Well, here we are. One of the internet’s most controversial women — none other than Rachel Hollis herself — has stepped in it, yet again.
Hollis decided to take to her social media accounts to publish a one-minute rant, in which she angrily responded to someone who had called her privileged and unrelatable.
To make matters worse, Hollis captioned the (since deleted) video on Instagram with a comparison to women she had no right to compare herself to. “Harriet Tubman, RBG, Marie Curie, Oprah Winfrey, Amelia Earhart, Frida Khalo, Malala Yousafzai, Wu Zeitan,” she wrote. “Unrelatable AF. Happy Women’s History Month.”
Rachel Hollis comparing herself to Harriet Tubman is WILD pic.twitter.com/62lEBmr8Iu
— Angie Treasure (@snark_tank) April 2, 2021
“Yesterday, I was doing a live stream and I mentioned that there’s this sweet woman who comes to my house twice a week and cleans. She’s my house cleaner. She cleans the toilets. Someone commented and said, ‘You’re privileged AF,’ and I was like, ‘You’re right. I’m super freaking privileged, but also I worked my ass off to have the money to have someone come twice a week and clean my toilets,’ and I told her that. And then she said, ‘Well, you’re unrelatable.’ What is it about me that made you think I want to be relatable? No, sis, literally everything I do in my life is to live a life that most people can’t relate to. Most people won’t work this hard. Most people won’t get up at 4 a.m. Most people won’t fail publicly again and again just to reach the top of the mountain. Literally, every woman I admire in history was unrelatable. If my life is relatable to most people, I’m doing it wrong.”
Oh, Rachel. What else can someone say but yikes.
The sad thing is, it only got worse from there. First, she scrubbed the video from her accounts, although this being the internet, it’s still out there for everyone to see. She then posted a half-assed apology in which she literally threw her PR team under the bus, and blamed everything on them. When that unsurprisingly backfired, she then went and deleted that post and put up another apology message, which still really, really misses the mark.
What Rachel seems to not understand is that most people work as hard as she does, if not harder. There are low-income single mothers who are up at 4 a.m., just like she is — only they’re up to get their kids ready before they go to the first of several jobs they work to make ends meet. Teachers are up early and working late to grade papers after spending an entire day educating our children. Doctors, nurses, and first responders regularly work 24–48 hour shifts, many of them taking on extra shifts to fight COVID-19. Even typical moms who work a so-called “easy” job are still getting up early to take care of their kids before going to the office all day, pushing papers to provide for their kids, before coming home to get dinner ready and pick up the house — all without the help of nannies and housekeepers.
None of these people will ever see the kind of success that Rachel Hollis has, and according to her, it’s because they’re all just lazier than she is. Is it just me or does this come off a teensy bit condescending?
It’s especially insulting considering that Hollis seems a bit blind to the heaps of privilege that got her to the position she’s in now. While she talks often about (allegedly) growing up poor, she still was able to make it to Los Angeles, whereby the age of 21, she had married a Disney executive who had a seven-figure paycheck. There’s no doubt that she worked hard on her party-planning business, but she was able to make that business a success, catering to celebrities and influencers, specifically because of that marriage.
Most people don’t get to launch a business with million-dollar capital behind it or have ready-made celebrity connections thanks to entertainment-executive spouses. Most people do not immediately have the money to afford the nannies, housekeepers, nutritionists, and personal trainers that Hollis relies upon to not only make herself successful, but to keep up that slim physique which, you know, if you’re lacking makes you lazy and untrustworthy in Hollis’ world. Most people play by the rules and don’t get accused of plagiarizing other people’s work and passing it off as their own. And most small business owners are hustling just as much as she is, but they don’t have anywhere near the amount of money, power, and privilege she does — yet she wants everyone to think she was able to accomplish all she did based on her own hard work and talent alone.
And that’s another part of the whole problem. Even as she speaks of success being solely due to how hard she works — something no one else, apparently, does — Hollis is also talking about the housekeeper she employs, who cleans her toilets. Is Hollis’ housekeeper just not working hard enough to be successful, according to her? Or has she deluded herself into thinking that this woman just really, really loves scrubbing her six golden toilets that much?
On top of all that, Hollis dared to compare herself to people who have faced serious oppression. The people she compared herself to didn’t have anyone bankrolling their self-help careers so they could buy themselves Prada purses and take vacations to Hawaii. Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery, and then risked her own life, over and over again, so she could offer other people freedom. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was one of a handful of women at Harvard Law School, and was specifically asked why she dared to take the place of a man. Malala Yousafzai was shot in the face and left for dead, simply for trying to get an education — and she continues to be an education advocate for girls around the world today.
Rachel Hollis says none of these women are relatable, just like she shouldn’t be, but the thing is… they actually are somewhat relatable. Their dreams, fears, and motivations are clear, obvious, and understandable. While most people can’t envision themselves as a slave, they can understand wanting to get an education. The notion of marrying a super-rich Disney executive so you can write fat-shaming books and preach prosperity gospel, all to get yourself the millions needed to live an insanely lavish lifestyle… well, yeah. That’s not going to garner as much adulation and respect.
Let’s be clear: There’s no shame in having a housekeeper, or a nanny, or a personal trainer. It’s okay to be a millionaire — really. Most people would surely aspire to the level of success that Rachel Hollis has been able to achieve, and I don’t think anyone is angry as her because she’s wealthy, thin, and successful. What makes people angry is her constant implication that if you aren’t dieting as much as she is, hustling as hard as she is, or finding success as easily as she has, then you’re lazy and not working hard enough. Rachel Hollis needs a reality check, and fast. She needs to recognize her own privilege, step down off of her high horse, and stop blaming others for her own mistakes.