Gwyneth Paltrow is well on her way to pivoting her brand Goop to encompass sexual wellness as a necessary part of women’s health. But even she admits that the topic is a difficult one to discuss with her children.
The 49-year-old actress is mother to Apple, 17, and Moses, 15, whose father is Paltrow’s ex-husband Chris Martin. And while she’s made it known that she’s an available resource for any and all questions they might have about sex, Paltrow shared that the nuances of social media have added a layer that makes it difficult to determine just how to successfully parent a teenage girl.
“The imagery that comes out and the consciousness that comes out around porn, I feel like girls, young girls are getting the message that they have to be f***able. Like that’s the number one priority, right? It’s so awful and it’s doing such a disservice,” Paltrow shared on an episode of Red Table Talk. “That really disturbs me that young girls, you can see it on Instagram. What is this pose? What is that? And it’s because that’s what they think is like the metric of success. Someone wants to [f***].”
Paltrow went on to point out that the next generation of women are far different and even advanced, in some ways, from her own — including having the ability to speak up for themselves and to take accountability for their own pleasure. However, young women are now dealing with the impact of “hyper exposure” to toxic beauty standards and “hyper objectification” as a result of social media.
“They’re being told like, this is the prescription, you have to look like this. So all I’ve tried to do is focus on, who are the human beings that I’m raising, what can I do in the house to counteract as much of this as possible? How do you raise a girl that feels good about who she is?” she explained. “What are those things that you can bring to your parenting that make them feel like, ‘Oh I’m funny,’ ‘Wow, I did have a good idea.'”
Luckily, the school that both Apple and Moses attended took some of the pressure off of Paltrow when it came to sex education. “[They] had the craziest sex ed talk. It was incredible. Full on everything. Like they learned everything,” Paltrow explained. “I will never forget Apple’s face when she came home.”
With her 15-year-old boy, however, she’s learned that certain topics are “off limits” when it comes to mother-son chats. “He’s, like, at a phase where you know we’re extremely close and he’s also, like, differentiating,” she said. “He doesn’t want me to show a bra strap, let alone have me ask him a question about a girl.”
And while she joked that parenting is “kind of a big experiment,” Paltrow is set on instilling certain principles in her son specifically. “It’s such a cool opportunity to be given to raise a good man,” she said. “My son is such a sweet, empathetic guy.”