I wish I knew why Blake Lively’s entire being has been made the same color — hair, skin, and lips all match — all so that they can choke her with a giant flower. It’s like she’s got a tracheotomy tube that she turned into a planter. Indeed, something about Blake Lively makes everyone want to photograph her in the wilderness, doing nature-y things. Her Vogue spread was like that — back when she was promoting Preserve, and pour some out please for that THAT delightfully inscrutable mess (that linked piece is one of my favorite things we’ve ever done) — and now that she’s Blake “Woke and Imperfect” Lively, Glamour chose the tousled-hair-while-hiking-in-a-see-through-dress aesthetic. So that, I guess, she looks technically awake and for sure imperfect (it’s a really bad see-through dress, like someone who tried to order the closest thing Victoria’s Secret had to Wonder Woman lingerie).
The cover story, though… I thought it was pretty bad. Blake seems very earnest and well-intentioned. I don’t know what it is about her that makes me believe that, but I do. She seems harmless and nice, and as if she’s trying to be thoughtful about how she handles her children and her life. There’s some stuff about mindfulness, and her producing her own projects a la Reese Witherspoon (right down to Blake snapping up Liane Moriarty’s latest after Big Little Lies was such a hit); while I believe she’d love to have ascended to Gwyneth’s or Reese’s various professional places in the world, and may aspire to carbon-copy them at times, I do also buy into her sincerity. (Also, she won me over with this Instagram joke about Glamour catching her in one of her daily wheat walks.)
But at times it feels inspired by some Buzzfeed-type listicle on “Ten Easy Ways To Sound Woke.” The headline writer didn’t help: Under a shot of her standing in a canoe and turning her face to the sun, eyes closed, they wrote, “Blake Lively is Awakened,” as if she has just arisen from the depths of a boat nap and is about to open her eyes and sprout wings. It opens with She Breastfeeds, Y’all, because of course. It cannot help itself from discussing Ryan Reynolds and how great he is and how he makes everything fabulous, including an asinine digression about whether it’s eye-rolly for Blake to admit she loves him a whole bunch — and for that, we lose follow-ups on her core group of girlfriends, the Traveling Pants posse. There is a perfunctory mention of their longtime devotion to each other, but nothing that goes beyond what we’ve already heard — and that’s too bad, because the whole tone of this interview is about Blake influencing her daughters, and how Blake is being influenced to pursue and produce her own projects, and that foursome is accomplished and interesting and could’ve been a more in-depth part of this experience. But instead, it’s the interviewer helpfully pointing out how often she, too, loves her husband, and then saying this:
GLAMOUR: I have a boy now, but I’m having a girl. And you have two girls. In this day and age, having a girl feels like a political act to me.
That feels awfully self-aggrandizing, no? Especially for an act as random as your egg bumping into a sperm in the pack that had an X chromosome. Your kids aren’t political acts. They’re people. And that girl does not come with a cape in the mail that mothers of boys don’t get, nor do you get a trophy or a certificate for Fighting The Power, nor are you superior to people who have boys. It’s how we bring up our kids that counts, and that goes for raising boys who are feminists and believe in and will fight for equality, too. That goes for raising gender fluid children who are able to express themselves and explore themselves and feel safe and loved. I just… that comment rubbed me all kinds of wrong. I get what was meant, I suppose, but it is the reporter injecting herself in here too much, and it felt reductive and smug and overly chummy, all at once.
BL: We’re all born feeling perfect until somebody tells us we’re not. So there’s nothing I can teach my daughter [James]. She already has all of it. The only thing I can do is protect what she already feels.
GLAMOUR: And how do you protect that?
BL: I have no idea! I do know that I have to watch her and listen to her and not project any of my own insecurities or struggles on her.
GLAMOUR: When I’m reading my son a story, I’ll give the mom a job—“and she’s an astrophysicist”—even if the book doesn’t.
… Congrats, I guess? Feels like you did a backflip to work that one in there.
GLAMOUR: Well, I think this interview is going well.
YOU ARE VERY PLEASED WITH YOURSELF.