Sticks and stones may break her bones, but Internet trolls will never hurt her. Gwyneth Paltrow made a surprise appearance at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., on Tuesday, May 27, where she opened up about how she fends off anonymous critics on the World Wide Web.
"The internet is an amazing opportunity, socially," the Goop founder, 41, told tech site Re/code, which hosted the event. "We have this opportunity to mature and learn, which is the essence of being on earth—to being the closest person we can be to our actual, real, truest self," the social-savvy star mused. In fact, Paltrow went online—issuing a Goop newsletter -- to announce her "conscious uncoupling" from husband of 10 years, Chris Martin, on March 25.
The downside of the Internet, the mother of two explained, is how anonymity breeds negativity and insecurity.
"The Internet also allows us the opportunity to project outward our hatred, our jealousy," she said. "It's culturally acceptable to be an anonymous commenter. It's culturally acceptable to say, 'I'm just going to take all of my internal pain and externalize it anonymously.'"
Indeed, Paltrow has been a frequent target for so-called haters throughout her two decades in the spotlight.
"You come across [online comments] about yourself and about your friends, and it's a very dehumanizing thing," the actress, whose inner circle includes Cameron Diaz and Beyonce. "It's almost like how, in war, you go through this bloody, dehumanizing thing, and then something is defined out of it. My hope is, as we get out of it, we'll reach the next level of conscience."
"It's taken me a long time to get to the point where I can see these things and not take it as a personal affront and a hurt," Paltrow told Re/code. "I see myself as a chalkboard or a whiteboard or a screen, and someone is just putting up their own projection on it."
"It has nothing to do with me. They have an internal object, and they're putting it on me. I kind of look at it as, 'Wow this is an interesting social experiment.' You're talking about a blind stranger having feelings about you. It can only be projection."