January 12, 2011

Mothers, Misogyny and Money

Yesterday I was involved in a discussion where one man noted that he saw a great deal of misogyny in the rhetoric coming out of vaccine industry public relations, and cited a few examples. It is there both in the overt PR, and PR that is posing as public health advice/policy and independent journalism/reporting. Because in order to dismiss vaccine damage and keep vaccine sales climbing, you have to dismiss the reporters of the vaccine damage. The mothers who spend hours a day interacting with their child.

Francesca Strino
Mother & Child

I have felt this usually not so subtle bias consistently since I began asking questions about vaccines on my first visit to the pediatricians office after the birth of my first baby, right on through to the events of the last week. I am repeatedly talked to as, and even on occasion even outright called, "just a mom." But I feel like accusing someone of misogyny is like accusing someone of racism. You might see hints of it in their actions, but you cannot know the true state of the human heart, so unless someone outright tells you they have a problem with women, making the accusation against them does not really serve anyone.

Besides, real misogynists, like real racists, are not usually open to hearing about how they might earnestly do some self-evaluation on their dislike for a specific group from a member of that group, so best just not to take it personally and let it go. Noting, of course that their point of view might be skewed and their advice to you may not really be in your best interest.

But I bring this up because wanted to do a small study in contrasts and highlight some philogyny... some of what is right in what the two men I was in this discussion with, noticed and said about mothers and how they set themselves apart from those who devalue and talk down to "Justamoms."

In response to the comment, Ed Arranga of Autism One shared the following:

"I think you’ve hit the nail on the head - Misogyny.

Six months ago I was in a doc’s office with 4 to 5 moms and about 12 kids. The room went quiet for a moment and each mom gently tested the air. A moment later a mom said, “It’s mine, Jeffrey come here, time to get changed.”

It was incredible. In the space of 5 seconds each mom knew if their child had pooped or not from 10 feet away.

These are the moms who cannot tell if their child regressed after a vaccine?

It seems something vital has been lost in the last hundred years in our race to certainty, with hubris and misogyny playing a far bigger role than is honestly acknowledged."

I agree (and blame Freud).

In this little story, I feel that Arranga has captured the depth in the often dismissed claim that mothers make when doctors try to wave away their claims of vaccine regression, "But... I know my child". Many doctors and officials hear mom's say, "I have met my child in passing once on the street during a rainstorm," but what mothers are actually saying is, "I am more intimately involved with my child on a spiritual and biological level that I cannot communicate to you in words, and that child is an extension of my own heart and body".

And on a more practical level, it tells me why Autism One has become THE autism convention of the year, and why our opponents can't sell books to mothers or don't bother trying to have conventions for the public. As a mom, I can see that Arranga gets it and wants the problem of autism solved and children served, while PharmaKorp and their emissaries are really just salesmen and mercenaries. They could not care less about me, my child or the well being of my family, and they sure as hell don't want to answer my earnest questions to help me wisely protect the health and life of my family.

Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. I can tell who cares about me and my babies, and who cares about their own power and pocketbook. I can see which doctor will allow his career to be destroyed to get answers for my son and which doctor prevents answers from being found to raise his vaccine profits.

So props to the men out there (and the amazing one in my home) that see and esteem the unique talents of mothers. They are worthy of our motherly esteem as well.

And thank you Ed for all you have done for us an our children.

Ginger Taylor, Justamom

"To parents out there, I would say please trust your instincts. In particular, maternal instinct has been a steady hand on the tiller of evolution for many thousands of years and we wouldn't be here without it. Parents have tended to relinquish that instinct in favor of a medical community. We assume doctors know a lot when in fact they know very little. Please mothers, trust your instincts. No one knows your child like you do and no one can take that away from you, so trust that. That is my most important message. - Andrew Wakefield

"The festering nastiness, the creepy repetitiveness, the weasly, deceitful, obsessiveness, all signal pathology to me," "And they wonder why their children have brain problems." - Brian Deer, on parents of children with autism.


MySocratesNote said...

I find it so very interesting that the RID (Ridicule/Ignore/Deny) movement gets all bent out of shape by things they perceive as mysogyny. For example, the Thanksgiving Day picture that AoA put up a Thanksgiving before last. Cries of mysogyny and much gnashing of teeth later, they still cannot let that go.

However, they don't take a second to blink when a "justamom" tells her story, then they promptly dismiss her. Or, they immediately dismiss Jenny McCarthy because she once showed her bewbs.

Mysogynistic, and hypocritical, to boot.

Nerida said...

I think those quotes at the end sum up the whole story. I'm going to borrow them, if I may!

Ginger Taylor said...

Of course. Spread the love.

Unknown said...

Excellent point - I never considered that misogyny might play a role in the epidemic of vaccine injury denialism, but it makes perfect sense.

It made me wonder - if fathers were the ones reporting en masse to doctors that their sons and daughters were regressing following vaccination, would we even still be having this discussion today?

I read an article yesterday about a new test that can detect whether an unborn child has Down's syndrome by looking at the mother's blood. It seems the child's DNA is released into the mother's blood during pregnancy. The implications are endless, I'm sure, but I think it can be said with (at least) a degree of certainty that a mother will always carry a very intimate part of her child with her.

Josh Day said...

There's a reason both my wife and I go to our three-year old's physicals. Armed with a tape recorder documenting the entire thing. And a video camera to whip out if things escalate. Honestly if I could afford it I'd bring along a lawyer, seeing the epic farce we had to deal with at the local pediatric chop shop. Good news is once we fired the pediatrician we had and started seeing a GP it's not a big deal. Still better safe than sorry.

I remember our son's first visit. I could tell the wheels were spinning in both the nurse and later the doc because both parents were present and obviously had a unified front. They hated that. And they didn't know how to deal with it. "Hmmm, is the husband aware of the fact you're withholding life saving vaccines from his son? hmmm?"

My experience has shown me that most medical types are on an extreme power trip. They view women as weak targets and think they can be intimidated, threatened, or manipulated into some treatment. Not just vaccines, but all manner of drugs and procedures.

I wish my father would start accompanying my mother (both in their 60s) to medical visits. The bullying and intimidation she's experienced when she's alone is disgusting.

Read Mendelsohn's "MalePractice: How doctors manipulate women" to get the full dose of misogyny in medicine.