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
  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 30, 2014

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • Sharknado.jpg Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight

    In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
    "LOOK OUT!!"

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
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