Remember when celebrities used to just diversify their brand by getting beauty endorsements or launching their own fragrance collection? It seems that now celebrity women are starting websites and dispensing advice to their supposedly adoring fans. Gwyneth Paltrow has a weekly newsletter called GOOP (and a forthcoming book) where she recommends recipes that her famous chef friends whip up with her and Christmas gifts that cost more than I earn in a month. Now, other famous women are hopping on the website/life advice bandwagon. In this month’s Vogue, in a puff piece about her new baby and how beautiful she is, Gisele Bundchen says that she plans to launch a website that helps young women boost their self-esteem. Desperate Housewives actress Teri Hatcher is launching a site called GetHatched in conjunction with DisneyFamily.com. The site, subtitled “A Chick’s Guide to Life,” will be filled with “solutions to the needs and obligations of today’s modern woman.” Now, singer Alicia Keys is getting into the game as well – her new site, I Am A Superwoman, is designed as a semi-social networking site where women can connect with each other about their goals and everyday struggles. It also happens to be conveniently launching just as Keys is releasing a single with the same name as her website.
While I have no problem with any of these women being on TV or appearing on the cover of magazines, that doesn’t mean that I want to know every single detail of their lives and how much better they are than mine. I understand that celebrity culture is supposed to be “aspirational” (side note: hate that word), but I don’t care what any of these rich, famous, gorgeous, privileged women have to share with me. What do I possibly have in common with Gwyneth Paltrow? I don’t like juice fasts, hanging out with Mario Batali, or talking about kids (since I don’t have any). We can’t swap stories about funny things that happened on the set of our latest movies or help each other choose Oscar dresses. If anything, these sites smack of stars finding yet another way to expand their brands. It’s possible that Teri Hatcher has some brilliant revelations that will drastically benefit my life, but somehow I doubt it. This seems like another revenue stream for a famous person, and nothing else. Yes, Gisele Bundchen is extremely beautiful, but doesn’t it seem kind of icky for a supremely gorgeous supermodel to tell teen girls to feel better about themselves and not focus so much on their looks? She seems like she means well, but I can guarantee that my fifteen year old self would not feel any better being encouraged by a woman with perfect bone structure and a closet full of designer freebies. These sites and newsletters come off as condescending – while many regular women are struggling to find jobs, balance work and family, and find great yet affordable clothes, Gwyneth Paltrow gets to have hired help who take care of her kids while she does yoga for three hours a day and traipses about the world on private jets. Thanks, but no thanks.
That said, Alicia Keys is hiring a “head blogger” for her site. Maybe I should send over a resume! After all, I could be a superwoman. And maybe I’d be so super I could start my own website. Personal branding FTW.