She outgrew the wish to be perfect

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Wednesday, April 24, 2024


She outgrew the wish to be perfect
Elise Loehnen in Los Angeles on July 17, 2023. For years Loehnen peddled wellness for Gwyneth Paltrow. Her new book explores “the price women pay to be good.” (Pat Martin/The New York Times)

by Sarah Lyall



NEW YORK, NY.- Last month, author and podcast host Elise Loehnen joined Taryn Toomey, founder of the mind-body workout the Class, at a “Women’s Intuition” workshop in the Tribeca neighborhood of New York City. Loehnen spoke about her bestselling book, “On Our Best Behavior: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Price Women Pay to Be Good,” which argues that women have long been culturally programmed to fear being “bad” and to suppress their emotions, their needs and their voices.

“The premise of today’s workshop is to reconnect to that voice,” she said. “To deepen it, to channel it, to find everything we’ve been taught to repress in our bodies and bring it to the surface.”

As Loehnen read aloud a series of prompts (channel a fear of gluttony into a celebration of appetite, for instance), Toomey led the class through a series of exercises and spontaneous vocalizations. Afterward, each participant went home with a copy of Loehnen’s book.

A couple of weeks later at her home in Brentwood, California, Loehnen, 43, flashed a grin as she talked about how it felt to yell things like “Ha!” in front of a group of super-fit women in New York City. “I know Taryn, and I love the Class,” she said. “But I have trouble making the sounds.”

It is a new experience for Loehnen to speak with her own voice. She has ghostwritten or co-written a dozen other books, and for almost seven years worked at Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow’s wellness and lifestyle company, overseeing its blog, newsletter, book imprint and podcast as well as its Netflix documentary series, “The Goop Lab.”

She chatted in the kitchen of her house, a small, airy and cunning design by architect A. Quincy Jones. With her cropped dark hair and almost preternaturally glowing skin, she looked like a tomboy version of Snow White. Her husband and their two young sons were out.

The idea for the book, she said, came from a conversation with celebrity therapist Lori Gottlieb on the Goop podcast. Pay attention to envy, Gottlieb told her: It can show you what you want. Loehnen began to consider envy’s six unruly siblings-in-sin: lust, anger, greed, gluttony, sloth and pride.

In the book, Loehnen writes that the patriarchal structure of society has saddled women with damaging assumptions about goodness, leaving them exhausted, anxious, unable to express their true feelings and perpetually striving for an impossible-to-attain ideal. While she argues that men are also victims of the patriarchy, her message has especially resonated with women. On “The View,” Sara Haines called the book “a deep dive into my own psyche of questioning everything.”

John Evans, the co-owner of Diesel, a bookstore in Brentwood, said that the book’s particular framing of “how women are trained to feel guilty about everything they do, and men are trained not to show their feelings” had struck a nerve with his customers.

“On Our Best Behavior” draws on history, sociology, philosophy, psychology, religion and science as well as personal experience. Loehnen caters to a broad constituency, an audience open to “woo-woo” theories as much as scientific ones.

In the book, she quotes in the same paragraph biologist E.O. Wilson and Jesus-channeling psychic medium Carissa Schumacher, whom she calls “one of my great spiritual teachers.” On her podcast, “Pulling the Thread,” her guests encompass a range of experts and thinkers: NPR host Ari Shapiro; Dre Bendewald, a practitioner of “circling,” in which women gather in circles to share their experiences; and Susan Olesek, a backer of the Enneagram, a model that sorts personality types.

Loehnen said that this reflected her curiosity and openness to ideas.

“We all contain multitudes, and I have always been quite democratic about where I get information,” she said.




Loehnen grew up in Missoula, Montana, graduated from Yale in 2002 and began her career at Lucky magazine. She met Paltrow through celebrity fitness instructor Tracy Anderson, with whom she had worked on a book project. She was hired as Goop’s editorial director and later promoted to chief content officer.

Goop is many things: an aspirational lifestyle manifesto and a guide to expensive and sometimes wacky products; a source of anxiety, FOMO and, yes, envy. Many of these mixed feelings are directed at Paltrow, who presents herself as an everywoman of sorts while projecting an air of rarefied perfection. In interviews, several people who have worked there — none of whom agreed to be quoted on the record — described it as a workplace full of clashing ideas and employees immersed in competitive self-betterment while being hyperaware of each other’s status in the company.

As much as Loehnen has tried to move past Goop, she can’t liberate herself from its impact on how she is perceived. In an Instagram post last year, she explained that after leaving the company, “I felt like I was not in a healthy relationship with my body, where I was always trying to punish it and bring it under control.” She then vowed “never to do another cleanse again,” she said.

But, she went on, she realized that her new policy — “two years of eating whatever my young kids want” — was not healthy either. The result was a compromise: a “five-day reset of broths, smoothies and lattes” that allowed for eating extra food. “I refuse to punish myself with food, or hold myself under the weight my body seems to want to be anymore,” she added. “Hopefully I’ve broken that cycle for good.”

This single post started a media furor. Had Loehnen just attacked her former boss by implying that Goop’s cleanses and detoxes — it promotes a new one every year — sent an unhealthy message about body image? Was she dissing Paltrow? No, Loehnen said, that’s not what she meant at all. “People turned it into me being anti,” she said, “but it wasn’t an indictment of my last place of employment.”

She chose her words carefully. You’re not going to get her to say “Goop” or “Gwyneth,” let alone criticize them. (Also, the company has an alert team of lawyers and an enthusiasm for NDAs.) Rumors still swirl that Loehnen’s departure was less a conscious uncoupling than a forced march out the door. But Loehnen said that her departure was “pretty fast and mutual,” and Paltrow issued a laudatory statement at the time.

Still. Was Paltrow angry about the Instagram post? “I don’t know,” Loehnen said; the two are no longer in touch.

As for her departure, Loehnen will say only that it was time to move on, and that the direction the company was going in — selling more wellness products — had become less interesting to her.

“My interests were moving out of this idea of self-optimization,” she said. “I think what happens in the wellness world is this desire for control and certainty.”

Loehnen said that she had a bit of a reset after leaving Goop. After being afflicted by an anxiety disorder that manifests as hyperventilation, she has found some equilibrium in giving up her quest for perfection.

“I don’t think the answers are deep inside myself,” she said. “If anything, the answers are in the collective, in recontextualizing ourselves and realigning ourselves with other women.”

Case in point: She hasn’t weighed herself since 2020, the year she left Goop.

“I had this experience when I was working on the book and looking at old photos, and I was like, ‘God, I had a slamming body,’” she said. “And all I did back then was judge myself.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.










Today's News

August 25, 2023

Ethnological Museum Dresden returns four objects to the Kaurna people

Law school that covered slavery murals didn't violate artist's rights, court rules

Researchers extract ancient DNA from a 2,900-year-old clay brick, revealing a time capsule of plant life

The Met keeps releasing clothing with Pacsun. Why?

A fan made a Spider-Man film. The fallout has been unexpected.

National Gallery of Art acquires work by Anne Neely

IMMA presents new exhibitions by two highly regarded artists Jo Baer and Anne Madden

Christo exhibition at Gagosian Basel marks the 25th Anniversary of 'Wrapped Trees' at Fondation Beyeler

Laguna Art Museum presents Marking an Era: Celebrating Self Help Graphics & Art at 50

Nathanaëlle Herbelin debuts at Xavier Hufkens

Conceptual textile artist Andrea Donnelly's exhibition 'Geologic' now on view at Richmond - 1708

Jason Kowalski exhibition 'Heritage Traveler' depicting American built landscape of mid-20th century opens today

Phung-Tien Phan's first solo exhibition in Switzerland explores diasporic experience

After 122 years, a lost Edith Wharton play gets its debut

To seize the fleeting: Making Clarice Lispector dance

'Freie Bahn ins Glück' by Michaela Eichwald now opening at Neue Galerie Gladbeck

Patron's Harold Mendez is now exhibiting at the Wexner Center for the Arts

Château La Coste is featuring the new sculpture and painting work by Irish artist Guggi

She outgrew the wish to be perfect

Scientist, technologist, inventor, author, and food photographer Nathan Myhrvold blends intellect with creativity

Scripps College's Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery announces exhibition 'Gettin' It Done'

Flying high at the beach: Birds, dancers, Merce and Michelson

Famed conductor accused of striking singer at performance

Johaar Mosaval, who broke free of apartheid for ballet, dies at 95

Safety in Gaming: Tips for Picking the Right VPN for Gaming

Improve Your Etsy Sales with the Power of Proper Keyword Tools

Reasons That Make Maeng Da Kratom Trend In 2023

Enhance Safety with Quality Safety Supplies from Truck Electrics Store

The Michigan state high school football season 2023 Schedule,Score,preview and prediction.

5 Home Design Tips for Crafting a Picture-Perfect Playroom




Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 



Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

sa gaming free credit
Attorneys
Truck Accident Attorneys
Accident Attorneys

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site Parroquia Natividad del Señor
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful