Gwyneth Paltrow has a particular talent for getting on people’s nerves, mostly because she’s just so, well, Gwyneth Paltrow-ish. Like the time she said that “I’d rather smoke crack than eat cheese from a tin,” or when she and Chris Martin “consciously uncoupled” and how her website Goop without a scrap of self-consciousness posts recipes for things called “sex bark”, for which you will need to spend $138 on ingredients.
The time she said that she was close to “the common woman” tipped a lot of people over the edge.
Anyway, Gwyneth Paltrow has tried to be more like the “common woman” this week by undertaking a challenge to do her food shopping solely with food stamps – in the US this amounts to $29, and approximately $38 AUD. Paltrow is one of several celebrities undertaking the challenge, which supports the Food Bank NYC charity that helps the 1.7 million New Yorkers who rely on food stamps to feed their families.
However she’s still giving the heebie jeebies, with a backlash to haul Paltrow posted to Twitter. Critics say that Paltrow’s groceries, which included avocado, coriander, black beans and rice, would not provide enough sustenance for a busy family who lived on food stamps.
This is what $29 gets you at the grocery store—what families on SNAP (i.e. food stamps) have to live on for a week. pic.twitter.com/OZMPA3nxij
— Gwyneth Paltrow (@GwynethPaltrow) April 9, 2015
“Nutritionally speaking, this is a vitamin bonanza,” wrote Rebecca Vipond Brink, a lifestyle writer at Frisky,”But people who live on [food stamps] don’t just have to get nutrients, they have to get actual calories, because they tend to have very physical lives, doing service labour and taking care of children and not necessarily being able to afford a car and so forth.”
Others sniped that Paltrow spent the whole amount on luxury items like limes, fresh herbs and kale.
So what’s Paltrow to do? And is it really fair to pick on someone who is unashamedly herself? Sure, she operates on another plane than the rest of us ordinary folk, but isn’t that something to admire? Should she live blissfully in her elevated existence or at least try to relate to people less fortunate – no matter how difficult it is for her?
We think the latter, because in many ways Gwyneth Paltrow’s aspirational lifestyle provides escapism for those of us who will never eat “sex bark”, and it seems unfair to pick at Paltrow’s limes and kale when, however misguidedly, she’s trying to spotlight the struggle that many families live with when it comes to providing for their families – and the fact that you don’t need to be a movie star to eat healthy and delicious food. With or without fresh coriander.