From the start, the idea that anyone needed to hear Gwyneth Paltrow’s take on how to live your life was pretty hilarious, but it also could have been harmless. After all, no one ever died from a vaginal-smelling candle unless it was used to hit them over the head or something (though it has caused plenty of property damage). But Goop has a long history of capitalizing on misinformation that goes way beyond vagina candles.

Vaginal Steaming

Woman in steam

(averie woodard/Unsplash)

Goop’s first big controversy was Paltrow’s 2015 promotion of vaginal steaming, an Ancient Greek ritual that was actually intended to keep the uterus in place (you know how they like to go wandering around). But Paltrow claimed it “cleanses your uterus,” which it physically can’t do because steam can’t reach the uterus, but on the bright side, it does give you yeast infections and scald your labia.

Blending Your “Inner Judge”

Essence

(Christin Hume/Unsplash)

Finally, the suit included complaints about a product called Inner Judge Flower Essence Blend, which Goop claimed “assists in the clearing of guilt, shame, self-criticism and blame.” Admittedly, that would be helpful after thinking about anything you did in middle school, but you can’t charge money for flowers that don’t actually do that.

“Leanest Livable Weight”

Scale

(Samuel Ramos/Unsplash)

Goop came under only somewhat undeserving fire in 2019 when one of their “experts” advised readers to aim for their “leanest livable weight.” That sounds like “the thinnest you can be without literally dying,” but the article is mostly about the concept of “set ranges” everyone’s body tries to keep them at and why dieting doesn’t work, which is fine. Great, even. But they define “leanest livable weight” as the “low end of your set range,” which is supposedly achievable when you don’t diet or binge or exercise too much, without explaining how that wouldn’t put you right in the middle or why you even want to be at the low end except to fit into their billowy button-downs.

Elise Loehnen

In 2020, Goop’s CCO, Elise Loehnen, ostensibly quit to write a book, but two years later, she revealed it was because she felt she had to step away from all the constant cleansing and detoxing and generally disordered eating encouraged by Goop’s “toxic” culture. Then she started hawking other people’s cleanses and anonymous sources claimed Loehnen was a “toxic manager” who was all but asked to leave, but really, when it comes to Goop, ask not for whom the toxins … do whatever toxins do.

Employee Treatment

Whatever the case, it definitely sounds like working at Goop is a nightmare dressed up in soothing soundscapes and salt lamps. Employees have complained of being paid up to 40% lower than industry standard, Paltrow’s hot and cold management style, and high turnover resulting from those things leading them to be forced to perform several jobs at once.

Lie, ???, Profit

Gwyneth Paltrow

(Andrea Raffin/Wikimedia Commons)

So why does Goop continue to be such a cesspool of misinformation after all this controversy? Because it sells. Paltrow has openly admitted that every time someone writes something bad about Goop, it drives traffic to the site, and she relishes the opportunity to “monetize those eyeballs.” Um… oops?

Top image: Andrea Raffin/Wikimedia Commons

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