Afternoon InquisitionSkepticism

AI: You’ve got some woo down there, lady

Oh women, you gullible worthless pieces of crap… it’s a good thing you spend money or the world would have no use for you. To show you how much the world “respects” you, we’ll give you Oprah, Jenny McContagious, The Twilight Series, and just to remind you that you do have a single worthwhile trait (that we can totally use to exploit your shameless credulity) we’ll give you Ricki Lake’s documentary The Business of Being Born. The best part of it all is that if we peddle this asinine bullshit to you using other women as the faces of these “products”, you’ll totally believe it’s empowering… and you’ll love it even more than that thigh cream you’re rubbing on yourself right now. Oh you’re not rubbing cellulite cream on your thighs right now? Really? I just assumed you would because… you know… you’re looking… oh nevermind. Good for you, sister! Embrace your “curvy” figure! There’s plenty of guys out there who are into girls your size.

Voice your Skepchickal indignation! What do you think is the worst woman-woo being peddled at us right now?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear daily at 3pm ET.

Elyse

Elyse MoFo Anders is the bad ass behind forming the Women Thinking, inc and the superhero who launched the Hug Me! I'm Vaccinated campaign as well as podcaster emeritus, writer, slacktivist extraordinaire, cancer survivor and sometimes runs marathons for charity. You probably think she's awesome so you follow her on twitter.

Related Articles

134 Comments

  1. paranoid thinking = critical thinking

    gb: might be for both men and women, but every single woo thing aimed at women hits this point. the government/male supremisists are out to oppress the truth about organic, goddess-centered, estrogenic, magickal solutions to all the world’s problems!

  2. @Gabrielbrawley: I gotta go with Marilove on this one. Women have to put up with more directed marketing on diet control than men. If you include the ridiculous depictions of how “pretty” women are portrayed as also part of the “diet” culture, women are getting a constant dose of “lose weight” propaganda.

  3. Yes, there are plenty of men that will like a woman of a larger size, they just won’t admit it. The sales job done in terms of “ideal beauty” being a bunch of skinny fucks has affected men just as profoundly as women – men just suffer less for it.

  4. @marilove: @SkepLit:

    This could be a case where we are viewing the world from different ahm, shit, viewpoints. But as a guy with a couple of extra pounds it sure feels like the diet and or exercise plans are targeting men heavily. I see a shitload (a shitload is 1.5 metric tons) of adds targeting men to lose the belly fat, love handles, extra chin, etc. All with the promise that I won’t have to do anything. I won’t have to change what I eat or how much I eat or horror of horrors exercise. Perhaps I am more sensitive to the ones aimed at men and you are more sensitive to the ones aimed at women.

    Then there are the commercials that say I can turn my dong into a baseball bat if I will just take a pill.

  5. @SkepLit:

    There’s also this weird phenomenon of marketing normal foods as “diet” foods, and then marketing mostly to women. I think it’s strange and counter-productive that Yoplait Light and Special K commercials focus almost exclusively on women. Are yogurt and cereal unmanly now? To me it just seems like they are pushing away a lot of potential male customers by labeling it as a feminine food.

  6. I’m honestly trying to think of a healthy food commercial that aims specifically at men, but I can’t come up with one. Except beer. But that’s neither food nor healthy. I do see a lot of guys enjoying their big beefy burgers from X fast food joint, but again, not healthy. I got nothin’. Anyone else think of any?

  7. @Gabrielbrawley: Uh, yeah, it has nothing to do with being more sensitive. I’m not saying the pressure isn’t there for men, but it’s no where near the kind of pressure woman get in their every day lives. It’s just fine for a man to be schlubby — just turn on any recent sitcom with a fat husband and a skinny wife. Or just look at Ben Afflick or Russell Crowe or Vince Vaughn. Vince Vaughn was fat in the Break-Up, but Jennifer Anniston was perfectly toned (for the record, I prefer Vine Vaughn when he’s fat). If she had been equivalently chubby as Vince Vaughn, she would not have been cast. And look at her chubby boyfriend, John Mayer – never critizided for his extra weight, and dating a perfectly toned woman. But Kelly Clarkson has some actual ass and hips and she’s torn apart. And speaking of American Idol, the women are constantly told they are too chubby, but then Ruben Studdard’s weight isn’t given a second thought by the judges.

    And heaven forbid Jessica Simpson isn’t a size 2 when she goes on stage! Or Jennifer Love Hewitt has some cellulite, while still being a size 4.

    Just look at diet pills alone. Those are aimed EXLUSIVLEY at women.

    Seriously, dude, the pressure to be THIN THIN THIN! affects woman far more than men.

  8. Women probably encounter the most woo when they are pregnant, and also when they are trying to get pregnant OR trying to not get pregnant. It’s easy to target pregnant women because nobody wants to feel like they are ruining their kids’ lives before they’re even born. It also something that most women don’t deal with on a regular basis, so they’re looking for information anyway.

  9. Psychics. Psychics mostly target women. I don’t think I’ve ever known a man that used a psychic, but I know plenty of women who have. And also Astrology — any astrology site on the internet is likely targeting women and placing ads on sites women frequent.

  10. I still have to disagree with you that diets are aimed more at women than men, if that was true in the past I don’t think it is anymore. I see adds from Nutri-system, weight watchers, and various late night miracle pill adds aimed directly at men everyday. Atkins, South Beach were aimed at men as well as women.

    I’m not trying to defend the diet industry. I hate the bastards. I think we would all be better off eating healthy diets high in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein and lower in fat and getting more exercise but that doesn’t make anyone crazy rich.

  11. Fat-shaming is so pervasive that it effects both men and women. Nobody is denying that. However, the standards are still higher for women than for men when it comes to weight. Muscle-building exercise equipment tends to be marketed more toward men, while fat-loss diets and exercise equipment tend to be marketed more toward women. Of course many diets will have a men’s program and even market to men; nobody is denying that. But they still market to women much more frequently. If I remember, I’ll do a quick survey tonight while I’m watching (gender-neutral) tv.

  12. @marilove: Most of our asses are pretty small. So much so that they have become the butt of jokes for many a stand up comedian. Its our bellies, chins and necks. along with our aparently tiny dicks and inability to satisfy women in bed that get the comercials. I don’t have anything to say about teeth whitening. Don’t really notice those commercials.

  13. Actually, now that I think about it….how about the entire daytime talk-show industry? Is there (collectively) a greater insult to women’s intelligence and a greater source of wholesale woo distribution? Besides the afore mentioned Oprah and Tyra, we have Mr. Phil, Mr. Oz (I will not denigrate the title Doctor by applying it to these two charlatans), The View, Montel, et. al. Imagine the immediate 20-point boost to the national IQ we’d realize if we cancelled all of these shows (not to mention the Schadenfreude of seeing all the out of work psychics, nutritionists and self-help gurus).

  14. Okay, I have to retract what I was saying about diet ads. I have been googling trying to support my position and I can’t. There don’t seem to be a lot of studies on this but the ones I could find support the position that weight loss ads target women more than men. Some found as much as 10 times more so.

    I was wrong.

  15. @Gabrielbrawley:

    Don’t worry about your tiny dick. Everyone knows size doesn’t matter… because women hate sex. Only a shameless whore would admit to understanding the difference between a large and a small penis because only a shameless whore would have seen more than one.

  16. The lifetime movie channel, lifetime and oxygen. I see a fair amount of woo on these three stations but more than that I get the disticnt feeling that the people who run them fucking hate women and think they aren’t smart enough to wipe their asses correctly.

  17. @Gabrielbrawley: Well, most women don’t buy the horse sized ones. Having just bought a few items at adamandeve.com (which is AMAZING, btw), most reviews left by women tend to be, “OH MAN THAT WAS TOO BIG!” rather than “Oh man that was too small!” I’d say the horse-sized dildos/vibrators are mostly for novelty, or fetish-use, not every-day-woman use.

  18. @Kimbo Jones: @marilove: Supposedly healthy foods and supplements targeted specifically at men are a ubiquitous multi-billion-dollar industry. I could instantly think of a bazillion such products, and it took about a microsecond at Google to dredge up a gullible-buyer’s guide to vast mountains of this crap:

    http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/musclegain.htm

    The difference between the male-targeted and female-targeted products is simple: Products aimed at women promise skinny. Products aimed at men promise muscle-building. But that pseud0-difference amounts only to a trivial change in wording. Ultimately, they’re nearly identical variations of the same thing:

    “Insecure about your body? Feel inferior to other members of your sex? Terrified of being rejected by the opposite sex? We have the instant magic pill / miracle food solution!”

    I won’t dispute that the woman-targeted products are an even bigger market than the man-targeted products, but that’s like pointing out that Alaska is even bigger than Texas, or that China is even more populous that India. Yeah, it’s certainly true that something has to be the biggest, but the more significant point is that they’re all absolutely gigantic.

  19. @ekimbrough: It’s still no where near the same level, though. It’s not just “a little bit of a difference” — it’s a vast difference. A few body building sites does not compare to MILK and yogurt, two very basic foods, being targeted at women as foods that help you lose weight. Ever walk down a cereal aisle? None of that is targeted to men. It’s either targeted to children or women looking to lose weight, the only difference maybe being Cheerios (that seem to target men and women as being a food that lowers cholesterol).

  20. @marilove: Honestly, I have been trying really hard to stop. I don’t want people to think I don’t have a serious side and am unable to talk about anything but boobies. Then suddenly I’m talking about horse sized dildos. I think I need a 12 step program.

    “My name is Gabriel and I’m very, very naughty.”

  21. @Gabrielbrawley: Yeah, no. It wasn’t all brought on by herself. She’s on tv EVERY SINGLE DAY, of course she feels the pressure to be skinny, as a woman. On the flip-side, look at Tyra. She is always criticized for no longer being model-thin. Tyra bugs the shit out of me, but at least she’s always handled her reaction to criticisms of her weight well. But I can’t blame Oprah — again, she’s on tv every day, and of course, as a woman, she feels the pressure to be thin.

    Unlike Dr. Phil, who can be as fat as he wants, while talking about how fat some woman is.

  22. Body Image. 2004 Dec;1(4):351-61.
    Idealized media images and adolescent body image: “comparing” boys and girls.
    “Sociocultural theories of body image suggest that body dissatisfaction results from unrealistic societal beauty ideals, and one way of transmitting these ideals is through the mass media. The present research aimed to examine the effect of exposure to images of idealized beauty in the media on adolescent girls’ and boys’ body image. The participants (595 adolescents) viewed television commercials containing either images of the thin ideal for women, images of the muscular ideal for men, or non-appearance television commercials. Body dissatisfaction was measured before and after commercial viewing. It was found that exposure to idealized commercials led to increased body dissatisfaction for girls but not for boys. Idealized commercials led to increased negative mood and appearance comparison for girls and boys, although the effect on appearance comparison was stronger for girls. Further, participants high on appearance investment reported greater appearance comparison after viewing idealized commercials than those less strongly invested in their appearance. The results suggest the immediate impact of the media on body image is both stronger and more normative for girls than for boys, but that some boys may also be affected.”

    One of many more I can cite.

  23. @Gabrielbrawley:

    When I was a kid, all I knew about Oprah was that she was a fat lady. That was before she lost the weight the first time.

    There’s plenty of shit to ridicule Oprah about. Ridiculing her weight is petty and cruel. One thing I can say is that her battle with weight is pretty normal for a woman. People make it a point to demean you for being fat, you lose it, you’ll gain it back (everyone does) and you’re now not only fat, but a fat failure, so you lose it again… and you gain it again, but this time a little more, and now it’s even more shameful, lose some, gain more.

    That’s not “bringing it on yourself” that’s “human”… except the pointing out that you’re a fat failure part… that’s inhuman.

  24. @Elyse: Then I’m a shameless whore. No doubt.

    @Gabrielbrawley: I think size matters, but what matters more is all the stuff about the guy before I even see what size his cock is.

    And in regards to the thread subject: The entire beauty industry. That you have to spend a fortune on all the spackle and paint, that expensive brand D is any better than cheap brand B, that you need to tighten, plump or cover up this or that part and spend a fortune buying all the separate products for each. Every freaking day. That women who choose to age naturally or with only minor cover-ups are the odd ducks.

  25. @Gabrielbrawley: “If size doesn’t matter why do dildos and vibrators come in so many different sizes from small to normal to horse?”

    Once on when I was on a training exercise, my army buddies and I ended up going to a brothel, long story short: it was like the Sarlacc from return of the jedi

  26. @marilove: @Elyse:

    How could any TV person pressure Oprah to be thin? She is worth billions and is the head of a money making media empire. If Oprah pressures herself and makes a big deal out of losing weight on her wildly successful TV show then she has brought that on herself. Her show is a crazy successful money making machine when she is fat. She doesn’t make anymore money when she isn’t fat.

    Al Roker had to get his stomach cut out and thrown away.

  27. @Gabrielbrawley: I dunno if that’s a good example. Who’s decision was it for Al Roker to get surgery? Al Roker’s.

    Oprah makes as much, but she is in the tabloids more for her weight when she’s fat (like any other famous woman). I *rarely* see a cover in the same vein about men. I have before, but not nearly as often, and mostly it’s formerly skinny or muscular men who have gained weight – sometimes for a role.

    @faith: Is there any research on how one sex internalizes (or not) the pressures put on the other sex? What I mean is, do women also internalize pressure for men to be fat (i.e., if it’s not ok for them to be fat, it’s not ok for me to be fat)? Do men?

  28. @Kimbo Jones: Well yes it was Al Roker’s decision to get surgery. But who’s decision was it for Oprah to lose weight and devote several shows to her weight loss? Oprah’s.

    Al could be fired. No one can fire Oprah. She fired the network and they are probably pissing themselves with fear.

  29. @Gabrielbrawley: Ooh, I see what you’re saying. But financial interests may not be the only motivation – there are emotional ones too. It can’t be easy seeing yourself on the cover of a tabloid for your weight despite everything else you do (and yes I know she’s evil but she does do some charitable things, and she certainly doesn’t think she’s evil so imagine the image issues and frustration).

  30. @jes3ica:

    And only available by prescription!

    For hundreds of years women have been going to their doctors, in tears, “Doctor! Please! PLEASE! Help me! I don’t have long enough lashes! I can’t stand the pain any longer! PLEASE DO SOMETHING!”

    And until now, all the doctors could say is, “I’m sorry ma’am. Your condition is incurable.” Then turning to their husbands (if only they were so lucky with such a crippling deformity) sympathetically and asking them if there’s anything he could prescribe to make the suffering husband more comfortable…. knowing that there is nothing more painful and nauseating than having a hideously scarred wife.

  31. @Kimbo Jones: I’m not saying she is evil. I don’t think she is. I think she has done some terrible stuff and I won’t miss her television show but she has done some really wonderful things. That girls school in Africa leaps to mind and the fact that she speaks openly about being molested by her uncle has undoubtedly helped many other’s realize that their abuse as children wasn’t their fault. So she is human. I never meant to say she is evil.

  32. @Gabrielbrawley:

    Oh she’s evil. She’s fucking evil all over the place. But to criticize her for being fat is not fair and low fruit. I doubt she’s gaining and losing on purpose… and she was demonized in the media before she lost the weight the first time. No one deserves that… not even Oprah. Especially when fat has nothing to do with the fact that she’s KILLING people by promoting anti-chemo, anti-vax and THE FUCKING SECRET.

  33. New from L’Oreal – Hydrating Lash Bifurcator with new added microbaubles!!!

    Here comes the science!

    Ever found that your self -confidence, intelligence, clumsyness and skin tone is directly affected by how much make up you slap on your face? Are you easily swayed by ridiculous straw man arguments? Then you are ready to buy Hydrating Lash Bifurcator! This hastily constructed computer graphic shows how our new sub-metallic micro-baubles penetrate your lash pods increasing their length, luciousness and bounce backability. This vacuous celebrity used it and look how super hot she looks now! She looks ten times better than you and she knows it!

    L’Oreal, because without us, you’re worthless.
    —————————-

    I think I’ve made my point – ;)

  34. @Elyse: I have to back Gabriel on this particular issue…at least as I understand his point. No one is debating the unfairness of “the ideal body type” myth as it applies to women as a group – but to Oprah specifically? – yeah, I’m on board with it. She has gone out of her way to tout her weight loss, championed questionable “experts” and generally held herself up as a paragon of virtue. So, if it is OK for her to brag about the weight loss as a way of boosting ratings, then why is it not equally OK to call her on the failure of her quick-fix “diets”? Live by the sword, die by the sword. It may be unfair, but her weight loss “miracles” are just another of her bits of woo and people need to be told it didn’t work and why.

    I agree that other celebs who have had weight “issues” in the past and were targeted for it were unfairly criticized, but Oprah used the weight loss to garner a bigger audience. If she chooses to put herself smack in the middle of the spotlight for her weight, then it is OK to discuss her weight publicly no matter which direction the dial is spinning.

  35. @marilove: It seems very important to you that there be a “vast difference” that involves “far more” pressure, so that the experience of men is “completely different” and thus not “anywhere near” what the experience of women is.

    I’ll say again – Texas vs. Alaska.

    I see a lot of these discussions as point-scoring contests:

    “Teen girls are driven to eating disorders, and I score DOUBLE points because the problem is _way, way more common_ for girls.”

    “Oh yeah? Teen boys are driven to abuse steroids, and I score DOUBLE points because the problem is _way, way more common_ for boys.”

    “Oh yeah? Unhealthy diet pills are marketed exclusively to women, and I score DOUBLE points because the problem is _far worse_ for women.”

    “Oh yeah? Enzyte and protein supplements and baldness cures are marketed exclusively to men, and I score DOUBLE points because the problem is _far worse_ for men.

    And so forth for unfair salary disparities vs. unfair divorce settlements, being raped vs. being drafted to die in a war…

    So, now we total up all the points and see which side scored the highest.

    So – I have a question for both sides:

    Uh…folks…exactly what great prize do you win if your team scores the most points???

    There’s just no trophy at the end, even if the final score is a blowout. Worse, the contest is an obstacle to getting any of the problems solved.

    The food, diet, and body-image problems are a particularly sharp example of this. Why? Because all the anorexia, bulimia, diet pills, milk and yogurt, whey and creatine, anabolic steroids, minoxidil for baldness, and Enzyte are just minor surface variations of the exact same underlying problem for both men and women. So, here’s the perfect situation for everybody to be on the same team – with everyone noting how similar the problems are for both men and women, and how similar the solutions are for both men and women.

    Is it important that more girls are anorexic while more boys abuse steroids? It’s an important detail for experts who need to fine-tune strategy. But it’s just that – a mere detail – quite trivial compared to the big picture of shared root causes and shared experiences.

    So why exactly would anyone want to divide up into two teams and try to rack up points by claiming this or that particular component of the wider shared problem is wildly disparate and radically different for one side or the other?

  36. @Gabrielbrawley: Same reason children’s cartoons assume their target audience is composed of flailing idiots; they’re created by people who have no idea what the consumer wants or needs, just what they can get away with selling.

    I can’t believe I just drew an analogy between cartoons and dildos.

  37. @ekimbrough: The OP was stuff aimed at women. Marilove picked diets. Gabrielbrawley said it was both men and women (meaning Marilove’s point didn’t necessarily apply). People then pointed to some research demonstrating that, in fact, women are more heavily targeted and affected by the diet/weight-loss industries (meaning her point did apply).

    So I’m not sure you’re assessment is accurate.

  38. A friend of mine received a game called “Go Goddess!,” which purports to “empower” the women who play it. This isn’t the *worst* and certainly isn’t the most dangerous woman-woo out there, but still … it’s sad when being a “goddess” means embracing stereotypes of yourself. One of the game cards, for example, suggests that “women” often want to cuddle with their husbands but are afraid that their husbands will believe they’re initiating sex!
    Worse, it pushes alternative medicine, suggesting on one card that there are “alternative ways to healing,” as though being an empowered woman necessitates buying into pseudoscientific theories of medicine.

  39. despite my lack of vajayjay, i will channel my skep-spouse powers to say that one thing i take issue with that is peddled towards women are the fucking AS SEEN ON TV cooking appliances that get their own hour special on television. They always have each demographic on there (old mother, young mother, slutty single lady, middle-aged man that is totally out of touch with what has been hip for the past 10 years), and they make the product seem so amazing and simple that even the clueless slutty lady can effortlessly dice potatoes and onions in mere minutes. Meanwhile, the out-of-touch man just eats the final product and only nods with whatever the young mother says (probably because all that he really is thinking about is the probability of him being able to finally get laid). What twists my nuts about these stupid effing shows are how they somehow allude to: women cannot lift heavy cookware, husbands don’t know shit when it comes to the kitchen, and that the sooner the food is done and on the table then the happier the kids and husband will be.

    Whatever….and why the hell are the co-hosts always: a dumb blonde lady that just blinks and says “It’s easy and amazing!” and a guy with skin that is so fake-baked and botoxed and walks around like he has a “Magic Bullet” being used as his own butt-plug.

    And now my rant is over, le sigh….

  40. I agree with @Kimbo Jones: that specifically on the claim that diet crap targets women moreso than men, Gabriel was mistaken and has said so himself.

    I also agree [email protected]ekimbrough: that the amount of “our side has it worse” tallying that goes on is an unproductive attitude and it’s really disappointing every time a topic devolves into that.

    As for the topic, let’s not forget our good friend religion. COME ONE, COME ALL, AND WITNESS HOW A GOOD, GOD-FEARING WIFE PROSTRATES HERSELF BEFORE HER HUSBAND:

    The caption on the picture (which I can’t direct-link to) says:

    “Michelle admires Jim Bob for being the spiritual leader of the family”

    http://lh4.ggpht.com/duggarfamily/RrwX9DB358I/AAAAAAAAATE/NymdKju0Lzk/14662_179.jpg?imgmax=912

    Because as we all know, “the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman [is] the man (Corinthians 11:3)”

  41. I’m well late on this, but @ekimbrough: makes an excellent point. And I know that different commenters were making different points, and I love to see honest, not-angry-ish debate between us all, but its even better when we can all target our super-powers on coming up with solutions (or reductions in harm) rather than debasing ourselves with “Who Has Longer Eyelashes” contests. With that: http://tinyurl.com/m8pzk2

  42. I’m a dude but the woo aimed at the ladies that annoyes me most is the absurd “nutrition” claims made by people who have absolutely no clue how the human body works.
    This may largely be because it’s what I see the most – there’s a magazine that I have to deal with at work that’s full of all this kind of crap. While it’s theoretically for both men and women, women are clearly the main target audience.
    A few months ago, a so-called “nutritionist” was claiming you should avoid all milk in your diet because “milk causes cancer and does not supply your body with calcium”. Instead, you should drink soy milk or rice milk. I wanted to throttle the editor.

  43. This is my very first comment, how exciting! Hello Skepchicks and boys!
    @sporefrog: the best part of that lovely photograph is how Jim Bob seems to have put the child on his left in a coma with his bible study.

  44. Funny that no one has said ‘make-up’ in general. There is absolutely no reason that women need to smear crap like foundation, blush, lipstick, eyeliner, etc on the faces. If anything, it does more harm to your skin than good.

  45. @TMJ:

    I’ve always wondered about this, myself. My favorite is when a historical film set many hundreds or thousands of years ago has some heroine wearing blatant lipstick or eye shadow or plastery makeup.

    I personally find the stuff unattractive, and better suited for pirate costumes than everyday existence.

  46. @The Skepdick:

    I intend to do a thorough analysis of Biz Born when I have time to watch it again. Some of the problems are:

    1. the insistence that home birth is safer than hospital birth. It absolutely is not. Home birth has three times the infant mortality rate of hospital assisted midwife births and almost double that of doctor assisted births. (Doctors are forced to have a higher number that midwives because they are the only ones who handle high risk deliveries. Any complication with a midwife assisted birth is handled by a doctor who then takes on the burden and is credited with the fatality should one occur)

    2. That water birthing is safe. It is not. A pool of water at 98.6 F is a breeding ground for bacteria… add in the blood and the poo and you’ve got yourself a whole lotta bad stuff going on in there. Not to mention the risk of drowning.

    3. The experts are fucking batshit. Women cannot give birth on their backs? WTF? Pitocin and c-sections interfere with the natural process of becoming a mother and without that natural process, the mother’s intuition to protect her baby is completely disrupted. If the argument was that this is temporary, fine… but then the expert goes on to say that with the increase in c-section rates, we have to think about what happens when we have a world full of children who were NEVER loved.

    4. The unbelievable condescension. Women have c-sections because they’re so used to getting boob jobs and whatnot “a c-section is just another plastic surgery to them”.

    And that planned c-sections are nothing less than vain, glamorous and trendy. “Victoria Beckham scheduled her surgery around her husband’s soccer schedule.” Not necessarily a better choice than a vaginal birth, but you know there plenty of good reasons for wanting your husband/ chid’s father at the birth and with you when you deliver and in the days after. They made it sound like she was just some selfish bitch who didn’t want to miss seeing a game or something. Best choice? No. Awful disgusting and shameful? Hardly.

    5. They take issue with women being “scare mongered” into thinking that hospital birth is the only safe choice then present the viewer with scare mongering misinformation about how their OB doesn’t give a shit about them, the hospital is going to kill their baby, and that all OBs are scalpel crazed mad men who are totally uninformed about anything other than chopping babies out of bellies… and their top priority is getting home in time for dinner.

    6. C-section is both the safest option for the doctor to avoid being sued and the most dangerous option for the mother. What? If it’s the most dangerous option for the mother, then it puts the doctor at a greater risk of being sued. It’s either safe or it’s not. It can’t be safe for the doctor and risky for the patient.

    7. The director and midwife were actually seriously considering doing a premature homebirth and only stopped because the baby was breech. Ricki asks her at the end of the movie if she regrets her decision… a decision to birth at home would have KILLED her baby… and she was wishy washy about it. Nice. Even though we all watched a c-section save the life of your baby, you’re not sure whether it was the best choice… and she says she doesn’t know if he would have survived a vaginal birth then in the next breath says she didn’t think he would have died.

    But like I said… I’m planning on doing an in-depth analysis later. I need to watch again and take notes to make sure that I’m thorough and accurate.

  47. I agree with what some have been saying about weight loss being directed toward women and muscle-building machinery directed toward men. It seems to me like this is perfectly symbolic of keeping men and women in their roles; women need to be smaller and men need to be bigger. That keeps a women in a submissive position and men in a position to dominate and protect them. No one wants a slim man or a muscular women.

  48. @ekimbrough: And you do realize this post is about women, right? Not men? Is it just me, or whenever there is a post ABOUT WOMEN, there is always at least one person (usually a man) who must say, “BUT WHAT ABOUT THEM MEN?!”

    No. I’m really not trying to make this a shitting match, but this post is about women. Not men. And yes, the diet industry, the fashion industry, and the beauty industry DO target women far more than men, period, and there is study after study after study after study that shows this. Someone above even posted one. But you keep ignoring them because YOU seem to want to make this a shitting match: “NO no no, men have it hard too, I promise!!”

  49. Elyse, I have two sons, five and two years old. My wife delivered both under midwife care, no medication, pain control using relaxation techniques (Bradley training). Both were born after 90 minutes of active labor. It hurt my wife, no shit.

    Lying on her back was fantastically more painful than lying on her side, with her up leg over my arm stretched over the bed holding on to the opposite rail. It killed my back, by the way, but I wasn’t about to mention it.

    I do question the medical necessity of the C-sections that comprise the nearly 25% of US births (far higher in some countries). I don’t think we’d be too successful as a species if a full quarter or better of pregnancies routinely ended in the death of the mother or the child (or both).

    It seems there is a slippery slope with the epidural/potocin protocol that results in a C-section.

    The water birth does sound like a shit stew, that is ripe for infection.

    The payback to the medication free births was in how both my boys behaved immediately after coming out. They didn’t cry, they were quite awake and aware, and perfectly content to start nursing straight away. In fact, the first time my oldest cried was when they peeled a temperature sensor off that they stuck to his belly while they weighed him under an infra red baby roaster. His new skin was too sensitive, I suspect.

    I’d question that disruption of a mother’s protective instinct, also.

    I don’t have the numbers to compare women’s mortality rates between c-sections, and normal childbirth. I can see it would be hard to get valid data, though. My hunch is that invasive major surgery has more risk than a process a woman’s body has evolved to do. Just a hunch, though. Need data.

    Off topic, but one of the stupid things I remember about my oldest’s birth was the little white t-shirt the hospital put on him. It was at Tripler Army Medical center on Oahu. There was printed across the chest of that t-shirt, an entire paragraph on how against federal law it is to steal that t-shirt and how horrible the penalty for stealing it would be. I wish I’d have got a good picture of it.

  50. marilove: while I agree that women are targeted far more than men I also agree with ekimbrough’s point that knowing that is the case doesn’t help to fix it.

    ekimbrough: can we not stipulate for the record that the pressure is much higher on women? You can’t possibly disagree.

    As for woo: how could I forget Oprah’s unforgiveable offense of peddling “The Secret,” all the way to the number one selling book for-frickin-ever (or so it seems). Her encouragement of the namby-pambyism of women should be enough to forever condemn her to whatever hell she believes in.

  51. @The Skepdick:

    Elyse, I have two sons, five and two years old. My wife delivered both under midwife care, no medication, pain control using relaxation techniques (Bradley training). Both were born after 90 minutes of active labor. It hurt my wife, no shit.

    Great for your wife. But painful childbirth is not necessary in this day and age. If a woman wants to go through with it, fine for her.

    Also, 90 minutes of hard labor is extremely rare for a first labor.

    Lying on her back was fantastically more painful than lying on her side, with her up leg over my arm stretched over the bed holding on to the opposite rail. It killed my back, by the way, but I wasn’t about to mention it.

    More painful is not the same as impossible to deliver. According to the movie, the pelvis cannot facilitate that position during child birth and a baby cannot come out on it’s own while a woman lies on her back This is a total lie… evidenced by, you know, babies being born every day to women on their backs.

    But Ricki wasn’t going to let facts get in the way of scare mongering.

    I do question the medical necessity of the C-sections that comprise the nearly 25% of US births (far higher in some countries). I don’t think we’d be too successful as a species if a full quarter or better of pregnancies routinely ended in the death of the mother or the child (or both).

    The rise in C-sections comes from the rise in technology available during labor. Thanks to fetal monitoring, we can see when a baby is in distress. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell whether that distress is fatal or not… unless you wait it out. Parents tend to want live births more than lowering c-section statistics for the hospital, and doctors tend to want to give those parents live babies.

    So as an OB seeing distress on the fetal monitor, you have two choices:

    1. Make the safe call and get the baby out before it could possibly be too late, and all but guarantee a safe delivery to a live baby.

    2. Wait it out and hope that the baby is okay.

    The thing is, you cannot know, even after the baby is out, which ones would have survived and which wouldn’t have.

    It seems there is a slippery slope with the epidural/potocin protocol that results in a C-section.

    And yet there’s no indication that an epidural or pitocin increases the likelyhood that a woman will end up getting a c-section.

    The payback to the medication free births was in how both my boys behaved immediately after coming out. They didn’t cry, they were quite awake and aware, and perfectly content to start nursing straight away. In fact, the first time my oldest cried was when they peeled a temperature sensor off that they stuck to his belly while they weighed him under an infra red baby roaster. His new skin was too sensitive, I suspect.

    You do realize that babies are supposed to cry when they come out? It’s part of the process that jump starts their breathing and helps get the amniotic fluid out of their lungs.

    I’d question that disruption of a mother’s protective instinct, also.

    Really? Forever? This is natural mommy bull shit. Total bull shit. By this logic, natural birthers are the only ones that love and protect their kids… and only the mothers. Anyone who gets any sort of medical intervention is incapable of loving their children and adopted parents have absolutely no interest in their children’s well being.

    Its scare monger crap. Pure and simple.

    I had a c-section. After Moose was born the first thing everyone asks you, and continues to ask you for years, is “do you want another”. It took me over a year to not panic at the thought of another child in our home… not because I wasn’t ready, but because the word “another” triggered an intense “intruder alert” response. I literally felt like I could not have another baby because of what it would take away from my son. And because of that I knew that another pregnancy would not result in another member of our family. No way was I going to let an intruder into my home with Moose around. No way.

    According to BizBorn, I was (and still am) totally incapable of having that kind of response.

    Perhaps in the very first moments, there is an interruption. Especially for a c-section where the mother has to wait to deliver the placenta and get stitched up before she can hold and feed her baby, but it isn’t insurmountable. And it certainly doesn’t mean that 25% of American children are unloved.

    I don’t have the numbers to compare women’s mortality rates between c-sections, and normal childbirth. I can see it would be hard to get valid data, though. My hunch is that invasive major surgery has more risk than a process a woman’s body has evolved to do. Just a hunch, though. Need data.

    According to http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=2507 higher c-section rates correlate with lower maternal mortality rates, and the “ideal” is likely closer to the current rate than the WHO’s recommended 10-15%.

    But like I said, more on this later.

  52. @Kimbo Jones: @DeanFromBC: I fully agree that the diet and beauty products are more targeted at women, and I accept the research showing that women on average feel more pressure from it. No dispute at all there.

    Kimbo Jones’s summary of the earlier discussion is accurate. Please note, though, I was not trying to contradict that earlier discussion, but rather to add an additional point – There are dangers if we focus too much on just one component of a larger picture, or if we exaggerate a difference in degree into a total disparity.

  53. @marilove: Please see my message above to Kimbo Jones and DeanFromBC.

    Here’s a quote from my very first post in this discussion:

    “I won’t dispute that the woman-targeted products are an even bigger market than the man-targeted products”

    Since I’ve acknowledged this _right from my very first posting_, it is unfair to accuse me of ignoring it.

    Yes, I have frequently seen discussions of women’s issues get aggressively hijacked into becoming whiny men’s issue discussions. Note, though, that I didn’t even appear this discussion until message #61, well after several messages by several participants began debating the degree of the men vs. women disparity. So, it’s also quite unfair to suggest that I just jumped in to hijack.

    My central point is this: A large spectrum of body-image exploitations and pressures may, on the surface, manifest themselves differently between men and women in particular cases. (Pressure to diet is indeed a particular case with some significant gender disparity.) But looking across this whole spectrum of various body-image issues, the root causes and emotional experiences of men and women are often quite similar. It’s more productive and more unifying to emphasize this than to hype any one particular. So, does this deserve a response as angry as yours?

  54. What the hell is all this venom about, Elyse? I do something to you?

    I’m going to revisit two points.

    I said: “The payback to the medication free births was in how both my boys behaved immediately after coming out. They didn’t cry, they were quite awake and aware, and perfectly content to start nursing straight away…”

    To which you answered:

    “You do realize that babies are supposed to cry when they come out? It’s part of the process that jump starts their breathing and helps get the amniotic fluid out of their lungs.”

    Perhaps it is entirely possible that there was no amniotic fluid in my boys’ lungs after their trip through the birth canal? I suppose I could go slap them now and make them cry. They must not have known what they were supposed to do when they were born.

    After I asked what some of the problems with this “documentary” were, one that you pointed out was:

    “…WTF? Pitocin and c-sections interfere with the natural process of becoming a mother and without that natural process, the mother’s intuition to protect her baby is completely disrupted. ”

    To which I agreed, also questioning that expert’s conclusion. So what is the problem?

    I can bottom line my wife’s decision to do without pain medication simply. For our boys’ benefit. We read plenty of pretty convincing reports that discussed the presence of pain relief drugs in the babies’ blood. How much is safe for a baby? I don’t fucking know. Zero is pretty fucking safe, though.

    The value we placed on that conclusion is what drove the decision of no pain medication.

    You seem to be operating under the assumption that I’m some sort of home-birth-no-drugs-better-parent mode. We had medical attention at hand if it was necessary. It wasn’t necessary. Fucking right we’d have resorted to it if it was, too.

    I question the 25% C-section rate as a medical necessity. Necessity, by definition, should equate to “prevent a death” or very near that. Since if obviously doesn’t, because our death rate would exceed our birth rate by a long shot if one in four births resulted in a death, the only conclusion must be that not all of those C-sections were necessary.

    Which ones? That is the question that I’d be curious to clarify. The link you provided is a good read to start. Thanks.

  55. @The Skepdick: “Necessity, by definition, should equate to “prevent a death”

    No not by a long shot. Substantial or significant reduction of risk would be the tilting point. You can not always know if a child’s life hangs in the balance. However the decision to have a c-section will tip the balance toward safety for the child.

  56. @James Fox:
    Fair enough, that. Necessity should certainly include risk of injury.

    The MD that wrote the article Elyse linked admitted that medical science simply isn’t up to the task of accurately diagnosing fetal stress in childbirth. This MUST therefore, be resulting in unnecessary surgeries to err on the side of caution.

    Further, the MMR vice CS rate chart she quoted doesn’t distinguish between elective vice emergency C-sections.

    What do I care? I’m having no more children. Women of the world will do as they like.

    I believe there is a fundamental problem with treating childbirth like a disease that needs curing.

Leave a Reply

You May Also Enjoy

Close
Close