Gwyneth Paltrow is mocked for her vagina products – but I do admire her hustle | Arwa Mahdawi

With her orgasm candles and vampire protection mist, the Goop entrepreneur is easy to laugh at. Yet she is the one laughing all the way to the bank

Last year, Gwyneth Paltrow created a £58 candle called This Smells Like My Vagina. As soon as she put it on Goop, her lifestyle website, it attracted frenzied media coverage and sold out. “Huh,” Paltrow apparently thought. “Seems like I’m on to something.” A few months later, she launched a £68 candle called This Smells Like My Orgasm. This also sold out. Now the intrepid entrepreneur, who made a (business) name for herself with jade yoni eggs before wading into the incense business, has come out with a custom candle that smells like Kim Kardashian’s orgasm.

You know what this whole thing smells like? Yes, yes, yes you do! It smells like shameless attention-seeking.

I could probably conjure up a hot take about how Paltrow is an out-of-touch celebrity spreading dangerous orgasm misinformation (climaxing does not, generally, smell like “gunpowder tea and Turkish rose”; if it does, consult a doctor), but it is not really something worth getting outraged about. On the contrary, I admire Paltrow’s hustle. I like to think she chooses Goop’s new products by taking sips of green juice and throwing gold-plated darts at random words on a wall, then finding or creating products to match. How else do you explain psychic vampire repellent protection mist?

Here is the thing about Paltrow: she is very easy to make fun of. Even her 16-year-old daughter, Apple, has roasted Paltrow’s obsession with “wellness”. “She just prances around the bathroom putting on her millions of Goopglow products for her glowing skin,” Apple joked on Goop’s TikTok account on Sunday. “Then she gets to work making some more vagina eggs and candles … and vagina perfumes … and just everything vagina.”

Apple’s commentary prompted headlines such as “Gwyneth Paltrow gets trolled by daughter”. In truth, it would be more accurate to say Paltrow is trolling all of us. “I can monetise those eyeballs,” the actor turned entrepreneur told a class at Harvard a few years ago, in reference to critical articles about her. Her vagina products are not clickbait, she clarified; they are a “cultural firestorm”.

I don’t know about that. But I do know that Paltrow doesn’t seem to care if people mock her. All publicity is good publicity, after all, and she is laughing all the way to the bank.

  • Arwa Mahdawi is a Guardian columnist


Arwa Mahdawi

The GuardianTramp

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