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Emily Henderson

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by Emily Henderson
Em At Goop

Hey all,

If you are coming for the “All my thoughts and feelings about Goop after going to the wellness summit” post, I’ve temporarily taken it down to rework it. Due to its polarizing subject matter, I want to be extra careful and honestly, it deserved more thought on my part with a clearer thesis and more self-reflection. There were already over 100 comments, so please come back and join the heated conversation. Meanwhile, I’m going to take a deep breath and go to my kid’s pre-school graduation. BRING ON THE KLEENEX. It’s going to be a day, folks. A real day.

Come back tomorrow if you feel like it…hopefully, I’ll have the guts to republish it…there is something about me, a privileged white woman, either defending OR criticizing a brand that speaks to privileged white women that might just be a lose lose. We’ll see …

xx

Emily

UPDATE (because you guys have asked): The original comments won’t be deleted (unless they were mean per our usual comment policy) and the original post will be published almost as it was (a few tweaks like I always do). But additional commentary from me will begin and end the post.

  1. There were a lot of well thought out responses in the comments that really made me think. I think you getting a chance to re-word your thoughts without including some of the thought provoking, interesting, and well composed responses would be quite the shame.

  2. Oh no, please don’t do this. Please tell me you vaccinate your kids and believe in science. For the love of god, if another influencer endorses this goop crap I just can’t even.

    1. To be fair… Goop has pretty recently come out pro-vaccine. Lots of things to critique about it but this isn’t one of them.

      1. Tbh, the fact that they even needed to “come out” as pro vaccine is a huge red flag. What other company has to do that?! Goop has to do that because they’ve pushed pseudoscience and quack doctors for so long.

    2. Yes – Yes – ABSOLUTELY Naomi. I’m on your side.

    3. WHAT NAOMI SAID
      I had never heard about goop before (I’m not American) and I personally don’t care much for all the negative stuff you pointed at. Is it for extremely wealthy women? So what? It doesn’t help others? So what? It’s a business. It could be GP gives half of her earnings to charity, as far as we know. Some just don’t feel like broadcasting it. What I REALLY struggle with is the bs pseudoscience. There is no such thing as official science and unofficial one. SCIENCE IS ONE: “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.” Experiments are the key: if there is not a single experiment proving something works, or even worse if there are experiments proving it doesn’t, that’s it. Until new SCIENTIFIC evidence comes out, the issue is settled.
      The fact that there are some doctors that believe in some crap means only that they are crappy doctors, not that the issue is under debate. Also, it is worth checking what kind of doctors they are. I’ve heard of paediatricians or ortho who don’t “believe” in vaccines, but not a single virologist who shares this view. Who would you ask to about a bridge project? A biomedical engineer or a construction engineer?
      Crystal don’t work, period. If they did, some of these crap gurus selling them would have made a scientific study proving it.
      Homeopathy is sugar and works as much as placebo does.
      Vaccines work and are among the safest drugs out there.
      Detox beverages don’t do anything at best. (A healthy diet is enough for our liver to do the job).
      Babies’ birth day does not depend on the moon.
      Climate change is real.
      The Hearth is not flat.
      Santa Claus is not real.

  3. *sigh*

    *again*

    I wish the labor in the comments hadn’t been deleted. Perhaps you can bring back the post and turn off commenting so that way the thorough and educational comments can still be seen.

    I think you’re right though – as a privileged white woman this branding of self care is for you and you’re not really in the position to critique or defend it.

    There are a lot of pieces out there written about the inherent classism, elitism, and yes, racism imbedded in Goops products and summit. I do hope you find those pieces and reflect on them because I think that’s the issues that are most critical in critiques of goop and Gwyneth Paltrow.

    1. “Educational”? That’s just your way of saying “views that agreed with my own.” And seriously? She doesn’t have a right to critique or defend something that she likes and knows about? Your “shut up so that I can do all the talking” approach gets us nowhere.

      People of all types need to stop apologizing for who they are and stop sitting in judgment of others — based on race, gender, income, etc — and this country would be a much better place. Why not try to see what YOU can learn, and not just what you can teach everyone else.

      1. Nah – they were educational and I was echoing her statement because she doesn’t have they lived experience that would offer a well rounded critique.

        I saw your other comment too – complaining about the word “privilege” so there’s literally no further discussion that can be had since you’re obviously not open to learning and accepting new information.

        1. Angelica: Thanks but I would rather listen to someone who has an open mind.

          1. Has anyone here read this? Sums up GP and Goop in an interesting way. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/25/magazine/big-business-gwyneth-paltrow-wellness.html

      2. Sam, thank you! Well stated! Take care.

    2. the comments won’t be deleted-it just went back into draft form (I hope, anyway). I will research those.

    3. i am so frustrated by comments that insinuate goop is any less for black women, asian, spanish or any woman of color. goop is meant for women of privilege and women that have the means to inquire and require more of themselves. if i was a single mom working and putting myself through school, would I find the $50 bath salts a necessity? likely not… does that mean I would not aspire for that one day.. maybe…?

      though I marvel at the plight of the guilty white woman that always seems to get threaded into every dialog, the idea that all women cant see themselves in goop is complete ideocracy and as racist as those that insinuate otherwise. this is very apparent issue of class and the idea that it is based on race is ludicrous and i personally find that narrative B O R I N G

      1. Race and class intersect – especially when a lot of the “hippie” stuff that is peddled is repackaged religion and culture of people of color made for the consumption of upper class *primarily white women*

        1. I see your comments Anjelica, and couldn’t agree more. Thanks for your efforts here.

          1. Angelica,* sorry.

    4. So Emily’s race & socioeconomic status disqualifies her from having an opinion on Gwyneth freakin Paltrow? Emily is trying to have an open dialogue exploring and even challenging her own thoughts & opinions and you want to dismiss her wholesale. Okay? I’m sure she is extremely open to hearing perspectives of people of color and less privileged backgrounds, but she is still entitled to share her complicated feelings about GOOP on her own g-d blog.

  4. I personally don’t think you needed to delete it – or rework it.

    I thought your writing was thoughtful and clear. Yes, the comments got heated, but you knew going into it that Goop is triggering to a lot of people. Truly, the really “angry” comments were from people not seeing how a design blog has any right to comment on anything other than design – but they’re off base, IMO. Your audience here overlaps quite a bit with the Goop audience in a Venn Diagram (or their target, anyhow) so you including/attending the conference really isn’t as odd as it would seem. You’ve also evolved from JUST design, so again, not off brand for you.

    I for one, was inspired by you putting yourself out there on such a hot button issue/person and I appreciated your perspective regarding privilege and service to others. Don’t change a thing!

    1. Couldn’t agree more with this statement!

      1. Same

  5. Hi Thanks for taking it down. I have to admit I couldn’t get past the first few sentences so don’t know if I had hung in there if I would have felt more comfortable. I really have no opinion about the subject and know very little about the company but something made me feel like I was someplace I shouldn’t be. Love your decorating and check the website every morning but not for this kind of post. I heard someone say one time that there may be some great ideas and thoughts that are made clear to you but are only meant for you. Everything does not always need to be shared. Will check back tomorrow.

    1. Just because something makes *you* feel uncomfortable, doesn’t mean that it does not deserve to be shared or discussed. Being uncomfortable or feeling like you’re in a place you shouldn’t be is not on the author or person to “fix” – that can only be done by you. Perhaps just skip these types of posts?

      Emily – I applaud you for taking on subjects other than decorating with such an open mind and initiating thought-provoking conversations. I think that makes you even MORE related.

      1. This is Emily’s blog and she should be able to share whatever she wants on it. If it doesn’t float your boat or interest you, don’t read it!

        But I appreciate how the blog has been inserting more lifestyle/narrative content lately. To me, it is much interesting than just a focus on design.

      2. I didn’t see the original post (I was wondering what happened to today’s, but I figured you might just have decided to take a day off! 🙂 ), but I applaud you for delving into treacherous waters. As to content — your blog, your decisions (unless you specifically ask for input), period. If people don’t like a particular subject, they can just not read the post for that day. I have zero interest, say, in bathroom design right now because I rent and cannot change the one I use. I find it rather dull to read about, anyway. So I skip those posts. But others *are* interested, so they read and enjoy them. I’m baffled as to why the same concept can’t be applied to all posts. People’s discomfort is not an excuse for censorship, or even insinuations of it. As to Goop, sometimes I read the articles; most of the time, however, I don’t bother. There’s an air of silly pretension that surrounds the whole venture that I find almost comical. It’s difficult for me to take Goop seriously.

  6. I’m not sure how your blog works with reposting something, but I do hope the comments that people left are included. I was just reading them all, reloaded the page and saw that you had taken it down. I do hope you are able to republish with all the comments. So many of them were eloquent, intelligent, and gave excellent examples. It was one of the few times that I enjoyed reading a comments section and felt I learned more by reading them.

  7. I too think you should leave the original. You’re kind of damned if you do, damned if you don’t. But if you rewrite and repost it sort of feels like you are trying to please the masses. I feel like I would be questioning what you say, if it’s really how you feel, or more just to keep people from being pissed. Look, we all have different opinions and things we believe in, and frankly, I would rather people post and be true to who they are, rather than repost and reclarify to make others feel better. I feel like the world is headed to gray where we can’t say anything, do anything without pissing someone off. And I’m not at all interested in that.

    1. Well said!

    2. Agree!

    3. I’m not changing the original article and will republish it as-is, just adding a reaction to it and giving it an updated intro based on my feelings and the comments this morning.

      1. Thank you, Emily! Can’t wait to read it.

      2. Thanks Emily! Growing and expanding your worldview can be painful when you have the public platform that you do. I appreciate that you are letting the original post stand. As a black woman who is a regular visitor to your page, I want to say that I truly appreciate your honesty and willingness to learn/course correct when necessary.

    4. well said!

  8. I’ll just say, that I think as a white woman you are exactly the right person to be calling out other white women on their privilege. I hope you re-publish.

  9. Writing a blog is scary, and you are brave!! Look forward to reading something written by a fallible human being versus a perfect ideologue!

  10. I hope the comments go back up. There was a lot of thoughtful stuff in there.

  11. Sharing your thoughts in a blog can be so hard but PLEASE don’t change your opinion! I didn’t get a chance to hear what you thought and I would really love to know the honest Emily-truth without your filtering it through what other people think. You are amazing Emily and I want to hear from you. If I want to hear someone else’s opinion, I’ll go to their blog! Please re post!!

    1. Yes please re-post the original! Blogs are inherently personal in nature and in my opinion, you were not espousing something racist, sexist, vulgar, or inappropriate. If your readers/fans do not like/hate your comments and viewpoints, then goodbye Felicia! They can stop following you. There are plenty of other fans who will continue to read your blog and support you.

  12. I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed reading your blog post this morning. I admire you for openly discussing polarizing topics (goop, gun control, etc) while keeping such an open mind. I love how you always recognize that others will have opinions different from yours and you respect that.

    Good luck at the preschool graduation this afternoon! I’ll be there next year and my heart already aches thinking of it. #InvestInWaterProofMascara

  13. So, Goop’s target audience is “privileged white women”…strange concept, if you ask me.
    Why would anyone support such a company?

  14. I think you were smart to delete it. No one is required to read Goop or follow its advice — and I don’t. I read your original post out of curiosity. And some of the rude, condescending comments showed once again that people these days don’t want to listen or tolerate alternate views. They only want to hear themselves talk and hear their own opinions reinforced.

  15. Bring on the conversation!

  16. I didn’t read the first post, but if it hasn’t been mentioned yet, Lindy West’s piece on Goop was really eye-opening for me. (But buckle up, because she pulls no punches!)

    1. Thanks for recommending that!

  17. The thing is, you don’t set off the same vibes yourself. I think that’s because you are more open about your anxieties, more obviously willing to give/donate/admit to budget concerns by everyone., and more responsive to the concerns voiced at anything you say or do.

    You get to approve of whatever you approve of. But I think the difference between Goop and EHD is palpable, even if hard to articulate.

    1. I didn’t get to see the original post. I find Goop prolematic on a few levels, but I also often read the newsletter and sometimes buy stuff. Nobody is perfect or behaves perfectly all the time. . I think Goop is ridiculous in ways and also has pretty things. ‘All or nothing’ has taken over in a lot of ways and I feel like that’s too bad.

  18. I have been a big fan of yours for years*, but I am positively thrilled by your self reflection. I’m a blonde from Portland who has spent all my grown-up life in California. I feel you., but you’re clearly balancing a much bigger, wider set of plates.
    There is something so brilliant about your willingness to speak to these things in your own humble way. As a self-described preternaturally cute, white, blonde, and successful lifestyle and design blogger (and a mom!), you have a uniquely powerful voice. and I’m grateful that you use it. Thank you.

    * I admit I get a little more excited about the semi-scavenged/bespoke boho design, so here’s a plug for just a little of that.

  19. I think my comments would be the same as the first time.

  20. I read your original post just now Emily and thought it was absolutely interesting and fair. I’m bummed you felt you needed to take it down. Your takeaway resonated with me.

    Good luck to you as you rewrite etc.

  21. Emily, you’re fine. This is YOUR blog. You can say whatever you like. Maybe I’ll agree with you sometimes, maybe I’ll disagree others, and that’s ok. I come here to hear YOUR voice, not mine. 🙂

    I really respect you for reevaluating your post (not saying you need to) but I respect your choice to have a do-over.

  22. I wish you kept it up ! Your post was thoughtful and made me think and so did many of the comments. Sure some of the seemed overly negative but I learned from their perspective. Not that crazy that you would go to the Goop conference either.

  23. Love on that baby! Don’t let the flames of the fan frenzy subdue your expression. I usually check your post and don’t bother with reading the comments, but this engaged me. It’s nice to be engaged in my cyber comfort zone. Push us to bigger thoughts every now and then. We need it.

  24. I was pretty disheartened by the comments I saw in the first post. It seems like there’s no room for objectivity anymore in a culture of whistleblowing/”you’re canceled” type mentality. Aren’t we all smart enough to discern which information/products/people are something we want to participate in or not? If you don’t like GOOP, then don’t interact with the brand or buy their products.

    When Emily posted links to the Portland Project and there were products out of my price range I didn’t start throwing ripened fruit at her and hailing her as the enemy of the common man/woman. I just appreciated it for what it was aesthetically and waited for posts that pertained more to me. I’m all for companies doing better but it’s a consumer’s responsibility to choose for themselves and not try to make that choice for others.

    If a company has serious issues that need to be addressed and needs to do better, shouldn’t everyone be open to that improvement? I’m not a fan of GOOP at all but I appreciate the discourse that Emily and others provided that was opposite from my own opinion.

    We should really be able to have these discussions without targeting each other, especially if a company is the real one to blame in these situations.

  25. I hope you don’t fail to explain whatever personal connection you have to GP. You posted photos of you in a wedding she attended, so clearly there’s some connection between you. To not do so is disingenuous.

  26. I’m new to your site and the SbEH experience but I’m pretty sure I won’t be back.
    I was slightly miffed this morning about the whole Goop post. I mean, you *basically* just threw some words at a page to justify a $1000 ticket write-off.

    I was writing out a comment and then I decided it really wasn’t worth the words. I don’t care what you do with your jade eggs or what you steam and I don’t care how many self-help podcast you consume. You may “hear” self-help podcasts but this post proved you’re the least self-aware person I’ve ever encountered; and I know people who own real Louis Vitton.

    You’re a hundred-thousandaire who should stop pretending you went into any Goop experience for the world-reach of love and admit you went there because you can.

    1. Well it is obvious that you are new here by your unjustified condemnation and dismissal of EH.

  27. Bizarre. I will never understand your need to be political on a DESIGN blog. If you were going to shit on the Goop summit why did you go?

    1. And I never understand comments from people who question what the owner and namesake of the blog decides to write about. It is EH’s blog and she can write about whatever she damn well pleases. She is astute and self-aware enough to know that some topics will not always resonate with all readers. That doesn’t mean she needs to cater to them.

      1. Amen, Steven.

  28. I don’t hate Goop, but I do think it profits from an upsetting reality: modern medicine is extremely gender-biased, and the result is that women receive sub-par care (even celebrities like Beyoncé! And Serena Williams!!) or worse, no care because doctors ignore or dismiss women’s pain as exaggerated or made up. I read a NYT feature about Goop last year just after reading an article about the insidious effects of gender-bias in science and medicine. Still seething from the bias article, I totally got why women who have been ignored or called crazy by their doctors would turn to alternative medicine: if nothing else, their fears and concerns will be heard.

    Goop veers towards problematic for me because it profits from that desperation. It hears and validates women’s fears (and sometimes stokes new fears as well), then showcases experts/treatments that oscillate between contempt for science-backed methods and pride in science-backed methods. That inconsistency is concerning at best, pandering at worst.

    1. 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

  29. Ok, now I am dying to read this post, and the original comments. I find Goop fascinating–I kind of hate the intentional elitism of the whole Goop machine, but man is it a profitable brand. I also love a good heated debate.

  30. There is hardly anyplace we can go these days without getting hip-deep in controversy.
    Do I wish you would continue to carve out this little corner of the world where we might
    have peace, barely wrangling over which chandelier you should hang over
    the table at the Mountain House?
    Yes. Yes, I do.
    As they say in Frozen, Emily, “Let it go!”

  31. What was so terrible about the comments that the post had to be temporarily pulled? Why not just respond to people in the comments and write a follow up post once you’ve had time to think about it? You’re never going to make everyone happy, so just write what you want, take your lumps, and move on.

  32. Most people come to your blog to learn about design and be inspired by your work. The Goop post seems so unnecessary to even publish in the first place.

  33. I always appreciate your thoughtfulness and transparency about ALL subjects, design and otherwise! Finding someone I agree with 100% matters less to me than finding someone who’s open to thoughtful dialogue and to learning new things.

  34. You drank the Kool-Aid too? I mean the single origin organic raw free-range kombucha?! 😜

  35. I’ve been wanting to say this for a while, so here goes. You are one of the few bloggers I’ve read on a regular basis because I learn so much from all of your process and thoughts. But I have noticed that I’ve been reading you less and less because I don’t see your worldview really evolving. All your employees and so many of your interactions *seem* to be really white-person-centric. Maybe I’m making assumptions or not seeing what happens behind the scenes, but the world is so much bigger and diverse and the whole privileged CA lifestyle thing is just starting to feel unnecessarily sheltered and unaware. And, frankly, kinda boring. There is so, so much more to acknowledge, support, and be inspired by. I groaned aloud when I saw your Goop post because it honestly feels like the last straw for me as a reader. I don’t give a shit about GP as a person, I give a shit that her company actively gaslights people who call her out on bullshit pseudoscience claims they profit from. It’s gross privileged bullying. We should care about facts. And we should care about evidence. And we should care about how people in power lie and obfuscate to maintain their positions. I can’t believe we have to say these things out loud.

  36. In my opinion, GOOP is and represents a boxed in belief of pseudo perfection and I don’t think it serves anyone (women especially). Others are entitled of course to their own opinions.

  37. Thank you for your pure honesty. I admire GP, the brand of Goop, and what it stands for self-care. I am not a privilege white woman but a daughter of immigrant parents and myself a mental health professional and clinical professor. I do appreciate and admire your honesty on the subject matter and I am sorry for the comments already made, especially if they are not as well-thought out as your blog. I admire you and your work, and my admiration has only increased for your honesty.

  38. Finding the need to assess or critique what other women are doing and putting out there in this day and age seems wrong on every level. How would you like it if Gwyneth did a post on Goop about your design and blog? Your post felt unnecessary and, frankly, mean spirited. I have never once seen Gwyneth write a negative review or analysis On any woman out there trying to make her way. Food for thought.

  39. Emily, I’m your mom’s age. I read your blog because I like seeing what younger design enthusiasts are up to. I see you working so hard to share personal pieces of your life and trying to get your point across in a time when it seems readers are just itching to take offense or twist your words so they can make their own point. I wouldn’t blame you if you stopped trying. But I do have a strong opinion to share.
    I grew up in LA on the fringes of the film industry and I saw people get sucked into trends, cults, drugs and abundant self hatred. A field of sheep ripe for shearing. My opinion GOOP is it’s an insidious way to separate the plebes from their money and let them think they are part of something special, exclusive, tinged with fame. Buy this and find enlightenment. Hucksters. Same tired crap wrapped in a new package. You are better than that.

    1. Wisest words right here! You can’t buy self love, but you can definitely waste a lot of money trying to find it.

  40. Hope you repost and allow yourself to have your own opinion i which you are entitled to.

    Please don’t allow the platform you have created stop you from expressing your opinion even if it’s not to everyones taste, i think that would be the biggest disappointment of all.

    Enjoy your day,
    Love
    Nikki

  41. They don’t need to be telling us how to give back, but they could be discussing how crucial it is for the soul. Service will heal us, give us purpose, grow compassion, and SO much more. Besides hleping others it will help us in a way no face cream ever could.

  42. As an “old” woman, I can tell you that giving a few hours of selfless service has brought me more lasting satisfaction than when I have taken an afternoon “just for me”. I have learned that my bucket gets filled quickly when I do such menial tasks as helping a person clean their house, taking them grocery shopping, watching their kids, listening as they pour out their broken heart, or etc. It helps me realize how blessed I am; makes me grateful for “petty” things and teaches me not to be judgmental of others. Service has helped me feel more whole, more complete and more satisfied with my life than anything else I can think of.

  43. Wisest words right here! You can’t buy self love, but you can definitely waste a lot of money trying to find it.

  44. Ok well I don’t usually wade into this nonsense, but why the heck not. I think there is a difference between ‘white privilege’ and privilege. Privileged people exist in every race and every society. I don’t see how the luxury products, trips, spas, design and remedies promoted by GP and Goop are specifically targeted at white women. They are targeted at people of privilege. I really don’t care, honestly – unless it can HURT someone. So. Use your brains people: as was said by someone else in these comments: check out the science behind what is being peddled – if there is any. My personal ‘line in the sand’ is anything that hurts, rather than helps: anti-vax and climate change denial being two biggies. Not saying that GP espouses either of these – just saying that if a brand doesn’t hurt society, I don’t get too exercised about it. Figure out your own line in the sand. And to Emily: please don’t let a heated conversation stop you from trying to be a part of the current narrative. I am not American and am distressed by some of what is happening (in many fronts) in your country. People need to be a part of the dialogue – people from all walks of life. As a person, business owner, Mom, citizen and design influencer – it is refreshing to see you flex your voice. I appreciate your thoughtful discourse and whether I agree or not, doesn’t matter.

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