It’s no secret that if you’re into “alternative” choices, there are people who don’t like it.
Just a few weeks ago, a group of doctors called for Dr. Oz to be fired from a staff position at a university because of his TV show — they didn’t like that he makes strong claims for supplements and alternative health products, and felt that this interfered with his ability to be employed as a serious doctor.
(While I’m not a fan of the show personally, nor of the types of claims he makes nor the products he endorses, I don’t see that this impacts his position on staff at a university, provided he isn’t handling that position in the same manner!)
It may or may not surprise you that as a popular blogger in the alternative world, I’ve faced the same types of criticism — obviously on a smaller scale. There are entire groups dedicated to “stopping” me. These groups leave comments on my Facebook page almost daily, telling me how “dangerous” I am and linking to some article that’s pro-vaccine, pro-GMO, etc. They regularly — at least a couple times a month — write articles about me and all the “woo” I peddle.
I ignore them, generally, as do many of my colleagues. (Food Babe is another huge target for these people.) But it seems that despite ignoring them they’re only speaking out more and more. They’re doing so more publicly. They’re writing for major media and calling people out.
And you know what? It’s not okay. Which is why I’m taking a stand today. I think these so-called “science” critics are dangerous people. And it’s time everyone knew.
As I said, I’ve been ignoring this for quite awhile. We’re told that if you don’t give bullies attention, they’ll go away. But anyone who’s ever faced one knows that isn’t really true.
Recently, an ordinary, run-of-the-mill troll left a comment on my page, saying “Please stop. You’re doing real harm.” This happens often. This time, the link was to a “study” about how “dangerous” home birth is.
Well, given that I’m about to have my fourth home birth, the topic is a little personal to me at the moment. It made me mad, but it also fully clarified for me exactly why I’m not dangerous, and they are.
Just to take this example — home birth — we have very, very poor statistics on it. Many women who have home births would not consent to their data being used in a study. Many are “underground” with unlicensed and unregulated midwives, or are unassisted. The statistics we do have include “accidental” home births (like women who didn’t make it to the hospital, or women who didn’t know they were pregnant and got no prenatal care), which sharply increases the risk profile. This data does not truly reflect planned home birth for low-risk women. The few decently-performed studies we do have show the risk profile is not different between hospital and home, especially for low-risk multiparous women.
But that’s really beside the point right now.
The real point is, it’s my goal to provide people with another view point. Alternative information. The mainstream isn’t exactly kind to people who choose home birth (or to reject some/all vaccines, or eat only organic, or…). It’s not exactly accurate or remotely unbiased.
There are people looking for that information. People who want to know what “the other side” really thinks about these topics. And they deserve a safe place to go to access that information.
Why They’re Dangerous
The reason why these “science” critics are dangerous is because they don’t think people have a right to access that alternative information.
They think that the mainstream view is clearly “right” and they’ll do anything to prove it. They think people should not be allowed to choose alternative medicine at all. In fact, we had a situation where some trolls sneaked into a private group that I admin, and called the police on a mother for “child abuse” because she didn’t call her doctor for minor rash on her child’s leg! The police showed up at her home one morning, traumatizing her and her children over essentially nothing. (And left as soon as they realized it was a bogus call.) After the incident, I was told I could expect this sort of interference “often” from the trolls.
This isn’t innocent disagreement, people.
We’ve also had (multiple) situations where readers have been PM’d and harassed by trolls because of a comment they made on a public Facebook page. In some cases, the trolls investigated the person and knew their full name (even if they didn’t use it on Facebook), where they lived, and more….
These are people who will go to any length to say that there is ONE correct view. To stop people from having access to other information. To even make it illegal to make those choices (see the recent vaccine bills introduced in CA and VT). They are out to force their version of “right” on others.
And yet, they take no responsibility for the results of these actions. If your child has a bad reaction to vaccines, they are not going to help you (and the doctors and vaccine manufacturers aren’t liable either). They’re going to deny it was even related. (Some are even paid to do this.)
If you or your child is harmed, mentally or physically, during a hospital birth, no one is going to take the case and sue the doctors. They followed “protocol” and you’re left to pick up the pieces.
They want to force you into making specific choices…and then walk away and leave you in the cold if those choices turn out poorly. They don’t care if your child dies from conventional cancer treatments, so long as you’re forced to choose those treatments for your child’s “safety.” They don’t care about your bodily autonomy, your rights, or anything else.
They care about being right. They care about forcing everyone to think like they do and choose like they do. And if you don’t? They’ll troll the internet, harassing you, calling CPS or the police on you anonymously to try to scare you into compliance. They feel they’re heroes for this.
I do not.
Why MAM is Different
Unlike these dangerous, insidious trolls, I have no desire to tell you what to do or what choices to make.
My only goal is to provide you with an alternative view point. To share alternative information with you. This might be from personal experience (and I’ll tell you clearly that it is) or it might be from studies (and I link to those when I use them). I’m perfectly, absolutely clear what I’m sharing with you is alternative and where it came from.
But after that? It doesn’t matter to me what you choose. You’re an adult. I can’t know your circumstances. I can’t and won’t force you to choose anything in particular. I would never attack you for doing differently than I do. I would never champion laws that forced you into particular choices. I would never troll you and make anonymous phone calls to get you in trouble because you do differently than I do.
I don’t make your choices for you. None of my colleagues are out to make your choices for you, either.
If you don’t like the information I share, ignore it. Seek other information or other groups that better match what you believe or want. No hard feelings! I will not prevent you from accessing those other view points or groups. I will not prevent you from asking me honest questions or engaging in rational discussions with me about it (I do delete trolls who try to engage me to “trick” me though).
Bottom line, I believe your choices rest with you.
I get blamed all the time for this — “What if someone takes your advice and something bad happens? You should be held responsible.” I believe that we’re all the ones ultimately responsible for our own choices. I provide information; it’s up to you to read more, ask questions, and make a decision to use or ignore it. (And how much “trouble” are you going to get in by trying out one of my remedies for diaper rash, anyway?) You see, in a world where you have the freedom to seek information from many sources, you don’t have to blame anyone.
(And remember that these trolls refuse to take responsibility for poor outcomes, even when they force them on you. I’m not forcing anything on anyone.)
Who do you think is more dangerous, honestly? The one who freely provides you with information (that you may not use or agree with) and supports your right to choose…or the person who tells you there’s only one right answer and tries to censor anything they don’t want you to read?
I think it’s the latter.
Say No to Anti-Freedom Bullies
It’s time to stand up and say NO to these people.
They have the right to promote what they believe in. They have the right to share the information that supports their beliefs and choices. They do NOT have the right to harass people with an alternative view point or even try to shut them down. They do NOT have the right to force others to make particular choices.
It’s never in anyone’s best interests for a few people to make decisions for all. Never.
Stand up for what you believe in and choose. Share information even when people don’t like it. Don’t let them make you stop. Use the hashtag #MAMempowered to show that you’re an educated and empowered alternative mama. If there’s unfair legislation pending in your state, email and call your reps and let them know you don’t support it.
Call out trolls for what they are when you see them. They don’t accept that term (I’ve been accused of trolling my own page before…) because they are narcissistic individuals who will do any mental gymnastics necessary to be right, even when everyone else can see how wrong they are.
Push for penalties for people who call the police and CPS maliciously (did you know that you can sue the person if you know who it is? The law doesn’t protect them against suits if they’re calling with malicious intent). Hold people accountable when they try to bully you.
To protect yourself, lock down your personal Facebook profile. Don’t show your location or your workplace (which will show your location). Be careful what you comment on and who you get involved with. Because these people are everywhere, and you never know who is dangerous.
Do you feel the “science” critics have gotten out of hand and are dangerous?
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