Fish can’t see water; lactivists can’t see brainwashing.

Brain washing concept

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]If breastmilk is only milk than they are only mothers — and that’s simply unacceptable.[/pullquote]

There’s a saying that fish can’t see water because they entirely surrounded by it. Similarly lactivists can’t see brainwashing because they’re entirely surrounded by it.

Consider these gems:

This came from a mommy group.


If you don’t breastfeed you’re a selfish cunt.

Sherry posted this on my Facebook page.


If I had a tailored 5 star meal defy (sic) every single day vs just a mcdonalds burger every meal … im picking the 5 star meal… Shit food = shit health. Sooner or later the effects will show.

What made Sherry so upset? These quotes come from Pam Lowe’s book Reproductive Health and Maternal Sacrifice.

The underlying assumption … is that women who decline breastfeeding only do so through ignorance or as the dupes of formula marketing campaigns…

That women might have different needs and priorities and could make an informed choice not to breastfeed is not considered seriously.

Sherry certainly hasn’t considered it seriously.

What’s going on here? Why are lactivists reduced to using profanity to describe women who can’t or don’t wish to feed their babies using their body parts?

I believe that they are brainwashed. They are so brainwashed — choosing to marinate in the toxic lactivist stew of minimal scientific knowledge and a desperately desired sense of superiority — that they can’t even begin to see that they’ve been brainwashed.

Here’s where I make the obligatory bow to the benefits of breastfeeding. Yes, breastfeeding has benefits, but in industrialized countries with access to clean water, those benefits for term babies are trivial, a few less colds and episodes of diarrheal illness across the entire population of infants in the first year; there is potentially a reduced risk of SIDS (although that research is plagued by confounding variables), and, in any case, can be duplicated by simply giving a baby a pacifier.

Why have lactivists come to believe that women who can’t or don’t breastfeed are “selfish cunts” feeding their babies “shit food”?

Two reasons: economic and psychological.

The economic reason is pretty obvious to someone as old as I am, who went through medical training before the rise of lactation consultants. Breastfeeding has been around since the beginning of human existence but no one was especially impressed by its advantages until a group of women appeared whose entire income is predicated on convincing women that breastfeeding has extraordinary advantages.

In an effort to keep the customers coming, lactation consultants and the organizations that represent them, have resorted to modern advertising techniques. Unlike toothpaste manufacturers they don’t imply that if you use their toothpaste everyone will like you better. Instead, they imply that if you breastfeed, you will like yourself better because you will be better than other mothers.

The lactation consultants’ search for business has dovetailed nicely with a larger cultural trend — problematizing infant safety in order to convince women that only their bodies stand between their children and disaster. How better to convince women to retreat back into the home than by telling them their precious babies will die (or even worse, fail to get into Harvard) if they don’t?

It’s a form of brainwashing. The law prevents those who fear women’s emancipation from discriminating against them to force them back into the home. In response, they’ve resorted to distortions, exaggerations and lies to convince women to force themselves back into the home.

The new “momism” attempt to convince women that their children face hideous dangers as a result of everything from formula to forced abduction. Therefore women must use their constant physical presence and their very bodies to protect their babies.

Women like the creator of the charming cunt meme and those who denounce infant formula as shit food have completely fallen for the brainwashing. Indeed, they have staked their self-image on the belief that their sacrifices of time, energy and personal boundaries mark them as superior to other mothers.

How devastating for them then when other women fail to acknowledge that superiority. If infant formula is just as good as breastmilk for term babies (and all the real world population data at our disposal indicates that it is) then they aren’t superior at all. They’re dupes who have made immense sacrifices for nothing much.

They’ve been brainwashed but they not only can’t see it; they can’t allow themselves to see it.

That’s why they insist that women who can’t or don’t breastfeed are victims of false information or false consciousness. That’s why they call them cunts and purveyors of shit food. If breastmilk is only milk than they are only mothers — and that’s simply unacceptable.

106 Responses to “Fish can’t see water; lactivists can’t see brainwashing.”

  1. Box of Salt
    January 10, 2017 at 2:00 am #

    To anyone who defends that meme shown in the post above:

    Look in the mirror.

    Do you want this kind of language applied to you?


    Don’t condone it.

    We’re supposed to be civilized. Act like it.

  2. attitude devant
    January 9, 2017 at 1:13 pm #

    Very OT, but I’ll say it anyway.

    Remember that dreadlocked mom who delivered the IUGR baby breech at the hospital in Portland Oregon and Hermione Hayes-Klein touted the fact that child welfare officials were looking into the case, claiming this was about ‘birth freedom?’ The parents had led a peripatetic lifestyle, running a head shop in Florida, traveling to Costa Rica, etc, etc.

    Hermione and her buds took on the case and represented the parents at a custody hearing. Local good folks found them a place to live and raised money for a car, helped the dad to get a job, etc. (This last was made more difficult because the dad had moral objections to working any place that wasn’t vegan.)

    Well, dad sold the car and used the proceeds to buy a single ticket to Hawaii. His FB profile says he’s single. And mom and baby have moved in with grandma in Florida. Which is probably the best outcome for the baby.

    • Heidi
      January 9, 2017 at 1:33 pm #

      Well kind of not surprising. I forget what the mom “renamed” herself, but it was after pot… Indica Honey maybe? Oh, I just looked at his facebook – he’s a flat earther! I have a hard time believing anyone actually truly thinks the earth is flat. Flat Earther to me means I’ll support whatever cause/wackadoo belief so long as it goes against the mainstream purely for the sake of going against the mainstream.

      • attitude devant
        January 9, 2017 at 2:16 pm #

        She was going by Indica Honey, yes.

    • Azuran
      January 9, 2017 at 1:54 pm #

      How very not surprising
      Poor kid………No amount of magical liquid gold will be able to fix that kind of fucked up life.

    • Heidi_storage
      January 9, 2017 at 1:56 pm #

      I’m sorry for the baby born to these fruit loops, but that’s kind of funny. Way to champion the cause of freedom!

    • MaineJen
      January 9, 2017 at 1:57 pm #

      Oh wow.

    • Dr Kitty
      January 9, 2017 at 4:17 pm #

      This was the couple where she had planned to stay with her mother in Florida, he couldn’t join her because of outstanding warrants for his arrest in that state, persuaded her he needed to be present for the birth despite them having no safe place to raise the baby and she flew back to Portland and pretty much went into labour as soon as she stepped off the plane, right?

      It sounds like grandma has always been there,willing to pick up the pieces. Let’s hope baby and mum are happy in Florida and that living in that state will limit dad’s access to the baby.

      He seems far too fond of his freedom to risk jail to visit his kid.

      • attitude devant
        January 9, 2017 at 6:42 pm #

        That’s the one! Or the two, if you prefer

    • Roadstergal
      January 9, 2017 at 7:05 pm #

      That was the one where she had been seen by midwives and probably wouldn’t have set foot near a hospital if she hadn’t gone into labor on the plane?

      • Heidi
        January 9, 2017 at 7:28 pm #

        She *maybe* saw midwives. IIRC she wasn’t able to actually provide any records that she sought any prenatal care.

    • fishcake
      January 10, 2017 at 1:06 pm #

      Thanks for the update. Why Hawaii though? 🙁
      (I’m from there)

  3. Heidi
    January 9, 2017 at 10:14 am #

    Where are all the formula marketing campaigns by the way? I have NEVER seen a commercial for formula on the TV, never heard one on the radio, I haven’t even seen a print ad. I had to sign up for samples online. I used my free samples and I used those $5 checks to get RTF bottles for only $2 for a six pack or a one liter ready to feed bottle to send with the in-laws so they wouldn’t have to do mixing or the pre-measured travel packets, but otherwise, I actually ended up going with storebrand. Gerber sent me no samples or checks but a dumb cheap thing that attached to a smartphone (which I don’t even own) to take fisheye lens pictures so I never tried Goodstart. Believe me, none of this made me feel like I owed any formula company any business. I never thought of the formula as anything but what it was: a highly regulated substance fortified with essential vitamins and minerals that years of research backed up that allowed my baby to thrive in the absence of enough breast milk.

    In real life, I haven’t seen any benefits to one feeding choice over the other. In mom forums (and I stay away from sanctimommy ones like the plague), breastfed babies get sick, sometimes minor things like colds or mild stomach bugs, sometimes breastfed babies are hospitalized for RSV, and formula fed babies go through the same ordeals.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      January 9, 2017 at 10:45 am #

      Where are all the formula marketing campaigns by the way?

      Oh, they are out there. However, nowadays, they are extremely apologetic, and even push the line “Breast is best”. As in, “While breastfeeding is best for your baby, if you choose to supplement, use our brand.”

      • J.B.
        January 10, 2017 at 12:46 pm #

        Big brother analytics are something when they are right. I once got some print out coupons saying “planning to supplement your breastfed baby”?

    • cookiebaker
      January 9, 2017 at 10:57 am #

      I do remember TV ads for Gerber’s brand back when my first was an infant, so 16 years ago? It was called Good Start at the time (I think) and they were advertising comfort proteins. I did end up buying that brand back then, when I wasn’t making enough milk. Not because of the advertising, but because it was cheaper than the store brand!

      My last two babies were spectacular breastfeeding failures. They both thrived on the cheapest store brand formula from Sam’s and ironically, they’ve been healthier than ALL my breastfed babies. They’ve each had maybe 2 sick visits to the doctor in their lives and they’re 18 months and 2.5 now.

      The only marketing I see now is print ads in magazines. To get samples or checks, I had to sign up for them. My OB doesn’t give out any formula goodie bags anymore.

    • Roadstergal
      January 9, 2017 at 11:11 am #

      I’ve seen one formula ad on TV, and it was specifically a supplement for toddlers.

      • Heidi
        January 9, 2017 at 11:17 am #

        While I know it’s not necessary, I totally love that stuff! It travels so well since it requires only water and no refrigeration, and while it’s more expensive than whole milk, it’s by far cheaper than paying $2 or 3 for a glass of milk (which is always 2%) when we go out to eat.

        • Dr Kitty
          January 9, 2017 at 11:36 am #

          I pop those 200ml cartons of ready to drink toddler formula in my bag for trips.
          At 80p a pop it saves having to find a cafe or shop to get milk, and the convenience is worth the expense. They last for ages,so even if I don’t use them for a while it isn’t going to waste like regular milk would.

          • Heidi
            January 9, 2017 at 4:43 pm #

            I never leave the house without a couple of baby food pouches and a few travel packets of formula thrown in the diaper bag! Whoever invented those pouches, too, is my personal hero. I’ve averted a few public meltdowns with them.

          • Empress of the Iguana People
            January 9, 2017 at 5:01 pm #

            Love those pouches. I only wish I could find ones that don’t have “organic” or “non-gmo” labels all over ’em. Like they’ll find gmo blueberries, for heaven’s sake

          • Heidi
            January 9, 2017 at 5:09 pm #

            Yeah, I’ve found a few by Beechnut that don’t say that. I mostly buy mine at Big Lots. They are dirt cheap compared to what you pay in the grocery store. I pay .40 to .50 a pouch. They still have the organic crap on them but I pay so little I think it’s justified. They are still well within date but not as in date as the ones at grocery store. The Big Lots one might have an exp. date of 6/2017 but the grocery store might have a date of 01/19. Well, I don’t plan on keeping them that long anyway! He probably won’t be eating pouches or baby food by then.

          • Dr Kitty
            January 10, 2017 at 5:50 am #

            I love those pouches- kiddo#2 can feed himself with minimal mess by sucking it straight out. Great for when we are out and about.
            I like the Heinz ones… mostly because there is usually a “Buy 6 for the price of 4” deal on.

            Here Tesco does some own brand fruit ones too- much cheaper because they have a bit more water and juice and a bit less solid fruit, and they keep them in the aisle with the lunch box food rather than in the baby food aisle. Good as a snack for toddlers as well as a lunchbox treat.

            As well as the basic fruit purée ones, have you come across yogurt pouches? The brand here is Petit Filous. Love them.

          • Empress of the Iguana People
            January 10, 2017 at 8:33 am #

            Just go-gurt which is wicked sugary and my older kid doesn’t like ’em, though he does eat regular yogurt. If Heinz sells baby food here, it’s under a different brand name. Here they’re mostly known for ketchup.

          • Heidi
            January 10, 2017 at 1:15 pm #

            We buy ones called Go-Go squeeze. At my grocery store, it’s in the aisle with the applesauce. Since it’s UHT it doesn’t need refrigeration.

          • blargh
            January 15, 2017 at 8:25 am #

            You should look for Siggi brand. It’s got half the sugar of Go Gurt

          • An Actual Attorney
            January 10, 2017 at 8:49 am #

            My SIL gave me some “used” refillable pouches. I say “used” because she bought them for her kids, with all good intentions of buying apple sauce in bulk, but then just bought the ready-made because, well, obviously. So far they are nicely also being unused in my drawer, but they exist as an option.

            I found some “pumpkin spice” applesauce ones on clearance now that it’s January and bought a bunch. Actual Baby doesn’t know her latte flavor seasons yet, so she won’t care.

          • InfiniteSovereign
            January 10, 2017 at 11:20 pm #

            pouches saved my life. pouches are the only form of fruit or veg my autistic kid will eat. oh, the number of metldowns averted is incalculable! i even tried my hand at making my own baby food–kid refused it! my in-laws and others ask why i don’t feed him “real food.” stfu. thank god fruit/veg is one of the LITERALLY 5 foods your grandchild will eat, even if it is in a pouch.

    • SporkParade
      January 9, 2017 at 11:14 am #

      There was that commercial run by a formula company about ending the mommy wars.

      • Madtowngirl
        January 9, 2017 at 12:37 pm #

        Good ol’ Similac, the only formula my baby would keep down. Similac dares to have a Facebook page. If you ever want a laugh/weep for humanity, go check out the comments. I feel bad for whoever runs their social media department.

      • MaineJen
        January 9, 2017 at 1:58 pm #

        The lactivists *hated* that one…they love the mommy wars. They revel in them.

      • Heidi
        January 9, 2017 at 2:06 pm #

        If I recall correctly, they marketed breastfeeding as much as they did formula feeding. I never saw a TV commercial for it but I did see it on their website. I know the ultimate goal was to sell Similac over Enfamil, Gerber or storebrand, but it surely wasn’t some “Formula, specifically Similac, is superior to breast milk and you are a bad mom if you feed your baby anything other than Similac! Your milk isn’t good enough and you don’t make enough!” that lactivists imply goes on.

    • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya
      January 9, 2017 at 5:13 pm #

      My breastfed 9 week old is on his second cold.

      • Empress of the Iguana People
        January 9, 2017 at 5:23 pm #

        My formula fed 7 month old is also on her 2nd cold.

        • Elaine
          January 12, 2017 at 3:02 pm #

          My breastfed firstborn was very rarely sick until starting group care at age 2 1/2. First entrance to group care seems to be a much better marker for when they will start getting sick a lot, versus feeding method or anything else.

          • Empress of the Iguana People
            January 12, 2017 at 3:06 pm #

            Kinda my point. My bf’d 1st was out in public a lot, and he was born in the late autumn. My summer baby’s had to put up with a mother too depressed to get out much and since I have a car now we aren’t using buses, either.

          • Empress of the Iguana People
            January 12, 2017 at 3:07 pm #

            Kid1 had 3 times as many colds in his first 7 months.

    • J.B.
      January 10, 2017 at 12:43 pm #

      Younger siblings tend to pick up illnesses much faster than the firstborn. So one and done for all of us?

      • Heidi
        January 10, 2017 at 1:39 pm #

        Well, yeah, if you love your child then why wouldn’t you?! I mean if you love your child, surely you’d do all you ever could to try to prevent even a cold! You definitely wouldn’t let your one and only child attend daycare either or public school. If you do those things, you are a selfish you-know-what. Don’t wanna hear your lousy excuses! If you cared, you’d do sex acts you personally found highly degrading on the web to spare your child the snifflies!

    • Gæst
      January 10, 2017 at 3:37 pm #

      I remember seeing formula ads on TV in the late 80s and early 90s.

  4. Dr Kitty
    January 9, 2017 at 5:13 am #

    Completely OT:

    I have found myself with some unexpected free time on my hands (didn’t use all my annual leave last year and my partners are insisting I take it), any good book suggestions?

    I’m in the middle of a fantasy novel at the moment (The Wall of Storms, second in the Dandelion Dynasty Series by Ken Liu- would very heartily recommend him you enjoy the politics, intrigue and strategy side of ASOIAF), but I’ll have finished it by tonight.

    I have eclectic tastes, although I don’t read much Romance, all suggestions welcome!!

    • Who?
      January 9, 2017 at 5:51 am #

      Currently getting my annual re-read of The Glass Bead Game out of the way early.

      Loved 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami; and The Wild Sheep Chase by the same author.

      Gilead and Home by Marilynne Robinson

      Possession by AS Byatt.

      Yes I’m a geek.

      Enjoy your break!

      • maidmarian555
        January 9, 2017 at 10:51 am #

        The Wind Up Bird Chronicle is my favourite Haruki Murakami.

        • Dr Kitty
          January 9, 2017 at 4:19 pm #

          Great suggestions everyone!!

      • January 9, 2017 at 11:38 am #

        Extra random OT:

        Back in college, I went to the “National Conference of Collegiate Broadcasters.” Among the various samples artists and independent shows trying to get exposure via college TV and radio was a CD someone had composed called “Music for A Glass Bead Game. It was designed as a soundtrack for the book.

        I’ve never actually seen the novel referenced anywhere else.

        ETA this was in 1997. It is not the album by James Blackshaw (I googled out of curiosity)

    • MI Dawn
      January 9, 2017 at 8:12 am #

      I’ve been having a heck of a lot of fun with Kerry Greenwood’s “Miss Fisher” books. Set in 1928 Australia, mysteries, and some sex.

      • Sarah
        January 10, 2017 at 7:03 am #

        the tv adaptation of Miss Fisher is brilliant too, for anyone who’s more of a watcher than a reader

    • Empress of the Iguana People
      January 9, 2017 at 8:45 am #

      Lately I’ve been reading

      Fantasy: The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor, The Green Rider series by Kristen Britain, Robin McKinley’s novels (They tend to be juvenile fiction but they are really well written. They tend to be one offs, too. My favorites are Spindle’s End, Beauty, Pegasus, and Chalice.)

      Mystery: Charles Todd, Laurie R. King, and Ann Cleeve, Death in Brittany.

    • Nick Sanders
      January 9, 2017 at 9:35 am #

      I had a bunch of free time not long ago, and caught up on The Dresden Files (urban fantasy), read The Sandman for the first time (man, how do you describe that?), an excellent short story collection called Seven Wonders of a Once and Future World (some fantasy, some sci-fi), for Christmas I got Rejected Princesses (, and I could make additional suggestions with a bit of time to recall some of the better books I’ve read over the years.

      • Dr Kitty
        January 9, 2017 at 11:17 am #

        Our bookshelf (it’s actually a book wall on three sides of the spare bedroom at this point…there is a reason I moved to a Kindle) has an entire section for the complete works of Terry Pratchett, with a smaller shelf devoted to Gaiman.
        LOVED Sandman…might re-read it.

        I have to choose series carefully… I read fast and don’t like not finishing things, which is why 10days off after surgery led to the purchase of the entire Jack Reacher and Travis McGee series…thankfully on Kindle. At the time I was in the mood for trashy adventure. Clearly.

        • Nick Sanders
          January 9, 2017 at 1:39 pm #

          In that case, I recommend The Complete Dying Earth, by Jack Vance, and The Book of the New Sun, by Gene Wolfe. Both are about a time so far in the future that the sun is dimming and turning reddish, while society has fallen to a sort of pseudo-medieval level. The former is is high fantasy, the latter pseudo-sci-fi. Both are technically “series” that are collected in single hardback volumes about the size of books 4 and 5 of Harry Potter, respectively. For something a bit lighter, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede is an excellent juvenile fantasy series that goes out of it’s way to avoid the usual things like “damsel in distress”, “protagonist does foolish thing they’ve been specifically told not to do”, and also has nothing to do with the current trend of “teen supermodels overthrow authoritarian dystopia”. And again, it’s collected as a single volume about the size of a late series H.P. book

          Or, if you want something that’s pretty strange, but a real treat, try the two Thackery T. Lambshead’s books Pocket Guide to Eccentric and Discredited Diseases and Cabinet of Curiosities. Collaborative works with several amazing authors each writing individual short entries around the central theme. Pocket Guide is self explanatory, Cabinet of Curiosities is about strange curios and unusual items collected by the titular Dr. over the course of his bizarre and mysterious life.

          I also enjoyed Perdido Street Station, but man, is it ever dark, plus, I haven’t read the other two books in the series.

          Finally, would it be okay if I moved into your spare bedroom? It sounds like heaven.

        • Empress of the Iguana People
          January 9, 2017 at 5:03 pm #

          Sandman _is_ really good. I keep meaning to buy my own copies

    • January 9, 2017 at 11:33 am #

      Anything by Ernest Cline (neo-retro geek sci-fi), John Scalzi (light sci-fi unless it’s the Old Man’s War series), or Jenny Lawson (memoirs that are hilarious and moving)

    • sdsures
      January 9, 2017 at 12:57 pm #

      “The Bronze Horseman” by Paullina Simons. Historical romance, Siege of Leningrad.

    • Amazed
      January 9, 2017 at 2:55 pm #

      Fantasy: Alison Goodman’s Eona two-book series. It’s quite unique.

      Else: The Housemaid’s Daughter, by Barbatra Mutch. A grat read.

    • J.B.
      January 10, 2017 at 12:51 pm #

      I’ve gotten strong recommendations for anything by N K Jemisin (sci fi, Ursula LeGuin is apparently an inspiration).

  5. Deodand
    January 8, 2017 at 11:45 pm #

    The type of behavior your are describing in this post is not that different from the behavior of Anti-Vaccination proponents or any other group with a strong ‘in-group/out-group’ mentality.

    If you agree with the group, no-problem, if you disagree with the group you must be slapped down with as much force as can be mustered, nothing should be held back until the ‘enemy’ has been driven off or crushed.

  6. The Computer Ate My Nym
    January 8, 2017 at 10:14 pm #

    As a side note, “Supersize Me” seems to have been more or less debunked. That is, no one has been able to reproduce the movie’s results. So even the analogy fails.

  7. Charybdis
    January 8, 2017 at 10:09 pm #

    So OT it’s not even funny, but I need to vent a bit and would like some outside opinions. It’s long, I apologize.

    OT, but I’ve been feeling a bit conflicted over this issue and wanted to get some “outside” opinions. At the beginning of December, we removed our son from his school, due to what we would call a “hostile learning environment”. This has been a culmination of several years of talking to teachers and principals about the fact that he is getting bullied. Not physically, as DS is extremely fit, wrestles and does Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at a competitive level. However, there is a group of girls who delight in getting kids in trouble as often as possible. They also gang up on their target; one girl will say “XXX called me a bad name!” XXX then denies that he said that, but other girls will chime in and back up the first girl. It then becomes a case of 3-5 girls say “this” happened, XXX says “that” happened and the girls will be believed because there are more of them whose stories match. DS was often their target, because they knew which of his buttons to push. This has been going on for years, but it only started to get bad in 3 rd grade. We tried to address it at parent-teacher conferences; some of the teachers would say that they were aware of the problem but they “couldn’t be everywhere all the time”.

    Last year, (6th grade), DS started to REALLY get teased, taunted and berated for his hair and skin. He has pale skin and copper-red hair. The other kids were saying things like “Gingers have no soul”, “Redheads are evil”, “Redheads are children of Satan”, “Freckled freak”, “too pale to play with”, etc. DS started to ask to dye his hair a different color and wanted to get spray tans so he wouldn’t be pale anymore. If DS tried to tell a teacher about the teasing, it was either trivialized as “not important” or “don’t let it bother you” or the girls would band together and deny that they had said any such thing. Then DS would feel like he wasn’t being listened to and that no one was on his side. This year, (7th grade), it was nearly a daily experience for him to get in the car, state that he hated this school and that he had been teased, hounded and mocked again. When could we dye his hair and get a spray tan? He even told me that he would save up and use his own money for the tanning. Again, addressed by us at the fall Parent-Teacher Conference and the teacher told us that he wasn’t aware that it was having such an effect on DS because he (DS) would laugh and act like he was okay with the teasing. The teacher said that he would be on the lookout for such behavior and put a stop to it when/if he saw/overheard it. We talked again with DS about not reacting to the teasing, because that only encourages the teasers and to not retaliate, because it is always the person who retaliates who gets in trouble. He started to be angrier, more stressed and his grades started to slip. One day, he got pushed too far and told one of the girls that she was a slut and would sleep with anyone. This landed him in MAJOR trouble (Catholic School) and a one day suspension, plus a meeting with the Principal for DH and me.

    I confiscated his phone, which he has only had since the middle of September 2016 and combed through his Instagram account. It was filled with HORRIBLE messages from kids at his school. Everything from racist statements: “Black peoples have to be stopped”, “really, nigga”, “U muthafuckin little chin ass, flat ass little asian fuck boy” to veiled and not-so-veiled threats: “You thought I was kidding when I said you should be scared to come to school”, “Thanks bitch, I hope u die and go to hell u fucking bitch”, references to how some people should drink bleach and/or slit their wrists because nobody likes them and all sorts of slurs: “OK, r u a girl or a boi cause all I can remember is a trans sagging in gym shorts”, “‘DS’s name’ is a dumb freckled albino freak who needs to go back to doing porn or whatever”, “Death to the freckled albino”, “you coke smuggling fuck”, “I snort black tar heroin”, “I’m XXX n I haven’t hit puberty yet n I’m rly, rly gaaaay!”, “‘DS’s name’ can’t afford to watch pornhub, that’s why he rapes people”. They also post things from websites like bitc.h, cockfeasting, booty.pipe.memes, fuckjerry tv and hoereacts.

    To his credit, DS didn’t really respond to a lot of this crap, although once or twice he jumped in and went word-for-word with them. He was included in their little chat group, but didn’t really respond to any of this sport of cyberbullying others. Now, he certainly shouldn’t have called the girl a slut and said that she would sleep with anyone, he knows we expect better from him and that sort of thing is not acceptable. He has been dealt with/punished for his little outburst, but I can’t really be truly angry with him because of the harassment. Our meeting with the principal didn’t go too well. I provided/confronted him with all the evidence from Instagram that the girls had, in fact, been harassing DS, both in school and out of school and that although his behavior was unacceptable, it was not at all incomprehensible because of all of the harassment/teasing/taunting. He looked as if a wrecking ball had just hit him in the stomach as I read him some of the worst of the posts, including the ones mentioning DS directly. I asked him how in the world is any of that acceptable and that he now had proof of the bullying and cyberbullying that is going on. Not to mention the utter foul-mouthediness of these girls and their evident delight in “roasting” people. That DS had *not* been lying about being teased/taunted/harassed and had acted out because of not being believed and the constant stress of being hounded. The end result was that we withdrew DS from school because it was pretty clear that they thought HE was the problem, because he had been having issues with these kids for several years and things hadn’t changed, nor had the harassment stopped. DS was always the one who got in trouble because the other kids would back each other up.
    Now, we are perfectly aware that DS is not a “perfect, special snowflake” and can do no wrong. He is perfectly capable of being a complete and total little shit, just like all kids are. However, he is on the Leadership team at his BJJ class, helps teach the younger kids, is on the competition team and is generally well liked by kids, parents and other adults outside of “that school”. The things we were hearing from “that school” really didn’t jive with the rest of DS’s life. We opted to remove him from that hostile environment and he got enrolled in the public school nearby our new house (we just moved). He seems happier, more relaxed and more content, so it probably worked out the best way for everyone.
    However, I cannot seem to let it go. I want to know if the other kids involved in the harassment are being dealt with the same way DS was. Their behavior is in complete violation of the school’s Student/Family Handbook policies regarding conduct both on and off school property and school hours. I forwarded the file of incriminating screen shots to the Principal (at his request) and also provided him a list of screen names and the kids they corresponded to, for the ones who did not use their real names as a screen name. I want to know if anything is being done to address this hostile environment, especially since they are really, really big on “Safe Environment” for the students. I want the other parents of these kids to know what their kids are doing online, what they are saying and who they are saying it to. I want them to be dismayed, horrified and appalled at their kids’ behavior and that there are consequences to this sort of thing. I want to meet with the Superintendent to let him know what is going on, tell the parish Priest and maybe even the Archbishop about what is going on in one of their parochial schools. DH, my mother (a retired teacher) and mother-in-law tell me to let it go, that it isn’t worth it to kick that hornet’s nest. DS has been validated and removed from that environment and enrolled in a new school. He seems to be fine and happy at his new school and is keeping up academically. We gave the Principal the proof of harassment, along with the names of the kids involved; the ball is in his court now and it is up to him how he handles the issue. If you have made it this far, thank you. I had to get it off my chest. But what do you think? Should I just “Elsa it” and let it go? Not inform the Superintendent, etc? It just feels WRONG to walk away and not say anything. Or am I just being an enraged mother bear?

    • Madtowngirl
      January 8, 2017 at 10:59 pm #

      As a former teacher, you’re unfortunately unlikely to ever know if the other kids are being dealt with, due to privacy issues. But as a mom, I totally think you’re in the right to inform the superintendent. Bullying has always been an issue in middle school, but cyber bullying is a huge problem. If the school isn’t taking it seriously enough, that’s a problem. Who knows what other kids have been bullied and how they’re reacting?

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        January 9, 2017 at 8:01 am #

        If it doesn’t stop, then you can know it has not been deat with adequately. From her perspective, it doesn’t matter if the school has tried something that hasn’t worked. It needs to stop.

      • Charybdis
        January 9, 2017 at 10:17 am #

        Oh, I know that. But I think that is wrong somehow. I mean, I would just like to know that a Very Serious Meeting with the other kids and their parents was had and that they have serious consequences. Because the school has a strict (on paper, at least) NO TOLERANCE policy for any type of bullying. Hell, their school motto is “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Doesn’t sound as if that teaching is taking hold very well and them pretending it is is kind of infuriating.

        It’s just my vindictive, vicious streak that wants to see the kids do a Walk of Shame, ala Cersei in Game of Thrones. Instead of being naked, they could hold up signs saying “I’m a cyberbully! Here’s what I posted on Instagram!” and then list some of the worst things they said below the statement. Have them stand in a receiving line of sorts and greet folks as they came into Mass, so their signs could be read. I’d be the one with the bell, ringing it every minute or so and calling out “Shame! Shame!”.

        I’m a optimistic cynic. I *know* nothing will probably be done because the thorn is out of their side now that DS is gone, but I HOPE things will be addressed and stopped.

        • Madtowngirl
          January 9, 2017 at 12:44 pm #

          I too, have a vindictive, vicious streak. 🙂 I am 100% certain that when my child is old enough to be your son, I’ll be seeing red if/when my child is bullied.

          I responded really quickly last night, but in reading everyone else’s comments – yes, I agree. Go as far as you need to. I’d be livid if I found our families’ contributions were funding a school that didn’t appropriately deal with bullying.

    • mdstudentwithkids
      January 9, 2017 at 12:08 am #

      If I were you I would strongly consider taking it up a level or even contacting the parents directly. I can’t say I know what the right thing to do is, but a medical school peer of mine just experienced the death of his brother due to suicide from bullying similar to what you described. It doesn’t sound like, from their past behavior, the school could be trusted to deal with the situation appropriately. Again, I’m not sure what the right thing to do would be, but I’m not sure I could let that sit either.

      • mdstudentwithkids
        January 9, 2017 at 12:10 am #

        Also, I am very sorry your son (and family) had to deal with that for so long. I’m glad he seems to be doing so much better since you moved schools.

    • Thankfulmom
      January 9, 2017 at 12:41 am #

      I’d go as far up the chain of command as possible! What a horrible thing for him to have to go through. The school system that failed to act despite you bringing it up over and over needs to have the lid blown off what they allowed to go on for so many years.

      Think about the other kids that are being terrorized by these kids. If they, like your son, don’t tell their parents…what will they be driven to do? Don’t expect the principal to handle this on his own, the temptation to handle it quietly by simply informing the parents and letting them deal with their own kids may not shed enough light on the severity of what has been going on for years. There needs to be accountability.

    • Montserrat Blanco
      January 9, 2017 at 3:07 am #

      There must be other kids suffering similar experiences as your son. I think you should send the screenshots to the superintendent and show them to your parish priest. They will probably do nothing about it. I am afraid there are high chances other parents have contacted them before about those issues and nothing has happened so far.

    • Dr Kitty
      January 9, 2017 at 4:44 am #

      That is horrible.
      Does the school have a FB page or do you have an email or phone list for any other parents?

      Or even a contact list you might have from previous parties/ clubs/school trips?

      I’m in a What’s App group for the the mums in my daughter’s year at school, and her school had a parents’s page. Mostly we organise mums’ nights out, emergency babysitting cover and check details of weird requests from the school (“do we really have to send in a white t-shirt and a box of tissues?”), but it could be used for other purposes, especially since you’re no longer going to be seeing any of them at school…

      It’s a bit scorched earth, but I’d probably copy the email you sent to as many parents as possible, leaving off the identifiers for the students but saying that you know their identities if they want to check back with you to see if their kid is involved or being targeted, and then watch from the sidelines with a glass of your favourite tipple while it all goes ballistic…

    • Who?
      January 9, 2017 at 6:32 am #

      It’s fair enough to be an enraged mother bear.

      I’d endorse informing the Superintendent, but bear in mind he/she may already know about it.

      My experience of schools is that their number one goal at the expense of all else is, in all circumstances, to protect the hive.

      It’s important to understand the limits of what you can do and know. You can’t assume that you will know about any sanctions that might be happening, nor can you assume that any sanction imposed would be what you would consider appropriate or adequate, or be addressed to those you think are the worst offenders. It’s likely though that anyone being sanctioned will be very quiet about it.

      We put our children into the hands of others, and those others have many fish to fry, most of which mean nothing to us, certainly not as much as our children do.

      Your boy is learning from your example every day-your example in building his resilience by supporting him to stay there, your example in moving him out when you realised the bigger picture issue, your example in telling the school why, and your example of how you manage your own anger, frustration and disappointment with those you trusted him to.

      If you want to share a message, parse it carefully and broadcast it where you will, but do so with zero expectation that doing so will achieve an outcome that pleases you, or that you will ever find out about that outcome, even if it does come to pass. If that won’t satisfy you, then I urge you most strongly to broadcast nothing.

      Be kind to yourself-you can’t fix the world. You have done the right thing by helping your child, and modelling responsible, respectful adult behaviour while doing so. It’s not everything, but it is a lot, in the circumstances, and it is enough.

      There’s a lovely saying about the world ending at your child’s skin. This is one of those times when that feels so true. I’m sorry you’re going through this.

      • Charybdis
        January 9, 2017 at 10:04 am #

        Oh, I know I won’t be able to see/know what, if anything, happens to all the other kids. It’s not really any of my business when/if the others are punished and I can only affect my child and his life.

        I just don’t have much confidence that anything is going to be done about the problem, now that DS is no longer attending that school. THAT is the part that really grates on me, along with the fact that the cyberbullying was occurring after school hours, so there is that loophole for them to use. DS called the girl a slut IN school, so of course, we can’t have that AT ALL. He must be singled out and branded with the scarlet A, because of the sexual overtone to the epithet. All the other cyberbullying was going on on Instagram after school hours, so, you see, the school really CAN’T do anything about what goes on off school property. Never mind the fact that there is a Code of Conduct that the students and families sign and it states that this sort of behavior is NOT TOLERATED, either in school or out of it.

        That, that right there is the crux of the matter. If DS is expected to conform to and live by certain rules, then everyone is expected to follow the rules, per school policy. I just have the sinking feeling that some students are more equal than others at XXX Catholic School. THAT is what grates on me.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks
          January 9, 2017 at 10:11 am #

          I know this is a relatively new area, legally speaking, but some states have passed laws about cyberbullying, which I should certainly think this counts as. Is there anything like that in your area?

    • KeeperOfTheBooks
      January 9, 2017 at 8:21 am #

      Speaking as a Catholic and a parent, I’d damn well want you to send every scrap of this information to everyone from the principal to the superintendent to the Archbishop. Give them a couple of weeks to respond. If no response, or if an inappropriate one (“we explained that it wasn’t very nice to do this, and they said they wouldn’t do it again”) I’d contact local parents’ groups–Facebook, email, the lot.
      As someone downthread mentioned, I wouldn’t give out the kids’ names except by contact with a parent, not in a widely-disseminated thread. I would also, though, make sure to contact the parents of the bullied kids so that they know what’s going on. (“Do you know that your kid is being called racist/sexist/homophobic names via social media, and encouraged to commit suicide?”)
      The possibility that this could be happening in my archdiocese makes me see red in particular because of the idea that my collection dollars could be funding this bullshit. Unfortunately, Catholic schools, at least in the US, are increasingly becoming bastions for the rich and privileged and generally obnoxious rather than being open to anyone interested in a Catholic education as such.
      Your son is out of it (thank goodness), but they’ll find another target.

    • Heidi
      January 9, 2017 at 9:16 am #

      I know if I was a parent of either set of children, the bullied or the bulliers, I would definitely want to know. I would be very upset that I was pouring money into my child’s education and the school was letting this behavior happen.

    • sdsures
      January 9, 2017 at 12:59 pm #

      *hugs for you and DS*

    • Sean Jungian
      January 9, 2017 at 3:13 pm #

      Reading your DS’ story just about broke my heart.

      I am rather sheltered in that we live in a very rural area and my son’s graduating class only has 35 kids total, so I’ve known all of them (and they’ve all known each other) almost since they were all born.

      But I am APPALLED at both the language and the cruelty in this bullying. Not that my own “not-so-special-snowflake” hasn’t sworn and said things in poor taste, just the depth of the hatefulness is breathtaking.

      I don’t really know what you should do – I know bullying still happens even at my son’s tiny school, and Administration seems content to ignore it. Anyone raising a fuss is quickly frozen out (I am talking about parents bringing up concerns).

      I would absolutely want to know what my child had been saying online. I would contact the other parents and discuss it.

    • New Mom
      January 9, 2017 at 4:04 pm #

      That’s terrible. You’re 100% justified to feel enraged.

      I hope this helps: I spent 9 years in a Catholic school and endured much of the same. There wasn’t internet when I was that age, but I got beat up a lot but it didn’t matter because they were rich kids and my family was not rich. What I wanted at the time is for a teacher or a family member to notice and be upset about it. It sounds like he feels safer now and his feelings are being validated.

      Someone else below mentioned contacting the other kid’s parents. That’s a great idea, I would definitely want to know if my kid were doing stuff like this.

    • Box of Salt
      January 9, 2017 at 9:19 pm #

      Charybdis, I don’t have much to add beyond what others have already posted. But I want you to know you have my sympathy and my support, and your son has my best wishes for thriving in a different environment.

  8. Amazed
    January 8, 2017 at 10:05 pm #

    Oh god it’s hilarious! They’re so dumb, they literally don’t get satire! Their reaction to the countries with highest breastfeeding rates post says it all.

    They might be brainwashed, Dr Amy. But there’s more to it. Most of these cruel, disgusting human clones are actually stupid. As dumb as walls.

    My God, it’s no wonder that the breast community has seized them by the throats! It must be hell to be such a fool. Oh, if I only wasn’t (kind of) ethical! I could have strung their kind along for quite a ridiculous ride.They’re ripe fir the taking. I only need to tell them repeatedly how great and irreplaceable they are, and I’ll have them eating by my hand, Especially the dumbs of the formula fed but licking the butts of the boobing ones variety. It must be very hard to constantly scramble at others’ feet and repeat what a mistake you made and how uninformed you were, so they won’t reject you.

    You shot them in the ego, Dr Amy. That’s why they’re wailing.

    • Charybdis
      January 8, 2017 at 10:11 pm #

      Hey, I think you are giving the walls short shrift there. They might not be the brightest objects out there, but they certainly wouldn’t fall for the BS these people are slinging.

      • BeatriceC
        January 9, 2017 at 2:30 pm #

        I don’t know. Have you ever met my walls? They’re idiots*

        *The moron that built the house decided that stucco covered drywall (specifically mold resistant drywall…the green stuff), was a GREAT option to install throughout the entire damned house. Repairing any sort of hole larger than what just a joint compound patch with fix is miserable. You have to put in the green board, then the mesh, then the stucco, then let it dry, then cover with joint compound or similar, then paint. It’s awful. Really, truly awful.

  9. CanDoc
    January 8, 2017 at 7:09 pm #

    One of your truest posts ever.
    Truthy, even. In fact, the truthiness of it should be enough to get through to the lactavists, but sadly, it won’t.

  10. Anti Foodbabe
    January 8, 2017 at 6:43 pm #

    Absolutely love this. You nailed it.

  11. Sheven
    January 8, 2017 at 3:42 pm #

    I wonder at what point they’ll begin to realize they’re their own worst enemies.

    • Inmara
      January 9, 2017 at 3:04 am #

      That’s exactly what I thought – that these memes show only that lactivists don’t give a crap whether all women breastfeed – they are actually more willing to be the superior minority and to bash others from their position of imagined superiority.

  12. attitude devant
    January 8, 2017 at 3:20 pm #

    I was just on your FB page and can’t get a word in edgewise amongst all the people calling you unprintable names. I wanted to ask: if breastfeeding is so perfect, how do the lactivists explain DMER?

    • corblimeybot
      January 8, 2017 at 6:47 pm #

      Ah, DMER, or as I thought of it, “my regularly scheduled dose of urgent suicide ideation”.

      • Empress of the Iguana People
        January 8, 2017 at 8:41 pm #

        ah-yup. i also don’t get a boost from exercizing

        • Mishimoo
          January 8, 2017 at 8:54 pm #

          Me too! Never have, all I get is a cloud of exhaustion and pain after exercising.

        • Jules B
          January 8, 2017 at 11:29 pm #

          Me either. I often need to take a long nap after exercising.

    • Empress of the Iguana People
      January 8, 2017 at 8:42 pm #

      DMER is simply maternal rejection and all in that terrible “mother’s” head
      eta /sarcasm

      • attitude devant
        January 8, 2017 at 8:46 pm #

        I know people who’ve been told that.

    • Jules B
      January 8, 2017 at 11:28 pm #

      I had never heard of that and I just Googled it and holy crap, I think I experienced that back when I was nursing!

      • attitude devant
        January 8, 2017 at 11:33 pm #

        I’ve heard that a lot. People who had it and had no name for it.

  13. corblimeybot
    January 8, 2017 at 1:40 pm #

    OT: I was recently reminded of the episode of The Golden Girls in which Blanche’s daughter wants to give birth in a birthing center. The conclusion was sane. Low quality copy of the episode here:

    • KeeperOfTheBooks
      January 8, 2017 at 8:59 pm #

      Oh, man, I love the Golden Girls. They got me through many of the hardest times of my life!
      Off the top of my head, without clicking: “Janet, honey, I know I told you how babies were made, but did I forget to tell you where they come OUT?!”
      Alternately, “I had my babies the way God intended: numb from the neck down.”

    • Montserrat Blanco
      January 9, 2017 at 3:30 am #

      Thanks for the link. I loved it.

    • fishcake
      January 10, 2017 at 4:36 pm #

      The show is coming to HULU next month!

  14. Madtowngirl
    January 8, 2017 at 1:10 pm #

    I’m loving how your Facebook page is blowing up right now over this. I admit, it is entertaining to see lactivist heads explode when you dare to question the sanctity of breastfeeding.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      January 8, 2017 at 2:17 pm #

      The best part is that you know they are furiously googling for data that shows that breastfeeding saves lives in industrialized countries in reality, not merely in theory. They can’t find a thing and they are incredibly frustrated because of it.

  15. fiftyfifty1
    January 8, 2017 at 11:43 am #

    “shit food”

    As a doctor I hear this phase, or similar phrases, a lot from patients. It can be used as a way to build themselves up: “I’m careful to keep my kids away from crap”, “I don’t let myself pig out on shit”, “I don’t feed my kids the sort of garbage we got fed as kids”. Or sometimes it is used as a way that tears themselves down: “Of course I’m feeling fatigued, what can you expect when your diet is total shit”, “I start the day off right, but after dinner I stuff my face with crap.” But no matter exactly how they use it, the patients employing “shit food” verbiage are pretty much 100% women.

    I can’t believe we as women have allowed ourselves to fall for this. It manipulates us. It wastes our energies. We shame each other and ourselves and it serves to “keep us in our place.”

    • Roadstergal
      January 8, 2017 at 12:54 pm #

      “Shit food” is badly cooked, moldy, or otherwise ruined food. Occasional tasty treats are lovely things.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks
        January 8, 2017 at 9:01 pm #

        I exercise for three reasons: first, because I’ve seen what happens when someone with my genes doesn’t (dad, diabetes, wasn’t able to be present for us d/t it, I want different for me, DH, and our kids); second, because while I don’t get a “high” from it, it helps keep my overall mood much more positive and stable; and third, so that I can occasionally indulge my baking hobby and have a slice of that from-scratch spice cake with orange buttercream frosting, because I already burned those effing calories today!

        • Roadstergal
          January 8, 2017 at 10:16 pm #

          I exercise because I have tons of nervous energy and will blow up otherwise. Remember that episode of Futurama where Bender was powered by a doomsday bomb and had to dance endlessly or he would explode? Eyup.

          It does make me feel really euphoric afterwards, too. Oh, and I like to eat, so it all works. 🙂

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            January 9, 2017 at 8:13 am #

            Poor DH and kids–I took this last weekend off from working out, and was, accordingly, a not-at-all-nice person to be with. Sigh. Note to self: don’t try that crap again.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      January 8, 2017 at 1:14 pm #

      Remember the guy who lived on the Twinkie Diet.

      As I remember, he was successful.

      BTW, since when has eating high end steak been the standard of healthy eating?

    • January 8, 2017 at 11:23 pm #

      Men do this too. I work with truckers. Half of them are on diets at any given time (and working out) and they are always sniping bitchily at each other about their foods, fwiw

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