Gwyneth Paltrow doesn’t mind being criticized. It comes with the celebrity territory. But it shouldn’t be controversial when it comes to talking about a woman’s sexuality, she said Tuesday at the NRF 2020, retail’s big summit event in New York.
The actress has made headlines for her vagina this month, not once, but twice.
For those that don’t know, Paltrow’s Goop brand is launching a Netflix series and in the promo ads, she’s standing in what appears to be a fun house mirror of vaginas. Then over the weekend, her site caused a frenzy when it launched a “This Smells Like My Vagina” candle. (It has since sold out.)
“You saw the vaginas? It’s on everyone’s mind,” she said onstage at the National Retail Federation’s Big Show. Paltrow was the keynote speaker, discussing Goop, which went from a weekly newsletter in 2008 to what she describes as a contextual commerce business.
“I started writing content because as a women I was finding it difficult to find a home on the internet. I’ve always been an incredibly curious person and have always wanted to spend time discovering how to optimize myself,” she said. “In starting Goop, I was able to create a different dialogue in this white space. Myself and a lot women felt largely ignored.”
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Goop, now with more than 300 employees, has been transformed into a multilayered business making and curating products, across beauty, fashion, wellness and home, providing content in the form of a podcast, website, brick-and-mortar and now television. But Paltrow’s success hasn’t come without hurdles, and that’s partly due to her celebrity.
When Paltrow launched Goop, her award-winning film career both helped and hindered her.
“I was an actress,” she explained, “a very visible actress. And then I decided to be a founder and entrepreneur. That rubbed people the wrong way, and I think people have mixed reactions to me, or all women, stepping out of a box that they are very comfortable with us being in. I’ve been in the public eye for a long time. I understood inherently that was going to be a part of the journey.”
She continued, “These so-called controversies that come to us around content, around alternative modes of healing, especially ones that have been around for thousands of years, or female sexuality, for example; It never ceases to amaze me the amount of outrage that it will inspire in people on just women wanting to talk about their sexuality on any level.”
But Paltrow will happily take the hit. “I would like to help dispel this idea that women should be kept down or can’t talk about what they want to, what they desire, and that women can be … intelligent and maternal and powerful and sexual all at the same time because we are. That I like. I don’t mind being punk rock in that way.”
Nonetheless, she has a platform and she’s going to use it, she said. “We are striking a cord with a desirable consumer. The people who are with us are very with us.”
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