Hot Girl Summer: “Girl Wash Your Face”

Summer 2019 is behind us and you know what, I didn’t do a darn thing. I didn’t visit one beach, pool or amusement park this year. My “Hot Girl Summer” consisted of going to work, going to church going to brunch a few times. All of my adventures and drama came from reading. That’s a good and bad thing at the same time. Ice could have been covering the ground and it would not have made much of a difference to me. I’m going to share and review what I read this summer.

girl wash your face

I hate read this book.  I read it expecting not to like it so I could shake my head with disapproval as I read.  Girl Wash Your Face did not disappoint.  I think it’s important to consider the intended audience when consuming entertainment.  I don’t think I’m the intended audience for the work of Rachel Hollis.

Rachel Hollis is a social media influencer and event planner that wrote a book to inspire her fans.  She has 1.5 million followers on Instagram that reach out to Rachel for advice with self esteem and parenting matters.  Her followers sound like they are White housewives from upper middle class backgrounds that drive themselves insane by comparing themselves to images and narratives on social media.

So Mrs. Hollis wrote a book advising suburban soccer moms to feel good about themselves and not to tear themselves apart.  Who told these women not to feel good about themselves in the first place?  She used anecdotes about her life as inspiration.  The problem is her life isn’t very interesting and you can tell she was grasping at straws while putting that book together.

There wasn’t a single idea or story that lead the reader through Girl Wash Your Face.  The book is all over the place and didn’t stay on a linear path.  The choppy path didn’t tie together very well.  It’s as if she was told she had to write a certain amount of words but she didn’t have much to say.

She talked about her courtship with her husband, her start as an event planner in LA and her experiences as a mother.  All of her experiences are fairly common and there isn’t a lot of drama to her life, at least not that she shared.  There wasn’t a universal experience that she shared that really captured my experience to endear her to me.  I would bet money that if you had a middle aged cashier working at Dollar General or serving tables at Denny’s or something to write a similar book it would be %1000 more captivating.

The best portion of the book is about her adopted daughter and the struggles she had trying to adopt.  If she focused on that it would have been a far better book.  I also enjoy when she said that she was from a small, conservative town in California and her family has roots in the Midwest.  Hollis said that her family was like the people in The Grapes of Wrath.  Now those people were interesting.  I would have liked to hear more about those people and the people from her home town and the current culture.

I’m not trying to diminish what a White, affluent housewife goes through.  I’m just not a part of that culture and I don’t relate to it.  Just like I don’t relate to standing in long lines to get into Build a Bear or for Beanie Babies at McDonald’s.  I also don’t understand the fascination with pumpkin spiced beverages and food.  I’m just not a part of that culture.

The most insightful thing I’ve ever experience about White, suburban housewife culture is a short You Tube documentary about the clothing company Lu La Roe.  The women in that documentary are probably the same type of women that follow Rachel Hollis on IG

The documentary was engaging because there was something in those women that I didn’t recognize in women that I grew up around.  When Black women have tortured souls the outward manifestation is different.  There was a sadness about all of the women in this film that I don’t think came from a failed business venture.

The women in this short film were non assuming with soft spirits.  All of them were likeable even if you liked them out of sympathy.  There was a loneliness and quiet desperation about them.  I’m curious as to what made them so vulnerable to the scam.  I understand why a lot of people in the world fall into predatory traps but these women’s material needs were being met, they have a family network and they fit into what global society upholds as it’s standards.  I wish this documentary could become a reality show.  I have questions that need answers.

They weren’t drug addicted, abused as far as we were told but they still have self image problems that lead them to be a part of a leggins selling cult and it’s hard but interesting to understand why.  It’s almost like reading A Doll’s House when I was a student.  I barely remember what this was about but I know it was about a traditional and her quiet suffering.  It was kind of like a 19th century version of Desperate Housewives.

Anyhow, I didn’t enjoy Girl Wash Your Face.  I’m even a bit put off by the title.  I think that Rachel Hollis is a nice woman, a smart woman and is probably well intentioned but once again I’m not a part of Hollis’ target demographic.  Rachel has built a huge fan base as a lifestyle influencer.  I don’t understand what a lifestyle influencer does.  She is an unaccredited mental health and relationship guru that is selling millions of books so she has clearly tapped into something that I don’t understand.  Perhaps some of you will enjoy this book but it’s just not for me.



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