I don’t understand Gwyneth Paltrow. I’m not sure what kind of person does–except Gwyneth Paltrow types. And what kind of person is that? Someone blithely privileged and thoughtless–someone so drunk off their power that they don’t seriously think about the ideas they stand for? And how it could adversely affect others?
This past weekend, Paltrow hosted her inaugural health-and-wellness summit for Goop, her wellness brand. The New York Post wrote a delightfully dishy tell-all piece about it–and honestly, despite being gossipy, parts of it were hard to read. Not because the writing was inaccessible, but because it’s difficult for me (and most people) to take her seriously, considering she is the kind of person who perpetuates fake health advice, which I’ve written about before, like how you can put jade rocks in your vagina for better sex, eat sex dust and brain dust, and even roll out your cellulite.
According to the feature, it was a day-long event that sold 500 tickets, ranging from $500 to $1,500, which is clearly not for your average working woman. Water bottles cost $35, which should give you an idea.
What’s worse, her speakers gave false advice–as if they live on Pluto—but not even in the quirky, eclectic way where you at least get a good hug out of it.
For instance, Dr. Habib Sadeghi spoke about “integrative photosynthesis,” “spiritual Wi-Fi,” “laterality to the body,” “neuro-vegetative signs” and “the ontological experience called your life.” As the Post stated: “About 50 women, most exasperated, streamed out during his lecture, and it’s not hard to see why: By middle age, most everyone has had an experience with catastrophic illness, and there’s no reconciling Sadeghi’s nonsense with that.”
A panel on gut health, for instance, was full of junk science:
“Here we were instructed that kale, superfood of the millennium, can be extremely dangerous; that vaginal birth is the new breastfeeding (a delivery system for essential nutrients that will determine your child’s fate); that taking one Advil or Aleve “is like swallowing a hand grenade”; that cancer does not exist among wild animals (it does, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society, and at similar rates to humans); and that we Americans are not meant to eat nightshades such as tomatoes and potatoes because “everyone immigrated from Europe, Africa, or Asia” where there are no nightshades — despite the Irish fleeing the Great Potato Famine, tomatoes composing the bulk of the Mediterranean diet for centuries, or France and Belgium’s ongoing quarrel over which nation, 300 years ago, invented French fries.
Also, we should use frog venom to treat burns, bad luck and cancer.”
In another session with Dr. Julius Few, the doctor “sliced holes in a volunteer’s face. After explaining that his patient was under a local anesthetic, he pushed a threaded needle through his volunteer’s left cheekbone to her lower jaw, then reversed course while tugging tight.” He went on to say, “This procedure starts at $3,500 and lasts two to three years.”
Then, in a panel about motherhood, Dr. Robin Berman said, “the word ‘mother’ is transgender,” Dr. Sherry Sami listed ways motherhood is stressful: “Pre-school interviews, what camps they should go to — what kind of nanny is going to bring the right consciousness into their life?” She went on to say that kids show moms how to be “a great digestive enzyme.”
As I’ve written before, this type of advice is dangerous to women–and ignores the greater problems our society faces right now. If motherhood’s stresses are dumbed down to what preschool your kid gets into, you’re ignoring systemic poverty–and not trying to help working moms who need more support.
The worst thing GOOP pedals are the dangerous science ideas mentioned above. As someone who has had family members die of cancer, putting more useless information out in the world isn’t going to help us–or our suffering. Gwyneth Paltrow, please go home, read a science textbook, or talk to people with real experiences.
Last week, when Paltrow appeared on Jimmy Kimmel’s show, he confronted her about what her weird science means on GOOP, to which she kept repeating “I don’t know.” That alone is irresponsible and frustrating, indicating that Paltrow doesn’t care about what happens to her audience if she promotes unscientific health advice–and worse, that she’s not even aware of what her brand does.
Most celebrities do have ghost writers, but not even knowing what your brand is promoting seems lazy at best, and dangerous at worst. For instance, Salon reported Paltrow as saying:
“So, Earthing — I don’t actually know that much about Earthing. It came out of me not knowing anything about Earthing but hearing about it. They say that we lost touch with sort of being barefoot in the earth, and there’s some sort of electromagnetic thing that we’re missing. It’s good to take your shoes off and walk in the grass.
This is ironic since she says Goop is her “full-time job.”
I’ve written about Paltrow’s tiresome schtick so many times, it’s tiring. I dislike being negative–not because I love “positive earthing neuromagnetic vibes” but because I don’t enjoy writing critically about people, especially women.
It doesn’t give me joy or satisfaction— it makes me sad.