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Who Is Wellness For?: An Examination of Wellness Culture and Who It Leaves Behind

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The multi-disciplinary artist and author of Like a Bird and How to Cure a Ghost explores the commodification and appropriation of wellness through the lens of social justice, providing resources to help anyone participate in self-care, regardless of race, identity, socioeconomic status or able-bodiedness.

Growing up in Australia, Fariha Róisín, a Bangladeshi Muslim, struggled to fit in. In attempts to assimilate, she distanced herself from her South Asian heritage and identity. Years later, living in the United States, she realized that the customs, practices, and even food of her native culture that had once made her different—everything from ashwagandha to prayer—were now being homogenized and marketed for good health, often at a premium by white people to white people.

In this thought-provoking book, part memoir, part journalistic investigation, the acclaimed writer and poet explores the way in which the progressive health industry has appropriated and commodified global healing traditions. She reveals how wellness culture has become a luxury good built on the wisdom of Black, brown, and Indigenous people—while ignoring and excluding them.

Who Is Wellness For? is divided into four sections, beginning with The Mind, in which Fariha examines the art of meditation and the importance of intuition. In part two, The Body, she investigates the physiology of trauma, detailing her own journey with fatphobia and gender dysmorphia, as well as her own chronic illness. In part three, Self-Care, she argues against the self-care industrial complex but cautious us against abandoning care completely and offers practical advice. She ends with Justice, arguing that if we truly want to be well, we must be invested in everyone’s well being and shift toward nurturance culture.

Deeply intimate and revelatory, Who Is Wellness For? forces us to confront the imbalance in health and healing and carves a path towards self-care that is inclusionary for all.

ISBN-13: 9780063077089

Media Type: Hardcover

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Publication Date: 06-14-2022

Pages: 320

Product Dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Fariha Róisín is a multidisciplinary artist, born in Ontario, Canada. She was raised in Sydney, Australia, and is based in Los Angeles, California. As a Muslim queer Bangladeshi, she is interested in the margins, liminality, otherness, and the mercurial nature of being. Her work has pioneered a refreshing and renewed conversation about wellness, contemporary Islam and queer identities and has been featured in the New York Times, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, and Vogue. She is the author of the poetry collection How To Cure A Ghost (2019), as well as the novel Like A Bird (2020). Her upcoming work is a book of non-fiction entitled, Who Is Wellness For? out summer 2022, her second book of poetry is entitled Survival Takes a Wild Imagination.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part I Journey to the Mind

Chapter 1 On the Mind 21

Chapter 2 On Meditation 36

Chapter 3 On Intuition and Unseen Things 57

Chapter 4 On the Frustrating Pitfalls of Healing 80

Part II Journey to the Body

Chapter 5 Introduction to the Body 99

Chapter 6 On Body Dysmorphia 114

Chapter 7 On White People Co-opting Yoga 135

Chapter 8 On IBS 148

Part III On Self-Care

Chapter 9 Introduction to Radical Self-Care 163

Chapter 10 On Self-Care and Self-Harm 185

Chapter 11 On Eroticism 197

Chapter 12 On Divination 213

Part IV Introduction to Justice

Chapter 13 Who Is Wellness For? 227

Chapter 14 On Degrowth 235

Chapter 15 On Healing Our Wounds with the Feminine 254

Conclusion: On Sacred Reciprocity 274

Acknowledgments 283

Notes 287

Bibliography 303