Baby Bellyaching April 2013

The return of Baby Bellyaching! This snark is brought to you by my friend Sara who is giving me her copies of Parenting magazine. I’m not paying for this drivel myself! Remember, this is a rant. If you require nuance at all times, move along elsewhere.

Parenting Magazine April 2013

The cover does promise a lot. Dieting for kids? Autism? Bribes? Let’s go!

Breeding Fear: These magazines always try to scare the shit out of you (because capitalism!). This month you’re supposed to be afraid of:
  • Germs in your mouth
  • Scissor injuries
  • Infections under your bandaid
  • Grandmas who haven’t kept up on safety fads (Ooh! Scary grandma!)
  • Carrying your kids on the stairs
  • Autism
  • HFCS – Astonishingly this page never mentions “obesity”.
  • Kidnapping – Actual quote: “These days kids get kidnapped every day. If they were on a leash maybe they’d stand a chance.” Okay, seriously? Kids who are in the leash age-range are, what? 1-4? And a leash implies that it’s a time when they should be by a parent’s side, not, say, at school. So, how many times in the US has a 1-4 year old kid been kidnapped when they were supposed to be standing near their parent? I’m going to go with NEVER. If you can dig up one I’m gonna give you a COOKIE. And this quote would still be dumb!
Going Out of Business: Let’s count how many times Parenting magazine (you know, the kind of magazine with paper) begs for a place at social media’s lunch table:
  • In more than one place, they printed some tweets. Printing tweets is when you know you’re a loser. (See also: CNN)
  • There’s an interview with a blogger. Okay, fine.
  • There are 4 stories pulled entirely from Facebook comments.
  • There’s a “hot on Pinterest” section. You know what else is hot on Pinterest? Being on Pinterest.

How many ways can you signal your irrelevance?

This Month In Fat Hate: Oh my god. Apparently this was the We Hate Fat People issue. The VERY FIRST piece of “letter from the editor”-style content shames the author’s fat family and talks about how we can never give up trying to get rid of fat kids. Fuck you, “Ana Connery, content director”. how about your direct some content that doesn’t shame, stigmatize, and oppress your readers?

There’s a little inspo piece about Jillian Michaels adopting a baby from Haiti. Simply printing her name and giving her a platform is a form of fat-hate. In case you’re not familiar with her, Jillian Michaels hates fat people for a living (see: The Biggest Loser). Was this adoption story supposed to be sweet? Instead, it just shows that she’s not just a fat-hating bitch, she’s also a white saviour, baby-snatching racist. Probably not the effect they were going for.

Fuck you to Shawn Bean, too. He’s written a “humor” column that outright calls for more judgment of the bodies of men while equating fat with health and fat with food. This same dude later on makes fun of his kids’ musical efforts. Way to go, dad. You might be skinny, but you’re an asshole.

Then there’s an article called “Should I put my Kid on a Diet”? The article reads, “No,” and then you turn the page for the next article.

Haha, just kidding.

The first line is “Our culture teaches us that there is little worse than being fat.” By “our culture” don’t you mean “our magazine”, Parenting? I mean, you featured Jillian Michaels, and then you had an article explicitly saying that dads should be thinner. You are the problem!

This article starts off with “epidemic” and fear mongering about fat kids, fat toddlers, fat babies OMGWTFBBQ! then asks you to focus on things “that work”. Oh, good. Get back to us when you’ve figured out what those are! You can plop down some same-old-same-old advice in your little list, but that doesn’t mean these things “work”. Have you READ any diet studies? Have you READ the ones that focus on interventions with children? No? Yeah. I could tell.

I literally felt ill reading “A Letter to My Fat Child” in which an anonymous parent calls her child a “reverse avalanche”, accuses her of sneaking food, and admits to lying about the availability of the swimsuit the kid wanted. Congratulations, you’re a horrible parent. And every single person who works at Parenting who touched that shit and didn’t put up a fuss about printing it is a horrible person.

Bad Science: Amongst all the other anti-fat-kid suggestions is the one that all you have to do is deny your kid the afternoon goldfish snack and there won’t be any more fat kids. What an idiotic representation of already biased science.

Other People Who Don’t Need to be Cured: The Autism article features “epidemic”, “puzzle”, “cure”, and shout outs to Autism Speaks, an organization that DOES NOT speak for the autistic people I listen to. It’s funny (not funny) how no one is allowed to just BE. Maybe nothing needs to be “cured” about people with autism. Maybe they don’t need to sit in daily training sessions with people forcing them to make eye contact. Maybe they don’t need huge organizations focused on parents of kids with autism instead of focusing on actual people with autism.

Underachiever: 5 pages of themed birthdays? In case you have too much time on your hands and are a serious show off? Yeah, let me get right on sewing robes for my kid’s Harry Potter birthday party.

Sex: Oh dear. I’m not sure a mainstream mag should be advising me on “sexting”. They remind you to delete the trail when you’re done, and then they recommend sending your partner steamy texts like, “My mom says she can take the girls for a playdate this weekend,” or “Thinking about last night…XOXO.” I think I just died of an orgasm, right here while reading this. This is just the thing my sex life needs. Joshua’s not going to know what hit him.

The other half – ADS:

There’s never much real content in these magazines, and Parenting is looking even more flimsy these days. I take an ad tally as I read. I only count full or half page ads.

6 ADS for healthist stuff. This is “nutrition”, weight-cycling, “fitness”, etc.

4 ADS for harmful baby stuff.

  • Similac has some new ingredient that makes it more like breast milk. You know what has had that ingredient all along? Fucking breast milk. You know what currently has the ingredient Similac is going to add next year? Also breast milk!

16 ADS in the Beauty/Cleaning category, also known as “The world is scary!” or “There’s something wrong with you! (or your kid!)”

  • There’s a Lysol ad that tries to coin the word “Healthing”, because why shouldn’t fucking Lysol get in on the health obsession. You might think you’re killing germs, but it’s not healthing until you’re 100000% sure.
  • The Orajel advertised itself as gluten-free and dairy-free. Is that normally a problem with toothpaste? Or are those the cool codewords required in all advertising now?
  • An Always ad tells me that “odor protection isn’t just for underarms”. The ad shows a woman who’s been picked up by a man and tossed over his shoulder, putting his face 6 inches from her ass. How about we make a deal? You stay the fuck away from my ass if you don’t like how people smell?

13 ADS for miscellaneous non-offensive things.

  • Turbo Tax advertising is a welcome relief after all this other crap.
  • The Chicco carseat looked so awesome I kind of want one. 9 reclining positions!
  • The Jello pudding ad with “a smile on your face and another in your belly” is just what I’m looking for in a food ad. How difficult is that?

I’m afraid I may have been too annoyed to be funny with this post. How about you? Any parenting advice or advertisements that have pissed you off lately?