MLM Selling Can Have a Huge Impact on Women’s Mental Health
If you don’t live under a rock these days, someone you know has probably tried to get you to join their business. And when I say their business, I am talking about an MLM. Full disclosure, I have never participated in an MLM. It’s just not my jam. But if it’s yours, no judgment, no shadow-more power for you. The problem I have with MLMs is the predatory and deceptive tactics they use to sell people a dream that is really more of a mirage.
We all knew MLMs were a financial and friendships warning word before. But something else came out in a big way when I watched the LuLaRoe documentary in bursts. Ironically, they attract women with the promise of financial freedom, empowerment, and opportunity. But when things fall apart, it’s because you haven’t tried enough. It is your fault that you have not succeeded in a system that was never designed to allow more than 1% of the richest to achieve a decent income. Make sense, all of you.
And just so we’re all clear, MLMs are nothing new. They’ve been around for a long, long time. So, knowing what we know, how do they keep appearing over and over again? The answer is terrible, but simple: MLMs feed on people’s desire to have it all, or at the very least, to make ends meet. Most often these people are women. SAHMs who wish to contribute more to their household (because, yes, managing a household is already a HUGE contribution) or a mother who is looking for a small job. Maybe it earns her a little extra money for herself or her children, or allows her to cut back a few hours of work. Under the cunning of an empire of leggings, cosmetics, supplements or cleaning products, there is not a type of good which has not been the prey of this “business model”. To understand why so many women are embracing the promise of financial freedom, you need to understand the psychology of MLM, also known as toxic positivity.
MLMs Thrive on Toxic Positivity
Ugh. Choose Joy. There was a solid point in my life where this phrase was my mantra. It also coincided with untreated anxiety and depression and eating disorders, which explains so much in retrospect. I was introduced to this (toxic) positivity mindset by a self-proclaimed (now fallen) lifestyle guru who spoke about all the insecurities I had about myself. She was apparently also a guest speaker, hypestress extraordinary, at numerous MLM conferences. Ahhh. The hindsight is 20/20.
According to this lifestyle, I just didn’t choose joy often enough. I wanted to lose weight, so why didn’t I? Because I haven’t tried enough. I desperately wanted to be the best mom possible. So why haven’t I worked harder to make this happen? I would have liked to be more productive and question my novel. Obviously that was because I was lazy and didn’t want it enough, right? This is the mindset of toxic positivity. Everything is achievable and life is always good. The only reason you don’t feel that way is because you are the problem. You limit yourself. (Acts vigorously several red flags).
It’s the same mindset that MLMs thrive on. Anything is possible if you work hard enough. They call it empowerment; I call it manipulation and gas lighting. Society already has a knack for making women feel that they are not enough, no matter what. MLMs just bring this point home, but with a way out. It’s easy to dismiss real-life issues. Because people only experience mental health and financial insecurity issues when you are not positive enough? Cue the rage. The reality for the average person who joins an MLM is that they are looking for a solution to these problems, and they don’t have those resources either. In fact, they are compiling all the resources they have to start their own “business”.
You’ve all seen LuLaRoe’s suggestion for women sell breast milk so they can afford the start-up costs. What about the real fuck? The problem was not that the women were selling breast milk. Your breasts, your body, I don’t care what you do with it. The insidious part of this is that if you have to buy something from someone who brought it in from someone else (and so on), you’re not running a business. You are just a pawn in a pyramid scheme that turns you into a customer hoping to find more customers elsewhere. If you wanted (or needed) some extra income, just sell your breast milk and keep the money. Cut out the ugly and smelly MLM midsize leggings.
It’s not you, it’s them
Do you know what is wrong with wanting financial security? Not a fucking thing. Is there something wrong with wanting to run your own business, put in your own hours and follow your dreams? No, not a minute. The reason people join MLMs is that they want a proven avenue to pursue all of these things. And the people who run the show know that. They say, look i did it so can you too. The proof is in the numbers, and there is some truth to it. They are not technically lie, but they are absolutely not transparent or realistic. It works if you’re one of the first people to walk through the door, but that number is limited. There is a limit. Not everyone who signs up for this business will get the same results.
There is so much about MLM and their tactics. There are a million words of warning. But as it is, the voices pleading with people everywhere to heed these warnings are not as loud or as numerous. The people who run this nonsense are screaming from the top of the pyramid. Do not listen to these naysayers. They try to dissuade you from your success because they are jealous. They are not happy with what they have settled in their life for and want you to do the same. Be different, be bold, be courageous. Well, maybe those exact words weren’t used, but the message is the same.
Listen, my friends, it’s not you. It’s them. It’s okay for you to want to improve your life, spend more time with your family, and achieve financial security. But it is wrong that people see this and then manipulate you just to achieve their own ends.