Gwyneth Paltrow: Yoni Destroyer

Gwyneth Paltrow and her woo-peddling empire, Goop, are making good money teaching women more ways to punish their vaginas for existing. We're talking vaginal steaming, what you shouldn't put in your vagina, and the history of misogyny with special guest Elle Stanger (@stripperwriter).
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emma loves the weird and woo and has a relaxed and easy approach to obsessive note taking.
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Yoni Steaming:
Basically a Facial for Your Vagina

Two Woman Vaginal Steaming
True friends steam together <3

Yoni Steaming, AKA Vaginal Steaming, AKA V-Steaming (for those afraid to say the word vagina).

According to Goop, Yoni Steaming is an ancient practice that uses the heat from herbal steam to lightly permeate the outside of a woman’s vagina and allow for detoxification.

“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.” – Gwyneth Paltrow, quoted in an LA Times article.

Benefits:

  • Decreases discomfort associated with PMS
  • Lightens menstrual flow
  • Regulates cycle
  • Increases fertility
  • Helps to heal after birth // fixes tears, somehow c-section scar can be healed thru the vag
  • Heals hemorrhoids
  • Reduces pain from yeast infections
  • Reduces dryness caused by menopause
  • Detoxifies the womb
  • “Help in letting go of stored emotions and tap into the feminine energy that is our creative potential” REALLY.

Common herbs: mugwort, wormwood, chamomile, calendula, basil, oregano

How to: At home, you either boil the water and herbs and squat over the pot with a towel wrapped around to keep the steam from escaping or you can pour it into a bowl or sitz bath, for 5-30 minutes – however long the water is hot enough to steam. 

"Ancient Practice" My Yoni!!!

Hindu statue of woman spreading her vagina open.
"Behold! All the fucks I give about your thoughts on my vagina."

Evidently yoni steaming is an “ANCIENT PRACTICE,” but it’s sort of impossible to find much history.

According to the authors of The Medieval Vagina, a book that looks at historical vaginal practices of the Middle Ages, they practiced Vaginal fumigation, or steam forced through a tube and into the vagina – like the spa treatments of today, the steam was a mix of water and herbs. The practice was prescribed for infections, menstrual cramps and even cancer. Needless to say, vaginas were burned and the practice actually caused more infections than it cured.

The Greeks believed steam inserted into the vagina could travel all the way to a woman’s mouth and nose if she had been devirginized by way of “the hodos,” an uninterrupted passageway that runs from the nose and mouth to the vagina. LMAO DUH THO.

References to vaginal steaming as a Korean practice seem to originate (online, at least), with this 2010 article from Time. Many proponents of the practice quote the spa owners cited in this article, accepting their claim that it assisted in the conception of their child. – its called Chai Yok and isnt actually a korean thing at all…The phrase “chai-yok” means nothing in Korean. “Chai” mean “tea” in Hindi. The closest approximation in Korean is “cha-yak,” or “tea-medicine,” which is apparently an unfamiliar phrase to Korean speakers. Neither eastern nor western medical journals contained references to the practice. SOOOOOO

In 2011 the WHO conducted a study on the ways that women practice vaginal care by talking to 4000 women in Mozambique, South Africa, Indonesia, and Thailand. Steaming/smoking of the vagina was practiced by all places, but for different reasons. In both African cities studied, 38% of women said they did it to enhance male pleasure – tightens and makes the vagina drier (WHY THO?). In both Asian cities, 26% of women said they did it for their female identity – for example maintaining wellness after birth.

An ethnobotanical study carried out in Trinidad also found some women using herbal vaginal steaming post-partum. While the study doesn’t go into specifics, because it’s used after delivery, we will venture a guess it’s being used to tighten the vagina.

Not quite empowering.

I think most wellness blogs and people who support the trend found all of the history and information they needed in a 2010 LA Times article about a woman (who happens to own the spa that Gwynnie went to for her v-steam) who claims that having her yoni steamed is what allowed her, a 45 year old woman, to get pregnant.

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Some Hokey Shit...

vagina e1590186127652

Aixa Acosta, of Amankay Birth Services in Boca Raton, FL, says a lot of crazy, intense stuff about yoni steams.

In the Emotional body, our womb is where we carry emotions around anger, resentment, inability to forgive and let go of past traumas. It is also where we carry our creativity, self-expression, ability to manifest abundance and most importantly, the magic of our life-giving, compassionate, feminine essence. When our womb is full of one, there is no room for the other. As science is now finding out, our emotional and physical bodies are connected - our emotional state determines our physical health. Yoni steaming supports the release of past trauma to welcome in the new seeds we wish to grow. We forgive ourselves and others to set ourselves free!

Aixa Acosta, Amankay Birth Services

“Things might get worse before they get better,” she says, she warns that you might experience:

  • changes in menstrual cycle
  • increased feeling in womb space
  • cramping
  • heaviness
  • release of dark blood and clots or “dark syrupy blood” w/ next cycle

This is just how it works to support the body and help to release years old blood and tissue.

Some women will get their period early after steaming, others won’t. Some women may have short and light or heavy and long, “just sit back, relax and go with it,” she says.

SO, BASICALLY, WHO FUCKIN KNOWSSSSSSSSS???

I Know Where My Vagina is...Do You?

WAT

According to a YouGov report, 45 per cent of women in the UK cannot identify the vagina, 55 per cent don’t know what the urethra is and 43 per cent can’t pinpoint the labia. – half of women also didn’t know theirs was self cleaning.

According to a report by Ovarian Cancer Action, almost half of the women surveyed between the ages of 18 and 24 said they feared “intimate examinations,” while 44 percent are too embarrassed to talk about sexual health issues with a GP. What’s more, two thirds of those women said they would be afraid to say the word “vagina” in front of their doctor.

According to The Eve Appeal—a women’s cancer charity that is campaigning this September to fight the stigma around women’s health, one in five women associate gynecological cancer with promiscuity. “Well you deserve this, you slut.” BEING PROMISCUOUS DOESN’T GIVE YOU CANCER. Of course there is high risk HPV that come from sexual activity – I have it – I feel like all of my friends have it – Eighty percent of us will pick up some form of the HPV virus in our lifetime, regardless of how many partners we have.

Its no wonder that these sorts of spa treatments or random things you can put inside of you and order privately online may be more appealing to some women than say, going to their doctors and saying “I have pain” or “my period lasts two weeks” or whatever else..

So, it makes sense why the feminine hygiene industry is $$$

lolsmelly

The business of feminine hygiene products is a 3-billion-dollar a year, highly unmonitored, unregulated industry that does not require full transparency of ingredients to be labeled. Companies are not required to include chemicals used in the processing of these ingredients.

Alle Weil, The Good Trade

Vaginas absorb 10-80% more than when exposed to the same toxins orally. Most feminine hygiene products contain ingredients and chemicals that are known allergens, carcinogens, reproductive toxins, and endocrine disruptors, including artificial fibers, pesticide residues, bleaching agents and artificial fragrances – you know – because they’re really gross.

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Vaginas are too loose, too smelly, too wet…what else?
Like, I’m not gonna lie, balls are weird and smelly and sticky and no one is telling dudes to steam their balls or get ball specific hygienic products. Patriarchy, man…

Ugh and the most annoying marketing, the “not-so fresh feeling” – like sure, when you have bacterial vaginosis or a yeast infection, shit feels bad, but that needs meds or boric acid, not deodorizers. Putting that shit on your vagina is what’s going to make it smell bad! It’s not even good to use soap down there – it’s a self cleaning organ.

OH! And don’t use a douche, ya DOUCHE!

smellyvag
This image...I fucking can't! LMAO

Jennifer Gunther is a BOSS ASS BITCH!

One gynecologist, Dr. Jennifer Gunther is going hard on slamming Gwyneth and Goop on the weird vagina stuff they suggest to do. She believes that the information shared isn’t only stupid, but dangerous and disempowering of women.
Dr. Jennifer Gunther, Gynecologist and Avid Goop Hater
Dr. Jennifer Gunther, Gynecologist and Avid Goop Hater

“The anti-science views of wellness and the anti-science of the religious right. Themes like ‘purity’ and ‘cleanliness’ with their similar rituals. It’s predatory. It’s the patriarchy by another name. And it keeps women back by telling them lies about their body. They might be different lies, but the effect is the same.

“It’s one of the core beliefs of the patriarchy. That women are dirty inside. And yet Goop presents this as female empowerment? In Hippocrates’s time they used to think that the womb wandered the body, causing mayhem, and you would coax it back into place by putting fragrant herbs between the legs. This is the same thing. It’s in so many cultures, this belief that the uterus is toxic. I couldn’t believe it was now being presented as female empowerment. It’s bad feminism. And it’s bad science.

“A vagina does not need to be detoxed. Ever. The vagina is a self-cleaning oven. That is why we have good bacteria.”

The blurb for Dr. Gunther’s book, Vagina Bible, says it all… “For every woman who has ever been told — usually by some dude — that she is too wet, too dry, too gross, too loose, too tight, too bloody, or too smelly. This book is for you.”

GOOP: Love It or Hate It

Goop, a one-stop shop for people hell-bent on perfecting themselves, has helped sell Americans on the idea that “wellness” means buying things until you feel better.

Amanda Mull, The Atlantic
Gwyneth Paltrow, Founder of Goop
Gwyneth Paltrow, Founder of Goop

Amanda Mull from the Atlantic decided to spend a bunch of the Atlantic’s money on Goop products to see if her life would be improved.

She bought a water bottle with a huge rose quartz in the drinking chamber for $80 on the claims that drinking rose-quartz water is “helpful in enhancing communication and has the ability to make surrounding environments feel open and safe.”

The Goop Martini Emotional Detox Bath Soak ($35) was most unhelpful. It came in a pouch with a detailed image of pink salt crystals, but when I dumped it in my bath, it was brown. My tub looked like someone had taken a shit in it. It also smelled terrible, but not in a way that matched up with how it looked.

Amanda Mull, The Atlantic

“Experts” who argue that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS and that drinking celery juice can treat cancer. In 2018, the company settled a $145,000 lawsuit over unsubstantiated claims that its jade and rose-quartz eggs could balance hormones and regulate menstrual cycles. (Goop denied any wrong-doing.) The company was also pressured to stop selling a set of “healing” stickers that were not, as it claimed, made of materials originally developed for NASA. They were actually just Mylar, a common polyester that the manufacturer, Body Vibes, claims is “programmed” with “frequencies” derived from Gregorian monks’ chants.

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Jade Eggs // So, these are actually cool for strengthening pelvic floor – kinda like Ben Wa balls. I used them. Issue was that Goop had all sorts of other claims about what they do – like balance hormones…Goop said would “increase vaginal muscle tone, hormonal balance, and feminine energy in general” This really annoyed some government nerd and he sued them: “The health and money of Santa Clara County residents should never be put at risk by misleading advertising,” Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement. “We will vigilantly protect consumers against companies that promise health benefits without the support of good science… or any science.”

So, obviously they were found to not do any of these things, and instead the claims are now classified as false—according to the US government anyway.

“As we have always explained, advice and recommendations included on Goop are not formal endorsements,” said a Goop spokesperson. And in today’s world of influencers, it’s definitely not just Goop pushing these and other bonkers claims.

Chakrubs: Beautiful Dildos of the Woo Woo Kind

Chakrubs, Crystal Dildos for Woo-Woo People
Chakrubs, Crystal Dildos for Woo-Woo People

Similar to the jade eggs sold on Goop, but more fun, in my opinion, these are dildos made of all different crystals. very beautiful, but my guess is heavy and cold. They retail for $129-$159

Chakrubs was founded by Vanessa Cuccia – author of Crystal Healing and Sacred Pleasure. In her books, she talks about how crystals helped her overcome “the sexual and emotional traumas I had endured, re-inhabit my body, and keep my heart open to love.” She believes that the right crystal can help unlock various “sexual personalities” By masterbating with them she says you can balance different chakras.

Jennifer Wider, MD, co-author of The Savvy Woman Patient said in an interview for Oprah’s website “My main concern is that even though it is a ‘smooth surface crystal,’ it can contain microscopic pores that would be hard to detect,” “If not sanitized properly, these pores can harbor all sorts of germs. If inserted, they can potentially cause serious infections, including bacterial vaginosis.”

The sex-positive idea that Chakrubs promote does resonate with me: sexual self-exploration has so much more value beyond the orgasm-is-the-only-goal thinking we’ve been culturally encouraged to believe. The brand and its toys encourage women of all sexual orientations to discover—on their own terms, without time limits or expectations—what they like sexually and what they like about themselves. That’s powerful in and of itself.

TIME FOR A SPECIAL THANKS!!!

Elle Stanger, @stripperwriter
Thanks to our very first guest, Elle Stanger, aka stripperwriter!

Not only is she a super cutie (see above) but she is also a certified holistic sex educator, a published writer (you can read her work in Salon, Rolling Stone, and Men’s Health Magazine, to name just a few), a sex worker, a podcaster, and a parent. Having her input on all of this episodes topics was educational and in some instances, eye opening. We were lucky to have her.

You can find more of her here:

Or if you’re ever in Portland, OR, you can catch her dancing at Lucky Devil Lounge!

Resources Mentioned in the Episode

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about jolie

mom, ex-dancer, jack of all trades and master of none, lover of educational pursuits

jolie has had an obsessive approach to research since she was old enough to read. recently diagnosed with add, a learning disorder commonly thought to mean you couldn’t focus on anything, she learned that her hyperfocus on topics of interest is a dead-giveaway for the disorder. while she can’t pay attention to someone talking about things that bore her, she cannot step away from things that make her brain light up even if it means other necessities are neglected (who needs water, anyway).

favorites

sushi, all animals ever (even the ones that look scary or gross), children of all ages, and every artform.

pet peeves

disrespectful people, messes, both permissive and controlling parents,  and self-absorption.

her podcast episodes
emma, co-host of the i read a thing podcast

emma

a trench coat
full of puppies
pretending to be
a person

about emma

Emma is the kind of person who googles the type of sandwich she is eating. “Cottage cheese and tomato toast” is currently in her search history. Needless to say, she is a fantastic party guest. She finds joy in the little things, like when people zoom past her for “driving too slow” only to be stopped at the same light up ahead. Grocery shopping is in her top 10 favorite things to do. She’s usually spaced out, but when she isn’t you can find her binge watching 90 day fiancé, listening to children’s music long after her children have left the room or lusting over donuts.

favorites

peach haribo, burgers, arts and crafts, & funny typos.

pet peeves

when people write “just breath” trying to sound insightful but they actually sound stupid because it’s breathE, cream cheese in sushi

her podcast episodes

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