Mom debate: Is Gwyneth Paltrow really a working mom?

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow is a mom. And she works. But when she said that equal pay was important to her “as a working mother,” some took offense. We asked two of our Parenting writers to sound off. Is Paltrow being totally tone deaf, or does she have a point?

Rebecca Bahret: Gwyneth is no working mom

Oh Gwyneth, when will you get it? Sometimes just because words are technically right doesn’t mean they are culturally correct. Sure, you work. Sure, you’re a mom. But the classic interpretation of a “working mother” — a mom who struggles to juggle the kids, the job and the money — sister, that ain’t you. Especially within the context of equal pay for equal work, which is probably something you’ve never had to struggle with.

Didn’t you learn from earlier this year, when you drew the ire of working moms for implying your job was somehow harder? That making movies and blogging about yoga was more challenging than working at an office job? Or around the same time, when you compared reading mean internet comments to being a war veteran? Because getting butthurt over a few words online is just like suffering from PTSD, right?

Gwyneth, you need to think before you speak. You had the right intention when you opened your mouth — pay parity is an important issue to promote. Next time, choose better words to keep the focus on the issue, and not the pretentious way you talked about it.

Diane Ashoff: No one has a right to take away working mom credentials

Look, I’m not saying she’s super in touch with reality or the working class, but Gwyneth Paltrow is still a working mother. Unless someone wants to explain to me how she either does not work or is not a mother, I am unwilling to hear arguments to the contrary. I realize she has money and help and nannies and flat abs, but none of those things make her love for her children or passion for her career any smaller. She still has to find a balance. Is it as hard for her as it is for you? Of course not. But does someone who has it harder than you have a right to take away your working mother credentials?

I’m done with women’s opinions and identities being summarily dismissed on the basis of being not enough one thing or too much of another. Too rich, too poor, too fat, too feminist… Can we stop? If Chris Martin had thanked the president as a working father, would anyone have batted an eye?

Rag on Gwyneth all you want. For her conscious uncoupling or her put-on accent or any of the other yoga-inspired methods of inserting her foot into her mouth she’s certainly patented. Just don’t tell me she’s not a working mother.

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