The Martha standards for women are certainly a thing of the past. The expectation of a 12-lemon centerpiece surrounded by a perfectly tender roast dinner followed up by a freshly made raspberry dessert as a cultural norm for a weekday meal is well behind us. (Thank God.)
The notion that every female should cook nightly and decorate seasonally, while managing a well-mannered household, is considered ancient history. But are these expectations for females gone for good or have they just evolved? Are we really over this idea that every female should be able to do it all? Or has this expectation placed on women ( just another one we actually place on ourselves) shifted from the desire to master the role as domestic goddesses to juggling a killer career, while maintaining a tasteful, yet personal style that effortlessly exudes from us daily?
We like to think we’re not easily swayed by others opinions and are content with our own preferences. We like to think we don’t need anyone to tell us how we should want to live. We like to think we are a society solidified on the ideals of individualist beauty and that we live solely as we want without any outside persuasion. But clearly there is still an audience out there who cares about other’s opinions, particularly the opinion of celebrities. Because if you haven’t noticed there are a growing number of well-known names on the scene doing just that. They’re what you could call the new Martha's.
Just this past week one new Martha, Blake Lively, has stepped out on the blogosphere with Preserve, a lifestyle blog eager to show us how to eat, shop, write and essentially live life better. But she’s not the only one, Lauren Conrad, Olivia Palermo and even spouses of famous actors like Jessica Seinfield, the wife of ... (I’ll let you take a wild guess) are there weekly, if not daily “to help us” add to the quality of our makeup, style and meal planning skills for the kind of life we undoubtedly must be missing out on.
But let me give credit where credit is due: About 5 years ago every Thursday around 9 a.m. I would get slightly ecstatic over a blog called Goop. Goop was launched in 2008 by the well-known, though not always well-liked, actress Gwyneth Paltrow.
I had no clue what “Goop” meant.
I didn’t care.
Because when Gwyneth Paltrow is going to tell you how she eats, cooks, works out and packs for vacation (and you’re a tad intoxicated with her style, figure and - let me be really shallow and honest - life as a whole) you listen and don’t reason things like why one would call anything Goop - particularly when it could be mistaken for the rebranding of Nickelodeon’s Gak (slime, Gak, Goop... yeah, they pretty much sounds all one in the same).
You might think I’d have a bit more sense (or depth) to care what was at the root of all this Goop. According to the site, Gwyneth set out to “share all of life’s positives” with Goop. Essentially, to nosy people like me, Goop is a window into the daily habits, wants and wishes of lives more wealthier than our own.
Goop would say it exists as a wealth of knowledge. In reality you could say it exists as “knowledge of the wealthy”, those much, much more wealthier than you or I. So why do we eagerly read, search and pin the habits and wish lists of actresses whose wardrobe alone likely costs 4 times our annual salaries? Unless I’m the only one who finds herself so easily enamored by what Gwyneth eats for breakfast (which, in that case you can just stop reading here, because now I’m officially embarrassed.) For some reason we’re highly intrigued with all things out of our reach.
Though I can’t say everything in these luxury lifestyle blogs is out of reach. I won’t lie - it’s where I’ve developed fairly essential cooking skills, found effective detoxes and tapped into some crazy dance workouts (though such dance methods, that make you hop till you pass out, could turn one off from the word dance entirely). So I admit to all you Gwyneth hater’s out there - I definitely drank the Kool-aid and liked it, that is until the sugar crash hit. Goop has been the kick start for the many famed tastemaker blogs now on the scene. It could be said to be the blog that launched a thousand ships, or the blog that launched the evolution of the new Marthas and the longevity of celebrities’ wealthy careers by simple enlightening us with how they like eat and where they like to shop. (Oh, the life.)
Goop seemed to arrive at a quiet season when most women were just tapping into the likes of Pinterest for the modern domestic standards. Though it certainly has its haters, after sticking around for over 5 years Goop is feeding off the attention - good or bad.
But why is it that we so eagerly consume lessons on how to live from those with more money, more time and more affluence than we could wish?
With all their best intentions, Goop to share all of life’s positives and Preserve, to remind us everyone has a story to tell, it may do you good to not drink the Koolaid. At least I’m learning for myself, continuing to indulge in the sugary drink always leaves me unsatisfied and craving more.
So before I indulge myself to read Preserve, where I may unwrap untold stories and experiences, I think it may only preserve me from going out and creating my own stories. Living my own life.
Because really when we’re talking about living real life here, shouldn’t we all be the new Martha’s of today?