Kevin O’Leary and Barbara Corcoran sometimes anger Shark Tank viewers, but tonight, most of the criticism on social media surrounded clueless investor Belinda Jasmine. According to exasperated Twitter users, the product she pitched was one of the most despicable items ever featured on the show.
Some of the products featured on Shark Tank are unethical, and others are downright stupid. Tonight’s Skinny Mirror fell into both categories. Jasmine claimed that she wanted women to feel better about themselves, but her means of accomplishing this end are less than admirable.
The Skinny Mirror wouldn’t be so bad if it were merely purchased for private use, but Jasmine’s goal is to sell it to major retailers. When shoppers visit clothing stores and try apparel on in the dressing room, they do not expect to encounter distorted images. Few are likely to ever notice the tiny logo featured in the bottom corner of the mirror. And as Robert Herjavec pointed out, some retailers might not even leave the logo in place, simply allowing consumers to think that they are as slender as the mirror makes them look.
Jasmine claims that her goal is not to mislead anybody. She even refused to sell her mirror to a retailer who wanted to remove the logo from the product. However, the product arguably is misleading in and of itself. It is selling a false image to users every time they stare at their reflection. And while Jasmine desperately wants those who look in the mirror to improve their body image, the product is just as likely to be used the wrong way, perhaps by those spiraling into disordered eating.
Herjavec had little interest in debating whether the mirror was an ethical product, but Twitter users were certainly happy to carry on that particular discussion. Most agreed that the mirror had the potential to be used in a very harmful manner. Others claimed that it was one of the most unethical products ever featured on Shark Tank.
Fortunately, the Sharks eventually made the right choice. They decided that there was too much disconnect between how shoppers would feel while looking at themselves in the mirror at the store and how they would feel after returning home to their regular mirrors. Kudos to the Sharks for choosing honesty over financial gain.