Gwyneth Paltrow (Courtesy of @goop)

Gwyneth Paltrow's beef with San Francisco ob-gyn is why science matters

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Gwyneth Paltrow's highbrow lifestyle brand is in hot water—again.

Last month, the Goop brand found itself at the center of a controversial whirlwind when NASA stepped in to condemn the lifestyle mogul for selling $120 "Body Vibe" stickers. Yes, you read that right: one-hundred-and-twenty-dollar adhesives in cute animal shapes that, apparently, aid in balancing out hormones. The evidence backing the stickers' efficiency was, well, akin to dodo-bird conservation efforts—which is to say non-existent. Now GP's making headlines again with claims that Goop's $66 vagina egg is "scientifically proven to empower you and help you have better sex."


The nephrite jade egg ($66) is said by Paltrow to increase sexual pleasure.(Courtesy of Goop)

Well, not everyone agrees with those purported claims...especially one of our city's own respected medical practitioners.

"[This] is the biggest load of garbage I've read on your site since vaginal steaming," said Dr. Jennifer Gunter, an ob-gyn with Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco. Gunter, in that same post from January, also claimed the feminine care products pedestaled by Goop are "fact-deficient and potentially harmful."

Clearly an emotional button was pushed—because GP and her PR camp soon came for blood.

Earlier last week, the Goop team of medical advisors released a joint statement on the company's blog titled "Uncensored: A Word From Our Doctors," giving a pseudo-scientifically backed shrug to much of the medical criticism they've been amassing this year.

And, according to Gwynnie, "going high" means publicly shaming Gunter in a 2,500-word blog post. (We're pretty sure this is not what Michelle Obama meant by "when they go low, we go high.")

Below is a small excerpt from the Goop rebuttal:

First, Dr. Gunter, I have been in academic medicine for forty years and up until your posting, have never seen a medical discussion start or end with the "F-bomb," yet yours did. A very wise Professor of Surgery at the University of Michigan once instructed me to never write anything that my mother or child wouldn't be proud to read. I hope, for the sake of your mother and child, that a re-reading of your article fails his test, and following his sage advice, that you will remove it.

But, since you did not do even a simple Google search of me before opening your mouth, let me give you a brief history: I have published over 300 papers, chapters, and abstracts on my research in peer-reviewed journals and have presented over 500 papers at peer-reviewed academic meetings.

Suffice to say, we can all agree that the aforementioned is not particularly helpful nor professional nor, ironically, empowering.

Gunter, however, decided not to rest on her laurels and let such language wash over her like water off a duck's back. Keyboard a-clicking, the critic published a post of her own titled "Goop's misogynistic, mansplaining hit job," overflowing with academically sound citations and a bevy of meticulously placed footnotes.

I did 4 years of medical school, a 5 year OB/GYN residency, a 1 year fellowship in infectious diseases, I am board certified in OBGYN in 2 countries, I am board certified by the American Board of Pain Medicine and the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in Pain Medicine and I am appropriately styled Dr. Jen Gunter MD, FRCS(C), FACOG, ABPM, ABPM (pain). A woman with no medical training who tells women to walk around with a jade egg in their vaginas all day, a jade egg that they can recharge with the energy of the moon no less, is the strangely confident one.

Then, dropping the proverbial mic, Gunter concluded her substantiated response fiercely.

To Dr. Gundry I say you are a textbook mansplainer. Your letter to me and your picture should really appear on the Wikipedia page for mansplaining. I have dealt with surgeons like you throughout my training, you didn't bother me then and you don't bother me now. I will not read your book, but I will be happy to read your research when it makes it to JAMA and NEJM or BMJ.


Granted, we should all aim be our healthiest, most au naturale selves, but body stickers and smooth vaginal stones should not be a respectable substitute for tried-and-true medical practices. We need to be present, open, and cognizant of factual information and be cautious when confronted with fictional optimism spilling from the mouths of unaccredited sources—no matter how many Oscars he or she might have splayed across their mantel.

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