More Than Meets the Eye

Written by A Mary Kay Husband

As much as I love my wife, I truly resented the magnitude of the pressure she was under to perform the Mary Kay marketing plan. To do her sales job with this cosmetics company, certain aspects of our “normal” life were set aside.

That began over 20 years ago, and to an outsider she would have appeared rather successful. She had all the trappings of a winner as evidenced by the string of cars and bling that she had accepted. (“I’m on my __th free car from Mary Kay!” Imagine how impressed friends and family were.)

However, all that appeared to the eye was not necessarily the truth. As I have read your extremely intelligent reports of your own experiences, I can sense what has occurred in your lives also. One can almost count your tears, and the tears of your family as you plunged headfirst into the abyss of financial ruin because of high pressure “buying demand” from your upline.

I caught on to some of these antics during Monday night meetings. I heard the glorious strokes showered on women. Sometimes for selling as little as a lipstick, the praise was palpable. NEW consultants, still beautiful in character, spirit and enthusiasm who hadn’t been thoroughly corrupted by the new venture, ate up the newfound attention.

To slather praise so indiscriminately for such minimal success really ruptured my sensibilities. It was all for good cause, as the director’s husband explained, it didn’t cost anything for this unearned recognition and in turn, the director would surely get this unsuspecting new person to place a larger wholesale order. The hook was set – orders equal recognition.

When our wives are being subtly seduced by the recruiting scheme, they have no idea they are being conned. They have allegedly Christian women telling them to trust them, while they are bringing them into an abusive system. They don’t give her the whole picture. There’s more to Mary Kay than meets the eye.

Consultants will have the wool pulled over their eyes many times during their career. Mary Kay wants spouses to participate in this business saying “a woman with a man behind her is a woman and a half.” I resent being referred to as “half a woman.”

Most men, (a personal belief of mine) don’t want to do anything associated with “makeup.” They don’t mind their wives use of those products–but the mere thought of men being involved is the most abhorrent thing he can conceptualize. The more indoctrinated she became the more determined I was to save her and bring her back from the brainwashing tactics.

For more than twenty years we were just a hands grasp away from falling apart, as a couple and also financially. She couldn’t see this company clearly, even when I could. The lure of riches, jewels, adoration from her peers, was so powerful. (Even when she was making relatively little money, she couldn’t stop believing that the big money was right around the corner.) After countless loving and patient attempts to balance reality with the fuzzy picture MK offered, she began to see more clearly and she started to question contradictory practices that she had blindly accepted before.

I recently heard a statement that evil flourishes when good men do nothing. This is my reason for taking the time to write this.

We were without a site like this – a platform to speak for a long time. This communication between men and women has been brought out into the light and so now we all can see the whole picture. I want you to know you are not alone in your feelings and that you have a right to feel abused by this pink monster we call Mary Kay.


  1. Cindylu

    Thanks for telling it like it is. My husband wrote me a letter to extricate me from the cliches and conditioning of MK. Fortunately I got sick and learned quickly that the lavish phony praise ended. All that empowerment and caring disappeared. No one including my director called or cared. Since I couldn’t sell products while seeking treatment, I returned it. I am grateful that my illness freed me from the clutches of such a fraudulent and uncaring mlm. The Love Bombing, accolades, fake repetitive training and Christian slogans definitely hide their recruiting tactics. The elitism which includes high praise for MK herself and the NSD’s is non stop. We’re further lured in with lifestyle carrots: Cars, Bling, trips and never ending fake titles. Thank goodness for PT allowing us to recover and warn others about such a misleading scam.

    1. Mountaineer95

      “I got sick and learned quickly that the lavish phony praise ended.”

      Cindylu, I’m so sorry that you not only went through such a horrible time, but that your “sisters” in MK left you when you needed them most. Your experience is such a good example of how the supposed “spiritual” aspects of your MK teachings are ENTIRELY conjured by the uplines and tweaked to make you believe that when your times are good, God is due the thanks, but when your times are bad, God must have been furthest from your mind and your lowest priority.

  2. Mountaineer95

    It seems that MK takes the (very real) concept of women being discriminated against in their professional endeavours, and twists it to get MK ladies to believe that they HAVE to keep their husbands in the dark, or tell them lies (even lies by omission are still lies). Frankly, this insults women who have truly been discriminated against or harassed in the work place.

    In college, I spent a few summers in a popular beach town. One summer I worked at a pizza joint. The harassment was constant and ingrained: all of the girls were waitresses, and all of the cooks were males. Our waitress “uniform” consisted of white tops and shorts. When I lamented about why on earth do we wear WHITE when we get covered in pizza sauce, the answer (and not at all a joke) was that they used to have black shorts, but when the guy cooks would slap the waitresses on their asses, the flour on their hands would leave a white handprint. Hence, white shorts. The owner’s uncle and the restaurant manager were in cahoots to facilitate what amounted to sexual assault: the manager would tell a waitress she had to go into the walk in cooler to get something (lettuce, in my case) where the 60-plus-year-old uncle would force the waitress against a cooler wall and grope and kiss her. The manager thought it was hysterical. THAT is true sexual harassment.

    Ten years later, as a territory sales manager for a major mattress manufacturer, I worked in the Carolinas, where furniture and mattress stores were almost ALL owned by men. While most were really respectful of me and my professional treatment of their businesses, there were still a few that just resented having to treat a female (and one much younger than them) as a professional at their “level”. One respected store owner was a strict Southern Baptist (not knocking them all, but his was of the very sexist variety) had a lovely debutante wife who only spoke when given permission to, and after servicing his account for several years, I guess he couldn’t take dealing with a female any more and complained to my manager that he’d rather have a male rep who “understood him” better. Another client who owned two stores would always start our meetings by asking me how my love life was. I’d deflect, he’d keep at it, and once he even tried to trap me in between mattress displays in his store when no one was around (that required some creative physical maneuvers on my part). Then there’s the time when I was managing a furniture store and had to reprimand one of our newer delivery guys (I was careful to not complain much and let a lot of things slide; if they did their jobs well and without serious concern they had a lot of flexibility) who had acted really inappropriately with a customer on a delivery (not sexually, just mean and unprofessional). We were out back at the loading dock privately, and I told him nicely that what he did wasn’t acceptable and he couldn’t behave like that, and he said “don’t you tell me what I can or can’t do, bitch”. That was a fun day.

    These are just a few of the millions of legitimate harassment and/or discriminated experiences that women of all ages, backgrounds, and career paths could share. I’d bet most of you here have experienced things like this. For MK to take this general concept and rework it to propose why husbands shouldn’t/can’t be involved in their spouses’ MK “business” because “what do they know as men, they just don’t understand” is despicable.

    I know it’s a leap to compare MK “husband unawareness” with true harassment, but the MK “anti-husband” attitude is built on the foundation of actual, legit sufferings of many working women.

    *Mountaineer dismounts soapbox*

  3. Brainwashed no more

    Looking back, so many things we were told at meetings to con our own partners. They worked on driving a wedge between them. I think back to everything I was taught. Ways to manipulate the spouse. Lots of crazy ways, emotional, financial and physical manipulation. They’ve had a long time to hone their craft. Just know that is all part of their plan… they keep more power over the mk victim this way.

    1. raisinberry

      And, it was all so “innocent”…because ( and I swear “R” dying of cancer, said to us, “he (DH) won’t care how long you’re gone on a thursday night, as long as you leave the money on the bed. ( what? reverse prostitution?)
      Yes she would have been a social warrior dinosaur…clearly an unbeknowst feminist…clearly, “Not woke at all” Clearly, an intellectual “fool”…thinking she is right, while wildly wrong. Amazing how in this day and age, people state positions that they are convinced are right! Causing us old schools to remember the 70’s….50 years ago! when we were better humans.

  4. Juliet

    Mountaineer98\5, I hear every word you have said. I don’t know why there are so few comments offering massive empathy and compassion to you, and appreciation for sharing such horrible, true SLICES OF LIFE FOR WOMEN IN BUSINESS. Probably cause what you speak of is so disgusting, so difficult to fight against, seemingly so hopeless to defy no one wants to admit it or recognize it. If I don’t admit it exists, it doesn’t exist. If it doesn’t happen to me, it doesn’t happen to anyone. Yeah, thanks for the support huh. Straight up Mountaineer, I pray God blesses you with days of joy and wonder with new dreams unending cause you did your time in the trenches, you did what you had to do to survive, and I pray your ugly memories will cease to come to the surface ever more often. xoxoxoxoxoxox I am so sorry

    1. Mountaineer95

      Juliet, thank you so much for your kind and empowering words! I’m very fortunate in that the experiences I described are very far in the past (like 20 plus years). I no longer work in situations like what I described. Fortunately, my life now is calm and rewarding. I do carry with me some anxiety from my younger days, but I now have proper ways to deal with it.

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