"Gwyneth Paltrow" by Andrea Raffin / CC BY-SA 3.0

The Broken Promise of Gwyneth Paltrow’s “The Goop Lab”

Feb 5, 2020

By Daniel Albert Joslyn

It is perhaps unsurprisingly rare for anyone to talk about Goop, New Agers, and the world of wellness as offering trenchant critiques of neoliberal capitalism. But let’s try.

Netflix’s The Goop Lab (TGL), for the uninitiated (or those deaf to the waterfall of controversy surrounding it), is a series that features employees of actress-turned-New-Age-entrepreneur Gwenyth Paltrow’s company, Goop—as well as Paltrow herself—exploring a series of alternative “healing modalities,” including “psychedelics, cold therapy, female pleasure, anti-aging, energy healing, and psychics,” as noted by The Cut’s Amanda Arnold.

Many critics have, of course, accused TGL and Goop itself of being a cynical cash-grab; of peddling scientifically spurious—even dangerous—health tips; and, perhaps most succinctly, in the words of one woman interviewed on the show, of being “Woo-woo bullshit … [just] a bunch of privileged people in LA” doing empty privileged-people things.

But if we can set aside, for a moment, the valid criticisms of the legitimacy of the healing modalities depicted and the obvious conflict of interest, it may come as a surprise to discover what TGL and Goop can tell us about ourselves.

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