For twentieth-century feminists, it was a rallying cry for bodily autonomy and political power. For influencers and lifestyle brands, it’s buying fancy nutrition and body products at a premium. And it has now infiltrated nearly every food, leisure, and pop-culture space as a hugely lucrative industry.
What is it? To quote a million memes: it’s called self-care.
In Decolonize Self-Care, Alyson K. Spurgas and Zoë Meleo-Erwin deliver a comprehensive sociological analysis and scathing critique of the term’s capitalist, racist undertones. Decolonizing self-care, they argue, requires a full reckoning with the exclusionary, appropriative nature of most of the wellness industry, but this education is only the first step in the process. We must commit to new models of care and well-being that allow for health, pleasure, and community—for everyone.