Brooklyn Decker doesn’t like ‘the way that self-care is being positioned these days’


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A few days ago I saw a tweet about self care that was both insightful and hard to take. It said that self care involves setting goals, doing the difficult thing you know is right, letting go of bad relationships, etc. I should have liked it because I can’t find it again, but here’s a similar tweet. At its core self care is putting yourself first and taking time to make sure you’re ok. It’s so often presented as taking bubble baths, doing yoga, meditating and applying face masks though. Brooklyn Decker recently called self care “bullsh-t.” US Magazine asked her about it and while she agrees with the concept she thinks it’s too narrowly defined and becomes yet another standard for women to try to live up to.

After Us Weekly’s Christina Garibaldi asked Decker if she made time for herself to go to the gym, the mom of two had an adamant answer. “Nope. Nope. No. I don’t. I don’t. And I actually feel like I probably angered a few people, but recently I said I think self care is a little overrated,” she told Us. (Actually, she said “self-care is kind of bulls–t” during a speech at a Girlboss rally in November.)

“I mean, I think self-care fundamentally is so important,” she noted of the concept. “But I think that for so many women, in the way that self-care is being positioned these days, it’s being positioned as a box on a checklist that you need to check. And so as a mom and an entrepreneur and an actor and a wife and all of the things that I am in life, and all the things all women are in life, I feel like if you’re not checking that box, you feel like you’re failing yourself.”

“I was fine with not going to the gym/ And I was fine with not having that time. But then a doctor actually was like, ‘So what are you doing for self-care?’” she recalled. “And I said, ‘I hang out with my kids. That fills my cup. That’s my time off.’” The physician, however, didn’t buy it. “He said, ‘That’s not self-care. That’s still work. What are you doing for self-care?’ And I felt a little embarrassed, like that was something I wasn’t doing well. And I kind of laughed. And I was like, ‘Why can’t self-care be snuggling with your babe? Why can’t self-care be that?’”

“It’s whatever makes you happy.”

[From US Magazine]

The way she explains it makes a lot of sense, especially after a male doctor told her she wasn’t doing it right. No one else knows what feels right to us. Brooklyn hanging out with her baby could be another person’s trip to the spa. I’m into the traditional definition of self care. I enjoy meditating, saunas, skincare and all that but when it becomes yet another activity to fit in why bother? (And I often make it that. I can turn anything into a checklist.) It should be something you look forward to. So often our free time and personal tastes are commoditized so they can become yet another thing we need to buy or someone else’s standard we need to live up to.

This bathroom is self care. I’m so jealous!

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photos credit: WENN and Backgrid

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38 Responses to “Brooklyn Decker doesn’t like ‘the way that self-care is being positioned these days’”

  1. Reeta Skeeter says:

    Self-care is marketed as a money maker i.e. have a massage, get your nails done, book a therapist.

    Self-care can be as simple as having a bath, getting an early night or eating an apple.

    • Lightpurple says:

      Or simply sitting in a chair for five minutes breathing deeply, which truly does calm and center a person.

    • Arpeggi says:

      Yeah, self-care has become a business which also means that it’s only accessible to rich (white) people.

      Living in poverty is exhausting, you don’t have the mental energy to even think about finding time for yourself so you won’t want to plan a mani/pedi or stuff like that. Getting rid of toxic people in your life, enjoying time with your kids and loved ones, taking a nap: it’s all self-care and it costs nothing. But it’s not really Ig-friendly and GOOP hasn’t invented it yet, so I guess that it doesn’t exist because it’s not profitable

      • Megan says:

        I find Trump and his Republican enablers so distressing that my self care these days is to consume less news and refuse to have political conversations of any kind, even with people whose views are aligned with my own. It’s done wonders for my stress levels.

      • Lizzie says:

        and it is a total double standard. when rich white people get manicures it is called self care. when people of lesser economic means get manicures they get called welfare queens and their priorities are called into question. it is complete racist BS.

      • Mumbles says:

        Self care started out as a radical political act for minority and poor women who spend their lives caring for others taking some well-deserved time to care for themselves. It’s been coopted by basic biotches who use the phrase to post photos of their manicures on Instagram. I cringe every time I see the phrase.

  2. Lindy79 says:

    I 100% agree with her to be honest.
    I’m fed up of seeing these “influencers” who wouldn’t know a hard day if it fell out of the sky and landed on their face, telling me that for self care, I need to take time for a bath with these products, or to do a face mask (#ad #spon) or do something for me like take a spa trip away, basically telling me what my self care should be. Especially when most appear to pay for nothing and haven’t got 40+ hour a week jobs. Acting like some sort of guru on the subject. Its all superficial and yes, it’s just not that simple for some nor do some want to do that, like she said it’s individual and its adding another thing online to make women feel less than or that they’re failing at because they cannot find time or money to do these things and honestly, I’m fed up with it.

    • Mel M says:

      Agreed. There are a lot of influencers I followed because I liked their style and unfollowed pretty quickly because their posts about things like self care or just a general superiority complex when they start spouting off how life should be lived if you want a good one. Also that you have to have date night with your partner at least once a week, you just HAVE to make the time because it’s just that important for your relationship AND self care. Well, I have four kids and one have significant special needs so getting a babysitter is next to impossible so yeah, no once a week date night around here. Lucky if we get twice a year date night and guess what, we’re still happily married. The whole thing just makes you feel like you’re doing it wrong if you aren’t spending all this time and money on yourself. Don’t need that in my life.

  3. Rapunzel says:

    FU to Brooklyn’s dumb doctor. Self care isn’t self care anymore if it’s something your doctor is forcing you to do, and in a specific manner.

    • Anners says:

      That was my first thought, too. I mean, the entire concept is “self” care…doing something *you* enjoy that brings you peace or fills your bucket. And since not one of us on this planet is exactly like anyone else, I’d expect that our ideas of self care are markedly different as well. I’m just done with pompous a$$hat doctors who either don’t listen or are super condescending. I wish people skills was a college requirement for them.

    • lucy2 says:

      Exactly. I’m a little weirded out that he called her hanging out with her kids “work”.

      Self care is what you make of it. Mine is finding time to draw or paint.

  4. Dorothy says:

    Oh please this is rich – her whole fricken life would be categorized as self care she has a million passion projects money etc let’s hear from the MOms who haven’t gotten to change clothes in a week shall we.

  5. Rachel says:

    I think I go through phases where self-care is more focused and times when it’s taking it easy on yourself. She trying to just enjoy this phase of motherhood without all the extra pressure to look a certain way. For her, that’s self-care right now.

  6. detritus says:

    I don’t think this will be popular but I don’t agree with her. It sounds like she’s a perfectionist who doesn’t like being told that relaxing is good for you.

    If this message was coming from a single parent, or someone who could not participate in self care for economic or other reasons, my reaction would be very different.

    I don’t agree with how self care is monetized but it’s incredibly important, especially if you participate in jobs that take an emotional toll.

  7. Kage says:

    Do we have to always find something new to complain about? Self care is what you make of it. No one can tell you what it is for you because it’s so individual. & p.s. I think we know by now that doctors don’t know everything!

  8. Katherine says:

    yeah, this is all cool and fun until someone reads this and they fundamentally don’t understand the concept of self-care and just see that this famous person thinks it’s bs so they don’t even need to try. I have realized what self-care really is just very recently, ironically, because of something Anne Hathaway said, and self-care is realizing you haven’t peed although you need to, you are dehydrated and didn’t notice, your emotions are all over the place and yet you are trying to force yourself to be cheerful and do your work instead of taking 20 mins off to go for a walk and just breathe and let your mind and body find that center where emotions aren’t everything that you are. just saying that I don’t like the message this attitude sends because a lot of people can’t take care of themselves because they weren’t taught to and it’s extremely detrimental.

  9. Case says:

    Brooklyn is a wealthy, privileged woman who no doubt goes for manicures and pedicures, facials, gets her hair done regularly, etc. That too is listed (rightly) under self-care.

    I honestly don’t like her knocking self-care. I agree it isn’t something any woman should feel pressured to do, of course, and it shouldn’t be based solely around sponsored products, but it is greatly beneficial to destress and make time for yourself — meditation, yoga, using lotion, putting on a a $5 sheet mask for 15 minutes every once in a while, going for a peaceful walk, etc. If I were a doctor, I’d also want that for my patients. Personally, I like that our culture is now focusing more on self-care and less on working yourself to death.

  10. Lenn says:

    If i had that bathroom, I would just sit in it and look around. That would be my selfcare.

  11. Megan says:

    I find her cabin renovation really unappealing. The bathroom with the window pane shower walls is the worst.

  12. LT says:

    I agree that it’s important to take care of yourself, but some of this comes off as incredibly vapid. If figuring out when to get your facial or manicure is taking up a great deal of mental space, I’d suggest that your biggest issue is not self-care but living a purposeful, meaningful life.

    This whole notion of “putting yourself first” smacks of narcissism. Yes, take care of yourself – do what you need to do in order to be healthy and functioning, but keep it in perspective.

  13. Winnie Cooper's Mom says:

    It sounds like her definition of self-care is working out, and she was defensive when asked by her Dr about that bc she doesn’t feel the need to make time for that specific thing. In that case, I get where she is coming from. I don’t think she is hating on making one’s self take time to feel at peace, but maybe just tackling that expectation women have to work out all the time. I agree with the comments here about IG influencers bc it seems like they exist to perpetuate this narrative that you have to live a fabulous lifestyle and have fancy things in order to be “healthy” and “happy” and that’s where I find the BS. For example, all these former contestants on the Bachelor/Bachelorette… good for them that they have IG platforms for a lifestyle where they don’t have to work 9-5, get to travel and do luxurious things all the time, but we have to step away and recognize it for the BS it is and not put pressure on ourselves to think that’s real life or we should be living like that too.

  14. Valiantly Varnished says:

    I REALLY hate how the term self care has been hijacked,co-opted, and commodified. Self care was NEVER about STUFF. The term is actually about protecting one’s emotional and psychological well-being. Disengaging from things that bring negativity into our lives and finding things that fill up our spiritual and emotional cups. It’s not about spa treatments and facials. And to have a male doctor tell a woman she’s “doing it wrong”? If hanging with her babies is what refills her cup than that IS her self care.

    • jay says:

      Somewhere along the line, self care and “treat yoself” got confused. Self care is about unlearning negative coping mechanisms and letting go of behaviours and beliefs that don’t serve you anymore. It’s about pursuing psychological and emotional health, and it’s oftentimes not relaxing or pretty. If you’re doing something else, please call it what it is: relaxing, pampering, leisure…whatever. Just don’t call it self care.

  15. Rhys says:

    Exercise is one of the ways to care for myself and it does make a difference in the way I feel. I suppose it’s what her doctor implied, that regular exercise is very beneficial for your body and mind.

    And yes, Western world and America specifically have been turning even such basic things like caring about your health and mind into profit. I pay no attention to celebrities and gurus – they make money by selling stuff to others. It’s fine to suggest this or that, but they will never tell the whole truth about the product or their contractual obligations.

  16. Keaton says:

    Wow her doctor sounds so patronizing.

  17. Really says:

    Agree that a lot of this “self care” is marketing. Most self care is free. Zoning out and reading useless celebrity gossip is a good self care!!

  18. jules says:

    So she says one thing, and then shows off her remodeled spa of a bathroom that probably cost half a million…

    • janice says:

      Nah, $200k tops. Kidding aside, I think that bathroom is self care enough. She has a frickin’ spa in her own home!

  19. Molly Fulton says:

    We do need to rethink “self-care”. A bubble bath and a mani-pedi are fine and all, but self-care for me is more and more looking like doing the things that future me will be grateful for like meal prepping for the week, getting enough sleep, cleaning my room.

  20. Vizia says:

    Yeah, to me self-care is asking myself why I’m so overcommitted, re-thinking my early programming about being strong and available and all things to all people, and learning to say no powerfully and without guilt. Or thinking before reacting when my buttons get pushed, instead of setting myself up to be hurt.. Much harder and frankly more time-consuming than a bubble bath, but since it gets to the root of the problem I get more out of it.

    • jay says:

      Yes, thank you! Couldn’t agree more. To me, it’s about externalizing the mistaken beliefs I learned in childhood through deep therapy. Very difficult, very sad, very long term, and very unpretty. But the empowerment that comes from this process is life altering! And I mean the empowerment that comes from a strong sense of self and firm boundaries…not the fake kind being pimped at Sephora.

  21. Snuggling with your kid, whatever age they may be, is self-care.

  22. Mash says:

    self care should be private…. and i think really kinda of bore our of ensuring that you arent just giving to together and not checking in on your self…. HOWEVER if what nourishes yourself is snuggling with babe on the couch on fridays…. meditating with your children…or cooking a sunday meal for fam …..THEN (clap) THATS (clap) NOURISHING (clap) YOUR (clap) SELF (clap) TOO

    celebs need to stop pontificating and saying certain opinions as if they are fact —but in this instant (with her explanation) I feel what Brooklyn is saying.

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