Friday, May 25, 2018
Features and More

Gwyneth doesn't break up like us

Ever since Gwyneth Paltrow became famous in her early 20s, she has made women feel bad about themselves. As Gwyneth's former high school classmate told a New York magazine reporter in the mid-'90s, "Even people who don't know Gwyneth measure themselves against her success. … Gwyneth makes us feel extremely lame."

And so it was Tuesday, when Paltrow and her husband, Chris Martin, announced their split in the most Gwyneth way possible by telling the world about it on her website Goop, with a personal note and an accompanying essay about something called "conscious uncoupling."

The gist of the essay — by Habib Sadeghi and Sherry Sami, doctors who integrate Eastern and Western medicine — is that divorce doesn't mean your relationship wasn't successful. It just means that this particular relationship has come to its conclusion; you may have two or three of these successful relationships in a lifetime. Instead of a rancorous separation, you just need to have a "conscious uncoupling." You need to recognize that partners in intimate relationships are our "teachers."

Underneath that psychobabble is the message that goes along with all Goop productions: Even Gwyneth's separation is better than yours. The announcement of the split is accompanied by a gorgeous photo of the couple lounging in the grass. After the news broke, a friend of mine texted, "Honestly it made me want to get divorced! And I am not even married."

New-agey as it all sounds, Gwyneth's sun-dappled breakup announcement is just the same tired keeping up appearances that wives and mothers have long been expected to do. Certainly for the sake of their children, it makes sense for Paltrow to refrain from bashing her husband in public. But there is no admission of pain (besides a nod to "hearts full of sadness") or any other emotion that might be messy, inconvenient, or real.

I was thinking about Gwyneth when I read an article in Bethesda Magazine about another "super mom," a woman named Melissa "Missy" Lesmes. She's a partner in a big-name Washington law firm, a "party maven," and mom of four children ages 11 to 18, one of whom has Down syndrome. She's pretty, blond, and fit. She wakes up every morning at 5:30 a.m. and doesn't go to sleep until midnight or later. She wears makeup when she's working out.

Just as Gwyneth presents herself as an ideal to strive for, Lesmes is also offered as something of a model woman. Their stories are meant to make mere mortals feel inadequate, but I had the opposite reaction reading about Paltrow and Lesmes in the span of an afternoon. Both of their lives sound like a nightmare to me. Paltrow's because she has to behave outwardly as if everything is perfect all the time lest she ruin her "brand." Lesmes because she doesn't get any sleep, and because while she buzzes around being übermom, her husband "lounges on the couch at the end of the great room, watching the day's tennis matches at Wimbledon on a huge, flat-screen TV."

Granted, these are all just images of people, whose real selves we don't really know anything about. But as aspirational idols go, can't we do better? It's time to evolve past the 2014 versions of Betty Draper that continue to clog up our media space.

Comments
With makeover, ZooTampa at Lowry Park takes a page from the theme parks

With makeover, ZooTampa at Lowry Park takes a page from the theme parks

TAMPA — Behind the construction walls near the carousel at ZooTampa at Lowry Park, hammers, saws and power drills made a racket in the blazing Friday heat. A raft full of 100-pound water jugs took test trips on the new Roaring Springs ride set ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rare red wolf pups born at ZooTampa

Rare red wolf pups born at ZooTampa

The pups are an important addition to the populations of this rare Florida species, and the first red wolf births at the zoo since 1993.
Updated: 3 hours ago
Veterans get in free at Busch Gardens, SeaWorld and more with Memorial Day deals

Veterans get in free at Busch Gardens, SeaWorld and more with Memorial Day deals

Memorial Day is a time to say "thank you" to our veterans. The following is a list of free offers for them to enjoy. Some even last all summer.• Busch Gardens and SeaWorld are offering U.S. veterans and up to three guests get free admission to the th...
Published: 05/25/18
Denis Phillips, hurricane season guru, talks his signature beer, suspenders and Rule #7

Denis Phillips, hurricane season guru, talks his signature beer, suspenders and Rule #7

SAFETY HARBOR — Denis Phillips cracks a pop-top and pulls a can that looks a lot like him to his lips."It’s got that citrusy feel to it," he says. "Which is a Florida thing. That’s not bad." Indeed, there’s a grapefruit finish to Rule #7 Hurricane Sa...
Published: 05/25/18
Hooper: More than a restaurant, Lee Roy Selmon’s was a meeting place

Hooper: More than a restaurant, Lee Roy Selmon’s was a meeting place

It’s where former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Doug Williams had lunch with current Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston.It’s where University of South Florida fans often gathered to watch the program’s biggest road games.It’s where folks showed up in...
Published: 05/24/18
Eight women accuse Morgan Freeman of sexual misconduct in CNN report

Eight women accuse Morgan Freeman of sexual misconduct in CNN report

Eight women have accused actor Morgan Freeman of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior on-set, at his production company, and during press junkets, according to a report.CNN reports that 16 people have spoken out against Freeman’s alleged misco...
Published: 05/24/18
Ballet Nacional de Cuba stuns with a spectacular ‘Giselle’

Ballet Nacional de Cuba stuns with a spectacular ‘Giselle’

TAMPA — The Ballet Nacional de Cuba performed Giselle, its signature ballet, on Wednesday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. Fifty-four dancers charmed a packed house, culminating in about two hours an effort that took more tha...
Published: 05/24/18
Bar review: Things are hopping at new Swan Brewing in Lakeland

Bar review: Things are hopping at new Swan Brewing in Lakeland

Lakeland’s a little out of the way, but I’m always eager to check out the bar scene there when passing through or attending an event. Every place I’ve visited just seems so pleasant.I regret missing the boat on the city’s first brewery, Lakeland Brew...
Published: 05/24/18
tbt* local craft beer of the week: Dark Harbor Mocha Stout, Sea Drift Ales & Lagers

tbt* local craft beer of the week: Dark Harbor Mocha Stout, Sea Drift Ales & Lagers

The saga of Barley Mow Brewing Company and its eventual offshoot/successor Sea Drift Ales & Lagers is a complicated one. The most interesting part is how the latter came to be as a result of brewery-distributor tensions, in which Barley Mow pulled an...
Published: 05/24/18
Dr. Beach ranks Caladesi Island No. 7 on list of country’s best beaches

Dr. Beach ranks Caladesi Island No. 7 on list of country’s best beaches

Caladesi Island’s "crystalline quartz" sand and "sparkling clear" water left an impression on Dr. Beach, who ranked it in his annual list of the country’s top 10 beaches.Dr. Beach, or Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, is a professor and director for the Lab...
Published: 05/24/18