We love encouraging women to empower women, but it’s time to take a minute and talk about an unfortunate trend in female friendships that is the opposite of empowering. It’s sliding into the DMs of the girl you sat next to in biology class for one semester with a “Hey girl” and trying to sell her skin care products, leggings, or getting her to join your “side hustle.” It can seem harmless, but the vast majority of these scams, and they are scams, rely on female friendships as sales tactics, breaking down barriers of trust among women and ultimately bringing everyone down.
Let’s talk about “networking marketing,”or “multi-level marketing,” how it hurts women, and how you can empower yourself and other women by just saying no to these scams.
First, let’s break down what exactly network marketing is. Enterpreneur.com defines network marketing as “A business model in which a distributor network is needed to build the business. Usually such businesses are also multilevel marketing in nature in that payouts occur at more than one level.” Essentially, you make your money by selling your product to other people. However, this differs from just a traditional business because you are considered a “consultant” of a larger company and pay for their products or to be a member of their organization. Then, you make a small commission on the products you refer to others. Network marketing technically becomes a pyramid scheme when the money that you make is based on how many other people you can get to sign up rather than how much product you sell. Often, joining a network marketing company involves you paying money upfront or regularly to be “employed” by them, which should be a huge red flag. No legitimate company would require you to pay to work for them. If you want to hear from women who have joined MLMs/networking marketing schemes and ended up thousands of dollars in debt, click here.
The worst part about MLMs, in my view, is how it preys upon women and asks them to prey upon other women. Ultimately it’s a toxic cycle that beats everyone down and empowers no one except the corporate higher-ups at the schemes, and yes they are the true CEOs not you. So much of the rhetoric associated with MLMs is degrading to women, and it’s coming from other women.
“Hey girl, you’re so pretty. Can I sell you more makeup?” is not empowering women
“Hi random question, do you want to lose some weight?” is not empowering women
“Can I tell you about how these essential oils will parent your children for you?” is not empowering women
“Do you want to invest $6,000 to sell leggings?” is not empowering women.