Before now, Gwyneth Paltrow and her lifestyle site simply pressed on in the face of massive criticism over its questionable health and science claims (ahem, “energy balancing” stickers). But this week, the site published a three-part post that attempted to rebut the blowback it receives for dubious recommendations and products, including a $66 jade egg women are told to insert in their vaginas, then “recharge” with the power of a full moon.
Goop staff and two of its medical contributors, Drs. Steven Gundry and Aviva Romm, wrote what they said is the first in a series of posts defending Goop’s health content. The introduction by “Team Goop” sure made it sound like all the site’s health content is sourced from doctors, but anyone familiar with the jade egg controversy probably recalls the product was recommended by the actress Shiva Rose. The entire post is especially directed at dismissing and scolding Dr. Jennifer Gunter, an OB/GYN who famously slammed Goop on her blog for recommending the eggs and warned they may cause infection.
Like many other things that appear on Goop’s pages, responses to the piece mostly call out Goop for capitalizing on inaccurate and potentially dangerous medical advice for women. And these responses came flooding in like a river of $200 smoothies, from all over the Internet.
Here’s an (organic) sampling of some of the best takedowns of their piece.
There’s a lot more that’s passive-aggressive in the Goop post. For one, Goop complains that Gunter’s concern about bacterial infections from the jade eggs was ‘strangely confident.’ Was it more ‘strangely confident’ than saying jade eggs ‘can help cultivate sexual energy’?
The problem is not that the Goop team isn’t asking questions. It’s that they’re not asking enough questions. Their curiosity should lead them to wonder, ‘How can a piece of jade actually affect my energy levels? What’s the biological mechanism?’ ‘Are there any studies on safety or efficacy at all? And if there aren’t, shouldn’t we let readers know?’ Even if the jade eggs don’t pose any infection hazards, the truth still remains: There’s no evidence in support of their benefits.
Goop presents itself as a lifestyle brand, but it has a financial stake in discrediting medical experts like Gunter who would inform people of the pseudoscience and occasionally dangerous practices driving many of its products.
From Page Six:
Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand Goop has clapped back at its haters — a group that includes scientists, doctors, ad execs and many people who simply can’t afford to spend nearly $1,000 on toilet wipes.
Dr. Gundry’s response is frankly embarrassing. In science, it’s evidence that counts, and that evidence has to be able to weather challenge after challenge. Gundry’s particular obsession is ‘lectins,’ a chemical naturally found in a lot of healthy foods. He believes that people should avoid lectins and, well, he sounds like kind of a douche (another thing that shouldn’t go in the vagina) when talking about it.
There was also a hail storm that rained down like moon dust on social media. Other doctors, scientists and people on Team Gunter blasted Goop on Twitter.
Perhaps the most notable response came from Gunter herself, who wrote the site “must have very weak ideas” to let one doctor get under its skin.
She later issued a “lovely, scientific reply” in which she calls Goop’s piece “disjointed, inadequately researched, bloated, and mansplainy.” She also asserted her position and qualifications to call Goop’s pieces into question.
“I am not strangely confident about vaginal health, I am appropriately confident because I am the expert,” she wrote, listing her schooling and board certifications. “A woman with no medical training who tells women to walk around with a jade egg in their vaginas all day, a jade egg that they can recharge with the energy of the moon no less, is the strangely confident one.”
We have a feeling Paltrow might want to consciously uncouple with this whole situation, and fast.