Goop’s Nude Image Row: Idolising Unrealistic Bodies?
An Instagram image posted by Gwyneth Paltrow’s wellness enterprise Goop from their handle hasn’t gone down well even with the followers. The image shows a blonde nude woman from behind, with her hands outstretched. While it is unclear if the image is that of Paltrow, fans are not happy with the picture alleging that it idolises unrealistic bodies and pushes the age old notions of beauty on women, equating ‘thin’ with ‘fit’. “Her rib cage is showing,” read one of the comments. But this isn’t the first time Paltrow’s venture has been in the news for anything but endorsing just that.
- Gwyneth Paltrow’s venture posted image of a nude blonde woman on Instagram.
- People have raised concerns over the physique of that woman, saying that it idolises unreal standards for women.
- Shouldn’t a wellness enterprise have a broader conversation around wellness than posting a nude image of thin woman?
- Idolisation of picture perfect bodies pushed women to be uncomfortable in their own skin. How is that promoting wellness?
From selling vaginal jade eggs to advising women to steam their vagina, Goop has weird notions about wellness for women.
The photograph in question wouldn’t have been problematic had it not been posted by a business selling wellness, because then it makes us question their definition of the word. It is just a woman’s body, but then why would a wellness venture choose to post an image of a woman, whose body type reflects the kind that has been idolised for our gender for generations? How many women can boast that their rib cage plays peek-a-boo through their bodies when they stretch their hands out? Moreover, is that even healthy?
The projection of perfect feminine form, in order to sell the idea of health and fitness, is nothing you. We see images of women with bodies that we have grown to associate with the term ‘fit’ across billboards for everything from gyms to artificial sweeteners. This could be you, they seem to be whispering in our ears, as we instantly begin to loathe our own bodies; skin, muscle, fat and all. But do any of such pictures, meant to put across the message of healthy living, tell us how many women can actually boast of such bodies, and what goes into maintaining them? Is it as easy as following a diet, or working out at a gym, or buying lifestyle products from a certain vendor?
There’s more to health than having perfect bodies, and the longer we keep this truth from women, the further we push our kind into the quagmire of desperation, shame and unhappiness. This is certainly not what wellness should be about. And thus it is high time that companies selling us health got real. We need a more inclusive and responsible conversation about health, the one that goes beyond attaining a desired physique. That discusses emotional wellbeing and doesn’t limit an individual’s physical health to vital stats. Idolising unreal physical beauty standards for women in the name of wellness is as harmful as glamourising obesity in the name of body positivity. Those words have a lot more depth to them.
Wellness is more than a term which can be sprinkled generously on the brochure of a spa or captioned on pictures of lean women embracing nature in their glory. With the world seeing a rise in lifestyle diseases like diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases, and mental health issues, our very existence seems now to depend on how well we understand the concept of wellness and then try to implement it in our individual and communal lives. A picture of a thin woman, with her rib cage showing through her skin, speaks anything but that.
Image Credit: The Cut
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.