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Blog exposing MLM (Forever Living, Younique etc) as a feminist issue

(41 Posts)
JigglyTuff Tue 25-Apr-17 09:04:47

Came across this on FB and thought it was really interesting: https://timelessvie.wordpress.com/2017/04/24/how-mormons-network-marketing-social-media-combine-to-sell-women-a-false-dream/

I've always thought they were a mug's game but never realised the Utah origins. Interesting approaching them from a feminist perspective

CaoNiMartacus Tue 25-Apr-17 09:18:46

YES! This is something I've been thinking about a lot, but was never quite able to articulate.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Tue 25-Apr-17 13:58:55

I can't imagine how it would be possible for anyone to make money from Younique. I had not heard of them but I see on their website you can buy products direct from them with no middle person.

They are also very expensive. Their products are pricier than expensive brands like Clinique or Clarins and wildly expensive compared to Boots, Rimmel or any supermarket brand.

It's obviously a complete rip off but to be honest, given there are multipleways of buying existing, reputable brands at prices to suit all pockets, it is rather naive to assume customers are going to switch from any of the traditional brands and sources to these. If you live in Stoke on Trent why would not just go to Boots? Even if you live in the middle of nowhere most established cosmetic companies sell direct on-line.

I use foundation every day and even then I can't remember when I last bought a bottle. Most cosmetics do actually last quite a while.

I don't use social media so I don't know if these companies use a particularly hard sell, maybe they do. Clearly some people fall for it.

HelenaDove Tue 25-Apr-17 14:50:19

No wonder MLM companies find it so easy to recruit. Working class women being made to feel like crap for being in a low wage job/not in a career. are easy money for these companies who feed on low self esteem. Women sign up (to a pyramid scheme) after being told its a chance to own their own business and start selling crap like Juice Plus/Forever Living . Then start selling this stuff to each other via fb . So you have working class women selling this stuff to each other buying into a form of oppression (Juice Plus is a "diet" product) so they can feel a bit better about themselves because society and middle class white feminism has told them they are worthless if they dont have a certain type of career and how you should always strive to be your own boss.
Women in lower income jobs like care work or retail or cleaning are made to feel worthless and often treated like crap.
So these MLM companies will play on this and take advantage of it. For some women it is the only hope that they can ever even have the chance of saying they are their own boss.

The working class women i know (i am one myself) feel completely alienated from feminism because of the refusal of some to see that its not possible for all women to have a high flying career.

I identify as a feminist but i think more needs to be done so that working class women can feel more included and less alienated.

HelenaDove Tue 25-Apr-17 14:55:04

I posted the first paragraph of that post on another thread over Easter.

BigDeskBob Tue 25-Apr-17 15:19:14

I don't know much about this, but aren't they modern day versions of Tupperware and Avon?

I do think its a con, and its cynically market towards 'under employed' (for want of a better word) or low paid women. As said previously, people are expected to sell products that are bought rarely, at best to a limited market - friends and neighbours. And its so expensive to start up. It would be better to buy a goat and selling cheese to the same people every week.

ChocChocPorridge Tue 25-Apr-17 15:43:37

I think it's worse than Avon - the lady opposite always did Avon, and often dropped in the catalogue, and obviously we got Avon stuff for Christmas from her - it was all pretty good quality, and the prices weren't terrifying like they are for so many of these things.

They pitch to people around me as well (although for even more eye-watering prices) - expat wives who've moved every couple of years with their husbands and probably aren't legally allowed to work in the country they find themselves in, with no family support, and looking for some kind of fulfillment a few of them are pitching thermomixes or detox systems to me all the time on facebook. At least these women aren't going to be going without to afford the starter packs though.

I agree though - they sell the dream, that you can earn money and still be there at school pickup, and it's a flat out lie.

PoochSmooch Tue 25-Apr-17 16:17:00

That's an excellent blog post and I think it really nails it.

Particularly about the Mormon links, which are pretty underhand and awful.

I think you're right helena, I think MLM does try to generate a sense of dissatisfaction with what used to be thought of as perfectly good jobs, and that's really undermining and damaging. The targetting is very specific.

JigglyTuff Tue 25-Apr-17 18:12:09

Good point Helena although all the women I know who have fallen for it are middle class. For them, I think it's the idea of having a job with the same earning potential which fits around the school run which is appealing. And I read so many posts on here from women saying that their partners are pressuring them to go back to work and this feeds into it.

I'm ashamed to say that until I read this blog, it never occurred to me that 99.99% of MLM bots are women.

Crunchyside Tue 25-Apr-17 18:18:07

I do think the modern MLMs are worse than Avon etc. There is more emphasis on recruiting new reps than there is on selling the actual products.

mousymary Tue 25-Apr-17 18:25:17

Agree there, Crunchyside.

Interestingly, we were staying at a hotel in the US last year and there was a Mary Kay convention just finishing up (Mary Kay is like Avon) and I saw that a number of the participants were transwomen. I'm not making any point here, just musing.

Trills Tue 25-Apr-17 18:28:24

Continuing your musing - perhaps trans women find themselves excluded from many jobs and so are more likely to be seduced by the MLMs?

The sense of "community" may also be appealing if your previous community are uncomfortable (or outright hostile).

Trills Tue 25-Apr-17 18:32:50

On the topic of the actual thread - I'd agree that MLMs are a feminist issue - their spread can only occur in a toxic environment in which women (in particular) find it difficult or impossible to find work that fits with the rest of their lives.

Miffer Tue 25-Apr-17 19:12:41

That was really interesting. I used to watch Big Love and they did a whole plot line about this which seemed really random. I never realised there was a link to the Mormons.

JigglyTuff Tue 25-Apr-17 19:22:45

Trills - why are you talking about transwomen? confused My post was about women.

And I think women's socialisation is a massive part of why MLMs have traction with women. We buy things that we don't want and can't afford to be kind to our friends. That is what MLMs exploit.

Trills Tue 25-Apr-17 19:25:40

mousymary brought it up in the post above mine

Trills Tue 25-Apr-17 19:26:08

I did then return to the actual thread topic

GurlwiththeCurl Tue 25-Apr-17 19:29:03

You do all know that the Timeless Vie blog came out of a series of threads in the Mumsnet Money section? No wonder it has a feminist twist!

PrettyGoodLife Tue 25-Apr-17 19:29:49

So glad I saw this, very interesting reading.

JigglyTuff Tue 25-Apr-17 19:52:21

Sorry Trills! Missed that. blush

I'm just a bit sick of talking about TW. No, I didn't know that Gurl. Please pass on my thanks to the author if you're in touch with her for a blinding bit of research/writing.

Miffer Tue 25-Apr-17 19:55:57

Just been reading more on the blog and feel like I been living under a rock. I have literally never heard of this until now. (Of course I have heard of pyramid selling but not this new social media model)

Miffer Tue 25-Apr-17 20:24:06

The difference with this and Avon/Anne Summers (who I am not fan of either) is the main crux of this seems to be recruiting other sellers not actually selling the product. It's pyramid selling with a loophole to make it legal.

AltheaThoon Tue 25-Apr-17 20:25:47

One of my FB friends does the FL thing. One thing I've always found interesting when she posts her pictures of her with her 'colleagues' all gathered at someone's house watching the 'awards' on TV hmm is that the winners of the big cheques always seem to be men. And the 'amazing inspirational' bosses are men. So I've thought for a long time that this is a company that generally concentrates on recruiting women but the 'winners' are very clearly men.

Anyway, i haven't read the initial article yet. I'll get onto that now.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Tue 25-Apr-17 20:40:06

I looked at the other 2 companies she mentioned. Stella and Dot sell utterly uninspired high street clothes and accessories. There are cotton kaftans at over £100 which would fit quite happily into George at Asda at a tenth of the price. The jewellery is painfully ordinary.

The other one, Luluroe, actually does have clothes that do look a bit different and might be interesting if you ran an independent boutique and you had done your research and you bought them at wholesale prices.

NannyOggsKnickers Tue 25-Apr-17 20:46:01

Timeless Vie is brilliant. I had no idea about MLMs until I started lurking on the thread on Money Matters.

It is a feminist issue and TV and Bot Watch (also great) do a great service.

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