Gwyneth Paltrow is unstoppable when it comes to giving strange health advice that actually isn’t health advice. Paltrow currently runs Goop, which is a lifestyle brand that promotes healthy living–from putting jade rocks in your vagina for better sex to expensive $2,000 dresses to eating sex dust and brain dust in your daily green smoothie to buying a diet pill called High School Genes–Paltrow’s got all when it comes to fake hipster health. Oh, and apparently, you can roll out your cellulite. Did you know that?
Well, apparently now Condé Nast is validating her ideas even more, as they’re giving her brand a new quarterly print magazine, which will also be called Goop. Honestly, while I mostly don’t care about what Paltrow does (because it takes a lot of energy to actively dislike someone), and while I’m sure she’s not a bad person, she is definitely out to make money off other people’s insecurities and health issues.
And that’s not cool, especially since preying on people’s health concerns–and benefitting from that using unscientific drugs and ideas–is actually, and can be, quite dangerous.
The scary part? It seems like Paltrow and Conde Nast are more into creating a brand than giving any real health experts a platform. According to the New York Times, they want Paltrow to be the “the Oprah Winfrey of wellness.” Gross. You don’t get to be a doctor, or act like a doctor, without actually going to med school, and rightly so. Just as, of course, you wouldn’t take your child to see a lawyer for their annual physical. Paltrow is an actress and entertainer, which is very different than being doctor or a trained professional.
Is creating a #personalbrand more in important in the Digital Age, rather than having the chops and experience to back up the talk? It seems like it. I hardly need to mention the fact that our president seems to have gotten his role in quite the same way. What ever happened to working and being educated and having experience, rather than being focused on crafting a notable persona?
In this case, it seems as if Paltrow, and her team of people who I would hardly define as experts, don’t seem to mind “misleading people about health.” While I can’t go so far to say Paltrow is outright lying–since she seems to believe some of the stuff she espouses, it’s also not scientifically backed.
For instance, with the jade vaginal egg, there wasn’t actually an expert being asked questions that you could identify. Shiva Rose, an actress and beauty guru who apparently uses the eggs, was the “expert.” An actual real-life gynecologist, Dr. Jen Gunter, who was quoted in The Washington Post after writing a blog post called it “the biggest load of garbage.” She went on to explain why it’s actually unhealthy to do this, stating:
“Jade is porous, she said, so leaving the egg in one’s vagina during sleep “could allow bacteria to get inside” and cause bacterial vaginosis or even Toxic Shock Syndrome, a life-threatening complication caused by bacterial infections.
I would like to point out that your pelvic floor muscles are not meant to contract continuously. In fact, it is quite difficult to isolate your pelvic floor while walking so many women could actually clench other muscles to keep the egg inside.”
As someone who once had toxic shock syndrome from tampons (yep, I’m the lucky winner who got that and luckily caught it before it did any damage), that really infuriates me. It’s irresponsible to give advice that is either useless–and possibly dangerous. It’s also important to point out, as The Washington Post piece did, that every article has a disclaimer at the end as a way to protect the site legally in case someone does follow their poor health advice:
“At the end of the article is a disclaimer saying the views of the author “do not necessarily represent the views of Goop, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners.”
“The article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice,” the disclaimer states.”
While disclaimers are typical for websites, it seems particularly odd to me for a site that promotes healthy living, as opposed to being a site that publishes personal essays. Anna Wintour, notorious Vogue editor, said how happy she is for Paltrow:
“I’ve long known Gwyneth to have wonderful taste and vision — but with Goop she has built something remarkable, a thoroughly modern take on how we live today. Goop and Condé Nast are natural partners and I’m excited she’s bringing her point of view to the company.”
Meanwhile, Paltrow has actually stated that she see Goop as a health source for women who can’t go the doctor, which is kind of awful because while healthy living is great, there is absolutely no substitute for medical care:
“I am really fortunate I can go to the doctor, get a blood test, and he can tell me you’re deficient in x, y, and z. But for a lot of women it’s not that accessible. We thought well, wouldn’t it be amazing if we could leverage our relationships, curiosity, and relationships with our doctors and create really targeted solutions?”
As Vox pointed out, Goop “attracted $15 million in venture capital—money that’s helped expand its health focus.” Clearly, this is a brand interested in making money, not making people healthier. While it can be hard determining whether alternative medicines are actually legit, and not harmful, it’s worth putting in the extra time and effort researching and asking your doctor or a trusted healthcare professional.
Because sadly, not everyone has other people’s best interests at heart.