Gwyneth Paltrow, queen of the quacktresses

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Apparently, I wasted 8 years in medical training. Four years of medical school and four years of residency were over-kill (pardon the expression). It seems that in 2017 the most important requirement for a medical authority is to be a quacktress.

A quacktress is a actress who has monetized her celebrity by giving pseudoscientific medical “advice,” often selling books, supplements and other products to the credulous.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Who is gullible enough to believe steaming your vagina and filling it with jade balls makes any sense at all?[/pullquote]

Quacktresses have been with us for years. Homebirth advocate Ricki Lake is a quacktress; anti-vax loon Jenny McCarthy is a quacktress; and, for many years, Suzanne Somers was the queen of quacktresses, peddling dubious cancer “cures.” But Suzanne Somers has been dethroned. Gwyneth Paltrow is the new queen of the quacktresses.

What has Paltrow done to deserve this honor? Perhaps it is because she is young and beautiful. Perhaps it is because she is a better actress than most quacktresses. But I suspect that Paltrow now represents the acme of quackery because so much of her nonsense centers on the vagina.

Through her lifestyle website Goop, Paltrow has proven that women are gullible enough to put anything in their vaginas.

Writing about a high end spa, Paltrow shared:

The real golden ticket here is the Mugworth V-Steam: You sit on what is essentially a mini-throne, and a combination of infrared and mugwort steam cleanses your uterus, et al…

It is an energetic release — not just a steam douche — that balances female hormone levels …

What does that gobbledygook even mean?

The spa’s site provides a history of the steam, explaining that it has been utilized in Korea “for hundreds of years” and helps to “maintain internal health” and keeps “skin looking young and healthy. The procedure involves the placement of boiled leaves and flower buds on a “specific area of the body” for “detoxication.”

So much stupid in so few words!

Claiming that you can clean your uterus by steaming your vagina is like claiming you can clean your colon by steaming your mouth. Why would your uterus need “detoxification,” even assuming such a thing were possible? And how does it balance your female hormones when nearly all of them are made in your ovaries and head (pituitary gland)? Obviously it doesn’t.

But it does boost traffic at her website. As Paltrow explained:

If I find benefit to it and it’s getting a lot of page views, it’s a win-win.

It’s not her fault that people are gullible, right?

Paltrow’s vagina fetish doesn’t end there. According to the Washington Post:

Most recently, Paltrow’s lifestyle website Goop, which promoted vaginal steaming, is at it again with another advice for women: putting a jade egg — yes, a solid object about the size of a golf ball — in your vagina, and keeping it there all day or while you’re sleeping.

For $66 a piece, the jade eggs, once “the strictly guarded secret” of Chinese queens and concubines to please their emperors, would help boost your orgasm and “increase vaginal muscle tone, hormonal balance, and feminine energy in general,” reads the beginning of an article titled “Better Sex: Jade Eggs for Your Yoni.”

But gynecologist Jen Gunter, had this to say:

My issue begins with the very start of your post on jade eggs specifically that “queens and concubines used them to stay in shape for emperors.” Nothing says female empowerment more than the only reason to do this is for your man! And then the claim that they can balance hormones is, quite simply, biologically impossible…

Gunter deftly and hilariously debunks Paltrow’s nonsense and there is a great deal of it.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s goat milk therapy for parasites is stupid and dangerous

Gwyneth Paltrow doesn’t have adrenal fatigue because it doesn’t exist

As well as this delightfully scathing takedown:

Dear Gwyneth Paltrow we’re not f**king with you we’re correcting you, XOXO Science

Why would anyone believe Paltrow’s quackery?

In part it’s because of our obsession with celebrity. We worship celebrities and even the idea of celebrity. People are desperate for the opportunity to be humiliated on reality TV shows just so they can become famous. We trust celebrities even when they give us no reason to do so or plenty of reasons not to.

In part it’s because of bizarre form of racism that imagines that “orientals” and indigenous (read: black) peoples are in possession of exotic knowledge that white people can use.

But mostly it’s because of the dismaying strain of anti-intellectualism that has longed plagued our country, including the idea that doctors know so little that quacktresses actually know more.

Why? How can anyone claim with a straight face to believe that Ricki Lake knows anything about childbirth? How could anyone possibly believe that Jenny McCarthy knows about immunology simply by dint of having a child who she thought was autistic. And Suzanne Somers? Does anyone seriously believe that the purveyor of the “Thigh-Master” just happened to discover the cure for cancer in her spare time?

And who is gullible enough to believe steaming your vagina and filling it with jade balls makes any sense at all?

A lot of people, apparently, and they’ve made Gwyneth Paltrow queen of the quacktresses.