But it’s empowering and healing

Goop fights back, aka A Word from Our Doctors responding to evidence-based criticisms of the woo peddled by Paltrow and the goop team.

As goop has grown, so has the attention we receive. We consistently find ourselves to be of interest to many—and for that, we are grateful—but we also find that there are third parties who critique goop to leverage that interest and bring attention to themselves. Encouraging discussion of new ideas is certainly one of our goals, but indiscriminate attacks that question the motivation and integrity of the doctors who contribute to the site is not.* This is the first in a series of posts revisiting these topics and offering our contributing M.D.’s a chance to articulate theirs, in a respectful and substantive manner.

We always welcome conversation. That’s at the core of what we’re trying to do. What we don’t welcome is the idea that questions are not okay. Being dismissive—of discourse, of questions from patients, of practices that women might find empowering or healing, of daring to poke at a long-held belief—seems like the most dangerous practice of all. Where would we be if we all still believed in female hysteria instead of orgasm equality? That smoking didn’t cause lung cancer? If every nutritionist today saw the original food pyramid as gospel?

Uh huh, and they laughed when Beethoven sat down at the piano, but that doesn’t mean that all people who sit down at the piano are geniuses as long as somebody laughed. Some innovators are dismissed at the start; it does not follow that all innovators are right.

Plus describing evidence-based medicine as “a long-held belief” in contrast to the rational innovations of goop is not altogether honest. They’re framing EBM as the Ancient Superstion and woo as the Brave New Rational Discovery.

And then lumping together “empowering” and “healing” is a cheat. Anyone can find anything “empowering,” because that word doesn’t mean much and is infinitely adaptable, but “healing” is another matter. Sometimes healing can just mean feeling better, and psychology can play a big part in that, and some kinds of woo can be useful. In general, though, healing is a matter of technical knowledge, such as how to reduce inflammation or how to deal with bacterial infections or a bunch of other things that take several years to learn to professional standard.

Last January, we published a Q&A with Shiva Rose about her jade egg practice, which has helped her (and legions of other women who wrote to us in response) feel more in touch with her sexuality, and more empowered.

There. Like that. What the fuck is that even supposed to mean? And what does it have to do with medicine?

A San Francisco-based OB-GYN/blogger posted a mocking response on her site, which has the tagline: “Wielding the Lasso of Truth.” (We also love Wonder Woman, though we’re pretty sure she’s into women taking ownership of female sexual pleasure.)

There was a tremendous amount of press pick-up on the doctor’s post, which was partially based on her own strangely confident assertion that putting a crystal in your vagina for pelvic-floor strengthening exercises would put you in danger of getting Toxic Shock Syndrome—even though there is no study/case/report which links the two—and also stating with 100 percent certainty that conventional tampons laden with glyphosate (classified by the WHO as probably carcinogenic) are no cause for concern. Since her first post, she has been taking advantage of the attention and issuing attacks to build her personal platform—ridiculing the women who might read our site in the process.

And that’s just garbage – the doctor they’re talking about so slyly is Jen Gunter, and she was well known long before that post, and she doesn’t do this to “build her personal platform” – she does it to warn people about dangerous nonsense.

Gwyneth Paltrow should be ashamed of this.

*Note the contradiction.

Updating to add Jen Gunter’s response.

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