So, Is Gwyneth Paltrow a Modern-Day Snake-Oil Saleswoman?

Image via screengrab, art by Jim Cooke
Image via screengrab, art by Jim Cooke

Everyone wash up your jade eggs, take off your shoes, and down a handful of supplements, because this week’s episode of DirtCast is all about wellness!

After a typically lively discussion of the week’s dirtiest dirt—including Ryan Seacrest’s boring new gig and Ja Rule’s disastrous attempt at starting a music festival—Madeleine and I are joined by Jezebel writer Stassa Edwards for a discussion inspired by her wonderful piece on Goop from last week.


Edwards researched Goop’s strange and frequently misguided approach to “wellness” by reading “almost everything they published over the last two or three years,” including warnings about countless epidemics (like chronic stress and adrenal fatigue) and Q&A’s with detox-obsessed experts like Dr. Alejandro Junger who claim that just about everything—from airplanes to antibiotics—are giving people cancer.

“There are many things that can kill you if you read Goop,” Edwards says. “And none of them are things that I feel like you actually have to worry about.”

Goop, which sells pricey packs of supplements and other wellness-enhancing items on its website, relies heavily on the romanticization of the East for much of its advice—an approach that has been used “for a really long time” by plenty of other snake-oil salesmen.

“I think it has deep roots to European colonialism, which was very reliant on painting the East on this place where modernity cannot and does not exist, and thus the need for intervention by these Western nations,” she tells us. “That lure is incredibly strong and Goop treats it so unproblematically. The East is this wonderful place where people don’t have cell phones and modern medicine! It’s incredibly racist.”

But, as Edwards wrote in her piece last week, “Goop’s wellness model is built to endure.” So we’ll probably need to have her back on the podcast the next time Gwyneth breaks news about the latest ailment secretly ruining the lives of rich people who have nothing to do with their lives but worry.


DirtCast can be found on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play, and iHeart Media. You can read Stassa’s work on Jezebel here and follow her on Twitter here.

Our show is produced by Levi Sharpe with editorial oversight by Kate Dries. Mandana Mofidi is our Executive Director of Audio. Our theme music is by Stuart Wood. This episode was mixed by Brad Fisher. Listen to our politics podcast, Big Time Dicks, here.

Staff Writer, Jezebel | Man


ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ : Bear Privilege is a Liberal Hoax

The East is this wonderful place where people don’t have cell phones and modern medicine!

There’s a whole contingent of white people who will believe in any sort of cure for any ailment so long as white people didn’t come up with it. Because brown people are mysterious, wise creatures with ANCIENT KNOWLEDGE.

But really, Goop is like several nanometers of the tip of the iceberg. This shit is like a fucking epidemic, and there’s plenty of blame to pass around for how bad it’s gotten.