Leigh Stein is my role model, despite being 10 years younger than me. I adore her the way I assume younger women worship Instagram influencers. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Washington Post, and every other publication worth writing for, was co-founder of Out of the Binders/BinderCon, is a memoir and fiction writer, and coaches other writers.
Her recent book Self-Care takes on what has become of the wellness and attention economy. The book follows the founders of Richual, “the most inclusive online community platform for women to cultivate the practice of self care and change the world by changing ourselves.”
The book follows the founders, Marin and Devin and satirically sends up the self-care industry and the problems it has invented in order to make women feel bad about themselves to they buy more products. Throughout a number of crises the two face, we see that they exist on opposite extremes, neither finding balance.
The book is funny because it is so true. We can think of any number of companies and women who tout products and ideologies that seem to tell women that self-care is something that comes as a luxury and at a high-price. But, in the end, it the question remains, what can we do about it?
Self-Care is a fun read and I finished the book in a two days. If you are drawn to the ideas in it, you will most likely enjoy it too, and find yourself laughing out loud a few times and even be a bit surprised where the plot goes.
There are also some deeper reflections included such as,
“In the attention economy, thoughtful solutions had so little value.”Self-Care, Leigh Stein
But that’s exactly the point. A writer with a pedigree as impressive as Stein knows what she is doing. She is not speaking to Instagram influencers, but those of us who stalk writers of prestigious news outlets.