What A Bunch of Goop
Print Lifestyle Editor, Anna Romanovska, discusses the issues of Gwyneth Paltrow’s new documentary and the dangers of ‘pseudoscience’ documentaries on Netflix.
Goop, yet again, has faced a storm of criticism following the announcement that Netflix are streaming a show dedicated to the lifestyle brand under the name ‘the Goop Lab’ from 24 January. Though seemingly harmless according to various reviews, the series does not overshadow the many dangerous pseudoscience-y products and ‘treatments’ that Goop and Paltrow have advertised to their followers. It thus raises the question of whether or not a show based on non-medical wellness practices can have merit, or if it should even exist, on a platform as massive as Netflix?
Pseudoscience can have its merit at times, however that is almost never the case. This is due to the fact that it does not and cannot serve as the main destination for various cures and treatments. Most of the time, unless it’s something outright ridiculous like sticking a jade egg up your vagina, it can only serve as an addition to a treatment. I would even go as far as to refer to pseudoscientific ‘medical advice’ as a fashion accessory for people who seem to be searching for a way to spice up their overly comfortable life.
Unfortunately, Goop, along with Gwyneth Paltrow, have propagated some rather dangerous practices. Along with the jade eggs up your vagina controversy, Paltrow has also urged her followers to steam their vaginas to get them clean.
I do, however, appreciate Goop’s attempts to normalise female genitalia and sexual pleasure. Placing them in the spotlight directly challenges the patriarchal on male pleasure and masturbation. This institutionalised focus has caused a lot of confusion amongst those with vaginas in regard to their achievement of orgasms, pleasure and knowledge of their own genitalia. That does not mean that this transparency does not come without its issues, however.
Unfortunately, Goop, along with Gwyneth Paltrow, have propagated some rather dangerous practices. Along with the jade eggs up your vagina controversy, Paltrow has also urged her followers to steam their vaginas to get them clean. As expected, many women experienced vaginal burns after trying this treatment. Therefore, this is nothing but a further contribution to the societal idea that vaginas and vulvas are filthy and need to be cleaned, despite the fact that the vagina is a self-cleaning organ that is sensitive to disruptions to its Ph.
What Netflix needs to do is to provide a direct platform that deals with the debunking of sexual pleasure, consent, genital anatomy, STIs and conditions relating to genitalia. Furthermore, it is rather obvious that Goop only caters to the White Western Woman and completely disregards class and LGBTQIA people. From the trailer, I can already tell that the series will not be inclusive outside of its target group.
What Netflix needs to do is to provide a direct platform that deals with the debunking of sexual pleasure, consent, genital anatomy, STIs and conditions relating to genitalia.
The target group also becomes prominent in most articles found on the website. For example, an article giving a rundown of depression suggests music therapy, saffron and massages as alternative treatments for the mental illness. I am sure that people from lower income backgrounds who suffer from depression would love to hear how an overpriced bottle of saffron extract will help them alleviate their low mood for a short term.
I have said this before, and I will say it again, someone needs to give Dr Jen Gunter her own ‘Vagina Bible’ inspired show. Only then may we finally get an accurate and inclusive sex education. However, sticking to pseudoscience and creative TV shows such as Sex Education may be all we’ll have for the next couple of years.