Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Community News Network

April 24, 2014

Celebrity quack moms are a terrible influence on everyday parents

NEW YORK — On April 15, the actress Alicia Silverstone released a book called "The Kind Mama: A Simple Guide to Supercharged Fertility, a Radiant Pregnancy, a Sweeter Birth, and a Healthier, More Beautiful Beginning." It's chock-full of attachment parenting lessons and dangerous misinformation. The Daily Beast compiled some of the book's more outrageous claims. These include the notion that postpartum depression is caused by eating processed sugars, allowing your baby to sleep in its own crib is neglectful, the diaper industry is "fueled by corporate-backed pseudoscience," and most troubling, that some children are "never the same" after they get vaccines.

Silverstone's book is just the latest in a plague of risible, crunchy parenting books written by celebrities without medical degrees. Fellow attachment parent and non-vaccinator Mayim Bialik published a book called "Beyond the Sling" in 2012. Jenny McCarthy, who won't let go of the repeatedly disproven notion that vaccines cause autism, has written several books on pregnancy and baby-rearing. Why do these things keep getting published?

It's the unfortunate confluence of two related 21st century trends: our obsession with celebrity moms, and our focus on "natural" parenting. Sixty years ago, Lucille Ball wasn't even allowed to say the word "pregnant" on television; in 1991, when Demi Moore appeared nude and 7-months-pregnant on the cover of Vanity Fair, it was considered "vulgar." Now, People magazine has an entire section devoted to parents and kids, B, C and D-list celebrities try to maintain their relevance by becoming mommy bloggers, and not a day goes by without a celebrity announcing her pregnancy on the red carpet or her new addition on Twitter. Having a baby somehow burnishes their normal-person bona fides, and makes them relatable. Stars: they're just like us! Some of them have uteri!

But as any critical reader of celebrity coverage knows, stars are not just like us. They are better looking, have more money, time and support. Which is why it's so aggravating that they are promoting attachment parenting techniques that are inaccessible to most working parents. When Alicia Silverstone tells other mothers that they are borderline monsters if they don't let their kid sleep in a family bed, not only is she not considering the latest scientific evidence on co-sleeping, she's also telling working parents who desperately need a good night sleep that they're not doing right by their children.

Same goes for elimination communication, otherwise known as potty training your kids before they can even sit up on their own. Both Silverstone and Bialik push EC in their books, and because they have the money and the help to watch their kid 24/7, that method of potty training worked for them. If you try telling your local day care that your 6 month old goes diaper-free, they will probably laugh so hard tears form in their eyes before they chuck you out the door.

Most of these things are just silly, not dangerous. But even the dangerous ones - like the anti-vaccine thing - are a product of the blithe privilege of the wealthy celebrity mom. As Lindy West puts it in Jezebel, "Spreading hysterical misinformation about vaccines (even if you're just criticizing vax schedules and not shilling a direct vaccine-to-autism connection) might not seem like a big deal to families that can afford high-quality out-of-pocket medical care, but it is a very big, life-and-death deal to the low-income and immunocompromised."

The reason these books are still published is also, obviously, because they sell: At the time of this writing, Silverstone's book is No. 4 on Amazon's list of books about motherhood. So this is a message to all the book editors out there. I implore you, please stop giving these women book deals. Or, more feasibly, since publishers want to make money off these moms, for the love of God, hire a fact-checker to clean up their mess.

    

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
  • Ice bucket challenge trending up

    Internet trends are a dime a dozen these days. Everything from Tebowing to planking to the cinnamon challenge can cause a wave of social media activity that can last for weeks before fizzling out.

    August 19, 2014

  • Africa goes medieval in its fight against Ebola

    As the Ebola epidemic claims new victims at an ever-increasing rate, African governments in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have instituted a "cordon sanitaire," deploying troops to forcibly isolate the inhabitants in an area containing most of the cases.

    August 18, 2014

  • Democrat? Republican? There's an app for that

    If you're a Republican, you might want to think twice before buying Lipton Iced Tea, and forget about Starbucks coffee. If you're a Democrat, put down that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and throw away the cylinder of Quaker Oats in your pantry.

    August 18, 2014

  • Five myths about presidential vacations

    In the nuclear age, presidents may have only minutes to make a decision that could affect the entire world. They don't so much leave the White House as they take a miniature version of it with them wherever they go.

    August 15, 2014

  • Can 6 seconds launch a career? A generation of Vine stars sure hopes so.

    A year ago, Shawn Mendes filmed himself singing a tentative acoustic cover of the Justin Bieber song "As Long as You Love Me" and put the results on Vine. He wasn't expecting much response. "I didn't really want anything to happen; I just kind of wanted to see what people would think," says Mendes, 16. "I posted that first Vine and woke up the next morning with 10,000 followers. That was pretty cool."

    August 14, 2014

  • Freshman.jpg 8 crucial tips for college freshmen

    With school starting back up around the country, no one has a bigger deer-in-the-headlights look than college freshmen.

    August 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • A night in Ferguson

    For the past week in Ferguson, reporters have been using the McDonald's a few blocks from the scene of Michael Brown's shooting as a staging area. Demonstrations have blown up each night nearby.

    August 14, 2014

  • weightloss.jpg The scales of injustice: Weight loss differs between men, women

    You're not imagining it: There really are differences between the way men and women diet, lose weight and respond to exercise.

    August 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Robin_Williams.jpg Williams among many who cracked jokes while fighting depression

    Robin Williams isn't the only comedian who has struggled with a disease suffered by an estimated 350 million people worldwide. Williams, a comedian known for his manic energy, committed suicide Aug. 11 at age 63.

    August 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drug dealers going corporate

    A top federal official on Tuesday said that 105 banks and credit unions are doing business with legal marijuana sellers, suggesting that federal rules giving financial institutions the go-ahead to provide services to dealers are starting to work.

    August 13, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Raw: IDF Footage Said to Show Airstrikes Police: Ferguson More Peaceful Raw: Aftermath of Airstrike in Gaza Raw: Thousands March on Pakistani Parliament Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan Fire Crews Tame Yosemite Fire Raw: Police Weapon Drawn Near Protesters, Media Raw: Deadly Landslides in Japan Raw: Explosions in Gaza As Airstrikes Resume Arrests Witnessed in Ferguson Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape Texas Gov. Perry: Indictment 'a Political Act' US Officials: Video Shows American's Beheading Video Shows Ferguson Cop Months Before Shooting Heavy Rains Flood Arizona Roads US Trying to Verify Video of American's Killing FBI Director Addresses Ferguson Shooting in Utah Raw: Police at Scene of St. Louis Shooting Police: 2 Calif. Boys Planned School Shooting NOLA Police Chief Retires Amid Violent Crimes
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller