The Lifestyle Brand

OK, let’s chat about this.

And this.

When you watch these videos, what is your first thought? “First up against the wall” or “I want?”

14 thoughts on “The Lifestyle Brand

  1. Paltrow is harmless; she neither forwards the revolution, nor creates obstacles for it. Just pointless upper-class weirdness that, if it helps other directionless upper-class people find joy or peace, is a tiny net positive in the world, so give this one a pass. But the latter? Oh yeah, up against the wall. (Not the first up, though. Not even in the first 30. But their number will come up eventually; it is inevitable.)

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    1. Someone used Paltrow to frame the Jordan Peterson phenomenon in a way that made sense: Peterson is just Paltrow for incels. Being available to serve as such a reference point is some sort of value in itself. You could flip it around, I guess, and say that Paltrow is Peterson for vapid upper middle class women.

      Most of her stuff is harmless fluff that doesn’t really intersect with my life and I don’t care about. But for her work with the ant-vax crowd she deserves to be strung up and a special place in Hades awaits her along with all the rest of them.


    2. No, she isn’t harmless. Some of the crap she sells is actually harmful, plus the anti-vax stuff is harmful. The thing that really bothers me though, is the way shows like the Today Show cover her – they completely avoid mentioning that she pitches a bunch of pseudo-scientific crap while giving her millions in free advertising and act as if she and her company are wonderful for self-care and advice.

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      1. Well, a lot of the things she sells may or may not be harmful. I just don’t really know and don’t really care. I’ve never bothered to look into the whole jade egg thing (for instance) because (a) it has nothing to do with me and (b) the people who it is being marketed to have the wherewithal to look after themselves just fine. On the list of people we should be looking to protect from themselves, vapid rich women are at or near the bottom of my list.

        So the jade egg thing may be a snake oil issue, but it’s not in the least a public health issue. The anti-vax stuff, on the other hand, is a direct threat to me and my kids and the rest of civilized society and should be stomped on extremely hard and without restraint.

        I can draw a distinction between the two, just like Jordan Peterson advising people to clean their rooms is ok and Jordan Peterson as a tool for political and social empowerment of incels is really not.


  2. “When you watch these videos, what is your first thought? “First up against the wall” or “I want?””

    If Peloton lady was for real rich, she’d have a personal trainer visiting her or she would have the leisure to go to spin classes outside her home. The fact that she has to do Peloton classes at home suggests lack of either money and/or leisure.

    They’re just using the magic of marketing to make it seen super duper upmarket when it’s not. The bike is expensive ($2k-ish), but $40 a month for unlimited classes is pretty cheap compared to actual spin classes. (I priced this recently.)

    Also, do you really want to stick an exercise bike in your living room? Ugh.

    I don’t want a Peloton, but heck yeah I’d like to have Peloton lady’s figure.


    1. I have long enjoyed online real estate listings. Many, many expensive listings include fully equipped exercise rooms.
      So, I’m sure the real rich have personal trainers, go to spin classes, and a room full of exercise equipment.

      And, um, the wealthy these days have done away with leisure.

      In the long run, there is no bad publicity. The ad has linked Peloton to its merchandise, sure to be an asset. All the other home exercise equipment manufacturers seem to have added video screens to their offerings, so having a distinct marketing identity is a good thing. I’ve enjoyed seeing the actress’s career take off. She is very good at showing elegant distress.

      GOOP does do harm, but there are many other outfits that do harm. (I admit I only know about GOOP from posts on this site, so my knowledge of their products is limited.) I worry about the larger picture; isn’t the FDA supposed to crack down on such things? Many of the things described seem to be medical in nature, if only on the woo woo cosmetic/”self-care” side of things.

      I listened to the podcast show, “Bad Batch.” Some of the experts pointed out that stem cell therapy, as went wrong in the case covered by “Bad Batch,” is not actually permitted. It’s just that clinics pop up and close so quickly, it’s hard to keep up. I concluded that we don’t have enough FDA inspectors.


  3. Neither. I think “marketing is designed to make us feel bad about ourselves so we’ll spend money, but you don’t have to accept that message.”


  4. I vote neither too. I don’t really want the stuff, but the advertising won’t send me out into the street with a pitchfork against the 1%.

    I’m not at all critical of Gwyneth Paltrow. Her stuff isn’t even especially out-there in terms of expense. People spend on all sorts of overpriced things —tickets for crazy expensive pro ball games (often attended weekly!), very expensive hobbies like skydriving and scuba diving, owning a boat, madly expensive meals and only slightly less expensive Creuset cookware/fancy kitchen stuff, comic-con, broadway theatre, Dsneyland!, school tuition —to list just a few that come to mind.
    I don’t think paying good cash money for programs about women’s orgasms and therapy and selling juicers for celery juice is such an outrageous or over-the-top misuse of money.

    The Pelaton bike people are just trying to sell a pricey variation on a basic exercise bike. Good luck to them. Mostly I can’t believe that the lady who got exercise equipment as a gift would still be married to the guy who gave it to her. It seems like a comment/criticism of her body. Is it for his benefit or hers?

    At least Gwyneth Paltrow’s company sells “wellness” that is mostly beneficial to the woman herself and isn’t something that will just make her more attractive/useful to men. . . well, maybe the orgasm thing might be useful.


  5. My kiddo wrote an “op-ed” for me about the Peloton ad. I’m paraphrasing here, but he said that he thought too much of the reaction was based on thinking of exercise as a chore and not a joy (and also if you think fitness is about being thin). I think the ad and the reaction is complex, but I thought his insight was useful. (the op-ed was written on my family blog).

    I appreciated Megan McCardle’s take on the bicycle ad, questioning the idea that an expensive purchase would be made by the putative husband without input from the wife, since the money is presumably theirs, and not his. My spouse would not make a purchase for me like that without my input. But, we are not particularly into giving gifts and fairly into buying purchases for ourselves when we want them (and they are within our budget).


  6. I wonder if the Pelaton advertising team thought about starting with a woman who was distinctly, visibly out of shape and then tracking her progress over a year, and I wonder how people watching the ad would have reacted to it then? Ads for cheap diet and exercise products tend to do that (always with a disclaimer about the progress not being typical). Maybe the “classier” route is to focus on someone who is already thin and appears fit, and not someone who “needs” diet/exercise.


  7. GOOP does do harm in a variety of different ways, but I am unsure about what the level of harm is, in comparison to other transmissions of anti-vax behavior (there are so many different sources). I see the response as requiring a public health regulatory intervention in the use of public spaces, especially school.

    The “self-care” harm — the general trend of people feeling unwell and thinking that “jade rollers” or other expensive interventions are going to fix things, well, I guess that depends on how much placebo effect there is. If people feel better (if only because they are paying attention to themselves and their needs), that’s not too bad a thing.



      I think any placebo effect is probably overwhelmed by the bad effects from the bullshit Paltrow promotes, not to mention here whole shtick is about making people feel inadequate and therefore in need of buying her scammy products. I really don’t understand why people are willing to give her a pass.


    2. My comment seems to have been eaten.

      I really don’t understand why people are willing to give Paltrow a pass. Any good placebo effect is likely overwhelmed by the harm caused by shoving a jade egg up your twat, or burns from ‘steam-cleaning’ your vagina. On top of the that, her whole business model is built on making women feel inadequate and thus in need of steam cleaning their vaginas. Not to mention, it encourages ant-science attitudes. You want to wave your hands and say “oh, it doesn’t hurt anybody”, then maybe it’s hypocritical to complain about anti-science attitudes towards things like climate change.

      See here for more information:


    3. I guess i give her less credit for the influence of some of her anti-scientific beliefs (compared to all the other people who propose the same views). The feel good interventions (face masks, jade rollers, vitamin supplements, probiotics, juice cleanses, . . . .) are so ubiquitous. Yes, she sells 30 dollar goop branded caffeine pills, but she also sells 220 dollar shirts. Oprah, for example, introduced Dr. Oz & Dr. Phil to the world.

      And, a lot of complaints (i.e. “steam cleaning” the vagina, which she doesn’t sell, and reports of harm seem to be someone who did not get her instructions from goop) seem overblown.

      And, if her target is “vapid rich women” I worry about their need for protection less than I do others who are influenced by the anti-science medicine.


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