From multi-disciplinary artist and author of Like a Bird and How to Cure a Ghost, comes an exploration of the commodification and appropriation of wellness through the lens of social justice, with resources on how to authentically participate in self-care, regardless of your race, identity, or socioeconomic status
When Fariha Roisin was growing up in Australia, she struggled to fit in. As a Bangladeshi Muslim, she tried to assimilate as best she could, which ultimately meant distancing herself from her South Asian heritage and identity.
Years later, after she had moved to the US and the wellness industry became a dominant cultural force, she realized that the customs and practices that had once made her different were now being made palatable for mass consumption. "Trends" like turmeric, ghee, ashwagandha, and meditation-part of the everyday fabric of her culture-were now being sold at a premium, often by white people to white people.
In Who is Wellness For?, Roisin, an acclaimed writer and poet, explores the way in which the wellness industry has appropriated and commodified global healing traditions, discarding context, credit, and meaning along the way. Wellness culture, she suggests, has become a luxury good, one built on the wisdom of Black, brown, and Indigenous people; and yet one that also excludes these very people from participation.
Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Who is Wellness For? is divided into four parts: The Mind, The Body, Self-Care, and Justice. In The Mind, Roisin explores the art of meditation and the intentionality of psychedelics. In The Body, Fariha examines the physiology of trauma, detailing her own journey with fatphobia and gender dysmorphia. In Self-Care, she argues against the self-care industrial complex but cautious us against abandoning care completely, offering ancestral healing and intimate touch as jumping off points. Lastly, in Justice, she argues that if we truly, truly want to be well, we must be invested in everyone's wellbeing.
In this deeply intimate and revelatory investigation of wellness, Fariha not only asks "Who is wellness for?" but also carves a path towards a self-care based future that is truly inclusionary for all.