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Gwyneth Paltrow is here to dismantle the myth of the “unfuckable” older woman

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Kayleigh Dray
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Gwyneth Paltrow

“What happens to your identity as a woman if you’re not fuckable and beautiful?” mused Paltrow.     

When most people think of Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop, they think of its recommendation that women steam their vaginas and then put jade eggs inside them. As it turns out, though, the wellness company’s founder can also add “badass approach to toxic ageing myths” to her arsenal, too.

“What happens to your identity as a woman if you’re not fuckable and beautiful?” Paltrow mused, during a recent episode of Goop’s podcast, The Beauty Closet.

The actor went on to explain that she has this “other added bizarre layer” as a woman where she sometimes feels like she’s being “cast as something and put in a box.”

“It’s a weird thing to be […] objectified,” she said. “I think when you come to age, if you have this broad identity as that, what does it mean to get wrinkles and, like, get closer to menopause, and all these things?”

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Admitting she has struggled with the ageing process, Paltrow continued: “I’ve always felt so funny about my looks. I think that it’s very rare to think that you’re a beautiful person, and so, I feel like every other woman – like, I don’t see that when I look in the mirror.”

Despite this, though, Paltrow has decided to spend her time focusing on her “inner beauty”, and she says she finds this easier to do as she grows older – primarily because “you just start to like yourself” more as you age.

“I think you get to a point where it’s almost like your sort of pulchritude is waning in a way and your inner beauty is, like, really coming out, and so it’s this funny shift that’s happening,” she said.

“I think for me it’s more internally feeling,” she continued. “You know, as I go on in life and I feel more and more myself and less judgmental about myself, my values become clearer to me. I can be in integrity all the time, which was much harder when you’re a younger woman and you’re trying to please and juggling all this stuff.”

CULVER CITY, CA - JUNE 09: Elise Loehnen (L) and Gwyneth Paltrow attend the In goop Health Summit at 3Labs on June 9, 2018 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for goop)

Elise Loehnen and Gwyneth Paltrow attend the 2018 In goop Health Summit at 3Labs together. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for goop)

Of course, it was Amy Schumer who famously coined the all-important concept of the ‘Last Fuckable Day’, during the 2015 season premiere of her Comedy Central series Inside Amy Schumer.

In the sketch, Tina Fey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Patricia Arquette gathered to give the middle finger to the Hollywood patriarchy by celebrating Louis-Dreyfus’s so-called last fuckable day. 

“In every actress’ life, the media decides when you finally reach the point when you’re not believably fuckable anymore,” she said.

According to the sketch, the signs that an actress has reached this milestone include: movie posters forgoing images of you for just a photo of the kitchen, wardrobes that consist mostly of frumpy sweaters, and all of your films being remade with younger actresses.

Or, in the case of most Hollywood actresses, being told that you’re too old to play the love interest of your male co-star. That same male co-star who is either a) the same age as you, or b) several, or more than several, years your senior.

Thankfully, things are changing – and a lot of that is to do with the fact that women in the spotlight are speaking out against toxic age shaming in Hollywood (the less often we see older women on screen, after all, the more we assume that maintaining a youthful appearance is an absolute must).

It is something which Big Little Lies star Nicole Kidman noted in 2018 as she accepted her first ever SAG award.

“How wonderful it is that our careers today can go beyond 40 years old,” she said, before turning her attention to her fellow nominees – Susan Sarandon, Jessica Lange, Reese Witherspoon, and Laura Dern – as well as the other women who have inspired her over the years.

“20 years ago we were pretty washed up by this stage in our lives.

“That’s not the case anymore. We’ve proven… that we are potent and powerful and viable. I just beg that the industry stays behind us as our stories are finally being told.”

She added: “It’s only the beginning.”

Amen to that.

Image: Getty

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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