“Not just a steam douche”: Gwyneth Paltrow suggests professionally steam-cleaning your uterus

GOOP reaches new heights of conscious self-parody with her latest spa recommendation

By Erin Keane

Chief Content Officer

Published January 29, 2015 9:06PM (EST)

Gwyneth Paltrow         (Reuters/Danny Moloshok)
Gwyneth Paltrow (Reuters/Danny Moloshok)

Gwyneth Paltrow, coiner of bougie self-aware phrases like “conscious uncoupling” that even her own mother doesn’t quite buy into, has a hot new tip for the ladies: there is a Los Angeles spa she describes as “the next level” of Korean spas where the signature treatment is the “Mugworth V-Steam”:

“You sit on what is essentially a mini-throne, and a combination of infrared and mugwort steam cleanses your uterus, et al. It is an energetic release—not just a steam douche—that balances female hormone levels. If you’re in LA, you have to do it.”

And if you're not, book a ticket for your rusty V, because it desperately needs the energetic release that only a blast of hot mugwort-infused air can give it! If Goop herself says this is the new way to treat yourself, who are we to argue?

The V-Steam hits all of the high points of a classic GOOP recommendation: it’s prestigious (mini-throne), exotic (Mugwort isn’t one of those non-canonical Harry Potter characters, is it?) vaguely medicinal (kills intestinal worms!), and completely unnecessary.

As a publication, GOOP is already its own rollicking self-parody, the J. Peterman catalog of lady lifestyle porn. But with the straight-faced recommendation that taking a vaginal herbal steam will “balance female hormone levels,” it’s possible that Goop herself has finally embraced her future as the leader of the most sly humor magazine on the internet.

Most of Gwyneth’s lifestyle commentary comes off as ridiculously out-of-touch: she’s dreaming if she thinks it’s so much harder to be a movie star on set than a regular working mom, and her smug tips on how to divorce with class and style in a way ignore pedestrian details like finances that other divorcing couples have to contend with in a very real way. But not only is it hard to hate on the absurdity of a $50 shot of steam up your crotch that promises to strengthen your nervous system and correct digestive disorders, it’s an impressive display of self-aware humor that Goop should continue to embrace with both elegant, kale-fed arms.

Nobody really needs Gwyneth Paltrow to be more relatable. Don’t we already have a phalanx of earth-bound empresses throwing their celebrity weight and eye behind affordable treats mass-produced for discount department stores? If Goop used her Academy Award-winning acting skills to transform herself into someone the average woman could actually imagine herself having a conversation with and not breaking out into hysterical snort-laughter after less than five minutes, what on earth would we do with Lauren Conrad? Send her back to Laguna Beach to sell real estate?

All things go, true, but if Gwyneth remains the paragon of unattainable perfection, we can feel better about our squandered weekends of petty failure, our un-organic family dinners of regret. The mugwort-infused truth is that we need Goop to be the GOOPiest she can possibly be, because in slaying her image we obtain a cathartic release that even flavored steam can’t replicate. That she is obviously, at this point, wholly in on the joke only makes me love her and need her more.

By Erin Keane

Erin Keane is Salon's Chief Content Officer. She is also on faculty at the Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Writing at Spalding University and her memoir in essays, "Runaway: Notes on the Myths That Made Me," was named one of NPR's Books We Loved In 2022.

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