Years ago I shared my thoughts on Rachel Hollis’ “Girl, Wash Your Face.” At the time I was in need of motivation and found some useful tips in her writing, or so I thought. Her book was everywhere; every blogger I followed was raving about her.
In my post, I wrote, “By Chapter 2 I could already see that yes, I do have the power to change my mindset and what’s been bothering me lately, but I haven’t.”
I was inspired by how Rachel published her own books after being told no, but I failed to consider how she had the financial support of her husband, a former Disney executive, to help her succeed. I acknowledge that she is driven, but having a safety net makes it easier to take risks like starting a business.
Since then, I have come to realize that her messages can be harmful and discount the realities many women face. Not to mention she profited from couples workshops while, as she has since said, having difficulty in her own marriage. Neither she nor her former husband, Dave, had any sort of licensing or training to be holding such events. Yet, she did, charging $1,800 for a weekend conference.
When I first read her book, I thought many of her points were somewhat helpful but only if you have a certain amount of privilege. And now, in 2022, she is still spreading such messages. In recent podcast episodes, “Let’s Talk About Money,” parts 1 and 2, Rachel talks about manifesting and calls herself a “hippie.” Hippies, according to Britannica, are those who reject “the mores of mainstream American life.” I just don’t see how that is Rachel, but she is of course free to define herself that way. She seems to mean she is into crystals and manifesting.
“Your finances… the amount of money that you have right now and that you’ve got in your bank account are directly connected with what you believe subsconsciously, not what you want in your conscious brain.”
So low-income people don’t want money? She says some people are afraid of money. Are low-income people afraid of money? Did they manifest their position? Did their negative thinking lead them to where they are in life? I believe in the power of positive thinking but positive thinking alone does not solve your problems, especially if you come from a place of financial instability. This view implies that people who are facing hardships have brought it upon themselves.
When she talks about being a hard worker and that she wakes up at 4 a.m. and fails publicly “just to reach the top of the mountain,” she doesn’t acknowledge that she had some privileges while building her business, like having a spouse with connections and not being a minority.
Her infamous post about the woman who cleans her toilets, as she put it, was offensive to the hardworking people who work as housecleaners and in similar positions. She reduced the woman’s job to the dirtiest task in her day. In that same video she said she didn’t want to be relatable — after building her career on her relatability. Not to mention she seemed to compared herself to important figures in her caption like Harriet Tubman, Oprah Winfrey, Amelia Earhart and Malala Yousafzai.
Throughout her career she’s also been accused to plagiarizing quotes, including “Still I Rise” from Maya Angelou. She blamed her team when it was her own Instagram account. In my view she doesn’t take full accountability for her actions.
In another recent podcast interview — “Are you a MEAN Girl??” — she talks about the different types of mean girls. She defines one of them as snarky. If she had self-awareness she might see how some of her own comments could be seen as snarky or passive aggressive. She also talks about manifesting again by doing a challenge she came up with to manifest someone buying her a drink. How does she accomplish this? She tells her boyfriend and goes on about her week anticipating it. She realizes she needs to buy someone a drink if she wants the “universe to supply” her like that. She goes to a restaurant and meets a woman in her 70s, whom she buys a drink for. She thinks it’s “so fun” to buy a woman who is older a drink, which may border on ageism? She says it’s “so funny” and they were all “cackling.” What is so funny about an older woman doing a shot? She says she bought a woman a drink to “give this woman a little moment of significance.” By buying her a drink someone else buys Rachel a drink. Wow, what a manifestation! Whether that is manifesting is questionable at best. What does manifesting have to do with mean girls? It’s that the vibrations you put out come back to you. I’d like to believe that if you put good out into the world it comes back to you, but I don’t believe her story is necessarily the best example of manifesting.
What’s frustrating about Rachel Hollis’ content is that she often contradicts herself. One minute she is relatable and the next she is not. She gave motivational speeches at multilevel marketing company events and then wrote “Don’t be dumb” in “Didn’t See That Coming” when it comes to signing up for a “starter kit.” She previously seemed to cater to a Christian fan base but is now talking mostly about the Universe and spirituality. It’s OK to change, but in my view she is catering to whatever audience makes her money.
I could go on, but there’s already been much criticism for Hollis on the internet.
If you’d like to learn more of what influenced my view of Rachel of change, here are some online resources that have shared their own takes: