Dolly Alderton speaks out on the toxicity of self-care culture

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Author and journalist Dolly Alderton called self-care culture “memefied introvertism” and “shitty behaviour” during a recent podcast interview.

Alderton, 33, gained recognition after the success of her memoir Everything I Know About Love, which was recently adapted for BBC Three.

Speaking on the Obsessed With… Everything I Know About Love podcast, Alderton discussed the concept of self-care culture with hosts Sophie Duker and Olga Koch.

Everything I Know About Love
Marli Siu as Nell, Emma Appleton as Maggie, Bel Powley as Birdy and Aliyah Odoffin as Amara in the BBC’s TV adaption of Dolly Alderton’s best-selling memoir Everything I Know About Love (BBC/PA)

After comedian Koch, 29, revealed she thinks self-care culture is “toxic”, Alderton said: “I totally agree. It’s memefied introvertism.

“It’s those pictures of cats in a bubbly bath and the font says ‘sorry I can’t make it I’m busy doing work’. That’s shitty behaviour!”

She added: “Stop eating pizza and watching Netflix and posting memes about cats being in the bath.”

Duker, 32, went on to say: “Yes, like maintain your relationships.”

Alderton continued: “Also maintaining your relationships is the best self-care ever…

“I can lean towards that staying at home in the bath, shower cap on, and cancel on someone.

“And any time that I think I’m going to have on my own is going to soothe me, is never ever going to be as soothing as having a pizza with a friend.

“Or a drink, or the cinema with a friend and just talking.”

Self-care culture addresses leaning into behaviours that may offer temporary gratification but may also serve as avoiding important tasks or spending time with others and is often made light of using memes on social media.

The discussion between the three women took place in the context of unpicking the seven-part TV adaptation of Everything I Know About Love, which is based on Alderton’s coming-of-age story and follows two childhood best friends, Maggie and Birdy, as they try to survive their 20s, bad dates, heartaches and humiliations.

Journalist, podcaster and best-selling author Alderton published her hit memoir about her love and life experiences in 2018 – with flashbacks to her adolescence in the early 2000s.

The book explores the trials and triumphs of life for the 20-somethings, from falling in and out of love to a disastrous Rod Stewart-themed house party.

Obsessed With… Everything I Know About Love is available on BBC Sounds.

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