Me And Mary Kay by Marci Chitwood (September 1997)

Iwas recently hoodwinked into going to a Mary Kay (cosmetic) rally thing by a co-worker. I went only because I work next to her and she was driving me crazy with her recruitment strategies. I decided to go so that I can say, unequivocally, that I do not have any ambition to drive a pink Cadillac after peddling lipstick for a living.

I equated the entire event to peddlers of Jesus/God so that I can go to a place that would metaphorically be a pink Cadillac in the sky (an icon of success that for some reason makes you feel like puking to think about it).

The Mary Kay philosophy is: “God First, Family Second, Mary Kay Third.”

I was grinding my teeth when I heard things like: “Go home and ask your husband what he thinks about you starting a Mary Kay business.” “The money you make will be great for family vacations!” (Making the assumption that the woman isn’t the bread-winner of the family.) After hearing that, I had had enough.

I almost walked out, but the energy I had inside had to be expelled. I accepted the invitation of my co-worker to meet her mentor and director of her Mary Kay business who boasts of making $5,000.00 a month with little effort. I shook her hand as she enthusiastically asked me a question with a smile so wide that I’m sure it took an entire tube of lipstick to cover her lips. “On a scale from one to ten, where do you stand on becoming a Mary Kay consultant?” “Don’t choose five,” she added, “that’s a chicken answer!”

I straightened my spine and looked her in the eye and said, “Zero.”

Her pasty smile quickly melted as she repeated my number: “Zero.” After regaining her composure, she looked at me and asked, “How could you possibly not have an interest?” She added, “You obviously take time with your appearance and you seem to be so outgoing . . . this is definitely for you!”

I smiled and said, “Even if I did want to be a Mary Kay consultant, you wouldn’t want me to be a part of your group. You see, I don’t fit in with your philosophy.”

She acted surprised and said, “Well, you believe God’s first, family is second and your work is third in life, don’t you?”

I was truly amazed at her naivety. I said proudly, “I’m an atheist, and truth to myself is first, empathy for all of humanity is second, and reverence of life today is third.”

She said, “Well, if you’re an atheist, I suppose you wouldn’t make a very good Mary Kay Consultant.”

This was a perfect example of viewing the world in a very microscopic way. A microscopic view of the world is what prevents people from empathizing with others and gives them permission to be so self-righteous. I prefer a more global, macroscopic view. I like to stand back and look at the world with panoramic vision. That reveals truth. Unfortunately, so many people choose to watch their world reduced for their TV screen instead of seeing the awesome, big picture.

Not only is Mary Kay minimizing fine lines, they are minimizing fine minds.

Marci Chitwood is a Foundation member living in Kentucky. She is currently the coordinator for a project to improve the quality of child care in the greater Cincinnati area. “I heard about the Foundation on the Donahue Show many years ago,” Marci writes. “I was a very young atheist at that time (20 or 21) and very excited about the prospect of being more forward with my ‘truth’ in public.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation