ActivismFoodScience

Would You Rather…? On Being Called Shill, Whore or Sanctimommy

A couple of weeks ago, Salon published a piece I wrote entitled “Stop telling me I’m poisoning my kids”: Food crusaders, sancti-mommies and the rise of entitled eaters. Most of the backlash was the usual anti-GMO stuff, but I was a little surprised to see a minor outcry over my use of the word “sanctimommy.” That’s the word I used to describe moms who insist on dietary absolutes — all organic, GMO-free and obsessively sugar-free — and I stand by that choice.

It’s sort of funny to write a piece bemoaning the appeal to sentiment over facts and end up in a discussion about hurt feelings, but I digress.

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I appreciated the discussion about whether it’s worse to be called sanctimommy or kid-poisoner, but to me it was never about manners anyway. It doesn’t even make sense —

Hey, go ahead and tell me I’m poisoning my kids but for god’s sake do it politely!

Really, it was the sheer lunacy of the accusation that floored me. GMOs and conventional produce aren’t poison. And I’m not interested in your feelings about high fructose corn syrup either.

Those outside the GMO bubble (or hornet’s nest, as it were) may not appreciate just how often science writers are called industry shills. I’ve never seen the word shill next to my name quite so many times as I did the day my article ran in Salon. Of course, that won’t surprise my fellow pro-GMO writers at all. And, for the record, no, I’ve never been paid by Monsanto. But that doesn’t really matter to anti-GMO ideologues anyway.

Twitter Friends

Then there was this bizarre exchange. An organic vodka company — yes, organic vodka — tweeted me the usual shill insult but then went on to include a delightful hashtag — #monsantoismypimp. Out of curiosity, I clicked the link to find out more about Belles Organics and discovered that Belles is a woman-owned business. Yet, apparently, they have no problem insinuating that I’m a whore for Monsanto. Tell me again why we’re freaking out about the word sanctimommy? Don’t worry, I won’t make it all about my feelings. I mostly just want to point out that if you think Monsanto’s vast and powerful reach extends to my vagina, you’ve got quite an active imagination.

After a brief but spectacular social media meltdown, someone at Belles Organics took back the reigns and suggested that the previous tweets were a result of being hacked. Hmm…

Belles Organics

On the other hand, sometimes you have to take those small points of agreement where you find them. School lunch blogger Bettina Siegel (of The Lunch Tray blog) served up some harsh criticism of my piece but in her second post about it she suggested she’d rather focus on whether a school lunch is healthy than obsess over whether it contains GMOs.

Well, you know what? I’ll take it.

Featured image via flickr user Rational Parliament

Because Feelings via flickr user Pyramid Petals

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Jenny Splitter

Jenny Splitter

Jenny Splitter is a writer, storyteller and over-scheduled mom of two living in Washington, DC. She spends her glamorous days trying to write whatever she can, counting 1-2-3 in a slow yet threatening manner to her children, playing with gluten and working to eradicate dog hair from the planet (or at least her home). Find her on Twitter , Google+ and Facebook

2 Comments

  1. December 21, 2015 at 1:38 pm —

    You need to get Kavin cut you in on that sweet golden boat money!!!

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