It Only Makes Her Stronger
July 30, 2018 11:26 AM   Subscribe

How Goop’s Haters Made Gwyneth Paltrow’s Company Worth $250 Million [slnyt]

By Taffy Brodesser-Akner, who gets to spend some quality time in G.P.'s majestic presence. La Paltrow previously on the blue. See Also: If Gwyneth Paltrow Were Your Girlfriend [The Toast, requiescat in pace]
posted by Halloween Jack (139 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
 
I loved this article, like I love everything Taffy Brodesser-Akner writes. Her and Caity Weaver have been hitting it out of the park lately. I also really loved this blurb by Anne Helen Petersen about this piece, the production of a celebrity profile, and the kind of access horse-trading that occurs.
posted by hepta at 11:35 AM on July 30, 2018 [18 favorites]


That aspiration paragraph in the middle of the piece is the point at which I realized this article is some next-level recognition-worthy work.
posted by infinitewindow at 11:37 AM on July 30, 2018 [8 favorites]


If you want to read some well-crafted SF that deals with the wellness/lifestyle-marketing thing, I'd strongly recommend Claire North's The Sudden Appearance of Hope.
posted by pipeski at 11:56 AM on July 30, 2018 [13 favorites]


Since the trailers for Death Stranding (content+spoiler warning) have been on my mind lately, seeing the word Goop makes me think of people getting sucked down into the ground by goopy oil-slick monsters.
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:58 AM on July 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


Anil Dash: Alex Jones and Gwyneth Paltrow are in the same business.
posted by Artw at 11:58 AM on July 30, 2018 [64 favorites]


I can't hate a woman who hustled her ass off to create a 250M company out of a freaking newsletter*. She might be a charlatan who peddles snake oil, but that's like 99% of the wellness/beauty industry.

* also, it's too damn hot to hate anything, even the weather.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:07 PM on July 30, 2018 [5 favorites]


Metafilter: She might be a charlatan who peddles snake oil, but
posted by Barack Spinoza at 12:09 PM on July 30, 2018 [43 favorites]


I'm still making my way through the article, but I wanted to highlight a point made by journalist Clive Thompson (small part of his thread):
So, an amazing detail inside @taffyakner's superb profile of Gwyneth Paltrow: She initially planned to do a Goop magazine with Conde Nast. But the deal broke down because Conde insists all articles be fact-checked; Paltrow refused. 1/12
First, there's a striking resonance between a) Paltrow's refusal to have her unscientific woo verified by fact-checkers b) the language of today's right-wing conspiracy theorists: "We’re just asking questions," as Paltrow's business partner says. 2/x
Secondly, I'm *really* glad and impressed that Conde Nast insisted on fact-checking. I write for Wired, published by Conde Nast, and like all reputable US magazines it has a fact-checking phase built into the production of every article. How does it work, you may ask? 3/x
...
This is why, BTW, if you're looking for a reliable source, glossy US magazines are the most factually reliable media product in existence, full stop.

posted by gwint at 12:09 PM on July 30, 2018 [117 favorites]


From the NYT comments:
When Gwyneth Paltrow was filming a short film in my apartment, she asked me who ate the cup of noodles which were on my shelf. I answered 'my children.' Her response: "I'd rather die than serve my kids cup of noodles."
That was only one of the tone deaf things she said during the 3 day shoot.
I take back what I said in the previous comment. Only a monster would hate noodles.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:13 PM on July 30, 2018 [71 favorites]


To be fair, I would also rather die than serve Gwyneth Paltrow's kids cup of noodles.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:17 PM on July 30, 2018 [55 favorites]


I can't hate a woman who hustled her ass off to create a 250M company out of a freaking newsletter.

OK. Then hate the woman who profits enormously, explicitly and deliberately by doing harm to the physical health (I'm looking at you, jade egg), self esteem and mental well-being of other women who want nothing more than the unobtainable goal of being like her.
posted by The Bellman at 12:19 PM on July 30, 2018 [176 favorites]


But the deal broke down because Conde insists all articles be fact-checked; Paltrow refused.

Anil Dash: Alex Jones and Gwyneth Paltrow are in the same business.

*squints*
posted by lmfsilva at 12:19 PM on July 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


Some thoughtful analysis on celebrity access in today’s TinyLetter from the always-awesome Anne Helen Petersen:
”Which is all to say that every time a big, splashy profile comes out, I immediately think: 1) Who sought out who; and 2) What are they promoting / what's the angle. Upon reading, I get to think about 3) How willing was the magazine itself to do something more interesting, less glossy, less pablum, with this piece? The answer to that will often indicate how they think of access, and their power position within it: do they have to ensure a positive portrait? Or are they so big that they can poke and proud and create something that's holistically more interesting, and will likely travel farther, but is perhaps not as immediately legible as GOOP IS AMAZING? And how much of that is a reflection of what they believe their readers want, and how much is a reflection of editors trying to toe the line for future access, especially when it comes to a celebrity who's managed by a publicist who has other star clients the magazine will want to profile in the future?” (more)
posted by Zephyrial at 12:20 PM on July 30, 2018 [14 favorites]


I am still reading this, but I want to stop and say this is eerily timely for me because I have been somewhat following a loose online community of generally young, white women who seem to treat disability as aspirational and seek out ways to be visible as a status marker (wheelchairs, service dogs, ports, feeding tubes, etc). I think that Brodesser-Akner's point about aspiration always having a modicum of suffering is really laid bare by this community who are trying to externalize their obvious internal suffering so that it is seen.

And of course Alex Jones is also selling suffering so that he can sell the cure. It is a space that men dip their toe into, like the recent advertisements for testosterone supplements but going even farther back, we have hair plug commercials which tell men that their bald heads are unacceptable but thankfully there's a doctor who can fix it.
posted by muddgirl at 12:29 PM on July 30, 2018 [19 favorites]


This is a truly great read. Like gwint, the part that struck me the most was the breakdown with Conde Nast over fact-checking. There are definite parallels between Goops's "We're just asking questions" hand waving and the right's alternative facts malarkey.

On a personal note, if there is a premise that contempt for Gwyneth's dumb-ass brand made it more powerful, I am willing to accept a hefty chunk of the responsibility, because holy shit, do I hate her shitty brand.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:37 PM on July 30, 2018 [11 favorites]


> I'm looking at you, jade egg.

I have a fairly inquisitive brain, so when I read something like that, I think, "WTF is a jade egg?"

You would think that by now I would learn to not ask questions when I know I'm not going to like the answer: Jade Eggs for Your Yoni.

I couldn't get past the new age bullshit. I noped out once I figured out what was going on.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:37 PM on July 30, 2018 [4 favorites]


Gwyneth Paltrow wouldn’t have a business model without systemic misogyny.

She sure as shit isn’t selling anything that helps with the systemic misogyny, though.
posted by schadenfrau at 12:38 PM on July 30, 2018 [88 favorites]


She worries that she’s just serving the same customers over and over.

Well, if you wanna run a cult...

Now Goop was a cause, and G.P. was its martyr.

*ahem*

I just think this woman is basically scum.
posted by klanawa at 12:40 PM on July 30, 2018 [15 favorites]


That was an extremely well-written article, and now I am filled with bile and vinegar.
posted by biogeo at 12:44 PM on July 30, 2018 [6 favorites]


She sure as shit isn’t selling anything that helps with the systemic misogyny, though.

And as Jen Gunter has pointed out repeatedly, men in the employ of Paltrow frequently come after female evidence-based critics of her various frauds with misogynistic fervour.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:44 PM on July 30, 2018 [36 favorites]


That was an extremely well-written article, and now I am filled with bile and vinegar.

I have something for that!*

* Comment not verified or endorsed by the FDA
posted by Barack Spinoza at 12:47 PM on July 30, 2018 [17 favorites]


I can't hate a woman who hustled her ass off to create a 250M company out of a freaking newsletter

OTOH she's not exactly Susie Jones from Nowheresville, USA. A celebrity cashing in on said celebrity isn't exactly revolutionary, and I'm dubious about the amount of "hustle" that actually requires, particularly in these days of social media.

Basically, GP is one of those "born-on-3rd-and-think-they-hit-a-triple" people. I think it's possible to dislike the game as well as the player.
posted by orrnyereg at 12:49 PM on July 30, 2018 [80 favorites]


I have been somewhat following a loose online community of generally young, white women who seem to treat disability as aspirational and seek out ways to be visible as a status marker (wheelchairs, service dogs, ports, feeding tubes, etc).

Morrissey was way ahead of them.
posted by ryanshepard at 12:52 PM on July 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


The bit about Harvey Weinstein being her primary professional relationship seemed important, though I don't know enough to say how or why.
posted by clawsoon at 12:54 PM on July 30, 2018


God damn, that was gorgeously written.
posted by nebulawindphone at 12:58 PM on July 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


From the article: Over the last few years, as wellness went mainstream, G.P. allowed her two sides — the G.P. who was known to sit without underwear over mugwort steam to regulate her hormones and the G.P. who wanted the $2,132 straw pocketbook from Sanayi 313 that is, to be clear, made of straw — to finally be one.

what... what even are words
posted by duffell at 12:58 PM on July 30, 2018 [19 favorites]


filled with bile and vinegar

it sounds like you need your humours rebalanced
posted by BungaDunga at 1:02 PM on July 30, 2018 [33 favorites]




2015 - Gwyneth Paltrow admits she's a troll

2016 - Gwyneth Paltrow admits she's a troll

2018 - from the article:

Each of these pronouncements set off a series of blog posts and articles and tweets that linked directly to the site, driving up traffic. At Harvard, G.P. called these moments “cultural firestorms.” “I can monetize those eyeballs,” she told the students. Goop had learned to do a special kind of dark art: to corral the vitriol of the internet and the ever-present shall we call it cultural ambivalence about G.P. herself and turn them into cash. It’s never clickbait, she told the class. “It’s a cultural firestorm when it’s about a woman’s vagina.” The room was silent. She then cupped her hands around her mouth and yelled, “VAGINA! VAGINA! VAGINA!” as if she were yodeling.

Gwyneth Paltrow is still a troll.
posted by Squeak Attack at 1:16 PM on July 30, 2018 [35 favorites]


I have nothing but dislike for her as a person and for her empire of malarky, but I really like her in most of her movie roles.
posted by PussKillian at 1:23 PM on July 30, 2018 [13 favorites]


I read the cooking thing as a typo. Twice. Not sure what that makes me.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 1:25 PM on July 30, 2018


And as Jen Gunter has pointed out repeatedly, men in the employ of Paltrow frequently come after female evidence-based critics of her various frauds with misogynistic fervour.

The only part of the Gwyneth Paltrow story I didn't hate* was finding out about the formidable Dr. Jen Gunter. I never miss a post there.

(* I can't even watch her in MCU stuff anymore, not since looking at the GOOP stuff in detail. It's like when I was no longer able to see Adam Baldwin without gritting my teeth in anger.)
posted by mordax at 1:26 PM on July 30, 2018 [14 favorites]


This is great but still only the second best article about Gwyneth Paltrow. The best was and shall remain the Plum Sykes profile from 2000-ish which is either a frank conversation between two privileged young ladies or a delightfully underhanded take down, depending on how charitably you read it. Sykes also convinced her to wear that monstrosity of a dress to the Oscars the following year, leading me to the second interpretation. I can't find a link on my phone but its the one where she called some diamonds Affleck had given her "tacky" and it's worth the re-read.
posted by fshgrl at 1:28 PM on July 30, 2018 [4 favorites]


Did all of the armchair copy editors notice the repeated use of "something something" and think they were notes inadvertently left in from the draft stage? Comic devices, what are you?

It is a really delightful gem of contemporary gonzo journalism, but god forbid we recognize the craft of a woman writer.
posted by muddgirl at 1:33 PM on July 30, 2018 [15 favorites]


I can't hate a woman who hustled her ass off to create a 250M company out of a freaking newsletter.

Ah, to be young again.

I've hated her ever since Tragic Kingdom, and there's no puttin' that genie back in the bottle.
posted by aspersioncast at 1:33 PM on July 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


I've hated her ever since Tragic Kingdom, and there's no puttin' that genie back in the bottle.

Do you have your Gwens confused?
posted by Burhanistan at 1:48 PM on July 30, 2018 [19 favorites]


I prefer to believe aspersioncast just measures time in terms of No Doubt albums.
posted by axiom at 1:52 PM on July 30, 2018 [80 favorites]


Such a well-written piece, right down to the final sentence.
posted by k8bot at 1:54 PM on July 30, 2018


I prefer to believe aspersioncast just measures time in terms of No Doubt albums.

I believe the metric unit is milliskas
posted by Barack Spinoza at 2:01 PM on July 30, 2018 [31 favorites]


filled with bile and vinegar

Seems like a perfectly healthy state, given the way the world seems to be going to hell in a handcart
posted by 43rdAnd9th at 2:19 PM on July 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


Speaking of @taffyakner, I also liked this:
Another crazy thing about "milk" from my time in goop story: Everyone kept saying, "We're the only species that drinks another species' milk." As if that's perverted or something. We're also the only species with, like, iPhones and bicycles and pedicures.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:26 PM on July 30, 2018 [60 favorites]


I like how she sells sawdust & lead powder as some kind of health supplement. That's top-notch villainy.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 2:26 PM on July 30, 2018 [9 favorites]


I emailed the author this weekend after this article sent me down a rabbit hole of her other writing, which is also awesome. It was just a little fan note. She wrote back a short little message of thanks, and I squeed.
posted by lauranesson at 2:34 PM on July 30, 2018 [19 favorites]


I could care less about Gwynneth Paltrow but I love Taffy Brodesser-Akner's writing.
I still had a bottle of Madame Dry Rose Water, which is “botanically infused, positively charged” water that is filtered through rose-quartz crystals, and a bottle of Lifewtr, which is just water without vowels.
This sentence should be taught in journalism schools for ever more.
posted by Nelson at 2:39 PM on July 30, 2018 [55 favorites]


"We're the only species that drinks another species' milk."

Untrue.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:41 PM on July 30, 2018 [9 favorites]


Hell, I've been using Goop for years. I never realized the stuff was so contentious.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:38 PM on July 30, 2018 [7 favorites]


Is it true that we're the only species that steam cleans its vaginas?
posted by biffa at 3:53 PM on July 30, 2018 [12 favorites]


Do you have your Gwens confused?

There's a recent piece from Anne Helen Petersen that might make you annoyed with that privileged blonde of SoCal, too.

I've never liked Gwyneth Paltrow. I don't feel proud about this -- on the rare occasion when a female celebrity irritates me beyond my ability to ignore them, they usually haven't earned that level of loathing. That said...the GOOP pseudoscience is pretty dangerous! And maybe I'm guiltily relieved that I finally have a good reason to dislike Gwyneth...
posted by grandiloquiet at 4:02 PM on July 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


She always wanted to recommend things to people as demonstrated by when she was filming in Italy, she asked the crew where the best gelato was. Because no one has ever, when in Italy, asked a local person where the best gelato was. That is particular to GP.
posted by vunder at 4:23 PM on July 30, 2018 [20 favorites]


"We're the only species that drinks another species' milk."

Untrue.


Don't forget about aphids.
posted by dilaudid at 4:35 PM on July 30, 2018 [4 favorites]


Don't forget about aphids.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I never forget about those bastards and their ant milkmaids. I never forget

Also fuck goop.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 4:49 PM on July 30, 2018 [17 favorites]


Her dress remained white. Mine had clam juice down the front.
Of course!
posted by unliteral at 5:09 PM on July 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


@taffyakner, in response to the Anne Helen Peterson blurb mentioned above:

"Not exactly—I loved this newsletter, but what she's saying here is speculation; I wasn't asked. This is an often-true thing she's saying but also often not true. Editors didn't negotiate any of this. I'm the only person they dealt with."
posted by eponym at 5:16 PM on July 30, 2018 [5 favorites]


Will no one play along with me and pretend Gwen Stefani and Gwyneth Paltrow are the same person? Come on it's fun.
posted by aspersioncast at 5:30 PM on July 30, 2018 [18 favorites]


You (perhaps inadvertently) threw in a Christina Aguilera lyric which threw me right off and I couldn't decide if it was real or fake then.
posted by muddgirl at 5:40 PM on July 30, 2018 [11 favorites]


How Goop’s Haters Made Gwyneth Paltrow’s Company Worth $250 Million

I'm skeptical that evidence-based criticism of Goop is actually driving Paltrow's business. It's almost certainly growing of its own momentum and I don't know how one could measure the actual effect her critics are having on Goop's bottom line. Sure, there will be many who will check out the links provided by Dr. Jen Gunter and others (I have myself), but usually it'll be only out of curiosity/lolz. There will be some who people will learn of Goop through its critics and get sucked in to the brand because they disregard the criticisms of it, but many more will shun it because they've been forewarned. And I'm in hopes that Paltrow will eventually run into enough legal consequences for her charlatanism that her company will start to curtail its own bullshit. Sounds like that might already be happening.

Taffy Brodesser-Akner makes a lot of hay out of Paltrow being "aspirational". I don't find her so. I mean, as someone who isn't earning a living, I would give a lot to have even 1% of Paltrow's net worth, but otherwise I have zero interest in aspiring to anything she is or has, and there seems to be a number of reasons for that.

First of all, her aesthetic suits neither my taste nor my looks. Even if I could afford to buy the clothes and decor items she recommends, I wouldn't do it because I could find or make something I liked better for much less. I wouldn't take general life advice from her because I find her clueless and completely out of touch with the lives of ordinary people. I wouldn't take Paltrow's advice on food because the way she eats is too austere for me and she can't be trusted when it comes to any sort of nutritional/medical advice. I wouldn't take her advice on self-care because, again, she can't be trusted as a source for scientific advice, and besides, Dr. Jen Gunter has seen Paltrow in person and close up and says she looks her age, so all that anti-aging stuff she's hawking isn't working. I'd go straight to my dermatologist or another medical doctor for that kind of information. And even if I did want any of her products, I'm far too angry with Gwyneth Paltrow for hawking useless and even actively harmful products out of her sheer hubris and greed to be willing to ever give her one cent of my money. In short, having your own tastes, knowing what you personally need and want, being aware of what the marketplace has to offer, and having access to reliable evidence-based information does a lot to keep one proof against the appeal of these self-styled lifestyle gurus.
posted by orange swan at 5:46 PM on July 30, 2018 [15 favorites]


There will be some who people will learn of Goop through its critics and get sucked in to the brand because they disregard the criticisms of it, but many more will shun it because they've been forewarned

GOOP, like scammers everywhere, does not want customers with critical thinking skills. They want credulous rich white women who feel better about themselves in proportion to the money they’ve spent. The people who buy into it in spite of the criticisms then dig in further and identify with the brand and spend more money.

The people who make it through the funnel are the biggest, dumbest, richest fish.

It’s a good system.
posted by schadenfrau at 6:01 PM on July 30, 2018 [17 favorites]


It's like including deliberate misspelling in your 419 scam email to weed out the people who notice misspellings...
posted by kaibutsu at 6:32 PM on July 30, 2018 [11 favorites]


If they do a platinum egg I’ll believe the theory.
posted by Artw at 6:43 PM on July 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


I’ve disliked this woman since a profile I read in the very late ‘90s; I can’t find it now but I’ll always remember it. A high school acquaintance recounted a time popular Gwyneth and she were alone in a gym locker room or something and GP looked at her own tiny model body and then at the other girl’s presumably more standard body, and said to this girl she barely knew something like, “Isn’t it interesting how bodies can be so different?”

Such exquisite, subtle mean-girling! I knew I’d hate her forever.
posted by Yoko Ono's Advice Column at 6:50 PM on July 30, 2018 [27 favorites]


I too would like to agree that this was a great read.

Goop is interesting to me at least partly because it is entirely foreign. I know no one who has purchased anything from it or who has any interest in it, and yet it is this trend setting force,and my knowledge that I have so little awareness of it in my day-to-day makes me feel my masculinity quite intensely. Not in a good way, but simply as a fact. Gender hides such secrets from us!
posted by Going To Maine at 7:05 PM on July 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


Dr. Jen Gunter has thoughts on Taffy Brodesser-Akner's profile of Paltrow.
posted by orange swan at 7:06 PM on July 30, 2018 [10 favorites]


Artw: "If they do a platinum egg I’ll believe the theory."

When you are running scams like Paltrow's you don't want to peddle something that is actually expensive because markups are too small and you'll never get to multi millionaire that way. You want to sell something that you can source for $X and sell for 100 times $X.

Take that jade egg thing. Raw BC Jade goes for C$10-100 a kilogram. The eggs Goop flogs probably mass less than 100g and sell for US$66. A ~1000% markup over raw materials even with highest quality. Even if you doubled the cost in shaping that is still a pretty hefty return.

Platinum is 7 times as dense and currently goes for US$30K per KG. The raw materials would cost (7x300) 2,100 times as much. You'd have to sell the egg for $140,000 to realize the same order of return.

And you'd lose out on the WOO associated with crystals.

Also you'd have a 700 gram mass in your Yoni; an altogether more strenuous workout.
posted by Mitheral at 7:11 PM on July 30, 2018 [21 favorites]


her youngest child, Moses
*cough*
posted by nnethercote at 7:39 PM on July 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


LOL I love that Dr. Jen Gunter's twitter bio is "People's choice for Gwyneth Paltrow's fact checker."
posted by TwoStride at 7:42 PM on July 30, 2018 [5 favorites]


Another thing I’ve been thinking about are the similarities between this and Molly Young’s great NYT piece on Amanda Chantal Bacon, which made me wonder if there’s a formula to which female writers must adhere in order to make their otherwise searing wellness movement critiques palatable for publication. In both, there’s a somewhat unconvincing thread where the incredulous and skeptical journalist is partly seduced by promise of the unattainable and participates in it up to a point (in Brodesser-Akner’s piece the pseudoscience is more resoundingly rejected in the end but Young’s piece was thrillingly meaner throughout). Does the writer have to put on a fake well-it’s-easy-to-see-how-one-COULD-be-lured-by-this voice for a few passages to make the profile more palatable to publicists and casual weekend wellness seekers who don’t want to be told they’re silly? Would the article otherwise be TOO mean? Or is it just that it’s a perfect narrative arc for an article like this? Either way, they make great sister profiles.
posted by Yoko Ono's Advice Column at 7:46 PM on July 30, 2018 [8 favorites]


Taffy Brodesser-Akner makes a lot of hay out of Paltrow being "aspirational". I don't find her so. I mean, as someone who isn't earning a living, I would give a lot to have even 1% of Paltrow's net worth, but otherwise I have zero interest in aspiring to anything she is or has, and there seems to be a number of reasons for that.

I desperately curious about the customers behind GOOP sales, now that I think about it. And I'm a little suspicious of the line that the little people can just enjoy the free content. GOOP is aspirational in the same way Vogue is aspirational. Most people who see its content will never be flush enough to spend money on the products advertised. A regular Vogue reader might save up for a slightly spendy handbag or scarf because they'll never be able to afford or justify spending $8K on a jacket, but they want to buy into the lifestyle. Presumably the idea is that the temporarily embarrassed millionaires who read GOOP will sate their desires for thousand-dollar benwa balls by purchasing jade eggs and Moon Juice instead. Diabolical, Gwyneth. Now I understand why she was chatting up business schools.
posted by grandiloquiet at 7:47 PM on July 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


You (perhaps inadvertently) threw in a Christina Aguilera lyric which threw me right off and I couldn't decide if it was real or fake then.

(That’s when I also raised an eyebrow.)
posted by Burhanistan at 7:58 PM on July 30, 2018


Oh man, the author's article on Jonathan Franzen is also effing great.
posted by aspersioncast at 8:00 PM on July 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


This feels like a key quote to at least partly understanding all this:
I know women who’ve been dismissed by their doctors for being lazy and careless and depressed and downright crazy. Was it any wonder that they would start to seek help from sources that assumed that their symptoms weren’t all in their head?
Patriarchy strikes again.
posted by nnethercote at 8:01 PM on July 30, 2018 [27 favorites]


Another thing I’ve been thinking about are the similarities between this and Molly Young’s great NYT piece on Amanda Chantal Bacon, which made me wonder if there’s a formula to which female writer must adhere in order to make their otherwise searing wellness movement critiques palatable for publication. In both, there’s a somewhat unconvincing thread where the incredulous and skeptical journalist is partly seduced by promise of the unattainable and participates in it up to a point

Nah, that part works for me. Have you never bought into some dumb trend so intensely that you've convinced yourself entirely of its benefits? Have you never spent a summer dumping extra turmeric or cinnamon into everything? I once spent a year eating low-carb (and by low carb I mean less than 50 carbs a day, though I wasn't trying to lose weight). My cousin is even more ruinously susceptible to this stuff. She tries a new fitness fad every year, beginning each phase a little sheepishly and then progressing into the kind of evangelist fervor that sends people running in the opposite direction. People are pumping a lot of time, money, and enthusiasm into complete nonsense. It's probably worthwhile for a profile writer to at least try to capture why a wellness guru attracts adherents.

(For me, the Gwyneth problem is that I just don't believe she's ever had anything approaching the stresses that 90% of the other women in the country face all the time. I'm never going to buy into the notion that Gwyneth has it all figured out, because I don't think she's every had much to figure out. She broke into acting thanks to help from her godfather, Steven Spielberg, I mean...)
posted by grandiloquiet at 8:10 PM on July 30, 2018 [5 favorites]


Patriarchy strikes again.

Yes, totally! And then you add in the fact that so much of this wellness BS is really made up of publicly acceptable and instructional ways for women to eat almost nothing and be aspirationally skinny at a time when diets are over and just being “naturally” sylph-like is the goal, it’s just, like, patriarchy all the way down.
posted by Yoko Ono's Advice Column at 8:11 PM on July 30, 2018 [15 favorites]


I'm all for taxing rich people who have nothing better to do with their cash, but the profit should do some good in the world. There are so many problems with the way medical/ "wellness" systems treat women; she just found a very profitable niche to exploit. I fucking hate end-stage capitalism.
posted by theora55 at 8:17 PM on July 30, 2018


E Pluribus Woo-num
posted by eustatic at 8:28 PM on July 30, 2018 [8 favorites]


Also you'd have a 700 gram mass in your Yoni; an altogether more strenuous workout.

Overloaded Yoni: band name claimed.
posted by delfin at 8:39 PM on July 30, 2018 [6 favorites]




Somewhere under that perfect house there is a secret chamber filled with only a glistening translucent oviduct, through whose membranes can be dimly seen the congealing features of row after row of Gwyneths Paltrow, arising to serve as yesterday's hatchling wilts away into dust.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:05 PM on July 30, 2018 [19 favorites]


I've been enjoying The Cut a lot recently and a few days ago they featured this specific article in a delightfully catty way insinuating that Paltrow is both a charlatan and an idiot. They went so far in their cattiness to make a t-shirt quoting her.

I'm also tickled that they made a brand new article category just to do this, which I hope implies there's more in the future.
posted by like_neon at 2:20 AM on July 31, 2018 [4 favorites]


This was really fantastically written. I hadn't heard of Taffy Brodesser-Akner before but I will be making a point of reading more of her work.
posted by Ziggy500 at 2:56 AM on July 31, 2018


The people who make it through the funnel are the biggest, dumbest, richest fish.

It’s a good system.


I wish that were true. But the skeptical movement has frequently found over years and years that often the people who are most hurt by scams like these are the people who are already vulnerable - they spend more than they can afford on things that won't help them such as donations to shady evangelists or, through desperation because of medical issues, on expensive quack things. And - unlike in economics - there *is* a trickle-down effect in that less rich, less white women may still be targeted by someone selling products "Just like Goop, only half the price!". This stuff is pernicious at any level.
posted by wendyg at 3:25 AM on July 31, 2018 [21 favorites]


Quackery still pays huh
posted by GallonOfAlan at 3:35 AM on July 31, 2018


I fucking hate end-stage capitalism.

I hate to say it, but I suspect we're witnessing this-is-not-the-end-it's-only-the-beginning-stage-you-foolish-mortals capitalism.
posted by duffell at 5:29 AM on July 31, 2018 [9 favorites]


A rich white person taking advantage of the poorer and easily influenced? Scammers are scum, plain and simple. What she is doing would be illegal in any half-decent world, but we live on this one instead. I only hope one day I can shed whatever scraps of human decency and morality I have left to be able to manipulate and take advantage of people in such sick ways for my own profit, I'm clearly doing it wrong right now by not even scamming nobody.
posted by GoblinHoney at 8:29 AM on July 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


This stuff is pernicious at any level.

Agreed, if anything it's far worse for people with less access to information and health care - the separation between Bulgakov's peasants in "A Country Doctor's Notebook" and your average high school educated American isn't nearly as wide as it ought to be.
posted by aspersioncast at 8:31 AM on July 31, 2018 [2 favorites]


I fucking hate end-stage capitalism.

I hate to say it, but I suspect we're witnessing this-is-not-the-end-it's-only-the-beginning-stage-you-foolish-mortals capitalism.


If Wikipedia is to be trusted, "Late Capitalism" was coined by Marxists in 1945. If so, the phrase is a truly majestic self-own.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:32 AM on July 31, 2018 [2 favorites]


The Cut is really a soothing balm of an antidote to everything. I was going to say everything Goop-esque, but after looking at the stories on their front page today* I will extend that "everything" to mean truly everything.

*FANTASY-CASTING A SECRET HISTORY MOVIE IN 2018 WITH BRAVO STARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by witchen at 9:17 AM on July 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


For me, the Gwyneth problem is that I just don't believe she's ever had anything approaching the stresses that 90% of the other women in the country face all the time. I'm never going to buy into the notion that Gwyneth has it all figured out, because I don't think she's every had much to figure out.

I read an interview where she said that people who are poor don't have money because they are lazy and refuse to work. This was a very long time ago, but it was clear she never considered that lucky breaks or connections had helped her in any way. All her success is the result of her hard work taking mud baths and stuffing jade eggs in her yoni, and anyone else's hard luck is the result of their ignorance and being too lazy to do the same. I think that's pretty much what she's selling.
posted by xammerboy at 9:28 AM on July 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


I hadn't heard of Taffy Brodesser-Akner before but I will be making a point of reading more of her work.

Her profile on Tonya Harding earlier this year walked such a fine line between empathy and skepticism, it really is a beautiful picture of who Tonya is right now, not who she was in 1994.
posted by muddgirl at 9:31 AM on July 31, 2018 [5 favorites]


Sources I trusted from inside the hell that was/is Spence informed me some 25 years ago that Gwyneth was always terrible, in exactly the gaslighting, superficially charming, passive aggressive mean girl style you would assume, and reader, seeing what those sources put up with as normal, I believe Gwyneth Paltrow might actually be evil.
posted by schadenfrau at 9:31 AM on July 31, 2018 [3 favorites]


Oh, also remember the time she said she had it tougher than regular moms who work 9-5pm because sometimes she, as an actress, is sent to shoot in Wisconsin for 2 weeks and has to work 14 hour days?

LOL, girl. First of all: Moms don't get to work 9-5 anymore. No one does. So change that from 9-7 at least. Then add in the fact that laptops and smartphone mean anyone can work anywhere from any time, and assume that working moms are also expected to answer emails at night and complete projects on weekends, and they can't ever say no because obviously they always need to prove that their motherhood isn't keeping them from committing to their job. Then add in that working moms are ALSO often sent on work trips to sister sites and partners in places like Wisconsin (or, jeez, some working moms even already live in Wisconsin, believe it or not) and work long days there as well, and they're put up in considerably less nice hotels than Goop is, and they don't have staff taking care of their children at home, and they don't have an assistant or any other staff on their work trip with them, and it's all for a $50K or so annual salary and iffy healthcare, but yeah, Gwyn, you've got it really rough.

LORD give me the strength to not just start, I don't know, barking in her face if I ever meet her.
posted by Yoko Ono's Advice Column at 9:47 AM on July 31, 2018 [9 favorites]


I also heard terrible things about her from someone who hung out in the same circles in high school, but I couldn't figure out if it was true or if it was just cattiness. It was all extremely Gossip Girl. And honestly, I don't think it's important or even really possible to know who a celebrity actually is as a person. We, the general public, interact with a persona, which is always constructed and mediated, and that's really all I think we can really comment on. I have opinions about Gwyneth Paltrow, the celebrity, who is a kind of avatar for Gwyneth Paltrow, the person. I don't know a thing about Gwyneth Paltrow the person, and since I'm very unlikely ever to meet Gwyneth the person, she's not really relevant to my life.

Anyway, I am really, really not the target audience for Goop, but in some ways I think it's just refining the way that fashion magazines have always commodified good taste and the promise that they have the secret to beauty and eternal youth. And tone-deaf elitism has always been part of that mix, as has pseudo-science. She's not doing anything new, I don't think. She's just doing it in a way that resonates with a particular contemporary audience.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:55 AM on July 31, 2018 [4 favorites]


in some ways I think it's just refining the way that fashion magazines have always commodified good taste

But if you read about the fact-checking part and Goop's refusal to work with Conde Nast's fact-checkers, you'll see that glossies coming from companies like Conde Nast require fact-checkers, and wellness purveyors like Goop do everything they can to avoid fact-checking. They're far more insidious because they're preying on audiences who've been primed by those exact fashion magazines to believe what they read is--even if not 100% effective--safe. Worth a shot. "What harm could it do?" It's very different. Anyone who notes the movement's Trump-era resonance of Goop's claim to be "just asking questions" is, I think, onto something.
posted by Yoko Ono's Advice Column at 10:05 AM on July 31, 2018 [7 favorites]


I think claims about fact checking are true but only sort-of true. For instance, Teen Vogue's article on The Beginner’s Guide to Healing Crystals contains a disclaimer that says:
While crystal healing has not been proven to be medically effective by any peer reviewed study, many practitioners report feelings of tingling, warmth, and a sense of well-being. (Even if it’s placebo, isn’t that all we’re looking for anyway?)
Fact checkers satisfied! They said they haven't been proven effective! But is that disclaimer really going to carry more weight than the celebrity endorsements or the content of the article, which is a slideshow with images of crystals and disclaimer-free claims like "[t]he dazzling purple stone can supercharge your resolve to change for the better by breaking down toxic thoughts and addictive behaviors" and "[i]f you find you’re constantly flaking on friends, grab yourself some vibrant, turquoise amazonite—it helps with accountability and aligning your actions with your words, allowing the Universe to manifest your intentions into reality." All of which is just as bullshit-y as anything that Goop peddles, despite the half-hearted disclaimer in the intro.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:16 AM on July 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


(Teen Vogue often has good stuff about health and wellness, so that crystals article bummed me out more than similar stuff in other fashion mags would.)
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:18 AM on July 31, 2018 [2 favorites]


I mean, the disclaimer is very different. Goop uses doctors to pedal her wares; she doesn't say anything hasn't been proven medically effective in any peer-reviewed study. In addition, crystals are fairly harmless, so as I mentioned above, it's part of the sort of woo magazines have always sold; it's not going to hurt or even kill someone. What Goop sells, things like apitherapy--using doctors and zero disclaimers to "just ask questions"--could. Readers of Teen Vogue, etc., are already conditioned to think of other woo-y things they read as similarly safe and Goop is trading on that. I just think they're wildly, wildly different.
posted by Yoko Ono's Advice Column at 10:24 AM on July 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


Even if you're annoyed or put off by the main article, don't miss the last link, If Gwyneth Paltrow Were Your Girlfriend - I'd forgotten how delightful it was. I guess the Toast was one of the casualties of our current omnishambles...
posted by RedOrGreen at 10:42 AM on July 31, 2018 [7 favorites]


Oh the writer also wrote that Tonya Harding profile?? Amazing, I must pay more attention to articles with her byline.
posted by like_neon at 10:43 AM on July 31, 2018


I don't know. I'm an occasional consumer of fashion magazines, and I don't really think their health claims are benign. They can encourage really unhealthy eating habits, for instance, based on very dubious or misleading science. They also encourage people to view scientific claims really uncritically, and by playing up dubious claims, they can contribute to eventual distrust of science. And I think the fashion magazines are often really misleading, in ways that are calculated to get by fact checkers but still imply things that can't be supported by science. So, for instance, here's an article from Vogue about face creams that claim to use epigenetic technology to alter the genes responsible for aging. Epigenetics is real, and the article quotes a lot of scientists and doctors talking about epigenetic research and how it explains the mechanisms of aging. So that's all good. And they note that the products that they're highlighting only make cosmetic, not medical claims. So fact-checkers are satisfied. But despite that disclaimer, there are claims implied when you pair the products with the glowing interviews with scientists about the potential of epigenetic research. And the end result is to push extremely expensive face cream that makes completely unsupported claims to improve people's skin by altering their genes.

So basically, I don't think that Goop is completely different from fashion magazines. It's probably worse, but it's a matter of degree.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:48 AM on July 31, 2018 [2 favorites]


On the "difference in degree" front: the other thing about fashion magazines, surely, is that at some level they are about peddling fashion, which has no health benefits whatsoever but does cost a lot to buy and is also essentially aspirational.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:18 AM on July 31, 2018


It was all extremely Gossip Girl.

And just a little . . . hollaback girl.
posted by aspersioncast at 12:09 PM on July 31, 2018 [9 favorites]


I've been enjoying The Cut a lot recently and a few days ago they featured this specific article in a delightfully catty way insinuating that Paltrow is both a charlatan and an idiot. They went so far in their cattiness to make a t-shirt quoting her.

This is a great little piece, but it's also a neat exercise in SEO. You can tell someone was like "oh, hey, that Gwyneth piece we all can't stop talking about, it mentions The Cut but doesn't actually link to us or our posts about her." So they threw this piece together to capture people googling "The Cut GOOP" or whatever. The tipoff was the fact that it had "The Cut" and "NY Times Magazine" in the URL. And then the post follows SEO best practices by providing a set of links to their other posts about her and GOOP. But it's written in a very entertaining, non-gross way.

SEO is a dark art, but this is pretty good.
posted by lunasol at 1:40 PM on July 31, 2018 [7 favorites]


GP posted an image of the magazine cover on her Instagram with the caption "A true watershed moment for us @goop. Thank you to the @nytimes." I wonder how many more eyeballs got monetized.
posted by BooneTheCowboyToy at 3:28 PM on July 31, 2018 [2 favorites]


Please stop dumping goop in the watershed. You're killing all the fish.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:30 PM on July 31, 2018 [4 favorites]


So basically, I don't think that Goop is completely different from fashion magazines. It's probably worse, but it's a matter of degree.

I'm no fan of fashion magazines and their body photoshopping / consumerist ways, but this sounds so much like a "but all politicians lie!" argument.
posted by hellopanda at 5:32 PM on July 31, 2018 [7 favorites]


I think people are missing the point a bit. GP is not aspirational because she's perfect but because she's imperfect and plays it off as intentional damn well. She drinks, a lot by all accounts, she smokes and has an ex husband that lives, like, next door with a succession of younger blondes. Women don't admire that she dated Brad Pitt as a starlet, but they kinda admire that she cheated on him and then went on to better things without missing a beat. She admits she stayed in a creepy relationship with Harvey Weinstein for work and it soured her on acting. She promotes rigorous self discipline and magical thinking equally. She clearly doesn't really give a fuck what people think of her in middle age and she laughs a lot and hasn't ruined her face with fillers and these days, all of that is pretty aspirational.

The millennial age group for want of a better term thinks that perfect and perfectly good and well measured in all things and perfectly socially conscious is what pop culture figures should aspire to. Literally no other group of people in history has believed that, ever.

I think GOOP is ridiculous but she makes pretty shiny things for people who don't get a lot of luxury and sells it using the Treat Yourself message that's been a solid sales tactics for millennia.
posted by fshgrl at 7:20 PM on July 31, 2018 [2 favorites]




she makes pretty shiny things for people who don't get a lot of luxury

But she's not interested in making things accessible for those who don't get a lot of luxury. That, to me, is the major difference between her catalog and a lot of the print fashion mags: While Cosmo or Glamour or whatever show luxury brands, they also always do the "and now get the look for less" section where they show you more affordable options. Ditto with beauty: there's always the high end face cream and then the best drug store alternative. Goop, on the other hand, goes, like, "Everyone needs a $795 bath towel. You will never be rejuvenated or beautiful without one. Accept no alternatives. And now that you're feeling even worse about being poor and ugly, go steam-clean your vag."
posted by TwoStride at 7:31 PM on July 31, 2018 [10 favorites]


I think some people are underselling the sheer number and variety of bullshit health claims and prescriptions for starvation that are part of this whole thing. *That’s* what she’s offering to the women who can’t afford the palazzo pants.
posted by Selena777 at 7:51 PM on July 31, 2018 [7 favorites]


But she's not interested in making things accessible for those who don't get a lot of luxury.

No she's not. That's what I said. But you CAN buy one or two things off her site once in a while like vitamins or a face roller and feel like you are part of a cadre of Women Who Take Care of Themselves. Most people don't want the cheap tat that Comos offers as "affordable alternatives". You don't buy small luxuries at Target unless you're truly poverty stricken and that's not her audience. poor and ugly is not her audience. "Finally have a bit of money and plan to spend some of it on themselves for once" midlife mid-career women are her audience. They on't feel bad about themselves in general, are used to carrying out regular maintenance like hair so it's no longer a thrill, want to splurge a bit and are actively shopping for sophisticated little luxuries but they want to feel good about buying them, not hesitant or regretful. That's who GOOP sells to.

The controversial stuff is just to get people to the site. She says it herself numerous times. Free advertising.
posted by fshgrl at 11:18 PM on July 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


In times past I could see myself agreeing with the "difference in degree, not kind" rhetoric regarding the anti-factual sales tactics used by goop as compared to the standard for fashion magazines and the like. However, the last couple of years have forced upon me the view that there is an enormous difference between "true enough to slip by fact checkers" and "considers facts to be defined by personal preference and makes no concession to reality."

The former results in dysfunction and incessant argument. The latter results in the wholesale breakdown of society as various groups become ever more opposed due to an inability to agree on even a basic shared reality, much less shared goals and values.
posted by wierdo at 5:19 AM on August 1, 2018 [8 favorites]


You don't buy small luxuries at Target unless you're truly poverty stricken

I'm sorry, this is patently untrue for a large portion of, if not just my friend group, the Target-having world at large.
posted by cooker girl at 6:17 AM on August 1, 2018 [15 favorites]


You don't buy small luxuries at Target unless you're truly poverty stricken and that's not her audience.
Hi, that's not true. (And if you think it is, you may need to get out of your rich-person bubble a little more.) What is true is that you can build a successful business that only caters to well-off people. The average reader of Goop is 34 and has a household income above $100,000 per year, which appears to be about the 70th percentile for households headed by people between the ages of 30 and 40. That's what makes them so attractive to companies that want Goop to hawk their stuff. Most people in their target age bracket don't have a lot of disposable income, but if you want to find the ones who do, one place to find them is at Goop.
The former results in dysfunction and incessant argument. The latter results in the wholesale breakdown of society as various groups become ever more opposed due to an inability to agree on even a basic shared reality, much less shared goals and values.
I guess that I think maybe people have too much faith in the figleaf of a disclaimer. That's good enough for the lawyers, but I don't think it takes into account research on how people actually process information that they're told is false. For instance, articles that debunk myths often end up reinforcing those myths, because readers remember the myths more than the information debunking them. When readers are presented with a coherent argument about how crystals improve your mood or $850 face cream alters you genes to stop aging, they're going to process that narrative more than the one-sentence disclaimer that says that it's not proven by science. And I do think that matters. I don't know if this is responsible for the rise of Trump, but I do think it's related to the anti-vaxx movement, which I bet is more popular among Goop's audience than Trump is. I want a world where journalists back up scientific claims with scientific evidence, and I want them to do that in ways that will come through to their readers, not just in ways that will protect them from liability.

I'm not defending Goop. I'm saying that it's part of a much larger industry that misleads women in order to manipulate us into buying stuff. And the whole thing is pernicious. It can also be fun and feel good, which complicates but doesn't change the fact that it's pernicious.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:30 AM on August 1, 2018 [10 favorites]


There are always several >$70k cars parked outside the Target down the street from my office. There's certainly an overlap of Target and Goop (and other nonsense bauble money holes) customer bases.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:10 AM on August 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


The former results in dysfunction and incessant argument. The latter results in the wholesale breakdown of society as various groups become ever more opposed due to an inability to agree on even a basic shared reality, much less shared goals and values.

The former (one line that says "all this is untested and most likely nonsense" while still featuring all the projects in glowing prose) creates the latter. So I guess all Goop needs to do is put a single line disclaimer at the bottom and they will equal your average fashion mag. That's a difference of degrees as in 1-2 not 180.
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:12 AM on August 1, 2018


There are always several >$70k cars parked outside the Target down the street from my office.

Super rich people who don't know how to act like it and still go bargain hunting always make me a lil sad (although the cutoff here is floaty: the 97%?)

Like, hey! Rich person! You don't need to get your own conditioner! You can hire someone to deliver it for you and you'll still have plenty of money to put in a trust fund for your kids! You don't need to save those $5!
posted by Going To Maine at 7:39 AM on August 1, 2018


(Or maybe it's possible to own an expensive car without being "rich"? Or maybe shopping at Target isn't exactly slumming it in the first place?)
posted by tobascodagama at 8:07 AM on August 1, 2018 [4 favorites]


Yeah, if someone has a $70k car but is financing that shit then no, they're probably not all that rich. Their houses are a bit larger and they take better vacations but they still eat the same overall dogfood as the rest of the 99%. But my point was that Target isn't slumming it at all, but that people with more disposable income than middle-middle class both shop at prosaic places like Target and piss money away on stupid sites like Goop.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:15 AM on August 1, 2018 [2 favorites]


Yeah, where I live, Target is kind of the top-of-the-line place to get your conditioner and whatnot. Poor people are probably shopping at Walmart and Dollar General, and I don't think there are too many people who are so rich that they're sending their servants out to do their shopping. But also, there is a whole mass of people (which includes me and probably a lot of other people here) who are neither rich nor poor. We often do buy our little luxuries at Target, and we're probably not the market for Goop. This is not a tragedy! It's actually pretty normal! I also don't think that most Goop people are mega-rich. If you're in a two-income household where both of you are making $60,000 a year, you're in the Goop market. You're relatively well-off compared to most Americans, but you probably don't feel rich, especially if you have student loans and childcare expenses and high housing costs, which many people in their late-20s to late-30s do. You can probably afford the occasional bottle of expensive gooftastic face oil, even if you can't afford everything on the site.

Metafilter is weird about money and class sometimes.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:28 AM on August 1, 2018 [9 favorites]


Metafilter is weird about money and class sometimes.

Yeah, the whole "rich people send servants to Target" thing is just weird on multiple levels.

1) It's not particularly common even for proper-rich people to have full-time, live-in servants versus just outsourcing things to cleaning/maintenance services. Like, the true 1%, sure, but there's a huge swath of upper-middle-class to lower-upper-class that just hires maids and groundskeepers and goes out to eat a lot rather than having, like, servants.

2) Postmates exists, and you don't have to be "rich" to use it any more than you need to be rich to use Uber.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:46 AM on August 1, 2018 [3 favorites]


And, who knows, maybe that person with the $70k car shopping at Target is an Uber driver making Postmates runs on the side.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:47 AM on August 1, 2018


I thought the Target-as-slumming-it comment was partly a joke, and partly channeling the Gwyneth 'tude towards Garnier and Pantene as inferior shampoos.

Also, I think the point is: if you've got an extra $100 in your budget and you want to splurge and treat yourself to something that feels luxurious, you might not want to do it during your usual run to Target. Target is where you buy toilet paper and laundry detergent and Go-Gurt for your kids. That's not sexy.

What might feel sexy, however, to a certain type of consumer, is spending that $100 on something from Goop, a website whose aesthetics you enjoy, in order to "take care of yourself." You're at your desk eating lunch and daydreaming about how a jade facial roller can transform your morning routine into blahblahserenitywellness, and I think that's what is meant when we talk about luxury/poverty for Goop's market.
posted by witchen at 8:57 AM on August 1, 2018 [2 favorites]


I can't comment on other people's Target comments but mine was presaged on a particular irrational reaction that I experience when seeing certain class signifiers in the parking lot. It's quite true that those class signifiers might not being too a member of the class signified. As I said, it's not a rational response. Sorry for having perhaps derailed from the more salient discussion of Goop shoppers v. Target shoppers.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:12 AM on August 1, 2018


The latter results in the wholesale breakdown of society as various groups become ever more opposed due to an inability to agree on even a basic shared reality, much less shared goals and values.

Apparently only when women do it though. Men can make ridiculous claims about penis enhancing substances for millennia and spend all the money they want on luxuries for themselves, the market for supercars is almost 100% male, and the FDA remains neutral and civilization continues apace.

The amount of money middle aged men spend on dubious "wellness" treatments like hair plugs and HCG and testosterone replacement in that age and income bracket is enormous. It's a HUGE industry and it's shady as fuck. But let's concentrate on going after the women peddling trinkets and house witch stuff. In fact, let's make it a movement to do so so we can feel really self righteous about ourselves and like we're protecting the womens. Such as it ever was.
posted by fshgrl at 9:44 AM on August 1, 2018 [7 favorites]


I can't comment on other people's Target comments but mine was presaged on a particular irrational reaction that I experience when seeing certain class signifiers in the parking lot. It's quite true that those class signifiers might not being too a member of the class signified.

I literally have no idea what that means.

Metafilter can indeed get ridiculous about money. It's not a sin to have money and to spend it on expensive items. Especially since the people making those items are generally adults who are well paid and well treated at work. On the converse it arguably is a sin to buy items you know were likely produced via slave labor or at the expense of other's happiness. I wonder how many people decrying GOOP are typing on a iphone or wearing Gap clothes while they do so.
posted by fshgrl at 9:56 AM on August 1, 2018


The men's version of this snakeoil is steeped in toxic masculinity and the destruction of American democracy.
As men age, they may often experience a slow-down in vitality, energy, and overall wellness. Super Male Vitality is specifically designed to assist the body in regulating proper balance to create superior vitality in males, and has been used by Alex Jones in order to maximize vitality when working up to 12 hours a day or more in the fight for freedom. ...

Avena sativa (root) - Also known as the common oat, avena sativa contains natural compounds that may help support normal response in men.
"Normal response" is codeword for "boners that never let you down". An essential element in the fight for freedom.
posted by Nelson at 10:09 AM on August 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


I don’t think your sin is having money or even spending it on stuff from Goop. It’s being so out of touch with people who have a little less money that you say clueless and potentially insulting things about people who are actually right here.

I am not super convinced that the people who make Goop products are well-treated at work. Is that a claim Goop even makes?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:12 AM on August 1, 2018 [6 favorites]


The amount of money middle aged men spend on dubious "wellness" treatments like hair plugs and HCG and testosterone replacement in that age and income bracket is enormous. It's a HUGE industry and it's shady as fuck. But let's concentrate on going after the women peddling trinkets and house witch stuff.

I don't see those things as comparable at all. Hair plugs are an obvious cosmetic treatment; they've been scorned in the past, especially if/when they don't take. But it's actual surgery. HCG/testosterone replacement is likewise a legitimate therapy, when it's not being abused by athletic juicers, as is hormone replacement therapy in women, and likewise is subject to scientific review and criticism, not to mention quite a bit of legislation. Neither of these is anywhere near someone putting a semiprecious mineral ovoid up their orifice, nor is your average house witch peddling trinkets at the local pagan gathering or Renn faire.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:39 AM on August 1, 2018


The problem is not that Goop is overpriced. The problem is shit like jade vagina eggs that are terrible for your health and the attempt to silence the doctor who pointed out that jade vagina eggs are terrible for your health.
posted by hydropsyche at 10:41 AM on August 1, 2018 [13 favorites]


Apparently only when women do it though. Men can make ridiculous claims about penis enhancing substances for millennia and spend all the money they want on luxuries for themselves, the market for supercars is almost 100% male, and the FDA remains neutral and civilization continues apace.

Or maybe we could assume all of us here are participating in good faith and consider the possibility that the comments on this post are mainly focused on Gwyneth Paltrow and goop because they are the topic of this discussion, not because any of us hold the opinion that the promotion of anti-science and anti-fact thoughts and views are only problematic or are more problematic when promoted by or to women.
posted by wierdo at 10:51 AM on August 1, 2018 [13 favorites]


I wonder how many people decrying GOOP are typing on a iphone or wearing Gap clothes while they do so.

True, we are participating in society.
posted by Lexica at 10:59 AM on August 1, 2018 [9 favorites]


I thought until I read this that when people talk about crystals it is a joke. I don't know why I thought that, it seems obvious now that people actually use them.
posted by Emmy Rae at 11:30 AM on August 1, 2018


It’s not just trinkets and housewitch stuff - that’s its own thing that people usually speak about in glowing terms, what with Etsy being a venue for small business women and the feminist reclamation of crafting. Why do you want people to shrug at the idea that women with cancer should try to treat it with gluten free diets and meditation?
posted by Selena777 at 11:35 AM on August 1, 2018


Everyone kept saying, "We're the only species that drinks another species' milk."

These same people will tell you to peel a banana from the bottom "because that's how monkeys do it."
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 12:10 PM on August 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


Why do you want people to shrug at the idea that women with cancer should try to treat it with gluten free diets and meditation?

Without defending Goop or any of the predatory bad-faith awfulness they promote, I will say that this seems like an unfair exaggeration of the holistic/wellness/etc industry. Not many people will tell you to skip chemo and go gluten-free instead. But they might offer it--or juices, or kombucha--as a supplement to treatments prescribed by your doctor. Meditation, for example, can do a lot to help with stress and suffering that you might experience during cancer treatment. Also, it's free. So why shit on that?

Instead, shit on the MLMs telling you to rub lavender oil on your baby or on the laser-steam labia treatments that will destroy both your genitals and your savings. But not every homeopathic/ayurvedic/holistic thing is equally scammy.
posted by witchen at 1:00 PM on August 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


Super Male Vitality is specifically designed to assist the body in regulating proper balance to create superior vitality in males, and has been used by Alex Jones in order to maximize vitality when working up to 12 hours a day or more in the fight for freedom.

Alex Jones is 44 years old and, well, look at him. I wouldn't recommend that you have whatever he's having.
posted by orange swan at 1:06 PM on August 1, 2018 [6 favorites]


I will say that this seems like an unfair exaggeration of the holistic/wellness/etc industry. Not many people will tell you to skip chemo and go gluten-free instead.

That has not been my experience for the most part. (Mushrooms are the current cure all among the hard-woo set, fwiw) That said, I readily admit that circumstances in my life are such that I am more likely than most to be around people who are strong believers in alternative medicine of various sorts.

Not that it's really relevant, but the most aggressive evangelists of stuff on the woo continuum that I've run into are all men who also have a bad tendency to mansplain.
posted by wierdo at 5:47 PM on August 1, 2018 [2 favorites]


I mean, somewhat famously, Steve Jobs initially pursued alternative medicine instead of a more aggressive medical treatment that might have kept him alive. That sort of skews my default assumption that one reason why so many Americans look to "wellness" is because our health care system is such a nightmare.
posted by grandiloquiet at 6:03 PM on August 1, 2018 [3 favorites]


I mean, somewhat famously, Steve Jobs initially pursued alternative medicine instead of a more aggressive medical treatment that might have kept him alive.

This is misleading. He still had the aggressive medical treatment. He also still had pancreatic cancer, which is not an easy one to eradicate. The article explains his course of treatment and stresses that his "alternative medicine" choices likely had no impact on his survival, and that, "as part of a preventative or recovery regimen, or alongside medical care—some of these measures can improve one's overall health."

People turn to "wellness" because our healthcare system is garbage and continually discredits patients who are feminine or not white. They also turn to "wellness" because cancer is fucking terrifying and you'll try anything to get some comfort, relief, or hope.
posted by witchen at 8:31 AM on August 2, 2018 [3 favorites]


I said he initially pursued alternative treatment, and treating cancer is more likely to work when it starts early. Obviously no one could say whether that would've actually made a difference! The comment wasn't meant as a dig at Jobs or anyone suffering from terminal disease. I just meant that there is no simple explanation for why people turn from established medicine; even a man with access the best experts in the world veered in another direction.
posted by grandiloquiet at 11:35 AM on August 2, 2018


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