7 Books About the Scam of Wellness

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From Electric Lit:

It’s no coincidence that wellness has become a trillion-dollar industry at the same time that most people have been affected by failing public health systems and government agencies. Self-care has become a best-selling product, a buzzword that anyone can use to increase their bottom line. Because of this, it can be impossible to parse what wellness is, and to imagine methods of self-care that don’t come with a staggering cost. 

In my novel Natural Beauty, a talented pianist is forced to give up a promising career in order to care for her ailing parents. She stumbles upon an opportunity to work at Holistik, a high-end wellness and clean beauty store, and finds herself seduced by the promise of becoming her best self. She slathers on products, ingests pills, and submits to procedures, all in the name of endless self-optimization. But something sinister lies beneath Holistik’s glossy veneer, an ugly truth that threatens to consume her. Natural Beauty is ultimately a journey of self-love through the horrors of a commodified wellness industry. 

Below, I present a list of books that, together, begin to form a clear picture of what wellness is and what it isn’t, who it currently serves, and who it excludes. The illness of wellness lies in wellness that tries to exist within capitalism, participating and becoming an extension of it. All of these books have also informed me, one way or another, in my own journey with self-care. 

Aesthetica by Allie Rowbottom

Former influencer Anna Wrey seeks to undo  all of her previous surgeries with a new procedure, Aesthetica, which promises to restore your natural face. Scenes of her readying for the procedure in the present are cut with flashbacks that show the harrowing history that brought her to this point. She has spent her life learning to read the desires of men, ignoring her own, and surgically adapting to exterior preferences. It’s a deeply powerful and sad depiction of influencer culture, the pursuit of beauty and youth as leverage for power, and the choices women make, which are limited and designed to make us believe we are in control. Rowbottom is so effective at showing the absolute hollowness of getting all the things we’ve been conditioned to want, it’s frightening. This anti-fairy tale cautions us: be careful what you wish for, because your wishes are not your own. 

Flawless: Lessons in Looks and Culture from the K-Beauty Capital by Elise Hu

Hu moves to Seoul as the first-ever Korea and Japan bureau chief for NPR correspondent and takes a deep dive into South Korea’s beauty industry and how it impacts society and women at large. In this astonishingly researched and unputdownable book about topics like the prolific plastic surgery procedures being invented everyday to burgeoning feminist movement, she dissects the myriad ways beauty ideals intersect with geopolitical tensions, class, and societal issues, as well as articulating technology’s part in enabling and accelerating beauty culture. Among the many pressing questions Hu asks: How does beauty intersect with sexist power structures? Who benefits when women expend so much energy enhancing themselves?  Where is unchecked consumer beauty culture leading us to? Nowhere in the world are there such clear lines drawn between beauty and social and economic success than in South Korea. Flawless manages to provide an in-depth look at the history of Korea, which very well may be the future for the rest of the world. 

Link to the rest at Electric Lit

The topics in the OP and each of the books it mentions are terra icognita for PG. So, for once, he has no opinon regarding the OP.