The Fashion Magpie Hair Scarf

Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 57: The One on Goop and Over-Pathologizing.

My Latest Score: The Hair Scarf.

I neglected to mention, in my roundup of excellent H+M snags, that I also threw a floral hair scarf into the mix.  It’s since sold out (boohoo), but they have this bandana style (similar to the one above!) and it’s just as good.  For those who don’t want to mess with tying a scarf, there’s also a headband style that I’m into.  Don’t they remind you of the stretchy headbands we all wore in the 90s, but in a good way???  I had a trillion and ten, personally, all of them from The Limited.

The Fashion Magpie Hair Scarf 2 The Fashion Magpie Hair Scarf 1

Also, this has nothing to do with headbands, but I was trying to figure out a way to share super specific, random, one-off things I am obsessed with (like this young adult book I’m reading at the recommendation of Grace and her podcast and cannot put down — I have so many thoughts about it! — or this linen spray, which smells soooo good and I use on mini’s strollers and other harder-to-wash items) as they occur to me, and without writing an entire post, and I’ve decided to send out super short Magpie microposts via email to my subscribers.  (If you’re interested, sign up here!)

You’re Sooooo Popular: The Prettiest Spring Dress.

The most popular items on Le Blog this week:

+The prettiest spring dress, with an accessible price tag.

+Just finished this book.

+These jammies for mini!

+The daintiest ring.

+Wide-leg pants!  Who else wants to try them?

+An Easter classic.

+Finally started using this blow dry primer, and am LOVING IT.

+The absolute best round brush — lightweight, lets air through the center, and with a cushioned handle.  Plus, Gisele uses it.

#Turbothot: Goop Podcast. 

My bestie and husband mock me relentlessly for talking about all my podcasts ad nauseum.

“Oh, Lord — here she goes with the podcasts again.”

It’s like that joke — “if someone is both vegan and does crossfit, what will they tell you about first?” — only: “If someone listens to a podcast and is a mom, what will they tell you about first?”

Sorrrryyyyyyyy!

Anyway, I’ve been tuning into the Goop podcasts and had some strong, stirring reactions to the one on postpartum anxiety and the motherhood shift in particular.  I’m still processing it, and would like to write a longer form post about it (stay tuned), but I think it’s worth a listen for anyone who has given birth — you might find yourself shaking your head, or grimacing, or nodding your head, or coming to a sudden realization.  (All reactions I experienced.)  But its principle virtue was its offering of a structured space for me to think through the absolutely insane experience of childbirth.  I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on it already, but this podcast pushed me into a different thought room, and I found it meaningful.

But today I want to posit a different, more general observation about the type of “wellness” content the series presents.  Let me foreground this by saying that I essentially tuned out Goop as a brand when they started talking about “earthing therapy” (or…walking without shoes) as a means to combat insomnia, and advocating that women should place jade eggs in their nether regions.  I did not identify with the paradigmatic woman they seemed to be nurturing me to become — someone with a prescriptive, oddball diet; someone who went to extremes in pursuit of physical/mental wholeness; someone who used self-involved, neologistic phrases like “conscious coupling”; someone who spent an hour meditating each morning, an hour exercising each afternoon, and an hour re-centering and detoxifying with a range of tinctures and potions and movements before bed.  It just wasn’t me.  I wish I were that woman sometimes, but…I’m me.

Anyway, I was telling Mr. Magpie about the series — about how they really made me think, really pushed me to check in with myself on a range of wellness topics, really nudged me to think about self-care, especially after I’d drafted a list of things that make me feel good about myself earlier this month and noticed that only a handful of them had to actually do with physical wellness — but I told him that the aspect of it that really bugged me was the over-pathologizing.  In the hands of the Goop staff and the various experts they interview, everything, it seems, is symptomatic of some sort of disease, disorder, problem.  (And the patoisThe Goop patois!  I found myself biting my lip with anxiety each time a new one rolled off the interviewer’s tongue.  For example, she uses “reparenting” a number of times in a casual (i.e., non-clinical) context, i.e., “becoming a mom requires reparenting.”   Based on my limited understand of psychotherapy, I believe that reparenting is a legitimate practice in the field, but to extract it from that setting and instead toss it about as some sort of necessary rite of passage for every mom?  Yikes.)

I find the over-pathologizing worrisome.  They seem bent on convincing us that we are all hopelessly misaligned, blocked, toxic, emotionally disturbed, hormonally challenged women.  (What’s the cure?  READ GOOP, OF COURSE!!!)  It reminds me of the observation that an English professor of mine made during an excellent seminar on Baudelaire my third year of college.  She pointed out that the European romantics talked a lot about “ennui” and “temperaments” and “humors” and “bile” — pseduo-medical concepts that drew a relationship between physical attributes or experiences and psychological ones, i.e., if you had an imbalance in humors, you might be “choleric,” which would have a bearing on your appearance and your manner.  These concepts have long since been debunked, of course, but she made the point that nowadays, we have our own pseudo-medical concepts, too, and she suggested that “stress” was one such example.  “I don’t feel well.” “Oh, you’re probably just stressed.  Or “I have a stress headache.”  Or “I went to the doctor, and they said it’s probably just stress.”

Now, I’m not saying stress does not have physical repercussions–in fact, I’ve experienced the physical impact of stress first-hand in the form of bouts of insomnia, a panic attack, and a stretch of maybe four months when we were first launching our business where I was constantly having heart palpitations and thought I was having a cardiac issue.  But I also think that there are times I’ve had a one-off headache or symptom and I shrug and chalk it up to the convenient catch-all: “Stress.”  Stress is everywhere, liable to cause anything, and we have built an entire industry around the concept of de-stressing ourselves.  If you had a word cloud of all the most-used words in the last twenty years, I’d guess stress would be one of the biggest — and it would appear nowhere in a parallel word map from the 1960s.

I guess what I’m saying is this: a lot of the stuff I read about or listen to on Goop feels parallel to the concepts of “temperaments” and “biles” and “ennui” and “humors” from back in the day, and I, for one, am leery of it, and leery of its invitation to self-diagnose.

What do you think?  Do I have this wrong?

#Shopaholic: The Statement Earring.

+OK, THESE are STUNNING, and have a reasonable price tag.  They’d be the perfect accessory for a bride-to-be at her bachelorette or rehearsal dinner!  (Did you like all of my nuptial-related dress picks here?)

+They’ve styled this dress a little too clunkily for me on the site, but it would look so elegant — think Grace! Audrey! Jackie! — with hair pulled back and some simple sandals.

+Club Monaco has some amazing statement pieces out right now — this jumpsuit looks like it could be Johanna Ortiz, this pleated midi looks like it belongs to Fendi, and this statement top (on sale!) looks like a Caroline Constas confection.

+Crate and Barrel just launched a kids collection!  I’m dying over this gingham changing pad cover, this chic Scandi-inspired rug, and these alphabet jammies.

+I have a boho streak to my aesthetic, and tops like these will always find a welcome home in my closet.

P.S.  My favorite Amazon purchases.

P.P.S.  Brutally honest reviews on some trendy cosmetic/beauty purchases.

 

8 Comments

  1. Ugh, Goop. So frustrating, so polarizing…which is by design, because I think that’s just how Gwyneth likes it. She wants to be loved and feared or hated and talked about, nothing in between. GP has fantastic taste, so her fashion, design, travel, and beauty picks can be fun. And I think she has attempted to start some interesting conversations about women’s issues that aren’t always happening.

    But the wackadoo health and science stuff is hugely problematic. I hate the idea of women throwing common sense out the window to blindly follow GP. There have been several pieces on the similarities between the products pushed by Goop and Alex Jones/InfoWars and it all seems like a lot of very expensive snake oil.

    I’ve always thought that the success of Goop is due to a sort of extreme narcisissm. Over-pathologizing is a much nicer way to say it 🙂 This constant thinking about yourself, obsessing about every pang and ill and going to extreme measures to avoid even the most mild discomfort. Her audience is wealthy white women, some of the most well humans on the planet. I tend to think the women who are gobbling Goop vitamins and steaming their hoo-has and covering their bodies in astronaut stickers and on and on have too much time on their hands. If you’re feeling a little off and can’t stop obsessing about it, maybe you should turn your energies outward. Help someone else. I think that’s the major difference between Oprah and GP, O knows there is more to life than constant self-care.

    1. WOW – Alison. This is such thoughtful analysis, and I spent the better part of Sunday evening chewing on it. Mr. Magpie makes a similar point often in re: avoiding “even the most mild discomfort.” He’s a bit old school on this front, but his perspective is that sometimes your body is telling you something and you need to listen to it rather than silence it — so when you have an odd ache or pain or headache, he’s of the mind that it’s sometimes good to sweat through it and figure out what’s happening. Very interesting point on Oprah v. Gwyneth — it made me muse for some time over the fact that Oprah was Gwyneth’s FIRST interviewee on her podcast!

      Thanks for writing this. A lot of food for thought!

  2. Goop has turned me on to a lot of things (mainly beauty products and fashion, but there are some other goodies in the mix too). But for all the things I’ve seen on Goop that have intrigued me, there have been just as many that I skipped right over, rolling my eyes. I think if you take it all with a grain of salt, you’ll be ok. GP herself says that they often skew more outrageous because it gets people talking (I’m paraphrasing). So she knows sometimes that the things she’s talking about are absurd!

    I also listened to that podcast episode, and found myself in tears for parts of it. I had a very traumatic birth two years ago and have been struggling to deal with my feelings surrounding it ever since. The podcast brought to light some of those feelings. I agree that anyone who has given birth should listen to it!

    1. Hi Joanna — So glad you agree on that point; that particular podcast gave me a structured little inlay in which to sit and muse and give myself the space to acknowledge some things I’d previously tried to sweep under the rug. I’ll write more soon, but one of the strongest emotions I had after mini was born was a mixture of bewilderment and loss when I’d think about my relationship with Mr. Magpie, now that mini was around. I hadn’t anticipated that our relationship would change — but it did, and immediately! I’ve since come to peace with it, but I was weepy when I would think about the fact that it was never going to be like the old days between the two of us, and I couldn’t believe I’d never given that aspect of motherhood any attention.

      I’ve heard the same thing about Gwyneth — my bestie is a fan of hers and shared that she’s actually more human than her brand sometimes suggests. She mentioned in a recent interview that she enjoys wine and an occasional cigarette, and that she doesn’t try all the fads they discuss on the blog, either. And I get that. At the end of the day, Goop is a business — and a powerhouse one at that. It’s clearly filling a void for many, and a source of inspiration and self-empowerment, too. I think it’s a little tough, though, to reconcile the feeling of inauthenticity when it comes to content that is supposedly all around women’s wellness…it feels like a shady space to do such things! But, such is business, and I think that many women are discerning enough to isolate the inane from the substantive, as you have!

      xo

  3. I think you hit the nail on the head with regards to Goop. I haven’t listened to the podcast, but I’ve subscribed to the newsletter since the beginning and I never really reflected on why, over time, I was marking-as-read and archiving them without even opening them … this over-pathologizing is a THING, and it really turns me off as well. I don’t love the view of “everything is a problem to be fixed”, and you are spot-on about the patois as well … so tiresome! (And so southern California … hehe)

    Anyway, thank you for your thoughtful turbothot, as always!

    P.S. Love a good bandana … my favorite is an indigo printed one I found at the old Mill Mercantile (now Unionmade Women) in San Francisco. A great stop if you’re ever there, though their clothes are more in the Japanese gamine hipster arena than your usual picks, if that makes sense … haha!

    1. Yes, exactly — “everything is a problem to be fixed.” Mr. Magpie is always the counter-chorus to that sentiment, and I appreciate his level-headedness there.

      Cool — thanks for the tip on Unionmade Women!

  4. I knew there was something that bothered me about Goop but I could never put my finger on it…and you’ve nailed it EXACTLY. Like sorry I haven’t detoxed my armpits lately, but I’m still feeling pretty good. SORRY GWYNETH!

    1. HAHA! Mr. Magpie read this comment before I did and he laughed out loud and then re-read it to me. So funny! But also, I’m completely on the same page!

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