It all started when Facebook user Annick Rbsn was headed to her gate at an airport in Canada and she says, “A man at a store suckered me in with a free bar of natural soap.” He further engaged with “Let me guess your age…” and then proceeded to pull out a number 12 years younger than she is. “I look my age and that’s ok actually,” Annick responded. He lobbed back, “Let me show you our face serum, because if you aren’t careful to maintain your skin now, these wrinkles on your face will get much deeper, by 45, creams won’t help anymore.”
Their exchange, which Annick recounted in detail on her Facebook page, went on from there. Based on its content and Annick’s powerful message about “predatory marketing practices that sell self-loathing to women from cradle to grave,” her post has since been shared over 26,000 times and counting.
As Annick wrote on Facebook, “This is basically how the conversation went, although I admit, this is not verbatim.”
Man: “your skin is so natural looking, you aren’t wearing any make-up, right?”
Me: “Um, nooooo?”
Man: “Let me guess your age…” Proceeds to pull out a number 12 years younger than I am.
Me: “I look my age and that’s ok actually.”
Man: unsure how to handle that.. “let me show you our face serum, because if you aren’t careful to maintain your skin now, these wrinkles on your face will get much deeper, by 45, creams won’t help anymore.”
Me: “what’s wrong with a woman looking 40?”
Man: “Well let’s talk about the bags under your eyes, and smile lines, my eye cream could improve those in 15-minutes.”
Me: “What’s wrong with my eyes? I have a miracle baby at home and haven’t slept in 2 years, so if I have bags I am grateful to have them, and my husband and I laugh a lot. Those are his fault. He loves how I look… I don’t think I need your cream.”
Man: (nervously) “They may be manageable now, but by 50, it’s too late to correct sagging skin and deep wrinkles, unless you act now, only surgery can correct those.”
Me: “what’s wrong again with a woman aging? You know, my husband and I can’t wait to grow old together, we talk about it all the time, how we’ll be this funny wrinkled old couple. My husband is going to age too, we all are. It’s kind of how life works.”
Man: glancing nervously at other customers in the store who are listening in… “Wait, if it’s the price that’s an issue, I can offer you our special this week, all three creams for $199 – that’s cheaper than Botox!”
Me: “I look fine now, and when I’m 45 I will look fine, and when I’m 50 I will look fine, because there is nothing wrong with a woman aging. Old age is a privilege denied to many, and I don’t appreciate you marketing youth instead of your products, and denigrating aging women as a sales tactic. Thank you, but I don’t want or need your cream.”
I was so horrified by the normalcy of his sales pitch, and the sales ringing up at his cash, that I took a picture of that wrinkled baggy face he was selling to, right on the spot.
This is the face my children and my husband love. I think I’ll keep it.
In true internet form, Annick’s intentions were misunderstood and/or misconstrued by some, so she added the following UPDATE to her post as a point of clarification and a call-to-action to “flip the script”…
I am shocked that this post has been shared upward of 12k times to date. I was really excited for a couple of minutes (that was my ego talking) until I realized what that meant. It means that in 2016, refusing to accept self-loathing as a beauty standard is a radical concept. And that is just depressing on a whole other level.
I have been reading some of the comments and wanted to clarify that this wasn’t a post about natural beauty over those who wear make-up, its not about being insulted by a salesman. Its not even about the salesman, who I am sure is very good at his job and following a script. Its about a billion dollar industry that depends on women hating themselves.
And its not about how pretty or not I am. According to whose standards can we decide what is beautiful anyway?
I could have been a supermodel, but I still would have been told there was something terribly wrong with my face. And odds are, I would have believed it. Its hard-wired into us from the cradle that our main value as a woman is beauty, and a standard of beauty that we can never actually attain. Even our supermodels get photoshopped.
Let’s start a movement peeps, let’s end predatory marketing practices that sell self-loathing to women from cradle to grave. Women have more important things to do in 2016 than spend a single other minute worried about our wrinkles or the acceptability of our thighs.
Flip the script when you hear it. Every time. Until it loses its power. The next generation needs you to change the game.
There is nothing more powerful than how you spend your money, way more powerful than FB views and shares.
Let’s start a movement that says no to brands that require you to hate yourself in order to sell their products. Don’t give them another one of your dollars.
*And for those of you worried I was too hard on the salesman, don’t worry, tone doesn’t translate well, but I’m Canadian after all. I was very, very polite. 😉