My Farewell Letter to Rachel Hollis

Now that title may sound a little dramatic, but here I am, 1 AM, unable to sleep for the second night in a row, trolling insta when I’ve FINALLY made the conclusion to hit that “unlike” button – I’m officially unfollowed, unsubscribed, to Rachel Hollis and the Hollis Co. and I’m going to tell you why.

For some context I’m going to need you to watch this video:

Also, if you have no idea who Rachel Hollis is, I’ve blogged about her before – you can read that here: We’ve Been Faking It. She’s an author (I’ve read all of her books at least twice). She’s an influencer (I’ve followed loyally for years). She’s a podcaster (I’ve listened to every episode on her 2 different podcasts). To say I’m a loyal Hollis fan is an understatement. Even after Dave and Rachel went through their shocking divorce, I’ve continued my unwavering support. I listened to the first chapter of Girl, Sop Apologizing (her second book) and I started this blog in September 2019. I was ALL IN.

So when I heard there was some Rachel Hollis drama going down, I went to her insta and saw this video (now deleted) in its infancy – only 1,000,000 views. It did NOT sit well with me. It felt cringey. I immediately sent it to my Hollis gal pals and I was met with mixed emotions. One replied: I can’t stand her anymore – I’m done following her. One replied: YIKES – this doesn’t sit well. One replied: That’s an interesting sentiment. One replied: I unfollowed after her divorce – don’t have the emotional bandwidth to keep up with her. Craig, who was driving the car and listening to the whole thing, initially didn’t see the problem.

A HUGE part of the controversy comes from her caption, summarized by Yahoo! Life,

‘Rather than simply acknowledge her privilege, however, Hollis doubled down and not only called herself “unrelatable,” but also invoked the names of other women she found “unrelatable” just like her, including Nobel Laureate and human rights advocate Malala Yousafzai and American abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who helped bring dozens of enslaved people to freedom via the Underground Railroad.’

https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/rachel-hollis-backlash-explained-011125933.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAFzxWHBACnXDOZgDCMPFchuzDSIr5XsXTAlxG9uo6p-2BqSsvuAVabFVy463WR_LAz2juErSrkEf-bwH6StocJsh6n-4a6rGXkrQG_LsqMpRftfSHWbCEGWbWWKdT2gBR-I8NO0dVP9jEcmxDJWj8QWrsixmVgxmrqonxxrPcGwU

I’d like to offer a few of my thoughts but before I do, I want to say that this has become an extremely sensitive topic to the BIPOC community. I do not feel right speaking for them or explaining why this is hurtful to them, so many of them have done an EXCELLENT job and spent hours diving into this topic so I will link to them and you can hear it right from the source. @checkyourprivilege, @myishathilland @accordingtoweeze are all EXCELLENT resources and I encourage you to delve into some of their IGTV lives. I’ve personally donated to both of their causes to THANK them and PAY them for the time and labor they put into education. People of color are NOT obligated or responsible to teach white people systemic racism and if you find value in their content, I encourage you to do the same. If I don’t touch on race again in this post, it’s because they do such a great job of explaining why they were personally attacked by Hollis’ comments. I will not entertain any further comments on this because it is not my place to speak on race.

So first of all, I have a housekeeper. She’s wonderful. She’s amazing, she’s a huge part of why our family works. She’s been cleaning for almost 5 years now. She came every other week and now she comes once a week. She gives me the gift of TIME and peace. We are endlessly grateful for her services. We look at her as a team mate. Without her, my family wouldn’t be who they are. She watches out for, cares for us and is there at a moments notice. She loves the boys and is closer to them than most family.

She is NOT my “toilet cleaner.” She is not “this cute little lady.” I would NEVER describe her using those words and that first line of this video immediately sat wrong with me and was extremely disrespectful. Why take the most dehumanizing task such as “cleaning toilets” and use that as someone’s title? Think of it this way:

You don’t call nurses “pill pushers.”

You don’t call paramedics “ambulance drivers.”

You don’t call CNA’s “butt wipers.”

You don’t call farmers “shit haulers.”

You don’t call Environmental Staff “toilet cleaners.”

So right off the bat – CRINGE.

So the next line: I worked my ASS off to afford to have someone come clean my toilets.

Yes, probably true. HOWEVER, what about the single moms working three jobs to put food on the table? They are working hard too. What about your housekeeper? She’s probably “working her ass off too.” Rachel, to undermine your own privilege here is just another nail in the coffin. This is where race and white privilege come into play and I’m not going to touch on that here.

Now this next line just kills me: What about me makes you think I want to be relatable?

Rachel, your entire brand is built on being relatable. Your “if I can do it, you can do it too” attitude has left me feeling disappointed in myself on more than one occasion. You open your speaking events with tampon jokes, the first chapter of your book it about peeing your pants, because “you’re just like us!” You have chapters in your book talking about therapy and sexless marriages and starting from the bottom. You appropriate the use of the phrase “Sis” to act like our “big sister” or “your pal Rach” – EVERYTHING about you and your brand SCREAMS – I’M RELATABLE! I’M JUST LIKE YOU! LIKE ME!

When her eyes narrowed into the camera and she said that, I literally felt betrayed. I felt like a friend had just turned on me and said “I never liked you anyway” or “I’m too good for you.” When she said “What makes you think I want to be relatable?” I heard “What makes you think I’m anything like you?”

“Everything I do in my life, is to live a life that most people can’t relate to.”

Really? That’s all you’re doing in your life? What happened to “Other people’s opinions of me are none of my business” – a mantra that shines through her content over and over. Your goal in life is to live a life that other people can’t relate to – that’s honestly just a shitty goal and tells me your main focus is comparison and climbing the ladder.

“Most people won’t work this hard. Most people won’t get up at 4 am.”

What about your housekeeper? Do you think she’s working hard? Do you think she’s probably up by 4 am? Cleaning multiple houses? She probably will never be a CEO. Working hard isn’t enough for many women in America. Is getting up at 4 am how you measure your success? Do only successful people get up at 4 am?

“JUST TO REACH THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN.”

This line just sits so wrong. I want a lot of things in life. I want success, I want to be financially secure, I would even love it if my blog would become more popular. But I don’t want to “reach the top of the mountain.” That sits so wrong. How many people can fit on the top of the mountain? One. How many people do you have to climb over or step on to get there? Everyone below you. I hate this analogy.

Now even WORSE was her first (now deleted) apology:

She wrote: “I made a post last week that was upsetting to people and although that was never my intent, I own that it was and I apologize. Was my post upsetting because I mentioned my cleaner? I’m sure that it would make my brand more likeable and more relatable if I act like I achieve all these things through hard work and organization but that’s bulls**t… I want you to know that it’s a group effort. Was my post upsetting because I mentioned some of my favorite women in history? To believe that because I mentioned them I am comparing myself to them is ludicrous. I didn’t respond to these things on Friday when I heard that people were upset. I listened to my team instead of my gut. I listened when they told me not to respond, to let it blow over.”

Rachel has entire podcasts, hundreds of hours of recordings on coaching small business owners and how to be a CEO and how to lead a team! SHE HIRED THESE PEOPLE, listened to their advice, and is now PUBLICLY shaming them and throwing them under the bus in her OWN PR CRISIS! Talk about a leader taking responsibility for their actions!

For years Rachel had me believing there was something wrong with my marriage if it wasn’t (her words, not mine) EXCEPTIONAL. Her messaging behind her platform built on her own broken marriage was “If you work hard enough, you can make it work.” I took her marriage advice, got swallowed in the comparison trap, believed if I put in the work it would be exceptional, and it turned out to be totally fake. Myself and my friends felt totally betrayed by the announcement of their divorce last June – I was so compelled I’ve done a blog post on it here: We’ve Been Faking It.

Still, I stuck around. I fell into the trap of her hustle culture, I listened to HALF of her new book before I concluded it was all recycled material trying to gain hype from the remains of her whirlwind divorce. I listened to her tell me over and over if my business wasn’t working that it was because I wasn’t hustling hard enough or moving my body or getting my water in or drinking my green smoothie or getting enough sleep. “Get up early! Hustle and grind! 60 hour work weeks!”

So Miss Rachel Hollis, this is farewell. I am done with your hustle culture, your toxic positivity, your ‘if it isn’t working, work harder’ mantras, your hidden fat shaming messages. You’ve lost a true fan and achieved your ultimate goal: You’re now un-relatable. The accounts have been unfollowed, the podcasts are now unsubscribed, and the communities and groups on Facebook have been left. I’ll see myself out. Girl, START apologizing.

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15 thoughts on “My Farewell Letter to Rachel Hollis

  1. Amy says:

    I listened to one of her books and I could not get past the first chapter. She is arrogant, bossy and just a know it all. Who is she to tell me how to live my life? No encouragement from her whatsoever. Glad you saw the light and got out. It was almost a cult. Or maybe it was.

  2. Wendy Howard says:

    I also did this but a few years ago, especially when she started selling non-essential junk to just make a buck that were not even remotely self-empowering or helpful. Please don’t take this statement as a knock to your shop/product line. You stuff is adorable and you are not claiming to be a self awareness guru.

    RH needs to realize she may have at one point been relevant to millions, but her comments, and now this video made me realize she was after the almighty $$ all along.

    I still have her 2 books, still live a life trying to shine, and although I have tried to show her some grace, it is harder every time she makes comments/videos like this.

    • thepinkshoelaces says:

      NO offense taken! I totally get it! I too have tried to show her grace – especially after her divorce when people were leaving by the dozens – gave her a chance and honestly it’s hard to find anyone who supports her at this point.

  3. Elle says:

    I couldn’t read/listen to her after your first post. It smacked of “do as I say, not as I do”. I really believe that we need to take in all kinds of information in order to determine what is best for us and most helpful. (Is that “negative learning”?)

    Have a Blessed day 🙂

  4. Kim LeMere says:

    It can be refreshing to unsubscribe if its not you anymore or delete. Who needs more negativity. There are lots of folks who work hard and there feeling of success isn’t reaching the mountain top. Maybe its having a great family or feeling of belonging to their community.

  5. Anne Simonot says:

    I just watched the first 30 seconds of the video & that’s enough for me. Ugh. Well-said. I enjoyed reading your thoughts. Also, in regards to your bloating — have you been tested for h pylori? I’ve bern treated for it TWICE — and the primary symptom was horrible bloating. Might be worth it if it hasn’t already been done. Hope you feel better!

  6. Vhristine VanHorn says:

    Wow, thank you for this. I was just getting ready to start following her. Not now. I will keep searching. Any recommendations?

    • thepinkshoelaces says:

      I really love Jen Sincero and Brenè Browns work – I’m currently reading You Are a Badass at Making Money for the second time – one of my favorites. I’m a Mel Robbins fan as well. It depends on what you are looking for or interested in.

  7. Susan the Farm Quilter says:

    Well, I can say I am truly glad to have never heard of her before! She doesn’t sound like the kind of positive person we all need in our lives! Take the good that you may have learned from her and build on that. Learn from the negative you have identified in her and avoid it invading your life.

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