Hi Gwyneth Paltrow! I’m One Of Your Trolls
Recently you spoke at the Code Conference, a high-profile tech event at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Sounds pretty fancy to me. You were there with your pal, Google co-founder Sergey Brin. I read that you were nervous before you took the stage, but you smoothed out your sheer navy top and went out there in your stiletto heels and did your thing. Your thing was complaining about Internet trolls and people who are mean to you online.
I’m one of these people.
Well, I LIKE to consider myself a troll. I would like to be amongst the legion of the troll. I’m a fan of the troll. Not only because they keep the Internet from being such serious business, but the magic of trolls is that for every one posting a Rape Sloth meme on Facebook, there are two more who decide to do things like this. You can shake your beautifully manicured fist at the idea of the Internet Troll, someone who says unkind things about you or GOOP online, but the reality is, trolls are just like you and me. They may make fun of the notion of a $400 GOOP sanctioned T-shirt but they are also capable of acts of great beauty and kindness.
Re/Code has a transcript of some of the remarks you made in your speech, where you are quoted as saying:
“The lack of empathy that is created when people can anonymously opine about the looks or actions of others … It’s where we are in our culture. Yes, it does worry me, for the development of my kids and the next generation, that people can be so cruel without experiencing the consequences of being so cruel face to face.”
Not to troll you or anything, Gwynnie – can I call you Gwynnie? – but are you fucking kidding me? One of the best things about the Internet is the fact we can anonymously opine about anything we damn well choose. This can include me saying that your
divorce conscious uncoupling sounds pretty stupid to making fun of your mom jeans. This can also include women choosing to post anonymously about the horrible sexism and violence they encounter when discussing things like being a woman who lives and breathes in this world. You think that people say cruel things about you or your kids online? Learn a bit about what someone like Audrie Pott went through regarding cruel things said about her online and get back to me. I’m glad to see you view being made fun of as “enlightening’:
“I’ve started to see my particular journey through this as one of the more enlightening journeys of my life. … I really see it as a gift I’ve been given. … When you’ve been made fun of and excoriated and dragged through the mud and lied about for 20 years in front of the world … you actually realize it’s not about you. It really can’t be about you. Somebody has to know you for something to be about you. They can think it’s about you because you look a certain way or you’ve expressed an idea, but it can’t be, it’s not possible. You cannot be more than a representation of an internal object that person is carrying. … I’m just there, and people can throw up whatever is going on internally that you are triggering in them.
I’ve made fun of you. I’ve trolled you. I’m trolling you right now. But here’s the thing, I’m not trolling you for expressing an idea. I’m trolling you because the ideas you express are so vapid and so mind-numbingly uninspiring it’s almost impossible to be a fully-developed, intelligent, socially aware, feminist human and NOT troll you. You aren’t expressing some amazingly brilliant ideas about humanity or how to make the world a better place or how to live in beauty and light and be an excellent addition to this planet, you opine about shit like detox diets and how “easy” working mothers have it and how to buy a $1,200 keepsake box.
You aren’t trolled because you are speaking out about shit that matters. I get trolled places like Twitter because I post things about rape and violence against women. Thousands of women get trolled on the Internet because they do the same thing. People, women especially, get trolled for talking about rape, for speaking out about how they are trolled for talking about rape, for the color of their skin, for the fact that they are a trans woman, for their weight , and for a million other reasons vastly more important than meaningful then the fact they named their kid after a piece of fruit.
“The part that grows impervious to negativity from a stranger is the part that has the right value, the value that you are just you. And nothing is going to change that.
Bummer, Gywnnie. Because maybe your so-called trolls, who aren’t even trolls to begin with, troll you because whatever is going on internally inside us, makes us believe that you may start reading some of the criticisms so many people have of you and maybe take the good of it and learn something from it. Maybe you will use your vast wealth and power to start speaking out about shit that really matters. Maybe you will look around you and start to see that you aren’t being trolled – people are just expressing their opinions about you because you chose a life that put you in the public eye.
Or maybe you’ll just keep getting trolled for posting rather barfy looking kale recipes and suggesting people buy expensive T-shirts. In which case, I’ll be ready.