Guest post by Vaximom*
The opinions of guest bloggers are their own but ones I share. In the case of this post, however, I must go further. As a mother who had an elective c-section, vaccinates and breastfed I dearly wish I’d written what follows so, here goes:
Guggie has done it again!
The sanctimony is woeful. Moreover, the supercilious manner in which she projects her “empowering information”, touted as though she is the authority on the subject would be laughable if it weren’t so frightening.The idea that Ms Daly has 624 followers on her blog, and 5000-odd on her Facebook page compels me, and other members of the community of well adjusted, reasonable people who do not thrive on hyperbole and dramatics, to BRING HER DOWN.
So, in the last year, Guggie (let’s call her Gaggie for comedy purposes) has thought herself qualified to commentate on the following subject matter:
Unfortunately, she lacks the credentials, and the critical thinking skills to adequately (let alone expertly, as she would have us believe) impart information on these issues. These topics are contentious among parents of young children. When an outspoken, judgemental, haughty woman-child stands up on her soapbox with the intent, firstly, of swaying parents to her cult-like way of thinking, and, secondly, consolidating the beliefs of parents already entrenched in the extremist attachment parenting movement, we enter a danger zone.
Not only are some of the parenting ideas that she promotes physically dangerous to our own children and the children of people around us (think homebirth and eschewing vaccines)…the over-confidence that she exudes can very well lead to (unnecessary) feelings of failure and deficiency in a woman who comes by her blog, and hasn’t subscribed to the holy grail of parenting that Gaggie deems acceptable.
Let’s begin with the wonder that is the “about me” box: Gaggie “started this blog to provide a fresh, evidence-based perspective for today’s parents on a variety of early-childhood topics.” Isn’t “evidence-based perspective” an oxymoron? Evidence is that which tends to prove or disprove something. Perspective is a mental view or outlook, usually pertaining to the personal. The two together make no sense. So, even the most basic aspect of her blog: her introduction to herself…is intellectually erroneous. The fact that Gaggie even has the gall to use the word “evidence” in her blog is laughable…unless she defines “evidence” as “cherry picking” data, inductive fallacies and a special talent for strawman arguments in the comments.
She uses dramatic effect to appeal to the reader, and extensive, (although incorrect at times) vocabulary to make herself appear knowledgeable and an authority on her chosen subject matter. Fortunately for her, her readers seem to be the biggest followers around; which is ironic, given that Gaggie wants everyone to do their research. This involves reading and believing The Guggie Daily without question. Her followers take her word as gospel, praise her and idolise her. The rest of us, those who can critically appraise sources, argue objectively and rationally have a responsibility to get up all in that…and make sure that people know what a crock of bull Gaggie writes.
I would like to know who else thinks caesarean birth and the crucifixion of Christ are comparable experiences. Unless, of course, you harbour a well developed martyr complex. Gaggie does. She pities, shames and admonishes c-section mothers, saving her accolades and joyous congratulations for her home-birthing counterparts. In one photo, a baby wears a t-shirt stating “I am special. I was born at home.” Well, fiddle-dee-dee! To all you poor, surgically extracted babies: YOU ARE NOT SPECIAL. Just so’s you know.
Her preoccupation with circumcision warrants a special mention. I don’t think I’ve read a blog with so many posts about penises. I don’t know about Gaggie, but I was taught to respect people and their bodies, however they appear…that includes not broadcasting to the interwebs whether my sons have foreskins or not. She thinks she’s doing the future male generation a favour from her laptop. Aren’t they lucky, all those dudes? Imagine her boys, as teenagers, having to deal with the fallout of their mother’s blogging…the entire internet community knowing whether your pecker was intact or not. Respect starts with privacy. Just sayin’.
Formula feeding? While I agree that breast milk is the way to go and am a huge advocate for breastfeeding, I don’t share Gaggie’s hobby of foisting guilt onto women who either choose not to breastfeed or who can’t, for whatever reason. I’m not sure how inducing inadequacy, while sitting on your own little Mountain of Smug, is throwing one out there for the sisterhood. While breast is often best, in the words of my NICU midwife: “We gave him a little formula, because we don’t like to starve babies.” Word.
When she talks about vaccines, she just… Makes. Stuff. Up. Her ability to manipulate vocabulary gives a semblance of the idea that she knows what she’s talking about. Quoted directly from The Guggie Daily:
“Well, you know what? Thanks a lot, all you people who vaccinated the hell outta your kids. Now we have super strains. Now we have interrupted transmission, shifting demographics, weakened immune systems, and epigenetic curses.”
She was kind enough to post an update, thoughtfully hyper-linking all the impressive immunological language for all of us plebeians out there. Unfortunately, the hyper-links direct you to either previous posts of her own, (bias, anyone?) or to dubious sensationalist medical news sites.
It’s dangerous. As much as I hate to admit it, she has charisma. Unfortunately, her charisma, coupled with her fanatical views make her seem like something of a car-wreck on the internet. You want to look away…but you just can’t. You are drawn to ogling the damage like a rubbernecker extraordinaire. The problem begins when you get young, new, impressionable mothers who are blinded by this charisma and begin following the dogma…reinforcing Gaggie’s self-opinion that she is their Leader.
She is a natural mother, yo. The rest of us will never be able to live up to her piety. She has to save us from ourselves! We need Gaggie to show us the way!
She, herself, states:
“And thanks a lot, really, for passing on a cycle of shame, terror, impaired intrapersonal and interpersonal development, narcissism and the general inability to empathize, to accurately assess emotions or to resolve conflict in a relationship with your punitive parenting.”
The lack of introspection here is very salient. She truly, truly thinks that we “punitive parents” are harming our children, and hers. Furthermore, we earn the label “punitive” because we vaccinate or may circumcise…and we might not homebirth or breastfeed. Her insinuation is that unless you follow the Gaggie Doctrine of Attachment Parenting, your children will turn out just like the description above in italics. Impaired. Broken.
The main gripe I think we all have about Gaggie is her righteousness and self proclaimed virtue. Oh, and the fact that her blog’s heading bar looks like an advertisement for some kind of vitamin…or dermatology clinic. Take your pick.
That and the fact that her information is biased and incorrect. Now, there’s a dangerous combination. Self righteousness, over-confidence coupled with incorrect information?
Let’s get the word out there that Gaggie is clueless. One foreskin at a time.
*Vaximom is is a mother to two beautiful boys who has taught countless other beautiful children the value of critical thinking and the scientific method. She spends her free time debunking sloppy thought and scientific denialism in order to make the world a safer, smarter place.