A recent video by author Rachel Hollis, and the subsequent apology, has gotten a lot of blowback. I left a comment that was twice deleted. I will post it here instead. Because I think we need to talk about toxic ideologies.
I have watched with curiosity for several years as a lot of Rachel’s problematic ideologies have gained popularity, and I think we are witnessing is the inevitable fallout.
It’s no surprise that someone who preaches that we don’t need to apologize is not capable of an accountable apology, as opposed to this one that is full of straw-mans (the housekeeping, which is NOT the issue and has been repeated over and over) and blame-shifting by throwing her “team” under the bus. It’s no surprise that someone who preaches we don’t need to worry about what anyone else thinks reveals themselves to be tone-deaf and lacking in empathy, because while we don’t need to spend our lives trying to please everyone, we DO need to have a balanced level of concern over how our words and actions affect others.
It’s no surprise that someone who has been preaching meritocracy ideals about women needing to constantly hustle and do more, shows herself to be self-obsessed with her own success without a lot of insight into values-based self-worth, and who believes herself to be exceptional while denigrating the worth of women who choose to opt out of toxic hustle culture. It’s no surprise when someone who preaches about manifesting success and a secular version of “prosperity gospel” reveals herself to have a poor grasp of privilege.
Rachel has, for years, presented herself as an expert on things that she doesn’t have an education in and hasn’t done the work in, gleaning ideas from others and creating a buffet of self-help regurgitation that is not flowing from academic knowledge or lived experience, but rather from picking and stealing and presenting the mental labor of others in a plucky package (complete with culturally appropriated lingo). And the general public has eaten it up.
I think as we are angry with Rachel, we also have to do some serious reflection as to how her messages, which were fairly overtly toxic, have been so appealing for white women. Why have these messages been so popular? There is a lot to unpack there.
Last, I wanna say this. I actually do relate to Rachel. I’m also an ennegram 3. I’m a divorced mom. An adoptive mom. We have mutual friends. We are both writers. I have a housekeeper (gasp!) And I often see in her posts my own tendencies if I was not doing my own work . . .
If my temptation to elevate my own success went unchecked, if I did not have close friends who knew they could call me on my shit, if I was not listening to BIPOC voices, if I was giving into that shadow side of the enneagram 3 that says that I have to earn my own worth and that tells me to announce that earned worth to others to make myself feel better.
I have compassion for Rachel. I really do. But I think it’s time for her to stop doling out the self-help advice and sit at the feet of some people who can help her with her pride, with her privilege, and with learning to value herself for her internal qualities instead of what is looking increasingly like narcissism.