In another incidence of body shaming advertising this week, I received the following almost unbelievable e-mail:
Subject: A Shapewear Challenge
I hope this finds you well. My name is Nina Lxxx and currently I am interning with Sassybax for the summer. I came across your blog post about your displeasure with Spanx, and couldn’t help but notice all of the reader comments that went along with it…We would love to challenge you to try our shapewear products, and let us know what you think! … Here at Sassybax, we are committed to solving real women’s problems such as muffin top or bra bulge. We would love to send you some samples to try out and see what your reaction to our product is.
All the best,
Nina, if you read my blog about Spanx and this is what you’ve arrived at, I welcome you to read that blog again.
“We are committed to solving real women’s problems such as muffin top or bra bulge” You. Cannot. Be. Serious.
If you are trying to convince me that calling these things problems when we live in a world where 10 year olds are making themselves throw up to lose weight (not to mention cancer, hunger, poverty…) you are barking up the wrong fat girl. I think that marketing like this is a real problem and that muffin top and bra bulge are pretend problems created by your industry in an attempt to steal our self esteem and then sell it back to us at a profit.
And really, challenge? I am a three time National Dance Champion pursuing my first World Professional title. That is a challenge. Wearing underwear – not so much.
I’m not going to challenge you to stop wearing shapewear because I absolutely respect everyone’s right to choose what they want to wear. If you like wearing shapewear that’s totally cool, rock on. However, you targeted me because I said publicly that I was happy with my body without Spanx. Your goal was to change that, make me scared of “muffin top” and “bra bulge”. Had you succeeded you wouldn’t have just sold me some underwear, you would have chipped away at my hard won self-esteem. So I challenge you to ask yourself – are you proud of what you’re doing?
And it seems that the intern doesn’t fall far from the tree. I went to the Sassybax website and found this gem from the “about us” section.
“Fear is a great motivator,” said Amanda [creator of Sassybax]. “A few years ago, when fashions got slimmer but I hadn’t, I suddenly became afraid for the first time of looking my age.”
So rather than work on her body image issues, Amanda chose to try sell them to all of us!
Then I read her biography and was stunned, saddened, and sickened:
Shortly after my 31st birthday, I re-entered college and finished my degree with a BA in Psychology. I earned my Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology and became a therapist. My main objective was to help women with an issue I had now come to know intimately, self esteem.
I have created Sassybax as a way of helping women look and feel more confident and comfortable in the fashions they love. Sassybax gives women the freedom of a more natural non-restrictive kind of support. The stretchy smooth microfiber moves and breathes with your body, allowing you the freedom of being more of who you are. Now isn’t that where self esteem comes from?
I don’t think I’ve ever read anything that made my skin crawl this much. It’s so slick that it would be easy to miss the manipulation “I’m a therapist and an expert on self -esteem. I think that to feel better about yourself you shouldn’t work on your self-esteem, you should buy my underwear.” Allison, if that where true it would be called underwear-esteem, not self-esteem. If you want to feel better about yourself I recommend this exercise, which is free.
Nina is a a summer intern and as such is likely just doing what she is told. Since Nina noticed my reader comments I assume that Sassybax is interested in what you have to say. Nina’s an intern for the summer so let’s not bother her. If you have feedback about this marketing campaign I suggest that you contact Sassybax Media Contact: Rebecca Barrouk: Rebecca@sassybax.com