Somebody please stop Gwyneth Paltrow: Why you shouldn't be taking any advice from the Goop woman
Off the Goop
To be frank, I've been sitting on this op-ed for a while because I genuinely have no idea how to put this kindly—however, I'm going to try. Sort of. It's time to talk about Gwyneth Paltrow.
How does one even begin to describe Gwyneth Paltrow? At face value, she's a successful, business-savvy celebrity with a rich acting career behind her, a loyal cult following, and a passion for alternative medicine. However, if you dig a little deeper, you'll actually find that the Academy-Award-Winner-turned-wellness-guru is probably better described as a pseudoscience peddler that profits off the people she exploits. One may even liken her to the human equivalent of a yeast infection—that is, in the sense that she crops up once in a while to wreak havoc on the metaphorical vagina of society, only to retreat temporarily (albeit noisily) in the face of scientifically-backed medicine.
Just take her most recent appearance on American Vogue's Beauty Secrets series. In the video, she proceeds to explain why her "clean and non-toxic" mineral sunscreen is better than other "really harsh" chemical sunscreens on the market (not true), all while applying the product incorrectly and—you guessed it—blatantly lying about cosmetics regulations in the process. Granted, she may genuinely believe that what she's saying is true, but that doesn't change the fact that she is spreading falsities as fact for profit.
FYI: Common sunscreen ingredients don't give you cancer. Not wearing sunscreen properly, however, does. That's not the only painfully ignorant thing Paltrow said in the video, either. If you're interested, James Welsh has done a pretty bang-on recap:
Now, I understand that this may seem like a harsh overreaction, but at this point, the implications of Paltrow's actions are bordering on genuinely dangerous. As demonstrated above, her misguided beauty, lifestyle, and wellness advice is notoriously ridden with misinformation, much to the exasperation of every respectable medical and healthcare professional in existence. Further, her lifestyle and beauty brand Goop—also known as the quick cash grab that monetises fearmongering tactics and serves as the vehicle by which Paltrow pushes her pseudoscientific rhetoric out to the general public—has been continually called out for its deceitful marketing tactics and its baffling, tone-deaf product lineup.
Exhibit A: The 2018 Goop jade egg lawsuit, also known as the time that Paltrow and her team claimed that a glorified rock could "balance hormones, regulate menstrual cycles, prevent uterine prolapse, and increase bladder control". Spoiler alert: It doesn't do any of these things. In fact, it has since been proven that putting a jade egg up your vagina actually has negative consequences such as pelvic floor tension and an increased risk of infection (Jade is a semi-porous material, making it the perfect place for Toxic Shock Syndrome-causing S. aureus bacteria to reside—even after cleaning). Yeah, needless to say, Paltrow's pet project settled that lawsuit with a solid USD$145,000.
Exhibit B: That time she green-lighted the Goop blog post that claimed that bras were responsible for breast cancer... just in time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month (nice one, GP). The source? The questionable "Dr" Habib Sadeghi (AKA the guy that apparently coined the infamous term, "conscious uncoupling"), who cited the 1995 book Dressed to Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras and a bunch of other wildly moronic arguments as his source (at one point in his post, Sadeghi postulates that the underwire of a bra could "magnify and sustain electromagnetic frequencies (EMF) and radiation from things like cell phones and Wi-Fi". Yikes.) Naturally, numerous recent journal articles and countless other
actually competent medical professionals have debunked the blog post. Brutally.
Exhibit C: The entirety of her Netflix series The Goop Lab. I don't personally recommend it, but if you'd like to spend three and a half hours losing brain cells, be my guest.
But that's not even where it ends! One of the major criticisms that Goop has garnered since its launch is its genuinely dangerous "medical advice". Goop-ers are encouraged to forgo clinically-approved medical advice for holistic placebos that do more harm than good (read: Goop's recommendation to "clean out your colon", despite the practise having no reported health benefits and many adverse effects, including dehydration, infection, vomiting, and even bowel perforations).
It doesn't take a lot of digging to unearth Paltrow's expansive history of problematic behaviour, nor does it take long to uncover her many critics. That said, it's one thing to be ignorant, yet open to learning and improving. If Paltrow took the countless corrections from concerned experts and actually learned from them, there would be no bad blood here. However, instead of reflecting on her actions and growing, she deflects blame and digs her heels in even deeper, just as she has done for the last two decades.
Basically, it was all fun and games when she was just a slightly eccentric movie star who named her daughter after a fruit and existed on an out-of-touch plane of privileged existence, inaccessible outside of interviews. However, post-Goop Paltrow has a highly popular platform that allows her terrible and irresponsible advice to spread farther and wider than ever before, and—at this point—it's a threat. You see, as much as we'd like to believe that most people are wise to Goop's ridiculousness and that her influence isn't powerful, this is objectively not the case. In addition to being an extremely successful businesswoman, the actress is also charismatic, which means she can sell pretty much anything—including the infamous "This Smells Like My Vagina" candle that sold out multiple times (which, to her credit, was a good meme and a pretty nice smelling candle, apparently).
At the core of it, Paltrow has continually demonstrated a blatant disregard for the health and safety of others, as long as it means that she gets a paycheck out of it. To make matters worse, her insidious sales tactics are thinly veiled behind a facade of female empowerment that reeks of exploitation. Every overpriced "dopamine bean" or "brain boosting vibrator" she touts is inherently rooted in blatant lies and shrouded in fearmongering, and the impressionable women who buy into the overpriced hype are left with a product that doesn't deliver on its claims at best and causes serious health implications at worst.
The real kicker? Even GP herself doesn't believe in the products sold by her brand. Just take this 2019 Jimmy Kimmel interview for instance: When prompted about her more questionable products, Paltrow only has one thing to say, and it is "I don't know". That's right—she hasn't tried any of the stuff she's selling, so why should you?
With all that in mind, knowing her track record, it's unlikely that GP is going to stop her heinous antics anytime soon. This leaves us all with just one clear solution: To de-platform her and stop supporting her brand.
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