Wellness has been a trending topic for a while.
Even here at GirlDreamer, we talk about it a lot!
For us, it is a none negotiable.
We don’t see wellness as a luxury but as a necessity that contributes to our self-love, self-care and healthy living, which improves our mental health.
While wellness is something we should all prioritise and have access to, the industry is dominated by whiteness, with white women at the forefront. Despite most wellness trends originating from ancient and long-standing traditions of people of colour (POC) and their cultures, POC are not genuinely represented, acknowledged or welcomed in this industry.
In searching for tips on self-care and wellness across any platform, resources created by white women are what will first appear. The lack of diversity across the wellness industry can deter POC, especially WOC, from actively engaging and participating in much-needed self-care and wellness. As cultural and traditional practices have been repackaged and commodified in order to appeal to white women, WOC are noticeably absent from these popularised online wellness trends.
Yoga, meditation, acupuncture, burning incense and sage, and so much more have become capitalised in a dangerously whitewashed and inauthentic way. While countless wellness practices hail from WOC and their ancient cultures and traditions, wellness and its extensions are now associated with whiteness and wealth. The enormous gap in where wellness trends originate from and to who the trends are now directed to is outwardly uninclusive and riddled with microaggressions.
Considering the toll everyday microaggressions and the general social-political climate takes on marginalised groups, particularly WOC, wellness as a form of self-care is essential. WOC should feel welcomed and represented in an industry that thrives off of the back of their cultural and ancestral norms. We want WOC to be genuinely represented, acknowledged and supported in the wellness industry in the same way that white women are.
Here are some of the ways that you can help support WOC in wellness.
Wellness and its extensions are currently trending on countless platforms. But for the most part, the wellness practices being shared are violently whitewashed and ignorant of the cultures and traditions from which these practices originate.
To ensure the wellness industry becomes more representative and a space that is truly for all, there must be a willingness to learn and educate. It is vital that the rich history of wellness practices is shared, understood and maintained to ensure that all are welcome and represented in an inclusive and safe space.
We cannot stress the importance of education and encouraging learning and compassion from others as they begin or partake in their wellness journey. A lack of knowledge is a learning opportunity, and that is no different in the wellness industry. The wellness practices that are shaped by century-old traditions and cultures should be learnt, understood and deeply respected.
We should constantly encourage education and thoughtful learning.
Hold the Wellness Industry Accountable
The dark nature of the wellness industry has meant that it has become the norm for WOC to not expect to see ourselves represented in the industry, despite most practices hailing from our homelands.
Isn’t that crazy? That as WOC, we are used to being unrepresented in practices that are longstanding traditions in our cultures.
In challenging the wellness world, we must hold companies and people who contribute to the insidious nature of the industry to account.
We must question why whiteness is celebrated in the wellness industry and why the rich traditions of wellness practices are dismissed and trivialised.
We should be challenging the limited opportunities and influence that WOC have in the wellness industry.
We must question why white women are constantly at the forefront of mainstream media representation while WOC are seldom seen.
The outdated and whitewashed nature of the wellness industry needs to change.
Cultivate a Space and Support
Alongside encouraging education and holding the wellness industry accountable, we should be actively cultivating and creating wellness spaces exclusively for WOC.
Being the only WOC in the room is not only tiresome, but it is also now redundant. Gone are the days when we should accept being the only WOC in a wellness space.
We must begin creating wellness spaces exclusively for us that are by us to ensure they remain safe, representative and inclusive.
Alongside this, we should spotlight and support WOC and businesses that champion inclusivity and wellness practices in an educated, safe, and informed way.
Wellness and its practices are not a commodity or a luxury but rather an essential tool that improves our quality of life.
In challenging the white-centric nature of the wellness industry, we cultivate a safe space for ourselves.
We, as WOC, must allow ourselves the time and space for wellness as an act of self-care, self-preservation, rest and replenishment.
Wellness is not a trend but an essential tool for everyday life.
Reclaiming it is vital.