January 31, 2004

What are we to think of Websites that hide their religious mission behind home pages full of pop culture, sports, and mundane advice?
To illustrate how beauty tips might be used to spread the gospel, Mrs. Schenk noted that the most popular article on Women Today Online has been an advice column about frizzy hair. Before reading advertisements for L'Oreal, readers see a link that reads, "Are you happy with your body?" If they click on that, they get the life story of a model who battled bulimia but then found success after becoming a born-again Christian. "You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer," she writes.
Anything wrong with that?
"We're just being sensitive to where people are at and inviting them in. We don't have spinning crosses on Women Today."
Thanks for eschewing the spinning crosses, but isn't trying to get someone to click on "Are you happy with your body?" to put over a religion message awfully similar to an email message line saying that says "Hi" to get me to open a sales pitch?

Not really. At least you had to actively go to the website, and there is a complete disjunct between "Hi" and the product, whereas the connection between feeling unhappy with your body and needing spiritual help has real substance. Clicking on that question and getting the surprising answer is a communicative event in itself: the process of being misdirected from beauty tips to religion is a message with some bite.

UPDATE: I'd say the same thing if the link from the beauty tips page took you to an article about feminism.


Meade said...

What a great blog!

Ann Althouse said...


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