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Gwyneth Paltrow explains why she is offended by sexist comparisons to fellow A-List entrepreneurs

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They're all actresses turned entrepreneurs but Gwyneth Paltrow isn't keen on being compared to her fellow A-List stars Reese Witherspoon, Blake Lively and Jessica Alba.

In fact, the 42-year-old actress and Goop website founder believes such parallels carry with them an undercurrent of sexism.

Like Gwyneth, Gossip Girl star Blake, 27, has launched a lifestyle website, Preserve, on the back of her film career, while 39-year-old Reese has created upmarket retail and fashion website Draper James

And Jessica, 34, is on the cover of this month's Forbes magazine, thanks to her success at the helm of eco-friendly baby product line The Honest Company

But none of this, says Gwyneth, is reason enough to compare the four women. 

Reese with Gwyneth

Gwyneth Paltrow with Reese Witherspoon at at event last year

In a recent interview with Time magazine, the journalist asks Gwyneth whether she's checked out the lifestyle websites of her peers.

"This is a very interesting question, because I wonder if George Clooney would be asked about Puff Daddy’s ancillary liquor line," the Oscar winner replies.

"I’m fascinated how the media in particular are so confounded by entrepreneurial women doing something outside of their box. Jessica [Alba], especially, who’s a friend of mine—our businesses could not be more different. There’s not a lifestyle piece to her business.

"The fundamentals of our sites are very different. Reese launched - our businesses have similarities, but hers has retail. People are grasping at straws to tie us together and I get it, because it makes a good story, but I’m slightly offended by this sort of generalization that happens with myself and Jessica and Reese and Blake."

Jessica Alba on the front cover of Forbes

Jessica Alba on the front cover of Forbes this month

"I feel there’s something slightly misogynistic about [the comparisons]," Gwyneth adds. 

"This is a common theme. I think Reese and Jessica and I—I don’t know Blake Lively, and I don’t know if Jessica and Reese know each other—I’m friends with both of them and I speak to both of them and I want to do everything I can to support their businesses. [...] I feel very proud when Jessica was on the cover of Forbes.

"I think that’s amazing. You can quantitatively say,'Look what she’s done, she’s been able to conceive of a business and scale it to that size, in that amount of time.' But we have such different businesses."

Blake Lively

Blake Lively has curated her own website, Preserve

New mum Blake was interviewed for the same piece for Time magazine and aired similar frustrations to Gwyneth.

"I see what happens in the world of female entrepreneurs and I see what the media does," she says. "And that they pit women against each other and there’s an 'or' —should women stick to this or this? [...] You don’t see male entrepreneurs pitted against each other, destroyed, picked apart, and every word they say served up to judge."

Gwyneth says the way to combat this mentality isvia sheer hard work. 

"You just keep going in hopes the story becomes not people pitting women against each other, which is not founded in truth," she says. "There’s no competition. None of us think we’re in each other’s space. I don’t know how you do it! You just get to f***ing work! I think we’re in a funny time for women. We are more and more the breadwinners in families across America or contributing equally; there’s a shift happening sociologically and psychologically.

"People are wrestling with this new archetype of being a woman with a brain who’s also sexual and trying to do more than one thing at a time. I also feel proud. Why would I not want to do that, if it’s a passion?"

Photos: Rex Features

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