Friday, August 7, 2015

MLM Myth: How Mary Kay Ash incorporated the Bumblebee Myth into company culture

A bit of link surfing on bad arguments brought me to an unexpected link... the Bumble Bee Myth, and its link to Mary Kay Ash of Mary Kay Cosmetics.
Diamond Bumblebee
pin award (photo credit:
Mary Kay Website)

Mary Kay Ash was quoted saying "Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn't know it so it goes on flying any way." She told the story in 1970 Seminar, where she started presenting the top sellers with the diamond bumblebee pin. (see right)

The problem is there had been NO physicist, scientists, or aerodynamicist that ever claimed bumble bee shouldn't be able to fly. Folklorists and historians have been trying to track down this myth for decades. It's obviously bull****, since we see bees fly every day.

People have "heard" of this myth, as it was variously attributed to various "leaders" (who repeat the bull****), various scientists (never authenticated), and celebrities / politicians (such as Mitt Romney).  Nobody can find the actual claim, paper, quote, or whatever. The closest historians can get was a single sentence in an old etymologist book Le Vol des Insectes (1934) by Antoine Magnan, where he claimed an assistant told him insect flight is impossible given law of air resistance. Bumble bee was NOT mentioned.

Mary Kay Ash
Mary Kay Ash
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In other words, this is another myth, perpetuated by MLM. It is not real.

But it is necessary to create a cult of personality, where myth is built up around the leader of the cult through heroization / idolization of the leader, often by enforcing a dress code and perpetuating ideological myths.

And the bumblebee myth is one of them. It is positive thinking mumbo-jumbo, about how you should IGNORE other people's advice, by citing a myth of something nobody ever said.

There is no denying that Mary Kay Cosmetics is a personality cult that enforces a dress code. You didn't know that? NO PANTS in Mary Kay. Founder hated pants. Everybody must wear skirts. That's right, skirts only. NEVER wear pants to any Mary Kay function, or you're forever be ostracized as troublemaker. In fact, it's #2 of "14 Nevers" on a MK Checklist. Oh, there's even "get a new hairstyle". Really.

Control types of clothing and hairstyle is #4 on "Behavior Control", one of four pillars of cult mind control.

And misquoting statements and/or using them out of context from non-cult sources? #5b of Information Control, another pillar of cult mind control.

Why is there a no-pants policy? A new recruit was given the following spin: "The founder of the company, Mary Kay Ash, did research and found that sales increased significantly and people take you more seriously when you wear a skirt."

This is where the recruit's crap detector started wailing. Mary Kay Ash was born in 1918, and Mary Kay Cosmetics was founded in 1963. When was this research done? 1950's or 1960's? It's now 21st century, folks.

But if you bring that up in a MK meeting? You are no longer welcome.

That's #8 and #9 in Thought Control, one of four pillars of cult mind control.

#8 is rejection of rational analysis, critical thinking, and constructive criticism.

#9 is forbid critical questions about leader, doctrine, or policy.

So to conclude: Mary Kay Ash incorporated a myth into company culture, much like other MLM myths based on positive thinking, or "faith", and cult-like tactics were used to enforce the faith.

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