Jenny McCarthy is good at what she does. She’s charming. She’s funny. You can relate to her. When she speaks about the pain associated with getting her son’s autism diagnosis, other mothers of children with autism can’t help but identify with her. She says the things we’ve wanted to say ourselves, but are too afraid to: We are jealous of our friends’ neuro-typical kids. We are tired. We lose hope. Then she goes further. She says mothers who get the diagnosis usually divide into two groups, “Mother Warriors” as she terms them, or those who are “victims.” You want to be a Mother Warrior right? You would do ANYTHING for your child, yes? Then she’ll go on to tell you what caused your child’s autism and how to heal him or her from it. For a second, you forget that this chick, this person trying to sell you the myth that vaccines cause autism along with a pile of supplements, got her start as a Playboy model. In fact, she’s STILL a Playboy model! And that’s why she’s dangerous. Because you forget that her credentials in the field of autism are no better than yours or mine: she’s just one mother of one child with autism. She’s not a doctor. She’s not a scientist. She’s a mother. She relies on old, discredited information, as she runs her organization, “Generation Rescue.” She still champions the cause of Andrew Wakefield, the man whose FALSE research claims gave rise to the anti-vax movement and the very notion that vaccines cause autism. She’s telling impressionable mothers of newly diagnosed children with autism that HER way is the ONLY way and that if you don’t do it the way she did, you’re not a Mother Warrior. You’re a victim. You don’t want your child “cured” because you like the attention that their autism gives you. In the last AutismOne conference (co-sponsored by Generation Rescue) she said this:
“And then there’s this part that takes place, a moment where you have to take charge. Are you going to get up and do everything possible to save your kid? And then there’s something surprising that happens with a lot of moms. They…fall into this victim roll, and they like it. It’s almost as if they didn’t get attention in their lives …and now this incredible door opens where all of these people come over and say, “Suzy…Suzy I’m so sorry. Is there anything I can do for you?” All of this attention. And they are like LOVING it. Loving having people feel sorry for them. They get extra home-cooked meals by the neighbors…”
If her unproven biomedical approach worked for her son, that’s fantastic. But she has no right to BULLY other moms into doing something that has never been proven to work in every child with autism and could very well be DANGEROUS to their children. Don’t tell me, because I refuse to give my son a bleach enema and buy him a hyperbolic chamber, that I am “loving” him having autism and the attention I get from it. Because that, Ms. McCarthy, is crap. Any mother of a child with autism will tell you that no amount of attention would be worth what we go through for autism.
We all can’t strip off our clothes to pay for our child’s $100,000 a year education (yeah, that’s what she says she’s paying for when she said that she was posing nude in Playboy for “autism.” Autism she says her son is rescued from…?). We have to fight.
We fight every single day. We fight an underfunded and overcrowded public school system of which Jenny McCarthy knows nothing about. We fight insurance companies for treatments that ARE proven. We fight to improve the lives of our children. We fight people like Jenny McCarthy who believes that autism has no good in it. That it’s only something to be “rescued” from- not something to be embraced. We do this, not because we are “Mother Warriors” but because we are MOTHERS.
We fight without a stage and a microphone, we fight without a mass of followers and bestselling books. We fight, not from Oprah’s stage or Larry King’s chair, but in doctors’ offices, specialist visits, therapy a nd IEP meetings. We do it with our clothes on, for the most part. And yet, we’re the ones she is saying who LOVE the attention autism brings us?