Recently, an article in the NY Times was brought to my attention via an online Mom's group that I belong to. The article, entitled "Who's Afraid of Gwenyth Paltrow and Goop?" speaks to something that I have been wanting to talk about for a long time, which is how deeply ingrained Patriarchy is when it comes to self-care and wellness. And something that I want to be very clear about...it's not just an issue with men, but rather it is actually very much an issue that we as women have to face and acknowledge. Upon reading the above article, I couldn't help but think, what if Gwenyth were a man? Would she be treated differently? Would she take far less heat for trying these very outside of the box modalities of care? Would she actually be praised for getting in touch with her vulnerability and need to find spiritual healing? Would women judge her less and more men actually get on board? I, of course, cannot prove this (much to the chagrin of our evidence based society), but I would be lying if I didn't say that I think it's very possibly true.
Even more honestly, I will share that I have often had the thought that if my husband were to decide that he wanted to jump into my business with me, not only would I garner more attention, but things would grow exponentially faster. We have had the candid discussion that if all of a sudden, the world started to see him talk about the power of essential oils and how they work for him, people would more readily dive into believing, rather than pass it off and spiritual "woo" (see one of my latest posts on why that word is no longer ok). This is not me saying "Oh woe is me" to be clear. My husband fully supports and backs me up in my work, his interest simply lies elsewhere in his own career. And I don't actually desire to have him as a business partner, simply because of that reason. He would have to be just as passionate as I am about teaching the art of self-care as I am, because in truth, while I wish to continue to grow financially, it isn't all about the money for me.
But I think the hard reality is that, we as women, have allowed patriarchal views to usurp the power we have over our own intuitive knowing. We look for things to be "knowable" or "proveable", when there was once a time when we were able to simply listen to ourselves and each other and create healing rituals and practices for both ourselves and those we care for. Instead, we have been programmed to turn towards doubt and skepticism and so quickly roll our eyes at those who wish to take a stand for alternative, out of the mainstream options.
I am not saying that Gwenyth Paltrow needs be the end all be all of wellness. And I am humble enough to say that while quick judgements based on her outward personae are easy, I don't, in fact, know anything about her, her life or what she has been through to want to be in the pursuit of such practices. But I do know that we have to stop judging women in wellness, especially among each other and we have to break down the walls that patriarchy has so widely built in our own points of view. And so I invite you to ask yourself this, "If Gwenyth Paltrow was a man, do you think she would take less heat?". Read the article and then I am open to an honest and respectful conversation about this in the comments below...
is a Mama, Wife, Yoga and Meditation Teacher, Coach, Writer and Activist. You can read more about her here.