If you’re an autism mom, you either love or loathe Jenny McCarthy.
Recently it’s been confirmed that McCarthy will be the new co-host on The View. And as soon as it appeared in my Facebook feed, I could have sworn I heard all my autism mom friends groan. I’m already cringing thinking about Autism Awareness Month. Giving Jenny McCarthy daily access into our living rooms and kitchens (or wherever your TV is located) could be dangerous.
Admittedly, I don’t watch The View on a daily basis but there is no way I could ever watch now with Jenny McCarthy as a co-host. These are my 3 reasons why:
She’s all fluff and no stuff. I totally understand why The View wants her. She’s cute. She’s quirky. She’s not afraid to speak her mind, even when she has no idea what she’s talking about. And… that’s about it. Which leads me to reason #2.
She has no credibility. When Norrin was initially going through the autism evaluation process, Jenny McCarthy’s, Louder Than Words, was one of the first books I read. I didn’t know much about autism and it was the only one easily available. And it was that first book that helped me recognize the signs in Norrin. But that was years ago. I’ve read many, many more books and articles written by individuals with much more experience and knowledge.
Jenny McCarthy is a self-proclaimed autism “expert,” but she continues to blame vaccines as the cause of autism. And this is the analogy she uses: “Think of autism like a fart, and vaccines are the finger you pull to make it happen.” However, it’s been scientifically proven that there is no correlation between vaccines and autism. She also claims to have “cured” her child’s autism and suggests that you can too. THERE IS NO CURE FOR AUTISM. Call me crazy but when it comes to something like autism, I’m going to listen to scientists and doctors, not a celebrity.
She’s not in touch with average autism mom reality. I appreciate Jenny McCarthy for bringing autism to mainstream media. She’s raised a ton of awareness – some positive, mostly negative. But (and it’s a big but) as a celebrity, she cannot identify with the everyday autism mom. Moms like me that have to fight the system for the bare minimum of appropriate services. A woman like Jenny McCarthy has a whole team of therapists, doctors and lawyers at her disposal. With or without a disability, Jenny McCarthy’s kid was never going to the local public school. In her books Jenny McCarthy talks about flying her kid all over the country to see doctors and specialists. Most moms don’t have this luxury; most moms can barely afford the co-payments for therapists or all the gluten-free/casein free foods and vitamin supplements. I’m not saying that Jenny McCarthy doesn’t have her share of challenges when it comes to her child, but she certainly doesn’t have the same financial worries that a mom like me has.
For autism parents – especially the ones hearing, “Your child has autism,” for the very first time – Jenny McCarthy provides a false sense of hope. With her anti-vaccination rants she instills fear in new parents and guilt in autism parents if they had their children vaccinated. And if a parent cannot “cure” their child through diet and supplements or if they can’t afford the therapies she suggests, it can be easy to feel like a failure.
That’s how Jenny McCarthy made me feel after reading her books; I felt guilty over every decision I made and like a failure for not being able to ‘fix’ my son. It took a lot of time for me to get over those feelings. And I’m so much happier. I have accepted Norrin’s autism. I don’t want people feeling sorry for us and I have no desire to cure him.
McCarthy refers to herself as a “Warrior Mom” willing to do everything and anything it takes to cure her son. I consider myself to be a “Warrior Mom” too, willing do everything within my means to help my son. And when it comes to anything autism related, Jenny McCarthy’s view is the one I will always overlook.
Will you watch Jenny McCarthy on The View? Why or why not?
Read more of Lisa’s writing at AutismWonderland.
Photo Credit: PacificCoastNews.com