Goop's "wellness" revolution will be televised — whether we like it or not


Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand Goop is getting its own Netflix series. Are you wondering how a lifestyle brand can have a show? Well, that shouldn’t be your question, it’s 2020, and you should know by now that anything with moderately coherent branding can have a Netflix show.

What you should be wondering is why Goop, specifically, is allowed to have a Netflix show. The premise of the show, The Goop Lab, is not entirely clear. Based on the poster that was attached to the announcement on Netflix’s Twitter account — which features Gwyneth Paltrow inside a pink cavernous tunnel — it’s not unreasonable to assume that she’ll be telling people to put various objects with alleged healing properties inside their vaginas.

If that last sentence threw you for a loop, let me acquaint you with Goop. Born from Paltrow’s love of healthy living, it’s a website-store-mindset that allows those who can afford it to spend money on products like the $495.00 vFit Intimate Wellness Solution. What does the vFit do? “vFit uses red light and gentle warmth to stimulate blood flow and promote intimate well-being.” It also vibrates. In other words, a $495 light-up vibrator. Beyond the thrill of knowing that you’ve got that kind of money to waste, there are no proven benefits of putting a vFit inside yourself. The vibrator can be found along with more reasonably priced (and not-glowing) vibrators and personal pleasure accessories.

There’s also a section on the Goop website for Cosmic Health, GTox (Goop detoxing), as their own in-house brand of vitamins that offer to help with aging, menopause, and stamina. In addition to merchandise, there’s also plenty of advice: A guide to staying in on New Year’s Eve, a guide to detoxing your kitchen, a guide to four perfect toning exercises, a guide to making space for difficult emotions. A browse through the website seems like with enough time and money, you can fight off aging, fat, and any other unpleasant aspect of inhabiting a sentient physical form if you tried hard enough. There is actually no such thing as "detoxing" in any other sense than when someone is recovering from addiction or if we're talking about the liver's function.

In August, Amanda Mull wrote for The Atlantic that Paltrow’s Goop was “a one-stop-shop for people hell-bent on perfecting themselves,” that “has helped sell Americans on the idea that ‘wellness’ means buying things until you feel better.” And that is honestly one of the kinder assessments of the company. If you simply google Goop, the first reviews that pop up are overloaded with the word “pseudoscience.”

In 2018, Goop was fined $145,000 for selling the Yoni egg, which was sold as a sort of feminine panacea. It allegedly could “balance hormones, regulate menstrual cycles, prevent uterine prolapse, and increase bladder control,” according to Vox. But in reality, gynecologists warned that they were actually very dangerous, and should absolutely not be inserted in the vagina.

Eventually, Goop stopped selling to Yoni egg. But they haven’t stopped selling the promise of the Yoni egg. Whether it’s by partnering disgraced doctors who believe that a diet can cure depression, or that not wearing bras could reduce your risk for cancer, the Goop ethos is that you can prevent and cure just about any ailment or inconvenience with their harvest of goods. And that’s certainly not true.

So a Netflix show from Goop is sure to be a dangerous and unregulated energy healing endeavor. Results not guaranteed.