My wife subscribes to Mothering Magazine, the periodical for hippies, vegans, naturalists, breast feeders, and activists. Our family, I’m slightly ashamed to say, fits into Mothering’s targeted demographic. We use cloth diapers, we chose not to medicate during the births of our children, our infant is breastfed, and we shop regularly at Trader Joe’s with our own cloth bags.
My wife reads Mothering for the articles. I read it for the woo (it drives me crazy). There is usually at least one anti-vaccine article, such as this month’s gleeful story about Hannah Poling. She’s the girl whose family won their case in court because vaccines aggravated her mitochondrial disorder to cause some symptoms of autism. The short version of the story is that the ruling in no way proves that vaccines are the determining cause of autism; this was a special and complex case that can’t be simplified into an easy explanation.
I don’t understand the joy that Mothering takes in destroying our country’s progressive immunization policies. Readers are subjected to an anti-science bias on a monthly basis, rather than an objective look at the facts. If science is used, we often see examples of poor studies that are deeply flawed. This creates a Chicken Little effect that makes it hard to know when Mothering is accurate, like perhaps when they frantically shout about plastic baby bottle toxin Bishpenol-A (the government only has “some” worry right now).
Among the ads for useless homeopathic pills for children, this month’s Mothering also had a nice article about fathers. Some at-home dads had written to complain that they were excluded from the topics and articles within the magazine, and the editors returned the interest with a promise to include involved dads in the future. Maybe these Dad who complained didn’t read the name of the maternal magazine. I’m excited that we’re being included, but I don’t think Dads have a right to claim exclusion in a magazine for mothers.
As Randy “The Science Dad” often points out at playgroup, the publications that really suck are the “Parenting” magazines that direct all their articles to one gender-role (Mom) despite their neutral titles. These infuriating pop-parenting periodicals have little substance and offer a steady diet of mind-numbingly suburban white bread pandering. At least, Mothering (woo and all) has some quality articles that highlight the interests of alternative parents.