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Ashley

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics stocked by Selfridges - Good or Bad?

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This is something I started to look into last year, but it resurfaced over the weekend online.   A cosmetic company called Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics using a play on the OCD words, founded by a sufferer of OCD. Their brand is stocked by Selfridges online and in London.

So question one, is it appropriate or ethical for anyone to use the obsessive and compulsive, with a clear reference to OCD within the name of a commercial product for profit?  Does someone whose suffered with OCD have a right to use the illness for profit?

That's something I suspect people will debate, but what is beyond question is that the final outcome is a company name that is inappropriate and adds to trivialisation of the suffering of OCD.

So question two, is should major chains (or anyone) stock something which utilises a mental health condition within its product name?  For me this is a bigger issue than the name itself, that Selfridges thought it was acceptable to stock the product, after they agreed to remove the OCD Chopping Board for me a few years ago.   This was part of their response last year.

Selfridges.jpg

 

In the associated link to the NY Times, the founded is quoted as saying:

Quote

Humane animal treatment may be the brand’s mission statement, but counting rituals play a role in the brand’s strategy. “What’s been amazing about the company is turning what’s viewed as a negative into a positive,” said Mr. Klasfeld of obsessive-compulsive disorder. “Coordinating and matched sets are definitely things that are born out of an O.C.D. mind.”

The OCC website FAQ includes this:

 

Quote

 

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics? What's up with the name?

"The first step is admitting you have a problem," says company founder David Klasfeld, "I did and the result is a line obsessively crafted from the finest ingredients possible, to celebrate the driving compulsions of makeup fanatics everywhere."

 

 

None of that actually suggests he had OCD, but I will take Selfridges word that he does suffer.  I have nothing but admiration for anyone who rises up beyond OCD to achieve great things, which Dave certainly has, but I still believe regardless of any OCD suffering he experienced the name for his company is wrong and damages efforts of charities in the US and worldwide to change perceptions.

Part of their branding is the fact their cosmetics are cruelty free (which is great), but something I mentioned on Twitter earlier is the fact that is their name is not cruelty free to those that suffer with OCD.

OCC.jpg

 

I still can not get over how someone in Selfridges, with their global image somehow thought stocking this was acceptable, or does OCD simply just not matter.

So a question to people with OCD is should OCD-UK follow this up, should we stand firm in our belief this is inappropriate and encourage UK retailers to drop the product until the name is changed?

 

 

 

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Bad, so bad. No to all of your questions other than the last one, although I think it's highly doubtful they will change their name. I find it hard to believe that people sell products using an illness as a selling point! And saying that because the founder has OCD means it's OK is just ludicrous. 

This company is using the stereotypes that come along with OCD to sell products. I mean saying 'driving compulsions of makeup fanatics everywhere', it's embarrassing.

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On 22/05/2016 at 13:09, Ashley said:

“Coordinating and matched sets are definitely things that are born out of an O.C.D. mind.”

Incorrect.

Coordinating and matching is nothing whatsoever to do with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

 

On 22/05/2016 at 13:09, Ashley said:

"The first step is admitting you have a problem," says company founder David Klasfeld, "I did and the result is a line obsessively crafted from the finest ingredients possible, to celebrate the driving compulsions of makeup fanatics everywhere."

If 'obsessive crafting' and experiencing 'compulsive drives' represents Mr Klasfeld's personal experience of OCD, it suggests he was misdiagnosed. He's describing an obsessive personality, not Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. 

Educating the public on this common misconception (mistaking particular personality traits with a serious mental health condition) is definitely part of OCD-UK's remit. 

An obsessive personality can be very beneficial in business. Whether it presents as desirable traits or a disordered personality is a matter of degree, but no matter how severely debilitated by a personality disorder it is not the same has having an anxiety disorder like OCD. 

Realistically what can we can do? Point out his error and boycott his product? 

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I happened to be chewing on what constitutes the disorder in a few moments of cogitation yesterday.

For me, it's all about an illness which has a significant detrimental debilitating effect on the day to day life of the sufferer, plus negatively impacts upon their friends and family work and anyone with whom they interact. 

Anyone doubting this need only read a few topics on the support forum. 

For me the only ethical link to products ought to be when they are sold to raise awareness and raise funds to help sufferers e.g.profits go to an OCD charity like ours. 

Edited by taurean
Typos

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37 minutes ago, snowbear said:

Realistically what can we can do? Point out his error and boycott his product? 

I think for me there is little we can do with the cosmetic company, but we can certainly make Selfridges think again on renewing their contract with them when it expires. I may get back in touch with them.

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I think it's important to not argue the point about whether or not the founder has OCD or not, it is irrelevant. The point is Selfridges are selling a product that sells mis-information about an illness that is severely debilitating. This is not about offence, it's about the constant bombardment from the media that OCD has some sort of plus point or can be useful in some way. These cosmetics are playing on that lack of understanding and continuing the stereotype that it is a fun quirk. 

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Obviously such a huge ignorance as to the severity of ocd and people's misconceptions of it and the devastation it creates.

Nobody would name a range of products after something like cancer would they? 

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17 hours ago, Gemma7 said:

I think it's important to not argue the point about whether or not the founder has OCD or not, it is irrelevant. The point is Selfridges are selling a product that sells mis-information about an illness that is severely debilitating. This is not about offence, it's about the constant bombardment from the media that OCD has some sort of plus point or can be useful in some way. These cosmetics are playing on that lack of understanding and continuing the stereotype that it is a fun quirk. 

 

17 hours ago, snowbear said:

Good point, Gemma. 

 

So do you two fancy collaborating on writing a formal letter from the charity (I would then print it on letterhead and post)?

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Gemma? I think you word stuff better than me. But happy to help. :) 

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I'll be honest, this doesn't offend me at all. I don't think the company are trying to profit from this illness, either. And I remember that OCD chopping board from before: I find it quite funny really, because I love cooking but it takes me ages to chop stuff sometimes because I obsess over the size!

 

I think it's the same when people make OCD comments or jokes. This used to wind me up, but ultimately these comments come from a misunderstanding of what OCD is. Nowadays, I couldn't care less. People at work have made OCD comments/jokes at my expense in the past (in good humour too by the way, they aren't being rude about it), and I find it all quite funny. We have a laugh, and then it's often a great way to address some misconceptions people have about the condition.

 

R

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I think you may be in a minority. 

This just doesn't seem right.  I wouldn't myself object to authors such as therapists making money by writing self-help books to aid sufferers - after all they have chosen being a therapist as their paid career. 

This seems tacky and fuelling misconceptions that can lead to upsets for debilitated OCD sufferers who already are suffering enough and need the general public to become sympathetic and understanding. 

Your attitude and response to your colleagues is laudable, but I personally choke on the concept of others making fun of such a debilitating and deplorable disease. 

Edited by taurean
Clarification

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2 hours ago, richardf89 said:

People at work have made OCD comments/jokes at my expense in the past (in good humour too by the way, they aren't being rude about it), and I find it all quite funny. We have a laugh, and then it's often a great way to address some misconceptions people have about the condition.

Like Taurean said, your ability to laugh at yourself is laudable. 

Perhaps my OCD is too apparent for the typical jokes about tidiness, checking and hand-washing. When strangers encounter me for the first time their reaction is either reserved apprehension or a mix of outright fear and horror. Nobody has ever cracked a joke about OCD in my presence. Some have quizzically looked askance and asked if I have OCD, some have asked what is wrong and been surprised when I've said 'OCD'. Where it's been appropriate I've opened a discussion about what they thought OCD was before they met me. I don't think anyone would dare to crack an OCD joke with me. One glance at my physical state tells even the dimmest fool it's clearly not a joking matter.

That's where I see a problem with this sort of merchandising; it fuels the popular belief that OCD is quirky, that it's an inconvenience you live an otherwise normal life with and that OCD doesn't have much impact so it's ok to joke about it. So that means these people think cracking jokes about 'spastics' would be ok too? Or that it's ok to pull the leg of an amputee, so long as you don't yank it right off - ha-ha. :dry:

If a product is marketed to raise funds for the condition it's named after, that makes sense.

If a jokey product is marketed by sufferers to raise funds , that's possibly ok. After all, we can (and do) laugh at ourselves. :original:

If a product offers sufferers some advantage specific to the condition, by all means market it as such. In that case using the name of the condition for marketing promotion is appropriate.

But when a product uses the name of a condition as a marketing tool by implying sufferers have certain traits in common with the product (such as an obsession over colour coordination and a drive for excellence) that's where I take issue. 

 

Edited by snowbear

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Would Selfridges stock and advertise that new fragrance, "Schizo".....I think not.

This is just as offensive.

I personally don't feel offended but it is the constant undermining by, both ignorant people/companies and, probably, enlightened people who choose to ignore the potential harm this constant undermining might do. The latter do not care - they have targets to meet and share-holders to keep happy...............

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This is trivializing our disorder. There are people out there who have OCD and who have to arrange things just so but for them there is no enjoyment in doing so. They have to do it again and again and again and they get no relief from their compulsions. They are the same as any of us and our own brands of OCD.

I think we need to start standing up for ourselves and say, "Enough already!"

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Sometimes I feel I can't go a day without seeing or hearing OCD being trivialised, made fun of or completely misinterpreted.

Magazine articles 'I have severe OCD because I love bleach and like to clean.'

Family and friends 'Thats my OCD coming out in me.' Referring to checking once if the cooker is off.

Constant mentions on TV, films, series, reality. All referring to OCD as a quirk or a positive attribute in their personality.

I've had to toughen up a bit or I would be offended and angry every day without fail.

If this bloke was donating some of his major profits to OCD charities or funding research, the name wouldn't bother me so much. Or if a little factsheet or reference to where you can find information about OCD was enclosed with the products even that would make it slightly better.

Unfortunately the word obsessive seems to be seen as a phrase to describe a fanatical enjoyment of something. Rather than a debilitating part of someone's personality where obsessions are anxiety inducing piles of junk in the brain.

I'm going to have a mooch at the products. X

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1 minute ago, Em24 said:

 

Unfortunately the word obsessive seems to be seen as a phrase to describe a fanatical enjoyment of something. Rather than a debilitating part of someone's personality where obsessions are anxiety inducing piles of junk in the brain.

I'm going to have a mooch at the products. X

The good thing is that, although it's not 1984 but 2016, there are some right-thinking citizens amongst us sufferers willing to act as good-natured versions of the "thought police",  intent on exposing the trivialising and requesting that people take note and see the error of their ways. 

 

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I'm surprised his 'OCD mind' can cope with this photo on his website. Surely those lines need to be even in length, thickness and colour pattern as that seems to be his theme. :biggrin:

 

skin_large (1).jpg

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I don't think, if I was a woman, I would find that a very enticing promo picture. 

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Haha I think I would get some funny looks on the school run if I did my make up like that! X

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6 hours ago, whitebeam said:

Would Selfridges stock and advertise that new fragrance, "Schizo".....I think not.

This is just as offensive.

Bipolar Breeze or Exotic Epilepsy.

Imagine the headlines!

OCD awareness has still got so far to come. I don't think it helps that many sufferers themes are quite delicate. I try to help promote awareness but it can be hard sometimes.

Because of the confusing nature of OCD and lack of awareness, it's hard for people to understand, which then creates more fear for the sufferer to speak openly of their experiences.

Certainly for me anyway :(

X

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Oh goodness, this is just silly! If it was Obsessive Cosmetics it wouldn't be so bad, but the three words together just doesn't make sense.

I just think when you combine 'obsessive compulsive' it's a negative, the two words on their own aren't so bad. You can be obsessed with something, i'm probably obsessed with tea and buying socks. But i'm not doing it as a compulsion. 

 

This year I started making pill boxes to try to address the stigma of mental health conditions. I wanted to use humour because I think it's a good way to de-stigmatize (is that a word) mental health conditions, but I went with "brain plasters" and "invisible tonic" and "brain boo boos". 

Selfridges has gone down hill to be honest.

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On 5/24/2016 at 23:25, Gemma7 said:

Bad, so bad. No to all of your questions other than the last one, although I think it's highly doubtful they will change their name. I find it hard to believe that people sell products using an illness as a selling point! And saying that because the founder has OCD means it's OK is just ludicrous. 

This company is using the stereotypes that come along with OCD to sell products. I mean saying 'driving compulsions of makeup fanatics everywhere', it's embarrassing.

Yeah, like, my personal opinion is that I don't think the world has to stop just because mine has, but at the same time, not every other sufferer thinks that way, so I am against it because I know not everyone thinks like me. 

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