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.
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!
+Wide-leg pants! Who else wants to try them?
+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?”
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 patois! The 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.
+I have a boho streak to my aesthetic, and tops like these will always find a welcome home in my closet.