Dear Alicia Silverstone: You Are Clueless!

Caroline Bonarde Ucci [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Image: Caroline Bonarde Ucci [GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Dear Ms. Silverstone:

Firstly, I would like to say that I don’t like to name-call and I’m not really a snarky person by nature, but since you are an actress made famous by the popular teen movie “Clueless!“, I couldn’t help but to capitalize on using the adjective to describe what I think you’ve become. You are also a mommy now and now you have added the title “author” to your repertoire with your new book “The Kind Mama: A Simple Guide To Supercharged Fertility, A Radiant Pregnancy, A Sweeter Birth, And A Healthier, More Beautiful Beginning“. Phew! That sure made for a run-on sentence with that book title, which currently ‘boasts’ a 2 out of 5 star rating on Amazon…ouch.

Back to the ‘clueless’ thing: I am sad to see that Jenny McCarthy may have found successor in you as the new anti-vaccine celebrity spokesperson, as I saw in your new book (which I haven’t read, by the way) that you write the following regarding vaccines:

“While there has not been a conclusive study of the negative effects of such a rigorous one-size-fits-all, shoot-’em-up schedule, there is increasing anecdotal evidence from doctors who have gotten distressed phone calls from parents claiming their child was ‘never the same’ after receiving a vaccine. And I personally have friends whose babies were drastically affected in this way.”

Oh, Ms. Silverstone. I emphasized “anectodal evidence” in your quote, because that’s all it is! The very definition means: “not necessarily true or reliable, because based on personal accounts rather than facts or research“. End of story.

I have also learned that you are advocate for elimination communication and your son started potty training at 6 months, and while it’s not for me and my kids, if it works for you—great! But a family’s choice to not vaccinate directly affects other children and I wish you would rethink your stance on vaccinations, as your celebrity influence and Facebook following alone is well over 300K followers, surely you are bound to twist some rubber arms. I have read that your 2-year-old son has never had a vaccine and that he has not received any medicine other than “natural” remedies because you are of the ‘chemical-free’ mindset.

Speaking of chemical-free, I also see you think that tampons cause infertility and that a woman’s “chichi” (a slang term you use for a vagina) is the most absorbent part of her body, and we all could be risking our fertility because of “potential pesticide residues from non-organic cotton and the ‘fragrances’ containing hormone-upsetting, fertility-knocking phthalates that are snuggling up to your hoo-ha.” Oh, Alicia (may I call you Alicia?), if you would kindly just do some research like I did you will see that the FDA’s risk assessment indicates that this exposure [specifically regarding dioxins] is many times less than normally present in the body from other environmental sources, so small that any risk of adverse health effects is considered negligible. 

I am all for people raising their children whatever way suits their families the best. I see you are vegan and that you care greatly for the environment and go to great lengths to be eco-friendly. But slamming other peoples’ food choices stating that we are exposing our uteruses to “toxic sludge” if we eat dairy and meat, is just plain unnecessary (and also not true, by the way).

And just one more thing, among much more that I could say, I am very grateful to not have suffered any form of post-partum depression, Ms. Silverstone, but I take great offence to your statement regarding post-partum depression and the baby blues: “though it’s less common among kind mamas, some women experience the blues after giving birth.” You are setting up your community of “kind mamas” to feel like failures if they become post-partum depressed. I, for one, will not be taking any advice regarding fertility, pregnancy, and post-partum care from you, Alicia Silverstone!

Sincerely,

Sarah Schultz
A Not-So-Kind Mama

Comments (38)

  • Aaah, I cannot believe the stuff she wrote in this book. I haven’t read it, but I definitely will have to dig deeper.
    What exactly is a “kind mama” anyways? I’d really like to know…
    Great post, Sarah!

    Reply
    • Yes, I haven’t read it either….I don’t think I could bear to as my eyes would permanently roll into the back of my head….but I think a “kind mama” is the community she’s made founded by her parenting beliefs. Not for me!

      Reply
  • At the risk of being shamed I kind of agree with her. Though I haven’t read the book I do agree with people doing what is right for their own families. While I do acknowledge a public health responsibility with vaccines, I am one who delayed vaccines with my kids. We worked closely with our doctor and came up with a schedule that made sense for our kids.

    Don’t know about the “chichi” though – she lost me there. Though I am a huge advocate of using the Diva Cup or similar for environmental reasons.

    Also as a person who doesn’t eat meat or dairy I have similar feelings about that as well but have more ethical concerns with factory farming.

    Shannon Thorndyke
    Reply
    • I definitely won’t shame you, Shannon! Everyone has the right to their opinions and certainly how they raise their families, just like I said in the article the one and only parenting decision that truly affects the rest of the population is vaccination, and I really wish she (and other celebrities) wouldn’t go spreading the misinformation they do. BUT it is up to each family to make that decision for themselves and hopefully they aren’t too swayed by the fears these celebs spread and do their own research, talk to their doctors, etc.

      As for food and farming, you’re talking to a farmers wife 😉 I think it’s fine to eat the way you want to eat, but to shame industries without diving into things further like she seems to have, is very upsetting to the agriculture industry. And just some “food for thought” (pun intended) 98% of farms in Canada are family farms.

      Reply
      • Agree. In our case our delay had to do with my daughters severe allergies and then with my little guy a concern that he might also have similar allergies. Misinformation is a huge problem.

        I know you are a farmers wife and I have huge respect for famers. I love that 98% are family farms! Thanks for posting 😉

        Shannon Thorndyke
        Reply
  • Wow. Seriously? I vaccinated my son after chatting with the head nurse at the NICU about it. I ALMOST didn’t because of people like Alicia and Jenny McCarthy. I didn’t understand it and I was worried about long term side effects. Thankfully I had a nurse explain that it’s not just about the child, it’s about others as well (she went into detail about why children should have the pox vaccine because what could happen if pregnant women come into contact). Now with all the measles outbreaks, I’m happy I did.

    This reminds me of the book “Skinny Bitch”. They went on and on about how nasty meat and dairy is and basically slammed you if you ate it. I respect everyone’s opinion, but if you’re going to bash someone else over their lifestyle – you’re not a “kind mama”.

    Reply
    • Vaccinations, like with anything in life, there are risks. Nothing is ever 100% safe, but the benefits FAR outweigh the risks.

      I 100% agree with you about food choices (and regarding other things too!). Do what you want, but don’t slam me for the choices I make.

      Reply
  • I was standing and applauding you by the end of this post! Bravo! Shame on you Alicia Silverstone, you clearly ARE clueless!

    Ninja Mommers
    Reply
  • Not just with regard to Alicia Silverstone, but in general, I find it scary that people who are not experts in certain fields can write books and publish articles on subjects in that field. I would trust a medical expert on all things health related over a celebrity. Doesn’t that make sense? I mean, would you hire a surgeon to act or an actor to perform surgery? Everyone’s got parenting advice, but making sure your sources are credible is another thing.

    Yeah. When it comes to talking fertility, vaccinations, or health, proper research and facts trump personal opinion.

    As always, great post, Sarah!

    • Thanks, Christine! I haven’t read her book so I don’t know how much she delves into vaccinations (which is the part that concerns me most) but it’s all based on anecdotal evidence and that scares me SO much. Parents that aren’t as science-minded as me just see “evidence” and can take it as gospel and these women (Alicia, Jenny, Kristin) will no doubt influence the next generation greatly on whether to vaccinate or (likely) not.

      Reply
      • Super scary, Sarah! I’m with you on the vaccination part. Though I do believe parents need to do what they feel is best and right for their families and for their children, I also believe that vaccination is not the evil that non-vaccinating parents claim it to be. My daughter was born at 28 weeks. She was in the NICU for the first 72 days of life. Vaccination in her early years was key with her compromised immune system. There…I said it. I am pro-vaccination. 😉

        • I’m I00% (would be more if scientifically possible) pro-vaccines and I’m not afraid to say it! 😉

          Reply
  • Did you see Kristin Cavallari is anti-vaccine too? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/19/kristin-cavallari-vaccine_n_4994876.html

    Oh these celebrities haha

    Reply
    • Oh yes! That one didn’t sneak by me, I shared that when PTPA did on their Facebook page. Unreal!

      Reply
  • As a “celebrity” she is influential. To express her opinions and give advice on such important life decisions without being an expert, doctor, etc. is in my opinion a very wrong move whether or not I agree or disagree with these opinions.
    I definitely think this is part of a publicity stunt – why else would a celebrity make such controversial opinions public? This is another open invitation to bring about mompetition and make women compare important decisions they made for themselves and their families with others. We’re all doing our best and should support each other. Great post Sarah! Thanks for making us stop and think! 🙂

    Janine Streiter
    Reply
    • Yes, she is very influential as a celebrity and she is not an expert….yet at the same time I have to hold myself accountable as a “mommy blogger” giving parenting ‘advice’ based on my experiences to, to a degree! Not a 300K+ following on Facebook, mind you! 😉

      Reply
  • Ya what she said!! Love this post, and I am so sick of people (aka celebrities that then filters down to others) stating their opinion (uneducated at that) as fact. Live your life the way you choose, but do not assume to judge others choices when doing the same. I was (and still am to a large degree) a granola munching, organic eating pesticide free Mama. I research and then make choices for myself and my family, no one else. Re: Vaccines (my opinion is) The only reason you get to not vaccinate your kid is because everyone else does and therefore protects yours from life threatening disease. Great post.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Cathy. We live in a world where we are so lucky to be able to make the choices we do—but you hit the nail on the head “do not assume to judge others choices when doing the same.” Unfortunately herd immunity (relying on others who are vaccinated) is only effective if >85% are vaccinated and we’re losing that fast as vaccination rates keep dipping. So sad, so preventable.

      Reply
  • Ahh I saw her a few weeks ago on a daytime show promoting her new book and after she started talking about the elimination communication I changed the channel. Your post is brilliant and got to the point. My parents and siblings don’t vaccinate and they probably think I am an irresponsible person for vaccinating my family but for my family it is the right thing to do. There is a great article from the Toronto Star that shows what a woman who had health nut parents who were anti vaccine went through as a child, she was sick all the time. Link is: http://www.thestar.com/life/2014/01/07/my_health_nut_parents_didnt_vaccinate_me_unfortunately.html

    Reply
    • Thanks for the comment, Aneta. I almost can’t stand to watch interviews with these type of moms because they are so dead-set in their ways it just boggles my mind!

      One of my family members has a best friend who doesn’t vaccinate her kids and those kids are sick all the time too. I know vaccination is a decision for each family to make….but it really does end up affecting other people…especially people that cannot have vaccines like my brand new baby niece who is so susceptible as we are experiencing an outbreak in Alberta 🙁 She can’t get the vaccine for another 5 months and that’s only if the outbreak continues (they offer it for babies 6-12 months during outbreaks).

      Reply
  • I haven’t read her book, and I know how ridiculously common it is for these quotes to be taken out of context so there isn’t a lot I care to say about that. However, there will be people who will take that quote to heart and add it to their ever growing list of influential people that are anti vax and that alone is cause for concern.

    Mommy Outside
    Reply
    • You’re right. I need to read the book to get a full grasp….but from the research I did to write this blog post and reading her website and blog posts it’s pretty evident (to me) that she fully stands by the things I’ve quoted from her book.

      Reply
  • Wait…what?? Tampons cause infertility…good lawd how fertile would I have been if I hadn’t used tampons. I was on the pill had sex 1 time in a month and got pregnant with my 3rd. Yeah….I wear tampons and he was a shock at the time.

    I think elimination communication would’ve worked with my oldest had I known about it, but totally not for my other 2. From birth my oldest freaked when wet. Like started crying before he started peeing and freaked when he did.

    I just wish people would stop cutting each other down for our choices since life is so hard anyways and we always feel like a failure for our choices with out others telling us we are wrong.

  • Ugh. I lump this kind of ‘celebrity endorsement’ in the same pile as those movie stars who come out with an opinion about war or world politics, as if they know more and are more trustworthy than those who study this sort of thing for a living. We are all entitled to an opinion, but those with greater social influence have a much greater responsibility to have an educated opinion before spouting it off.

    Melanie Deland
    Reply
    • Hmm…like Schwarzeneggar being Governor of California, perhaps? I agree. Society puts more clout into celeb endorsements than they do into science and people that make careers out of being experts in their fields, shame.

      Reply
  • When did we become a society that gets our advice from celebrities versus doctors who know our personal needs? Just because they know how to “act” certainly does not give them a medical degree! We as a society need to start refocussing our mental energy away from celebrity endorsements and opinions (Anyone want Kim Kardashian to write a book on her mommy/baby beliefs?! Yeah, I thought so) and more towards intelligent, grounded, well researched and “journal published” medical information. What might be good for you or for me might not be good for the next guy who has completely different needs. For goodness sake though, we need to stop letting celebrities be our thought leaders unless there is some substantial basis for it.
    Quite frankly, I couldn’t care less what Alicia thinks or Kim thinks or who Mel Gibson hates this month, they are no more an influence on me than Punxsutawney Phil who might I say has yet to be right!

    Sharon Vinderine
    Reply
    • Probably when Oprah made Dr. Oz so famous….and then of course Jenny McCarthy. Dr. Oz spouts off diet and nutrition advice (and weighs in on agriculture practices too) to his growing audience of 4 million plus….and he’s a cardiac surgeon. He is a doctor, yes….but he is NOT an expert in nutrition and diet. Knowledgeable, sure, but not an expert. It just scares me that we’re raising our kids in a world where it is very evident (by vaccination rates alone) that a lot parents are losing their critical thinking skills and listening to advice on Facebook and celebs vs. talking to their doctors and other experts.

      I agree with you—I don’t care what celebs say, but I do care that they say it!

      Reply
    • I totally agree with your statement Sharon about considering the source of your information. In making decisions about your children, only you and God can be sure its the best decisions. However, in the US, we have had an increase in POLIO is showing its ugly head. As well as college students getting MUMPS. Why? Because some kids have not received the vaccine that would have helped it be avoided.

      So, do you really think playing russian roulette with your child is smart? Or just playing it safe and hoping for the best is the path you want to take?

      Beverly Brigman
      Reply
      • That comment probably wasn’t directly for me, Beverly, but the thing that is also not fair to these kids…is that it wasn’t their choice to not get vaccinated either, their parents made that decision for them. Guaranteed these rates will keep rising and these diseases will come back. All we can do is pray that our vaccinated children are protected.

        Reply
  • I have to say it. Comments are bashing her on her choices yet in the same breath some are saying everyone is entitled to their option and how to raise their family.

    Hippocrates here…

    Elicia P
    Reply
    • In the words of Mike Wazowski of Monsters Inc.: “First of all, it’s [‘hypocrite’].
      If you’re going to insult me, do it right.” 😉 Hippocrates was an ancient Greek dude.

      Anyway, I can’t speak for the comments, but for the post the only parenting choice I don’t agree with is vaccinations as I clearly states. I don’t care that she’s vegan, practices EC, but as someone who’s very passionate about agriculture (and who’s livelihood depends on it) I don’t think it’s appropriate for her to slander the industry saying what she does about eating dairy and meat.

      Regardless, thanks for taking the time to read.

      Reply
      • Darn spell check. I did not even catch that when I posted. You got me on that one.

        But back to the point. You stated yourself “Do what you want, but don’t slam me for the choices I make.” Yet you “slam” her for her not vaccinating.

        In the end, we all have opinions of what we think is right. I am sure she did not just come up with her opinion by Google or by hearsay. I am sure she did her research as well. Coming to the decision of vaccinating or not is a pretty big deal and one that is not taken lightly. Education is the key.

        As for her comments about agriculture which I am not to familiar with but are not things done differently in the US than Canada? Could possibly her “slander” be based in the US? From little that I do hear, Canada seems to ban or regulate more things than the US does.

        Elica Palacek
        Reply
        • Thanks for writing back and taking my humor lightly.

          I will never cave and never understand why parents don’t vaccinate. I guess I have a bias….it’s just something I cannot understand. Any parents choice to feed their kids whatever food they want, raise them the way they want, dress them in certain clothes—that doesn’t affect my kids, but deadly diseases that can be prevented with vaccinations…..that can affect us all which is why that is the *one* parenting choice I will always “slam”.

          I will have to look deeper into her statements about agriculture…but “sludge in uterus” from eating dairy and meat? Nope.

          Reply
  • I agree with you regarding most of your arguments against Alicia, but I’m gonna have to say that I side with Alicia on the use of tampons and I instead prefer to use something much safer and kinder to the environment: a menstrual cup that is latex-free, plastic-free, BPA-free, odor-free and free of colors and dyes. It also carries a much lower risk for TSS.

    • From an environmental stand-point alone, I agree with you both. Stating that it’s a cause of infertility with no evidence-based research? Sorry, not buying it.

      Reply
  • Yes. It’s the same with people that complain about the food we have. The only one who should ever be complaining about food is the one with none available.

    Reply

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