A long time ago, Gwyneth Paltrow was told not to “look ambitious”

We feel a lot of different feelings about Gwyneth Paltrow, but everyone can certainly agree on one thing: as an Oscar-winning actress, entrepreneur, mother, and outspoken actress, Gwyneth is not afraid to take life by the horns and go after what she wants in life. But at Variety‘s Power of Women luncheon Friday, where she was an honoree, she told the crowd that back in the ’90s at the start of her career, she was advised to ignore her true self and avoid looking “ambitious.”

“When I was a young [woman] in Hollywood, if you were a woman focused on building your career, you were labeled ambitious, and that was a bad word,” Gwyneth said during her speech. “So, I was decidedly not, and developed a ‘Oh, how could this happen to me?’ approach.”

She was even told to “temper my use of SAT words in interviews because it made me ‘unlikeable’,” she continued. However, in the past 20 years, Gwyneth has noticed a shift, and it’s becoming more acceptable (and celebrated) for women to be ambitious (not that any societal constructs would stop Gwyneth, of course), and that “the power of women rings a bit differently [today].”

Gwyneth, who was being recognized for her work with the L.A. Kitchen, which trains chefs from disadvantaged backgrounds, continued: “Fear of how we are perceived seems to be waning and things are being brought to life. We are empowering each other. We are banding together to support each other. Yes, we suffer some slings and arrows along the way,” she said, before joking, “Not me obviously. But I feel those slings and arrows fortify us.”

Sexism is still rampant, of course, but women are joining forces against it and going after their dreams. “There no longer seems to be the fear of retribution,” she said. “We are encouraging each other to change business models, to try new ventures. We are banding together to support each other, to give each other advice, to change our existing culture. I believe that we are on the verge of creating a new [archetype where it’s possible for women to be] nurturing, maternal, sexual.”

Even though the tides are changing, “ambition” can still be a bad word when it’s tied to a woman, and slowly, we’re working to dispel that stigma surrounding the career-driven woman. Thanks, Gwyneth, for fighting the good fight, as always.

(Image via Twitter, Shutterstock)

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