(Nearly) every morning, I'm making it my goal to clean out all the stories that I've had on my reading list and pick a few that paint together well. Today, I've been pretty keen on diving deep into Quartz’s coverage of Goop, women and wellness. Consider this a follow on to my commentary of this article: We Have Found the Cure! (Sort of...)
It’s easy to laugh at the dubious claims of the wellness industrial complex, and reasonable to worry about the health risks involved. But the forces behind the rise of oxygen bars and detox diets are worth taking seriously—because the success of the wellness industry is a direct response to a mainstream medical establishment that frequently dismisses and dehumanizes women.
But it’s important to remember that the dollars we drop on salt lamps and Moon Dust aren’t the same thing as agitating for change—and that retreating into wellness is only an option for the privileged set.
Everyone could look at this and safely laugh at how silly some of the people involved seem, but all behaviour is communication. What’s abundantly clear, is people (mostly affluent whites it seems) are telling the world that there is an underlying need in their lives: a need to be heard, a need to feel better and a need to feel connected. We just so happen to live in a time where those “needs” are no longer directly coupled to biological needs.
Perhaps, that’s where all the eye-rolling comes from, the internal voice that says, “Look at those rich weirdos. How unnecessary.” Yet it’s hard to listen to these accounts and not understand the meaning behind their words seriously. This may be a problem for the affluent, but as modern society flexes and changes its shape, more problems like these will arise. And, I imagine, the privileged will serve as a leading indicator to the strange world us muggles may occupy in the near future.
How can you tell a people believe in something? They invest.
Wellness, you see, is not simply a state of being. Wellness—according to Paltrow’s doctors and disciples—is a journey, a process, an aspiration, and, increasingly, a business.
How can you tell people are captivated by an idea? Or, beginning to identify with a narrative? They create a fierce community. They become the stepping stones of a movement.
“You don’t fuck with this group!” yelled Paltrow, to resounding cheers afterward.
Consider this the chaser.
I’d love to hear your thoughts via Twitter: Where do you think all this smoke surrounding wellness, particularly as a modern narrative, points towards? Where's the fire?