The gospel of yoga, mindfulness, and organic-everything didn’t come out of nowhere. In a world in which once-cherished social safety nets rapidly disappear, taking care of oneself has become an increasingly privatized—and increasingly expensive—endeavor. At The Baffler, Laurie Penny unpacks the ascendant ideology of self-care, and explains why it’s so hard to find an alternative model:
When modernity teaches us to loathe ourselves and then sells us quick fixes for despair, we can be forgiven for balking at the cash register. Anxious millennials now seem to have a choice between desperate narcissism and crushing misery. Which is better? The question is not rhetorical. On the one hand, Instagram happiness gurus make me want to drown myself in a kale smoothie. On the other, I’m sick and tired of seeing the most brilliant people I know, the fighters and artists and mad radical thinkers whose lives’ work might actually improve the world, treat themselves and each other in ludicrously awful ways with the excuse, implicit or explicit, that any other approach to life is counterrevolutionary.