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Psychology Today and Black Women's Attractiveness: The Bottom Line

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In response to the controversial article questioning Black women's beauty recently published in Psychology Today, blogger and activist Gina McCauley took action where it matters--at the bottom line--and posted this report on her groundbreaking blog, What About Our Daughters (


Unilever's St. Ive's Brand Pulls All Advertising from Psychology Today

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 7:00AM The Blogmother: Gina McCauley, What About Our Daughters

The original purpose of this blog was to convince Black women that if we stop paying for our own degradation, it would disappear. Back in the day, our motto was "Stop Funding Foolishness." It still works. No doubt the swiftness with which Psychology Today pulled Satoshi Kanazawa’s article had little to do with its racist content, but with the fact that their sponsors started pulling advertising. We know this because Psychology Today has been publishing his works for YEARS.
Last Monday I sent an email to St. Ives, one of the brands who ran ads on the page where the offending article appeared. As with any time that I spot advertising on a page with offensive writing, I took a screen capture and notified the brand that they were sponsoring anti-Black woman hate speech. That's it. No yelling or screaming, just an "Are you aware that your advertising dollars are being used to attack your own consumers?"
As a result of Satoshi Kanazawa’s article appearing on Psychology Today Unilever has pulled all advertising for St. Ives, period, from Psychology Today, not just the offending page, but the whole site:

Hi Gina -

Thanks for your note about an article appearing on a Psychology Today web site.  As you know from following this controversy the article and the research study underlying it have been almost universally derided and the offending article was taken down from the web site.

It is particularly alarming to us, because we had not specifically purchased that space.  Psychology Today, while a respected and ethical publication is simply not close enough to our demographic targets to warrant inclusion on our schedule.  Our ad (which we have actually not seen in conjunction with the offending story because other ads are on the cached version of the page) was placed there by a third party group with which we do have a business relationship without our knowledge.  Appropriate steps are being taken to insure that does not happen again.

That being said, as you realize whether it is a television advertisement or a web site, advertisers generally do not have any kind of notice of content  or, certainly,  preapproval.  We deal with reputable groups, primarily in long-standing relationships and must have some trust in their values and discretion.   While we think Psychology Today responded appropriately to the complaints, we feel it should have been caught in advance.

We are sorry it appeared.  We are sorry for the offense it caused you and many others.  Frankly, it offended us.  Thank you for brining this to our attention.

Spencer M. Bahler
Sr. Director, Marketing Communications

Stop Funding Foolishness works, as was the case, four years ago, once a brand becomes aware that a content producer is acting irresponsibly with their logo, they take steps to make sure that it never happens again. We don't do these types of campaigns anymore around here, mainly because its a relatively simple task and we also need to focus on content creation in addition to complaining. However, its good to remind you that its a pretty effective tool under limited circumstances.  Notice, it typically only takes ONE email to a brand so any of you can do the same thing at ANY time.

Have you signed up for our Activism Workshop in Los Angeles in July? #justsaying You might learn a thing or two about improving the effectiveness of your online activism. I'll be sitting in class right next to you :)