The following is an open letter to Jenny McCarthy, former Playboy Playmate of the Year, model, actor, author, and avowed Warrior Mom. The Warrior Mom part has something to do with the fight against science, apparently.
Let me start by saying, I think you’re generally awesome. You’re beautiful and smart and funny and strong, and you don’t give a crap what people think. I wish you’d take the time to care what scientists think, but you have a lot of nifty qualities.
All that being said, I’m gonna go ahead and call bullsh*t on the idea that you’re doing Playboy “for autism.” You need to stop slapping that label on every damn thing you do. Posing naked has absolutely nothing to do with autism, and simply tossing out the phrase “autism awareness” doesn’t actually make people more aware of what it’s like to be a person with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, or to parent a child with an ASD.
I have no problem with you posing in Playboy. Good for you. It’s your body, and it’s a hot one, so good on ya for making some money with it. And I know that Playboy has a special place in your heart; special enough that you didn’t seem worried when you lost your son for 45 minutes at an Easter egg hunt at the Playboy mansion, eventually finding him hanging out with the playmates in the infamous Grotto.
“I’m like, Oh. My. God! He’s 9!” you told Us Magazine. “So you can imagine, if Hef’s parties are still going on in a few years, I’m in trouble!”
An alternate plan would be just not taking a child to the Playboy mansion, but whatevs.
On Twitter, you gave your reason for posing nude as “Why should only 20-year-olds be considered sexy? Let’s hear it for the MILFs.” I’m going to beg you: please stop there. Promoting the idea that women in their 30s and 40s are equally, if not more, sexy than 20-year-olds is a good enough reason.
Personally, I’m betting the Playboy gig has a little more to do with promoting your two new NBC series launching this summer, and your VH1 show coming up in the fall, than it does with promoting the sexiness of moms. But hey, even if it is more about self-promotion than promoting the sexiness of moms, again: please just stop there.
Because in 2010 you told Access Hollywood that you would pose for Playboy if Hugh Hefner gave your autism charity a large sum of money.
“I would [pose again], for like, $2 million towards autism,” you said.
Please, please, don’t tell us that you’re dropping trou for autism. Because while posing for Playboy may, in fact, garner a truckload of money for your organization, Generation Rescue, it’s not going to do a damn thing for my two kids with autism. Generation Rescue spends an awful lot of time and energy ignoring actual science and promoting an extremely dangerous and damaging anti-vaccine agenda.
I know you believe, with all your heart and soul, that vaccines somehow magically cause autism, despite study after study after study saying that isn’t true. But even if it were, autism doesn’t make kids die. You know what does? Whooping cough. Measles. Mumps. Tetanus. All things we can vaccinate against. All things we are seeing a rise in over the last decade, in the U.S. and worldwide, as parents choose not to vaccinate their children out of misplaced fear. (For a running tally of the number of vaccine-preventable illnesses and deaths since you started espousing your anti-vaccine rhetoric in 2007, see the website Jenny McCarthy Body Count.)
Autism doesn’t scare me. Deadly childhood diseases scare me.
Another thing that scares me is that you hold these quackapalooza conferences in which you continue to claim that your son has been “cured” of autism. It breaks my heart, Jenny. You give false hope to so many when you do that. There is no cure for autism. There is therapy. There is a lot of hard work. There are incremental improvements in skills. There is speech therapy and ABA and social skills training and even medication that alleviates the intense anxiety people with autism may feel when they deal with the neurotypical world.
But when you say that “recovery is real,” I’m gonna have to call BS on that, too. I have seen kids develop social skills after being explicitly taught them because they did not learn them by observation. I have seen kids develop speech after years of intensive work. And yes, I have seen that certain diets help some kids.
But I have never seen a person “recover” from autism. People recover from the flu, or chicken pox. They don’t recover from an inherent part of their neurological make-up. There also remains the question of whether your son ever had autism. It has been suggested, most famously by TIME Magazine, in an article for which you were interviewed, that your son actually had or has Landau-Kleffner Syndrome, a different neurobiological disorder.
You’ll have to forgive me if I’m not convinced by your (complete lack of) science. Perhaps that has something to do with your previous claim that you are an “Indigo Adult” with a “crystal child.” You haven’t mentioned that lately, though. Maybe the chelation treatment leached all the crystal out of him. Also, I see your IndigoMoms.com site is gone, replaced by GenerationRescue.org. Did the Indigo Moms site have as many things for sale as your current site does?
So please, Jenny, just say you’re doing Playboy for the money. Or the promotion. Or the joy of being naked. But don’t try to tell me you’re doing it for autism. It smacks too much of saying people read Playboy for the articles.
(Photo Credit: iStockphoto)
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