This is likely harder for me than it is for you. We’ve been together so long; I can barely remember a time in my life without you in it.
When you first launched Goop (goop? You style it both ways. The fact that’s never irritated me until now shows how deep my love for you flows) in 2008 I was five years cancer-free and with a new baby after a complicated pregnancy during which a routine check up had (mistakenly) led doctors to believe I’d die soon after my baby was born.
I’d spent the past five years watching peers carelessly eat and messily party while I obsessed over every bad sleep, ache and pain. Being diagnosed with breast cancer while still a youth (26) was hard. Back then, it wasn’t ‘cool’ or easy to get an oat latte, or a green smoothie. There was little self-awareness or interest in health around any of my peers and yet I was all-consumed by it. I know that my mental health is better when I eat healthy, and that reducing alcohol and dairy intake while increasing leafy green vegetables reduces your risk of cancer. I felt like an outlier and alone in so many ways and will be forever grateful to you for not only making it mainstream but also cool.
I’m not completely blind to the immense place of white privilege from which you operate, and the immense amount of privilege that’s afforded me the ability to be a disciple, no matter how discerning I believe my following to be. Unless anyone knows the shock of a severe health condition in their youth that hangs over the rest of their life I’m not sure they would understand the complicated dynamic of our relationship.
I appreciate you agitating so hard for a zeitgeist change. While I would never insert a jade egg inside my yoni (just a reminder I uncovered this practice before you did) I appreciate you bringing Dr Jen Gunter into my life; without you I’d never have read as many articles on vaginal health. And yes, because I am a complex and deeply flawed person I could love both you and Jen equally.
I understand that the candle that smells like your vagina isn’t expected to be purchased by people wanting their living rooms to smell like vaginas, but rather to normalise the use of the word while using the obligatory shock headlines to drive traffic to your site. You are undoubtedly a troll but while you seemingly set yourself up for non-stop combat I am happy to reap the benefits, such as free access to one pot and sheet pan recipes.
I have always been a Gwyneth apologist. I have defended and loved you.
On US travels I would arm myself with the Goop app and discover all manner of delicious restaurants and interesting places.
It was through the Goop app I discovered Wi Spa, in LA, a 24 hour Korean spa which became my favourite place to check into (they store your luggage) ahead of a late flight back to NZ. My first couple of visits I stared wistfully through the glass at the ‘naked only’ female baths before heading upstairs to the family (clothed) sauna rooms. I couldn’t fathom dropping my towel and exposing everyone, including young children, to my misshapen, mismatched mastectomy breasts. On my last visit I did. It was the most emotional and most liberating thing I’ve ever done. At the Korean spa I was just…. normal. For the first time in years. No one batted an eyelid. No one caught a glimpse, then looked away, sad for me and traumatised for themselves like occasionally happens in gym changing rooms and public pools here. I was exactly the same as everyone in that room. Fat, thin, young, old.
I liked to believe you used your incredibly ‘perfect’ Hollywood body to create this self-acceptance. I know, you didn’t create the Korean spa, although you like to think you created mask culture. But you did create the conditions, for me, that allowed me to step into it.
I loved you because I am not easily led and tempted to peer pressure. I understand you’ve grown up in the Hollywood ecosystem, where your looks are first and foremost the most important thing in life. I am happy to take the cauliflower and kimchi rice, and leave the Tracy Anderson Method. The perfection of your body is pertinent to your brand. It’s not to mine. Your primary focus is on the way you look; mine is on the way I feel.
I’m also interested in the way you’ve used your capital to help women outside of your ‘brand’. You were one of the first sources prepared to go on the record to the NY Times about Harvey Weinstein, opening the doors for many other, terrified women to walk through.
You also hosted a dinner for ‘whistleblowers’ at your Brentwood mansion, with guests including Christine Blasey Ford and Kim Lawson, a McDonald's worker who fought the corporate behemoth for better sexual harassment policies. I don’t think either of these generated as many headlines as when you launched a Goop vibrator.
For the reasons above, as well as for The Talented Mr Ripley and wearing Tom Ford better than anyone I know, I would always defend you. Until now.
Recently I’ve found you increasingly hard to defend. A natural contrarian, I’m reasonably savvy to taking the pieces of you I like and discarding the rest. Much like another of my idols, the wonderful Taffy Ackerson-Brodder, I love you for your idiosyncrasies, your shamelessness and seemingly impenetrable ego.
I’d love to interview you but I have no interest in being your friend. Despite your one cigarette a week and assertion you love a good time, I’m sure you’d give me the side eye if you sat between me and a cheese board. You included one red meat recipe in your excellent cookbook It’s All Good (the anchovy steak, it’s delicious) declaring that you ‘don’t eat red meat but sometimes a man needs a steak’ which reminded me of the time as a single woman I went on holiday with my girlfriends and their partners and they made ‘girl’ and ‘boy’ meals. I ate tuna quinoa salad and stared wistfully at the sausages wondering how I could explain I’d prefer that meal without receiving a pitying look that would make me realise exactly why I was holidaying alone.
But using Covid to sell a diet and wellbeing plan? That’s a notch below forgivable to me. The entire world is living through a global pandemic. Mothers have been locked up with their children, single women have been locked up alone, women have been locked up in far from optimal relationships. No one feels good right now. It’s like you looked at half the population and instead of empathy you saw dollar signs. We need an embrace right now GP, not a fast.
At the risk of sounding like your mother (ILY Blythe! I don’t mean you in particular) I’m disappointed in you GP. From your ivory tower and huge platform you talk of having long Covid. You say you had it early on - are you perhaps feeling any remorse for traveling to Paris Fashion Week last February? An essay exploring these complex feelings of guilt and shame, perhaps with one of my favourite friends of yours, Brene Brown, would’ve been an interesting and humane way to broach your Goop Covid coverage (you can have that suggestion for free; my parting gift to you). But nope, you had to go for the low-hanging fruit and straight to people's insecurities. Hey, I get it Gwyn. Times are tough in the post-Covid media landscape and revenue streams aren’t what they were. But seriously?
It also hurts you’ve used Dr Will Cole to launch this (not a real doctor). Of all the people you’ve led me to on Instagram he is my ultimate hate follow. In Will’s world everything is snack sized pieces of information. The kind that fit neatly on an Instagram tile, or in a reel (his social of choice).
His ridiculous catchphrase ‘you can’t heal a body you hate’ doesn’t even make sense! It’s literal nonsense. A format you’ve both adopted to write about something similarly paradoxical; intuitive fasting. (Not a) Dr Will loves a catchy gimmicky hashtag almost as much as he loves an Instagram filter, which is to say every bit as much as a Kardashian does. I gently suggest Dr Will spend less time on the platform and perhaps more time studying for a medical degree. There’s nothing intuitive about fasting.
You’ve lost me GP. The way you lost your best chef after It’s All Good was released and the way you lost your chief content officer. I’m ashamed now to say I thought it was a two way street; that you cared about me as much as I cared about you. Or, at the very least that you cared a little. But looking back on our relationship, much like a rewatching of The Sixth Sense, I see you’re dead inside. Devoid of compassion or empathy.
You don’t care about us at all, you’re just an Academy Award winning actress who’s good at pretending. I mean, I can’t hate on a woman for making bank. But empathy, as it turns out, is something that can’t be commodified.