“You are poisoning your children,” she yelled before returning to the small crowd gathered on the west lawn of the Capitol for the Food Justice rally in Washington, DC.
At the last March Against Monsanto event I attended, I hid in the back. This time I figured it was my turn in the hot seat, so when a mother asked whether anyone in our group of science advocates had any health problems, I answered that my daughter is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts.
She was incredulous. Didn’t I know there was a cure? After all, she cured her children by feeding them an organic, GMO-free diet. That’s just not possible, I said, and she went right for the jugular. “You are poisoning your children.”
Of course she went there. That’s every food allergy parent’s worst fear. Everything we feed our child could contain some hidden “poison.” And since we don’t know for sure why food allergies are on the rise, we’re constantly wondering whether we did something to cause our child to develop the allergy in the first place.
To prey on that fear just to satisfy some narcissistic belief in yourself as a healer is not just delusional but dangerous. Organic food won’t cure your child’s food allergies.
The mother-as-healer myth is a story that Moms Across America knows well. Zen Honeycutt, founder of Moms Across America, also claims to have cured her children’s autism and allergies with an organic diet.
How narcissistic and reckless can you be? I shudder to imagine how many parents now believe they don’t need to carry epinephrine because their children are “cured.”
Before you dismiss any of these women as harmless flakes, you should know that on Friday, Moms Across America met with multiple Senate staffers. As my fellow science advocates and I delivered our own letters about the safety and benefits of genetically modified food, legislative staffers seemed surprised to know that there are moms on the other side. Because of women like Honeycutt and Gwyneth Paltrow, motherhood is synonymous with fear and consciously uncoupled from evidence.
Facts are boring. People prefer theatre. Paltrow comes to DC to play the part of the concerned, naive (“I’m not here as an expert”) mother. Protesters dressed like bees stage a die-in even though experts agree that the bee population is doing just fine. Moms Across America dress up for the Senate, but I wear an I heart GMO shirt and jeans and staffers remark they’re surprised to find “regular moms” on the other side.
Scientists are ethically compromised. Regular moms are trustworthy. They’re certainly not lunatics experimenting with dietary “cures” on their children who are most definitely not a science experiment.
For everyone who shrugs and says just label GMOs, know that these are your people. People who falsely claim to have healed their children. People who want you to choose expensive organic food over life-saving medicine. People who think nothing of telling a fellow mom that she is poisoning her kids.
And if you don’t think the mom-shaming is a concerted effort from the anti-GMO side, I’ll just leave you with this sick bit of anti-GMO strategy: