Hey, girlfriend. Can you stop selling self-loathing?

Heyyyyy, girlfriend. Long time no chat! Missed you, girl! Do you have two secs to read a blog post that could change your life??? #whatsholdingyouback #investinyou #cannibalizeyourfriends


Okay, okay. Everybody likes to rag on MLM sellers. But as long as the promise of money is there, people are going to keep on trying to unload shakes, wraps, powders, gels, leggings, and of course oils on their friends, relatives, and sisters-in-law of niece’s friends that they met one time at that thing, girl!!


I know some folks do it because they just plain need the money, and can’t figure out any other way of getting it. I know what it’s like to need money. I remember feeling sorry for opium farmers who are just trying to feed their children. Growing opium is awful, but still, you do want to feed your children.


So I’m not going to tell you to stop trying to sell to me.But here’s what I am asking, since you make a point of selling stuff woman-to-woman: Can you sell your thing without telling normal women they look like crap? Can you do that?


I’m talking about when you post before and after pictures of women that have clearly been photoshopped, and you can actually see the bathroom door frame bending in along with the “after” waist. (Gosh, your wrap is so powerful, it actually warps space!)


Or when you share before and after pictures that have clearly been taken on the very same day, just with different outfits, better lighting, a smile instead of a schlumpy frown, and makeup instead of no makeup. (Heavens, this serum is so miraculous, it applies bronzer to your skin! )


Or even worse, un-doctored before and after pictures of women with a caption describing the “before” one as “puffy” and “bloated,” even though she’s slender and pretty and looks happy, but isn’t yet rail-thin. (Awesome, she’s smaller than I was when I was six, and also apparently an intolerable lard-monster.)  That one hurts.


Or maybe worst of all, a before and after picture where the “before” picture shows a woman who has just given birth. (Never mind that she still has her Pitocin IV in; why can’t this lazy cow fit into her high school prom dress yet?) That one really hurts. That one hurts all of mankind, when we tell the world it’s wrong to look like you’ve just had a baby when you’ve just had a baby.


I know you’re not going to stop trying to sell your stuff, but can you at least not sell it like that? For sisterhood, woman to woman, can you not do that?


I want to say I’m not stupid, and it’s true. I can spot a clumsy photoshop job a mile away, and I can tell the difference between “her skin has been radically transformed on a cellular level” and “she is now wearing eyeliner.” But I’m a lot more susceptible to the other kind of manipulation, that depends less on careless viewing and more on habitual self-loathing. I know when it’s happening, but its still effective.


My husband likes how I look, my little kids think I’m beautiful like a princess, and objectively speaking, I know I look fine, and sometimes quite nice. But show me enough photos of women who look like me, and then tell me they’re the loathed, detested, unacceptable “before” version, and I will start to listen with at least part of my ear. I start to think I’m fooling myself that I look okay. This is what you’re doing to me, because you want a commission.


Self-loathing is a hell of a drug, and just about anyone who markets products to women leans on it heavily. I’m asking you, as a woman selling to other women, not to do this. You can decide not to do this; and if any part of your marketing includes talk about sisterhood or women supporting each other or building relationships with your clients, you damn well ought to decide not to do this. If it’s personal, then act like a person, and don’t drum up business by making normal women feel ugly. I’m asking you for this one specific thing as you ramp up for the holidays: Choose not to tell women there is something wrong with them as they are.


I believe you when you say you think you have a good product. I believe you when you say you think your product is so much better than the cheaper version sold in stores. I believe you when you say you think your product really does something, and isn’t just a placebo. Most of all, I believe that you really need the money.


But if you truly believe you have a good product, you should be able to sell it on its merits, without training women to look at themselves with disgust so they’ll be more likely to order from you. Can you make the choice not to be part of the industry of self-loathing? Yeah, you can. Invest in yourself, girlfriend.


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