The Wall Street Journal Magazine (WSJM) has a puff piece on Gwyneth Paltrow and her pile of GOOP. People Magazine has an even more cloying companion piece. I expect that from People, but honestly I thought the WSJM might actually offer more than a thinly veiled advertisement.
I thought wrong.
Both articles have a serious case of nose-up-ass disease. I’m tempted to prescribe GOOP’s coffee enema kit, but I don’t want anyone to burn their rectum on my account. Although I would pay money to watch Paltrow walk us through a coffee enema step-by-step. According to WSJM she tries almost all the products GOOP sells.
If she tries them (or reportedly tries them), then when you buy them you can be just like Paltrow. Or at least aspire to be like her. GOOP is, after all, aspirational. Because that is of course what health should be. Aspirational.
WSJM gives Paltrow prime real estate to tell people how amazing she is, but also how she is just like the proletariat (for example, after getting married she and her new husband still have separate households, because teenagers). And how she made yoga and eating healthy cool in 2008.
No one ever thought of yoga or salads before Paltrow.
We learn how she invented the idea of marketing products and how her gumption and products got her the supposed millions that GOOP has raked in. Genetics, privilege, wealth, or the fact that she can be the subject of a piece in one of the most influential newspapers in the country and be asked to prove not one claim have little to do with her success.
It is the standard Paltrow profile. They are never interviews. There are no real questions and of course no answers. Even when she was interviewed earlier this year by the BBC and asked about me (that “Canadian gynecologist”) she gave a non answer that was simply accepted and the reporter moved on.
As we rarely, if ever, read an actual interview with Paltrow it suggests to me they are not allowed. It would be nice if reporters and publications included the terms that got them access to publish images of Paltrow in a bikini.
Paltrow treats us to her standard “trailblazing” talk that is fairly rehearsed by now. Many of the phrases are exactly the same as those that appear elsewhere. There is no insight into why she thinks her products supposedly sell so well or actual answers to the many, many, many questions many, many, many people of science and common sense have asked. There is also no proof of this super, amazing testing process that goes on at GOOP. It’s all vague and mystical and looks expensive.
We are told about her new line of supplements for menopause. We are never told they are useless, potentially harmful, and are about $5 worth of product marked up for $90 a month ($75 with a subscription).
Paltrow is, according to her biggest fan Paltrow, a wellness and health trailblazer. The actual health trails she has blazed are not mentioned. Who actually gets better and from what condition? Who knows?! But here is Paltrow in a bikini on a beach!
She sells supplements. She promotes a Medical Medium. This is cool and edgy. Mechanisms of action are…unimportant? So we must simply take the world of a genetically gifted, Hollywood actress with a grade 12 science education that everything works. And that a medium is something people should use for health.
Fascinating is the new facts.
GOOP is apparently making piles of cash, which is evil when Big Pharma does it but never when it is the Wellness Industrial Complex. If you get your product approved by the FDA, can prove it contains what you claim, pay for advertising on television, and mark your product up in an egregious manner you are bad. If you do not prove your product works, cannot prove it contains what you claim, get free puff pieces in major magazines, and mark your product up in an egregious manner then you are trailblazer.
No one ever requires GOOP or Paltrow to prove their financials. Maybe they are dripping in cash and Paltrow is at home laughing it up while she is cracking off orgasms with the $3,490.00 vibrator she sells on GOOP (so I guess has personally road-tested), but I wouldn’t take the word of someone who claimed jade eggs were an Ancient Chinese practice for anything.
I always wonder if you are not telling the truth about one thing, what else are you not being honest about?
Sometimes I wonder when GOOP sales are flagging or a venture isn’t going as well as expected if she pulls strings and gets a splashy piece about her awesome family and amazing business and how she is so cool and if you buy GOOP you can be a little like her (not a lot, just a little) to prove to the investors, or perhaps the people at Netflix, that she really can monetize those eyeballs?
Yes GOOP was fined over misleading health statements, but the WSJM doesn’t actually connect the idea that lying about a health product is a bad look for someone who claims to be interested in health. The jade eggs were always a lie. Never mind that they can’t fix your hormones or give you female energy (or what ever the fuck they were supposed to do), they were never even used in Ancient China. Promoting vaginal jade eggs as an Ancient Chinese practice is nothing but Orientalism. That the author lets all that slide is striking, especially as this quote makes the cut:
“It’s so beautiful to see people feeling empowered by natural solutions or ancient modalities alongside science and medicine.”
*Raises hand. Excuse me, but what if one so-called ancient modality isn’t even ancient. Might others possibly also not be, um, quite as advertised?*
And as per the usual Paltrow puff piece we doctors are simply enraged.
I don’t know, I mean rage seems a reasonable response to women being sold useless products, exposure to medical conspiracy theories, and telling women they should listen to a dude who talks to a fucking ghost for health information.
This is what GOOP’s beloved Medical Medium wrote for them recently about celery.
If you only ate celery, you wouldn’t be able to receive all of its concentrated undiscovered cluster salts. These cluster salts are not just mineral salts; they’re far more specialized. Mineral salts are critical for our bodies to function, but there is an undiscovered subgroup of sodium that I call cluster salts, and these are unique and special in the way they support the liver’s personalized immune system and bind onto toxins and help flush them from the liver.
Those words are on GOOP and they called it fascinating. It’s not fascinating, it’s fucking batshit.
(I am not responsible for any injury you may have sustained from the eye roll that screenshot above from GOOP may have induced).
Anyone who has completed grade 5 should know that sodium is an element and so does not have a subgroup and that a salt is a compound formed from the reaction of an acid with a base. And yet GOOP and Paltrow use their substantial platform to push this misinformation out into the ether.
Apparently pointing this and all the other GOOPshit out to Paltrow are the “slings and arrows” that she must bear to empower people.
Sweetheart, don’t confuse correcting you with criticism.
Promoting GOOP in this way is beyond irresponsible. It’s no different from giving Andrew Wakefield or the latest Vegan blogger who thinks periods are toxic a puff piece. All three are fascinating cultural health phenomena. None can help you achieve health by any metric.
What Paltrow offers is not unique, it’s snake oil. The only revolutionary thing about Paltrow and GOOP it is how no one questions her or asks for proof.
How about just asking her to define how her menopausal supplement, Madame Ovary, offers support? The supplement is mentioned in WJSM, but without any follow up it is just advertising. What does support mean? Exactly what biological process is being supported and how?
Even the not pure scammy GOOP products almost all have some level of scam — conventional tampons do not have toxins and while you can use charcoal toothpaste, it’s not as good as toothpaste with fluoride. Promoting these products as supposedly safer alternatives when they are not is, shall we say, somewhat disingenuous.
As for Paltrow’s claim she is helping women who have been neglected by medicine? She has helped spread misinformation and lies about the pelvic floor, the vagina, the uterus, condoms, sexual lubricant, breast cancer, bras, tampons, and menopause.
Oh yeah, and she gave her platform to a doctor who believes AIDS is a Big Pharma scam.
That is not helping women, that is being an equal opportunity offender across the reproductive health spectrum.
Paltrow reminds me of John Brinkley, the failed medical student who opened a practice of implanting goat testicles in men — for the exact same symptoms that Paltrow uses to shill her garbage to women, fatigue and loss of vigor. I find it hard to say the patriarchy drives women to Paltrow when a man used the exact same gambit on men for the same symptoms she tells women are due to menopause or adrenal fatigue.
It was adrenal fatigue two years ago when she had supplements for that. Now it is menopause.
Paltrow, like Brinkley, is profiting from the deficiencies in medicine not offering solutions.
I mean she literally brags about her profits and monetizing eyeballs.
There are many issues in modern medicine and women are often neglected. That is why I write my free blog, to inform women so they can be empowered to make good health care decisions. Empowerment requires facts, something at short supply at GOOP.
Paltrow was so keen to use sex in Ancient China to promote the jade eggs so I thought I should learn about it. That is, after all, what experts do. You know why there is so much emphasis on sexual technique in those ancient texts? (They are detailed enough to describe penile stroke length). Achieving female orgasm was a goal, but only because it benefited men.
In Ancient China the belief was the most concentrated form of ch’i was released during orgasm and gaining additional ch’i was believed to be medically beneficial. These sexual texts were not about female sexual empowerment or how a man should please his partner, they were guides for how men can and should steal ch’i from women during sex.
They were guides to surreptitiously draining the life force from women. An early version of stealthing, if you will.
If you are going to claim a fake sexual aid is ancient as a marketing technique it might be an idea to actually know what that Ancient culture felt about female orgasm.
The more you know.
Just once when a reporter interviews Paltrow I would like them to ask her specifically how product X or article Y can actually help or to answer the specific criticisms make about her products. Or how cluster salts are formed. Or how coffee enemas work. Or how goat’s milk can cure parasites. Or exactly who told her that jade eggs are from Ancient China?
And hey WSJM, asking for this information or pointing out when it is biologically illiterate or potentially harmful or historically untrue doesn’t make you a detractor, it makes you a concerned physician. It also makes you correct.
So far the only person to ask Paltrow anything substantive is Jimmy Kimmel. And he’s a comedian.
And it was funny, because Gwyneth tries-every-product-herself Paltrow didn’t know a thing.