Last Tuesday, Amber Rose posted an ad on Instagram for an organic pregnancy tea from Flat Tummy Company. Previously under fire for their appetite suppressant lollipops and detox teas, Flat Tummy is certainly no stranger to controversy. Neither is Amber Rose.
I like Amber Rose. I love her advocacy work on behalf of sexual assault survivors. Also, I admire the ways she lives her life unabashedly. However, none of that removes her culpability as a public figure.
The issue here is not product endorsement. After all, many celebrities endorse products. The issue lies in the type of product Rose is endorsing: an organic tea designed to “reduce bloating.”
Pregnancy is not bloating. During pregnancy, women need to gain weight in order to adequately nourish their babies.
Clearly, Rose expected backlash, as she specifically stated, “This is not a detox tea – it’s specially designed to help reduce occasional nausea and support digestion during pregnancy – haters stop riding the bandwagon and think for yourselves.” While this may be the case, so many aspects of her post are dangerous.
18 million people follow Rose on Instagram, and many of her fans are young, impressionable women. Women who may have histories of eating disorders or body image issues.
Furthermore, herbal teas can pose serious dangers for pregnant women. Large quantities of some herbs may cause preterm labor. Plus,not all companies list all ingredients, especially for products not regulated by the FDA. Flat Tummy also labels its tea as “organic”, but I found no information to support that claim.
Even if this specific tea is “not a weight loss product,” I still think that Amber Rose should not publicly endorse it.
Celebrities must use their influence responsibly, especially when they endorse products. Celebrity product endorsements have become the norm, but that doesn’t mean we should allow them to continue. In fact, a Connecticut senator is calling for investigation and change.
This is not a personal attack on Amber Rose. However, companies like Flat Tummy should not encourage women to “lose the baby weight” or “avoid bloating to keep a perfect figure.” Neither should Amber Rose.
As Amber Rose suggested, I, like many of her followers, have decided for myself that endorsing dangerous products must stop.
Living life by our own prerogatives can feel incredibly empowering. However, it can also lessen our accountability. We need to do better, be better, and demand better. And that’s the real tea about all of this mess with Amber Rose and Flat Tummy.