The Dark Side of the Wellness Industry

World in a Grain of Sand Award

By: Abigail Ellstrom, Atreyi Mitra, Bianca Nguyen, Kara Justeson

Is goop based on pseudoscience or science and to what extent are they engaging in cultural appropriation?

Read the Magazine on Canva

Health and wellness has emerged as a booming industry, estimated to be worth around 4.2 trillion dollars. A myriad of brands and influencers take part in this industry to sell a lifestyle to followers in the form of products, aesthetics, and tidbits of advice on mindfulness and healthy eating. But this promotion of wellness is a space that has been co-opted by White leaders who, either intentionally or not, uphold exclusivity and elitism. These business leaders assume the role of wellness experts and “gurus”, many endorsing practices that they are ill-informed on and which public health and science has shown to be dangerous. Further, the Western industry’s appropriation of healing practices from BIPOC cultures finds itself manifested in the commodification and exotification of sacred and traditional knowledge for profit and capital. Health has not only become synonymous with wealth, but with thin, white bodies.

In this project, we created a magazine that explored the dark side of the wellness industry through a case study of Goop. To adequately explore this topic, we included the following list of non-exhaustive content in our magazine: 1) Defining the health and wellness industry, 2) the science behind the practices Goop promotes, 3) Goop’s co-opting by White leaders who uphold exclusivity and elitism through an Anglo-centric standard of beauty, 4) the industry’s cultural appropriation of the traditional wellness practices from BIPOC communities 4) the science of eating disorders and the wellness industry’s relationship to them, and 5) the ways with which low-income and minority communities are disproportionately impacted by the industry’s practices.

An unlikely route to exploring some of the most interesting aspects of “wellness” today, including nutrition, regulation, cultural obsessions, and gender… a really in-depth and wild ride through Goop and its meaning for all of us… super creative and well done! –Prof. Kelty

comments powered by Disqus
Based on and Kishan B