The Unbearable Inauthenticity of Marie Forleo and Laura Belgray, etc.(And Really, All of Us White Women)
I happened to come across this live chat on Instagram in which Marie Forleo and Laura Belgray were talking about copywriting and how to be an authentic writer. The intro is so cringey with Forleo immediately letting out a white-washed “YAS” bouncing to Bill Withers “Lovely Day,” and then continuing to announce the locations of the folks who are in attendance. Her cheery tone falls flat, and I’m not convinced. Like the yoga teacher with aggressive “posi vibes,” I don’t get the sense that she’s excited to connect with humans, but rather the dollars that will convert and land in her bank account from these locations. I feel like I’m watching a game show. Or an auction as she shouts out, “PAKISTAN, YASSS!”
Laura Belgray complimented Marie Forleo on her “authenticity” and then listed off examples of this “authentic voice,” including her use of “YASSSS,” hip hop references, and a blow horn. Unfortunately, what stood out for me, is that none of these things are authentic or unique to Marie Forleo, an upper middle class, white woman from New Jersey who has a business degree in Finance and worked at the New York Stock Exchange out of college. She wrote a book in 2008 called “Make Every Man Want You,” and that’s all I need to know to draw the conclusion that she’s a dutiful, allegiant, and obliged peddler of the cis-hetero, white supremacist, patriarchy.
With some research, I learned that the blow horn that Marie often sounds in her videos is based in Reggae and Dancehall, which she mentions as an aside. In this video, she lets escape several nasal-y “YAS”’s. It catches me off guard and I flinch every time, a little embarrassed for her casualness. It feels like I’m in a room with someone who‘s letting out a soft fart here and there, and they’re acting like nothing is happening, but we both know they farted and it’s awkward penguin energy. I’m all about casual farts, but casual cultural appropriation is undeniably violent. It was quite possibly more uncomfortable to watch than an episode of Love is Blind.
Marie exclaims, “This is how we celebrate Self-Care Saturday, with some Reggae air horn.” This whole framing of “Self-Care Saturday” is appropriation. Audre Lorde, New York’s Poet Laureate in 1991, and a…