Hello and welcome to the first Dinner Table column, where we bring conversations to the dinner table that your family wouldn’t. Today we will be discussing Goop, a lifestyle brand started by Gwyneth Paltrow, the ethics behind it, the health risks, and everything else surrounding it.
Vibrators, a five-day meal kit, and a candle that reads, “This smells like my vagina.” These are just some of the products that Goop, actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s self-proclaimed “modern lifestyle brand,” offers on its online website for purchase. After newsletters, lawsuits and “Saturday Night Live” skits mocking the wellness brand, Goop has finally solidified itself in the mainstream with “The Goop Lab,” a six-part Netflix series produced by Paltrow and Elise Loehnen, Goop’s chief content officer.
The series, which finds Goop staffers embarking on a variety of physical, emotional and mental journeys involving shrooms, orgasms and conversations with dead people, was met with harsh critical reception — much like many of the brand’s products, which have been openly panned. An article from Cosmopolitan called the show “nonsense.” A one-star review from The Guardian regards it as “a demented paean to self-indulgence.” It currently holds a score of 29% on review-aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes, with the critical consensus deeming Paltrow’s progeny as “pseudoscience.”
I, however, believe in the gospel of Goop.
“To me, it’s all laddering up to one thing, which is the optimization of self,” Paltrow said in the first episode of her series.
Her statement is not inherently incorrect. In fact, Paltrow’s creation is quite multifaceted and allows for one to enhance themselves in a vast array of different ways. One glance at Goop’s website reveals articles about wellness and reducing stress, depression and negativity, guides to increase sexual pleasure and beauty tips and tricks.
A browse through the Goop online store might lead you to add various assortments of vitamins, skin-care products and clothing items to your shopping bag. All of this content that Goop provides is actually beneficial — the less-than-favorable press surrounding some of the brand’s more outlandish products, like the infamous jade egg, shrouds the importance and necessity of self-help.
The popular stigmatization of Goop due to its few eccentricities is detrimental not only to the brand itself, but to those who support it as well. It is a huge middle finger to those who actually derive benefits from the brand and completely invalidates the positive experiences and growth that people have encountered from it. The various case studies of everyday people examined within the Netflix special are proof that what Goop preaches can actually work.
Goop is more than “The Goop Lab.” It’s more than an A-list actress’ venture into self-care. It’s more than doing shrooms in Jamaica, and it’s more than putting a jade egg inside of your vagina. In actuality, Goop offers an impressive assortment of products and content meant to assist one in their journey to “optimization of self.” I do honestly dare to say that Goop can be grouped together with astrology, tarot cards and even religion in its ability to guide and enhance the lives of those who adhere to it.
So, in the case of Goop, maybe we shouldn’t let one bad egg spoil the rest of the bunch.
Let's talk jade eggs.
Jade eggs: beautiful, elegant, perhaps even nice to be around. But in my vagina. NO THANK YOU.
Knowing that Paltrow once had jade eggs for sale on Goop’s website already had me weary of the rest of the products, let alone the daily blogs about diets and wellness practices.
Her show only made me lose more trust with the information Goop was distributing. In “The Goop Lab,” Paltrow uses folktale-like practices to gain sales and monetize on views, which is unethical. Despite this being based on pseudoscience, Paltrow’s practices come off as science or true information because she knows people believe in a more “natural” way of healing right now.
For Paltrow’s lifestyle brand to be considered ethical, she would have to actually back her information up with science so that the audience is not potentially worsening their health problems by following these practices. Goop should not continue to back up their products and blogs based on “fans'” opinions or experiences.
Until Goop decides to find real doctors and scientists to back up their information, I will be staying away from jade eggs and everything else Gwyneth Paltrow.
Make sure to check out the podcast we did on Goop too!