GOOP: pseudoscience in a dress, albeit a Prada dress

Prada Store Facade at Nisantasi

It pretends to be transgressive but it promotes a thoroughly capitalist, rabid consumerism.

Because it’s really about money.

It venerates romanticized “traditional” wellness practices that not only were never practiced by our foremothers, but are thoroughly modern.

In defending GOOP, Block and Albert imagine themselves as feminists, but they are fools fronting for a marketing machine.

Because it’s really about money.

It stresses feminist empowerment by perpetuating the misogynist belief that irrational thought is the special province of women.

Because it’s really about money.

It’s Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP and it’s pseudoscience in a dress, albeit a Prada dress.

That’s why it’s particularly delicious to read Who’s Afraid of Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop? by Elisa Albert and Jennifer Block, two privileged white women who defend the sacred right of another privileged white woman to defraud consumers. They imagine themselves as feminists when they are nothing more than fools, fronting for a marketing machine.

GOOP is a corporation devoted to profit and it profits by promoting conspicuous consumption of luxury products to wealthy women. Why is it being criticized by mainstream physicians and scientists? Because it makes false, unscientific and often fabricated claims about those products.

Because it’s really about money.

Albert and Block are astoundingly credulous. To read their piece you wouldn’t know that GOOP exists to sell products and is being criticized because their products not only don’t work as advertised, but literally can’t work as advertised.

Block and Albert plaintively ask:

So what underlies all the overwhelming, predictable, repetitive critiques? What exactly is so awful about a bunch of consenting adults seeking self-knowledge, vitality and emotional freedom?

They mobilize the tired tropes of radical feminism to defend a bastion of capitalism, a traditionally patriarchal economic system.

Throughout history, women in particular have been mocked, reviled, and murdered for maintaining knowledge and practices that frightened, confused and confounded “the authorities.” (Namely the church, and later, medicine.) Criticism of Goop is founded, at least in part, upon deeply ingrained reserves of fear, loathing, and ignorance about things we cannot see, touch, authenticate, prove, own or quantify.

No, throughout history women have been mocked, reviled and murdered for daring to expect the same rights and privileges as men. It had nothing to do with their “knowledge” and everything to do with the naked abuse of power that is misogyny.

Block and Albert mobilize the tropes of religion to undercut science, promoting the same arguments used by flat-earthers and creationists that belief is equal to science.

Our society likes to conjoin the concepts of science and health, but the two do not always overlap. Peer-reviewed, lab-generated, randomized, controlled, double-blinded evidence will always be the gold standard, but such studies aren’t always fundable, or ethical.

They mobilize New Age nonsense to promote traditional profiteering:

But it’s condescending to suggest that if we are interested in having agency over our bodies, if we are open to experiencing heightened states of awareness and emotion, if we are amazed by and eager to learn more about the possibilities of touch and intention and energy, and if we’d like to do everything within our power to stay out of doctors’ offices, we are somehow privileged morons who deserve an intellectual (read: patriarchal) beat-down…

But buying luxury products from GOOP is not asserting agency over your body; it’s allowing Gwyneth Paltrow agency over your wallet.

Because it’s really about money.

But I suspect that Albert and Block know that; they sell pseudoscience through their writing and for them, as for Paltrow, it all about the money.