The Goop Lab Review 2020 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew Online
Stars: Gwyneth Paltrow, Elise Loehnen, Ana Hito
When Netflix announced the trailer for Gwyneth Paltrow’s “The Goop Lab” in early January, the media and #medtwitter made dire predictions for both the streaming service and for humanity itself. The show would surely promote “dangerous pseudoscience,” peddle “snake oil,” and be “undeniably awful for society.” Longtime Paltrow critic and health law researcher Timothy Caulfield was among the many opiners who warned on Twitter of the “spread of health misinformation” and the “erosion of #criticalthinking.” Other relevant hashtags included #PostModernDarkAge and #saynotogoop.
Six episodes of the show finally dropped late last month, and so far civilization seems to be more or less intact.
The show explores cold therapy, energy healing, longevity diets, and therapeutic use of psychedelics, all of which may sound esoteric to the uninitiated, but none of which actually lack sound evidence of benefit. The episode on female pleasure, led by masturbation queen Betty Dodson, is downright radical, featuring a vulva montage, naked women of various shapes and ages talking openly about their bodies, and a woman bringing herself to orgasm so that other women might learn how. “We’re very dangerous when we’re knowledgeable” says Ms. Dodson. Ms. Paltrow nods: “Tell me about it.”
So what underlies all the overwhelming, predictable, repetitive critiques? What exactly is so awful about a bunch of consenting adults seeking self-knowledge, vitality and emotional freedom?
Yes, the rich, willowy blonde at Goop’s helm is an easy target. No, the average Jane can’t afford plasma facials or a trip to Jamaica to drink magic mushroom tea under the guidance of a legitimate shaman. And sure, we know all about the Yoni Egg Debacle, wherein the company had to pay a hefty fine for making unsubstantiated medical claims. Disclaimers are now rightfully in place all over both the site and the show, and obviously we should always practice good hygiene, but it’s worth repeating that so far there are no documented reports in the medical literature of yoni eggs causing anybody harm.
The tsunami of Goop hatred is best understood within a context that is much older and runs much deeper than Twitter, streaming platforms, consumerism or capitalism.
Throughout history, women in particular have been mocked, reviled, and murdered for maintaining knowledge and practices that frightened, confused and confounded “the authorities.” (Namely the church, and later, medicine.) Criticism of Goop is founded, at least in part, upon deeply ingrained reserves of fear, loathing, and ignorance about things we cannot see, touch, authenticate, prove, own or quantify. It is emblematic of a cultural insistence that we quash intuitive measures and “other” ways of knowing — the sort handed down via oral tradition, which, for most women throughout history, was the only way of knowing. In other words, it’s classic patriarchal devaluation.
When 19th-century medicine men were organizing and legitimizing their brand-new profession, they claimed the mantle of “science” even though there was no such thing as evidence-based medicine at the time. In order to dominate the market, they slandered all other modalities as “quackery,” including midwifery, which we know achieved safer birth outcomes back then, as it still does today. Pejoratives like “woo” or “pseudoscience” are still often applied to anything that falls outside of the mainstream medical establishment. (Think about this the next time you hear something harmless or odd or common-sensical dismissed as an “old wives’ tale.”)
Our society likes to conjoin the concepts of science and health, but the two do not always overlap. Peer-reviewed, lab-generated, randomized, controlled, double-blinded evidence will always be the gold standard, but such studies aren’t always fundable, or ethical. We kiss our children’s boo-boos even though there’s no gold standard evidence that it will make them feel better. We just know that it does. Which in turn makes us feel better. That’s “wellness.”
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