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Being empowered to let go of my anxiety or self-criticism as a wealthy white woman is certainly helpful to me, and I appreciate that message from Hollis on a certain level. In one anecdote about the power of setting goals, Hollis recounts her obsession with buying a Louis Vuitton Speedy bag, which cost a thousand dollars. And she takes that brand of feminism a step further by marrying it with Christianity, in what is essentially a Pinterest-worthy version of the prosperity gospel. This attitude has a historical context in the Pentecostal religious tradition in which Hollis was raised.
Pentecostalism has always been the slightly embarrassing uncle at the evangelical family reunion — its unfiltered and emotional expressions of faith can make it look a little unseemly to outsiders. A patina of racial diversity has been another hallmark of Pentecostalism, although during the civil rights era, racism from white leaders of the church caused a division that lasted through the s, and well into today in some parts of the country. In the United States, the movement gained momentum in the early days of the 20th century with several well-known revivals, the most famous of which was the Azusa Street Revival in , led by a black preacher named William Seymour.
And as far back as the Azusa Street Revival, white Pentecostals displayed a religious version of black cultural appropriation. Interestingly, this kind of appropriation echoes throughout Girl, Wash Your Face. The trouble with, and the appeal of, curated imperfection is the assumption that all imperfections lie in the past — they have supposedly been understood, integrated, and learned from in order to create a present that is blissfully free from earlier mistakes. Since , research has shown that 95 to 98 percent of attempts to lose weight fail and that two-thirds of dieters gain back more than they lost.
She imbues fatness with the shame of moral failure and demeans women who struggle to — or do not want to — lose weight. Hollis and her husband went through a difficult time before adopting their daughter Noah, now about a year and a half old, in They signed up to be foster-to-adopt parents, and Hollis talks throughout the book about their wrenching experience with the adoption process. It was in the middle of these tumultuous few years, full of long days spent in survival mode, that Hollis started drinking more.
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But she has little to no empathy for the birth parents or family of the children she and her husband thought they would permanently adopt. When Hollis recounts waiting for the birth parents of one child to show up, her attitude of superiority and willful ignorance is almost breathtaking:.
But at night, when no one is looking, you drink, and when it gets really bad, you take a Xanax, too. Despite its undeniable popularity, Girl, Wash Your Face has not been met with universal acclaim. Those that have been beaten, verbally abused, raped, or shot at? What about those forging their way through life in male-dominated careers instead of party planning?
This book is all about YOU … Jesus offers us true joy and peace, but only after we realize that we are not the center of our own lives and we are no longer in charge. From the ashes of her former life as a lifestyle influencer, Hollis is rising to lead an army of inspired women as a motivational speaker, media guru, business consultant, and tough-talking best friend, all in one. She has become a semi-secular preacher, and she has found her flock. But, in what many people would consider to be a moment of full-blown cultural crisis in the United States, are white, middle-class women the people who most need a champion telling them to prioritize themselves above all others?
There are so many systems in place to ensure that the people who are already down stay down: mass incarceration, voter disenfranchisement , rising health care costs, lack of public education, a narrowing path to citizenship for immigrants — the list goes on.
And yet so many working and middle-class white people not to mention billionaires seem increasingly gripped with anxiety over the idea that what they have is not enough, or that what they deserve is somehow being taken from them by the undeserving. Rachel Hollis writes about that really well.
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I just wish she would actually do it. Laura Turner is a writer in San Francisco. Rachel Hollis with her husband Dave during an interview. View this photo on Instagram. There are dark implications in making everything a matter of personal responsibility.
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At her worst, Hollis refashions her own apparently resolved struggles into astonishingly harsh instruction for other women.