wagging her finger at us, her eyebrows raised and mouth in a perfect O as she talks about her favorite things. It’s as if her life is so superior to our everyday experience that we should immediately start adopting some of her practices so that we can have a taste of her designer enlightenment.

Gwyneth is shown in the header at a charity event on 11/7/08, and on 11/4/08 at the premiere of Two Lovers in Paris (head shot) Credit: Fame. She is also shown in Miami on 11/14/08 (white dress), London on 10/20/08 (fur stole) and Italy on 9/24/08. Credit: Bauergriffin.

 

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43 Responses to “Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop: Annoying or Tolerable?”

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  1. geronimo says:

    Not tolerable. At all. Chrissakes, a copy of Time Out will tell you all this and much more and has the added bonus of not making you retch and gag while you’re reading it.

    And I agree, CB, on the website itself, a very poorly executed attempt at arsiness. I’d say style over substance but it fails miserably on the style front too. God, she really needs a slap, this woman. 8O

  2. Wif says:

    I don’t have the time or inclination to go on her site, but I’m wondering is there anything in there regarding social justice? Or charitable foundations? Or is it all just conspicuous consumption?

  3. geronimo says:

    Wif – Since I’ve already wasted precious time there, and to save other people the pain, the answer is no. It’s all about Gwynnie and her gift to us – herself.

  4. Celebitchy says:

    I really tried to be fair, because she bugs the living sh*t out of me and I have been a bit too biased against some celebrities lately. :lol:

  5. Jewssip.com says:

    It’s how she’s coping now that Madonna’s divorcing Guy and leaving her and London behind.

  6. rbsesq says:

    Does anyone else read her crap and hear her speaking in the nasally, whiny English accent she adopted for Emma? Is it just me?

  7. Tina says:

    Goop. The consistency of Gwyneth’s brain matter.

  8. 88modesty88 says:

    LOL, Celebitchy, the first time I read the headline I thought it said: “Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop: Annoying or Terrible”.

    I obviously thought the answer should be “BOTH”!

  9. Kaiser says:

    You couldn’t pay me to visit GOOP. You’re a better surfer than me, G & CB.

    Sidenote: CB, I’d just like to say how much I like the format of this site. It’s very readable and accessible. The only change I would ever consider bringing up is this – how about being able to access the main numbered pages while on a specific thread? Like on this thread, being able to have the page numbers at the top, to go directly to main page 2 or 3?

  10. Granger says:

    Kaiser, I just couldn’t help myself! It’s like the proverbial car wreck…

    I think what bugs me most is Gwyneth really seems to think that, at the ripe old age of 36, she’s attained this vast trough of wisdom from which all womankind can benefit. When really, the site has nothing to do with wisdom and everything to do with money. She comes across as horribly materialistic and vain, and is obviously completely out of touch with the world that most 36-year-old moms live in. I realize her audience is “specialized” — she’s speaking to other wealthy women like herself — but by telling us her “GOOP girls” are going to scout out less expensive hotels in London, she does seem to think she can speak to the average woman at the same time. It’s insulting. To me, at any rate. Fortunately, it’s also pretty laughable, so I’ll probably go back for a visit whenever I need a chuckle.

  11. Kaiser says:

    Granger – She’s always been horribly entitled. It’s not that she’s 36 and married, etc. I remember reading her interviews when she was the Miramax Go-To Goddess (like 1996-98), and she always just seemed so full of herself and out of touch.

    Never could stand her. And I’ve always hated women who pull this faux-virginal, all-white, breathy-little-voice crap when they’ve nailed most of A-list H’wood.

  12. sassyspank says:

    LOL Tina! Geronimo too . . . she really is so damn full of herself. Your brain will turn into Goop if you bother to read her site. i predict it won’t be up for very long…

  13. KateNonymous says:

    What a bunch of self-important claptrap.

    Why not just give us the names of her stylist, decorator, and chef, and be done with it?

    Seriously, I couldn’t even click on the newsletter links. The little intro blurbs alone just made me laugh.

  14. clare says:

    Agree with all of you, but there is a good thing about Gwyneth: she’s not pumping her lips up with collagen! That’s a plus in my book!

  15. mojoman says:

    I’d rather watch a bowl of oatmeal curdling under the sun than read her wisdom words.

  16. LT says:

    wow, I actually used to like her, now…she is making it impossible!!! There is a flaunty-show-off-ness that I secretly think is in competition with Jolie-Pitts since she used to date and was nearly married to Brad. Like hey, look at me, I am still relevant…NOT!

  17. breederina says:

    How about a third option : ignorable ?
    As a total fashion/style magazine addict, with French Vogue possibly my fave for unexpected editorial surprises I have to say when magazines push product they are answering to advertisers. It sounds like G.P. is more in the biz of glorifying her rather predictable choices.

  18. Hillary says:

    Why is it shocking? Paltrow is just another shallow, narcissistic, self-absorbed celebrity who thinks she is a million times better than the idiots who go to her movies and read her website.

    Please don’t move back to the US, Gwynnie.

  19. Celebitchy says:

    Thanks Kaiser. That’s a very good suggestion. The way the pagination works is through a plug-in thing to WordPress and I think it’s dependent on being on the actual template that’s getting paginated to work. This is a single page and is another template separate from the index/main page, although I can probably hand code it in and fudge it since it’s always the same links. I will see about doing that, thanks!

  20. RReedy says:

    She means well..I don’t see GP as someone who is particularly snooty. I do like the recipes she posts and obviously she has a love of cooking. I will continue to check it out.

  21. drm says:

    Her head is so far up her bum she hasn’t seen daylight in almost a decade! The website is patronising, condescending and completely out of touch with reality.

    She also dresses hideously why would I take clothing advice from someone who looks like an op-shop in a blender?

    :evil:

  22. Holly says:

    LOL just because you don’t SEE her as particularly snooty, doesn’t mean that she isn’t. Anyone who goes around telling others what to do has some degree of self righteousness and snootiness, I assure you.

  23. tigerlille says:

    Can someone please explain to me why Gwyneth is considered beautiful or even attractive? She is so white and bony, and her face is so plain if not ugly. I just can’t get past her physical appearance. I am almost never judgemental in a negative way about appearances, but for some reason I am just obsessed by how unattractive I find GP.

  24. paris herpes says:

    The Slanted Door is really yummy actually. I am SO GLAD she put that recipe on her site, so now I can make it @ home! As for the rest, she is so damn pretentious. You can tell from the way she writes the articles. UGH!

  25. Anne says:

    100% annoying. If I want museum or cooking info, there are thousands of other sources in real life and online that I would rather consult than ‘GOOP’.

  26. brista says:

    What the F does GOOP stand for!?

    Gwynnie’s Original Ornamental Presents?

    Gwynnie’s Own Organic Pancakes?

    Gwynnie’s Otherworldly Orphaned Peasants?

    I DON’T UNDERSTAND.

  27. Jessica says:

    I think you all expect her to be a snob, so that is how you are interpreting what she has written. Can’t a person just show other people what they do or what they like without coming across as trying to be superior? I didn’t notice any of that in the undertones. It’s called “my london” not “london on a budget”. The site is about her experiences in london, she shouldn’t have to change it to accommodate poorer people. Just like if I had a similar site, I wouldn’t change it to accommodate rich people. Don’t get angry about it, just realize that you are living different lives and nobody is
    “better” or “worse”, its just different.

    I agree that the site is poorly designed, I would have thought she would take the time to get a good designer, but its not that hard to navigate. Just change the number at the end of the address…

    I liked the philosophical advice that was given, it was a good read. And I liked the recipe section, she seemed really passionate about it.

    I mean, obviously its not the most awesome site; if I want recipes or fashion advice there are a million other sites I would visit first, and she is obviously not the greatest writer… but its not “hideous” or “terrible”…

  28. I heard about this site. Thanks for the overview. This is not something I would ever waste my time on!!

  29. tigerlille says:

    Well, after reading Jessica’s piece, I decided to give GOOP a try, and it really isn’t all that bad, in fact I feel rather foolish. I think that the site is attractive, and easy to maneuver, once you start using the little search box. I enjoyed her fashion piece, and really, she is just explaining the concept she uses for her wardrobe selection. Any one can adapt her concept to their taste and economic level. And she does seem to have a real passion for cooking, and her recipes are very simple and easy, the photographs are nice. And I didn’t mind glancing over places I could never afford to patronize.

    Really, I think that we have all been a bit too harsh.

    But I still don’t think she is pretty. I guess I just get so sick of the blue eyed blonde stick figure idealized woman that society pushes. I guess it isn’t GP’s fault she is so goddamn pale and thin.

  30. You know what really irritates me about GOOP? Other than all the things pointed out above, that is…. :mrgreen:

    In her weekly newsletter emails (and maybe on the website too, not sure), it says that GOOP offices are located at 7 World Trade Center. That is some of the most expensive office real estate in the world, and she’s running this silly website out of it? Of course, she’s got her GOOP girls there and is probably rarely in the office herself, so I can imagine this is quite the expenditure. Exactly how much money is she willing to spend, based upon the idea that we all want and need her wisdom? Talk about an ego trip. I also wonder where she eventually intends upon going with all of this GOOPness.

  31. sasha says:

    Up until now, I have avoided checking out GOOP each time I’ve heard people complaining about it, since I find Gwyneth to be a whiny, self-absorbed talentless bore.

    But people on this site convinced me to check it out in the name of fairness. Whew. No surprises here. The fashion pages are particularly laughable. As an aspiring designer, I had to giggle that someone thinks it’s innovative to bluntly tell someone to “wear leggings” with either a gray tank top or a sweater dress. Huh?? Are these decisions any woman can’t figure out for themselves… is choosing a pair of leggings difficult to do? It seems strange that she’s doling out fashion advice in the first place, since she often looks frumpy tagging along after Madonna, or wearing strapless dresses which sag so low they aren’t flattering to her chest.

    Almost every sentence in this goopey mess starts with “I think…” or some variation of me me me. She signs her name several times throughout the site, as though mere mortals should be excited to see her handwriting. Weak… but hardly surprising. Her PR people really must be working overtime promoting this site, since it gets talked about so often given its trite and unimaginative content.

  32. natsmom says:

    I recall reading an article years ago in one of the celebrity mags which quoted a comment made by Jennifer Lopez (whom I usually despise)that the only reason Paltrow achieved fame is due solely to the fact that she slept with Brad Pitt. I found this quite amusing as well as accurate in my estimation. By the way, the white strapless frock….fabulous choice for her emaciated bod – ugh.

  33. insidescoop says:

    Wow, I didn’t realize how many people really don’t like her.

    I have to say that I am signed up to Goop and I actually look forward to it. I find the emails thoughtful and personal. Yes, some, if not many, of the things are out of my price range but so are many of the things in most of today’s fashion rags, doesn’t mean I still can’t enjoy or use them as inspiration.

    I know personally that she is a very nice person who is smart, caring and thoughtful. I’m sorry to hear that she has gotten such a bad rap, but I suppose that’s the game of celebrity.

  34. name says:

    I actually enjoyed browsing through GOOP. Seems like she is just trying to encourage readers to be a little more aware, thoughtful, generous, grateful, content – pretty simple stuff overall, not rocket science, but a generally positive message. Didn’t sound condescending or pretentious to me – rather honest and sincere. Seems like a gentle reminder to keep priorities straight, stay healthy, and enjoy life as much as we can.

  35. helena says:

    i completely agree with the majority of ppl here……this retarded narcissistic self-important stick figure should be slapped and smeared with some apple sauce…….i mean, jesus fucking christ, can you get any more annoying? you’d think that at her age, you’d attain a little basic intelligence and realize how hideous a human being you are and CHANGE
    she makes me fucking sick

  36. ahoo says:

    It seems to me that she is trying to make a go at being a martha stewart/oprah type of new agey guru and Goop is the first step. Although judging from the criticism she’s received, it doesn’t seem all that successful of a venture.

    You’re immediate reaction is like – how the f are you qualified to be dispensing this info? Just because you’re born rich and have good taste and breeding? It is SO SELF IMPORTANT! At least Madonna worked damn hard for her money and wasn’t just handed everything on a silver platter. Makes me sick!

  37. gabriel bear says:

    so, somebody with a fair amount of money is renting space at 7 world trade center and running a glitchy personal style blog.
    as a result they open themselves up to random remarks about their lifestyle. many people will choose to spend time knocking her rather than developing something to say.
    that’s a rather core part of being a “celebrity” pursuing material happiness. thackeray noted that a while ago, and later he was homaged by a magazine title.
    the right branding campaign would cuase ms paltrow’s efforts to succeed.
    and shortly thereafter some other celebrity could be the object of the scorn of those with nothing to offer, adding to their endless lists of things they don’t get, and which therefore must suck.

  38. Abra Exonar says:

    I love Gwyneth’s site!!! Imho, it’s easy to navigate and I like that she’s making a positive effort to help people’s lives. Sometimes it’s the simplest things that are the easiest to accept, she’s got the right idea!

  39. moys says:

    The site is just absolute twattiness to the max. She can barely put together two sentences and just copies and pastes what other famous people have said and calls it advice. The writing is just horrible and very vapid. The recipes are crap. She comes off as really pretentious on the site.

  40. Sani says:

    Annoying!!!!! Very Annoying. I wish Paltrow would get lost.

  41. Bobalina says:

    I think she is becoming a mild hypochondriac