I have always had a strange fascination with Spanx. Sara Blakely is regularly on lists of the wealthiest women in the world and her company is valued at nearly a billion dollars. Her ability to capitalize on the body insecurities of women has both depressed and amazed me. As a younger woman, I would scoff at women who would wear shaping products. Didn’t they know what they were doing to their bodies? It was just a modern-day corset! As a slightly more seasoned woman who had given birth to two children and deals with loose skin, I am much more forgiving. Nothing like using a product yourself to make you change your tune.
My fascination with Sara Blakely has stretched now to the female entrepreneurs who came before her, capitalizing on our body insecurities. From the ingenuity of Edna Murphy who convinced people in 1912 that they were stinky and only she could save them from offending the olfactory senses of others to the business savvy of Josephine Esther Mentzer women are uniquely good at convincing other women what they need to make themselves look good. I think that’s part of why multi-level-marketing (MLMs) are so successful.
Thankfully, older me won’t throw shade on women trying to make an honest living with a product they believe in needed. But I also can’t help but imagine what our world would look like if more of us channeled that tenacity away from the business of convincing our sisters they need xyz to feel good about themselves and into lifting each other up. What do you think?
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