Written by Raisinberry
Here on Pink Truth, we have daily contact with women from all over who have become victims of this MLM cancer. It entered their lives under the guise of being something good and right and noble. After all, Mary Kay was started by a woman, for the benefit of women, and focuses on “enriching lives,” right?
That is probably what infuriates me the most. If an enemy comes straight at you with a weapon and you allow it into your home, you’re stupid. But if the enemy holds a bouquet, smiles widely, offers never ending friendship and support, and you let it in (yes, we mean Mary Kay)…. and then that enemy robs you blind. How do you feel?
Something about the way Mary Kay packages itself as our noble and just redeemer, while creating the conditions to erode integrity and ethics in the name of “find a way or make a way” is a level of hypocrisy that I simply can’t ignore. I have discovered a common denominator in all things that abuse women. There is a thread that stretches out over churches, relationships, politics, careers, societies, that ties women together in easily exploitable scenarios.
I have discovered that one of our greatest gifts is being turned against us: our trust. This robs us of a deep personal affection. We awaken from our exploitation deeply harmed, almost detesting ourselves for our foolishness, our vulnerability, our naiveté.
Like little children, wishing for the best in people and things, we get goosebumps when the music hits the crescendo, tears when love and appreciation are shown, courage when the obstacle is overcome, compassion when pride gives way to brokenness, belief when the miracle appears, and give grace when chastisement would be expected. We want what we are told to be true, and look for reasons to exonerate those who tell us lies.
We rationalize in the name of positive mental attitude and deny any “bad intention” shown to us as misunderstanding. We trust. We want to trust. We want to believe the best in people, and that vulnerability is exploited by various “societies” who, knowing how easily our trust is acquired, have perfected the staging, music, lights, action and actors to create a believable con for which we fall.
When I found out that much of Mary Kay’s methods were identical to a vast array of other multi-level marketing product pyramid schemes, the scales as they say, came off my eyes. I considered my recruiter and director and NSD with the words, “Surely she could not have known… Surely she could not be living under this level of denial… Surely she is just deceived… Surely she is brainwashed, not acting…”
There was no way I could believe that they were intentionally deceiving me. No matter what we see, we do not want to believe that our recruiter conned us, our director conned us, our NSD conned us and every player in the upline chain, and at every Seminar and Leadership and Career Conference, conned us. Surely that is not possible? They are all liars? It can not be? The thought overwhelms and leaves us looking for an alternative answer.
And then it hit me. The biggest enemy of our souls is not evil, or hatred, or war. It is denial. Denial is the band-aid on wounded trust that prevents us from facing the truth. We see what we see, and yet we pretend it isn’t so. We defer to authority around us, rather than to measure with our own intellect and experience. Something in us believes that we are not fully reliable, that our perceptions just couldn’t be right, and we seek out others to validate our concerns. We have trusted and we have been wrong in the past, and so we bring our shaky legs to every new situation, deferring to whoever seems more knowledgeable, dynamic, charismatic, powerful.
Failing to acknowledge the truth within you, within all of us, and taking heed of that internal “discerning spirit” has placed more women in harms way than any manufactured bait has done. Look at the West Texas compound recently liberated by authorities. Can any woman say in her heart of hearts that she believes her own daughter should be a sexual partner of her father? Can you fully grasp the levels at which discernment has been silenced to accommodate Denial?
Likewise, from the beginning of the Mary Kay journey, we see staged and choreographed images designed to get us to let down our guard and believe, unquestioningly, the words of the “authorities” around us. We attend our Unit meeting, believing the “high sales week” of the woman who rushes upfront with no sales ticket evidence. We believe the Director’s “Mary Kay math” on her hourly wage.
We are taught bait and switch tactics to get a “face model” to attend, who will be cornered to hear marketing, and since it happened to us the same way and we joined, we say, “No harm no foul.” We read newsletters promoting Seminar Year to date Sales Leaders, knowing full well that these ladies at the top show no such weekly evidence… they are kicking in car production or becoming “Stars” to win a luncheon or head table seating.
We are “trained” to never be negative, and that to do so means “outcast”, so we fill our minds with tapes and talk and affirmations, so that no objective information can get through. We learn to “tolerate” our husbands who “don’t get it” and fail to see the ever widening chasm being created by this “opportunity”. We are shown the queen on her Seminar throne with her husband at the microphone, extolling her praises, and his undying appreciation, and we swoon in hopes of someday earning the same praise from our own.
We are fed inspiring music and themes and speeches from women who would never in a million years tell you how the miracle year was ACTUALLY achieved. And all the Directors keep silent, acting as if it is all true, because they need the next generation to believe.
Denial is so much easier than to face that you have believed a lie, a con and perpetrated the same. You have been dragged into the game and now are as guilty as those you once believed in. You trusted them and trust just could not take another hit. “Surely she could not have known and lied anyway?”
Many Directors make excuses for the atrocities of the Mary Kay marketing plan. They still believe that a new consultant needs $1,800 to $5,400 wholesale to start her business when clearly she does not. They see that actual retail sales in their units are virtually non-existent, yet will present a “full store” anyway. They know that the base unit is made up of all the women who had big dreams, petered out and became personal use… proof that what they sell as an “opportunity” is only that. The balance of the Unit production comes from new people and Career path consultants, so churning out the replacement consultants becomes the critical job, as the Future Directors get sold on the secret sisterhood.
The Area Production list reveals all the lower rung directors making up the production with their own order, to hit the unit-saving $4,500 minimum wholesale. Directors deny the reality that “Premier Club” directors make a pitiful $20,000 a year if they’re lucky, thereby making directorship a minimum wage job, flashed out with cubic zirconia, a slammin’ hairdo, fake nails and an Academy Award performance.
The directors who have refinanced their homes to fold in past debt, who sit at the computer screen at month end sweating bullets and in torment over what they are about to do… again, who can not seem to face that their income is being made on the con job and credit card debt of all the women they are pretending to “enrich” speaks to the tentacle-like purpose that denial has to band-aid another breach of trust.
They look to those farther up the pyramid, and say to themselves, “See, if she can do it I can do it” without ever counting the cost of the hundreds of consultants who have come and gone, who finances are ruined and whose trust was also violated.
The happy consultant who holds her class, makes her $50 to $100 profit periodically and who really is not expecting much more will never know the depth of denial that exists for those who can not face the fact that the women who stand at the podiums, pretending to speak with spiritual enlightenment and business acumen are nothing more than equally deluded victims of denial. The difference is that they are in so deep; the light of day will not be able to reveal how well denial hides self preservation.
To deny what you see every month and every year, in the faces of the women you let drift away, in favor of new meat, in favor of your own paycheck, is to deny the very heart of womanhood. And how utterly tragic, that it is in these predatorymulti-level marketing schemes, that women turn on women, exploiting trust, and deny the cost. In all this they have the audacity to declare they are “enriching women’s lives”. I suppose you can wrap up any despicable behavior in denial, as long as you can promote some good you have done. Didn’t those West Texas housewives get food and shelter? See? It’s not all bad.
When you have lost your ability to evaluate, when you live a lie for the sake of convincing others to join you, when you omit the realities of your circumstance and defer to others to tell you how to act and behave, you are living in a cult-like state of denial because you are too afraid to have your trust exposed and dashed to the ground one more time.
The facts are these: Your director needs you to order as much as possible and has to use every tactic she knows to accomplish it. She is trained in over 20 different strategies/reasons for you to order, and based on her own conscience, will use them. She needs race horses like “on targets” and DIQ’s to cover $4,500 of what she needs so she will never tell you the realities of directorship because that would discourage you. She will wait till you get there when you won’t want to give it up after all you had endured to get there. You will go to DIT week and discover the vast majority of new directors are paralyzed in debt, from “finding a way” and multiple attempts. No one will come home and share this with the unit. It is of course forbidden.
You will be coached what to say and how to say it, and you will defer to everything your senior director and NSD say, having discovered how lost you really are. You have been bred for dependence, and you will fall in place parroting the lines of the Big Girls Club. You will get mind controlled at every event and over time will lose your ability to see clearly. You will work to move up and find yourself going back in a never ending “up ride” on the down escalator. And you will rationalize that you aren’t working hard enough because that is your programming. You will never realize how little help you get, because that would give you sufficient data for blame. No, you are on your own! Just do more.
And when you poop out, spent and exhausted, frustrated at all the pretense, all the lack of consultant success that you preside over, and all the exaggerated claims and you risk one honest moment with another director who risks one honest moment with you, the house of cards comes crumbling down.
Mary Kay’s great fear is that you will talk to one another. That you will break the cardinal rule and share the negative thing you know. That you will step out of denial and into truth. And that is when it is all over. Mary Kay never deserved your trust, but you gave it anyway. You were conned by the theater of it all, and the pretense that is preserved by all the women afraid to face how much like Eve, they wished to believe.