This Doctor Says Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop Promotes Bullshit. Goop Just Clapped Back.


Tech

Goop, Paltrow’s wellness empire, has fired back against one of
its loudest critics and defended its vaginal jade eggs. “I’m
absolutely flabbergasted that they chose me as the center of
their ire,” Jen Gunter told BuzzFeed News.

Posted on July 14, 2017, 00:52 GMT

Medical experts have long slammed Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow’s
e-commerce wellness empire, for endorsing nonscientific and
potentially dangerous products — from sex dust to silver nanoparticles — and pseudoscience
personalities.

But on Thursday, Goop for the first time singled out one of its most vocal critics,
obstetrician-gynecologist Jen Gunter, who routinely takes the
site to task on her Twitter and blog. In particular, it defended the
vaginal jade eggs that Gunter lambasted earlier this year.

“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,”
the company wrote in a blog post.

The post was called the “first in a series,” a sign Goop is
taking a newly aggressive approach to its detractors. “When
they go low, we go high,” Paltrow tweeted.

“I feel like I’ve fallen through the looking glass,” Gunter, a
San Francisco doctor who has been writing about Goop since
2015, told BuzzFeed News by phone. When she first read the post
on a train through England, where she is on vacation, she said
she found it so “ludicrous” that she laughed.

“It’s just odd I have to defend myself against a website that
passes on the idea that bras cause cancer or that people should
listen to someone who talks to a spirit for their health care,”
she said. “So I’m absolutely flabbergasted that they chose me
as the center of their ire.”

No matter how much heat it draws, Goop continues to rise.
Within the last year, it’s raised $10 million, hosted its first health and wellness summit
in Los Angeles last month, and begun selling its own branded line of dietary
supplements in the spring.

Gunter has dissected many of Goop’s articles and products, but one of her most
viral takedowns concerned its $66 jade eggs, which are designed to be
inserted into the vagina. In January, Goop published a Q&A with Shiva Rose, a
“beauty guru/healer/inspiration/friend,” who praised the eggs
for their ability to “help cultivate sexual energy, increase
orgasm, balance the cycle, stimulate key reflexology around
vaginal walls … intensify feminine energy, and invigorate our
life force.”

Gunter wasn’t buying it. “I read the post on GOOP and all I can
tell you is it is the biggest load of garbage I have read on
your site since vaginal steaming,” she wrote, referring to another Paltrow-endorsed practice. A woman
could harm her pelvic floor muscles by using it, she warned,
and get infected by bacteria.

Goop called Gunter’s post “mocking” and emblematic of media
coverage of Goop that “suggests that women are lemmings.” “As
women, we chafe at the idea that we are not intelligent enough
to read something and take what serves us, and leave what does
not,” it wrote. “We simply want information; we want autonomy
over our health.”

Gunter disagreed that criticizing Goop is anti-feminist.
“Writing things that are not scientifically based for women is
the exact opposite of feminism,” she said. “You’re
disempowering women. Giving them bad information hurts them.”

Goop also argued that the ideas it promotes should not be
rejected just because they are outside mainstream Western
medicine. “Studies and beliefs that we held sacred even in the
last decade have since been proven to be unequivocally false,
and sometimes even harmful,” it wrote.

Gunter says this is an oversimplification. “Of course science
is changing, but that doesn’t mean you should doubt what is
biologically plausible and what we know currently,” she told
BuzzFeed News. For example, homeopathy — the Goop-endorsed belief that a disease can be
cured by a substance that produces similar symptoms in healthy
people — “is not biologically plausible,” she said. “We don’t
need to wait for any more science to tell us homeopathy doesn’t
work.”

Goop’s post included letters from two doctors who write for its
website. One was Aviva Romm, an integrative physician, midwife,
and herbalist. Another was Steven Gundry, who believes that
certain proteins in grains and beans cause
disease, and who called out Gunter for criticizing his research
and “throwing F-bombs.” A Goop spokesperson told BuzzFeed News,
“The purpose of the letter is to stand behind our doctors, and
stand behind the readers who tell us that advice and guidance
from these doctors has had a positive impact on their lives.”

But Gunter said she didn’t understand Gundry’s letter, since
she’s never written about him aside from one seven-word mention of his work. “I was
shocked to see Gundry mansplaining science to me,” she said. “I
have four board certifications. I was a doctor when I was
23.”

She also questioned why Goop singled her out from all its other
critics, from Stephen Colbert to Jezebel. “I’m just a chick with a blog,”
she said.

Timothy Caulfield, author of Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About
Everything?: When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash
,
praised Gunter for holding Goop accountable.

“She writes in a way that is relevant to health care providers,
to patients and to the public,” Caulfield, a health law and
policy professor at the University of Alberta, told BuzzFeed
News. “She doesn’t pull any punches, but she also makes sure
what she says is evidence-informed. I think we need more and
more voices like Jen to combat the noise on pop culture around
health, which is often dominated by science-free celebrities.”



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