How many times can you fit “whore” into a blog post and claim you’re not trying to insult anyone?

The Age of Autism people have a credibility and image problem on their hands, if you ask me. On the one hand, they are trying to come off as experts in all things autism and all things anti-vaccine, but, on the other hand, they are offending people left and right. Time after time, they manage to get themselves in hot water with their own readers. Posts go missing. Comments get erased.

A few years ago, on Thanksgiving, they published a post where they showed several pro-vaccine advocates eating a baby for Thanksgiving dinner. In that now erased post, Kim Stagliano chimed in with this comment:

“Dr. Nancy is under the table servicing Dr. Offit’s RotaDick. Wait, can you hear her? “Fere If doh bontrobersy!!” Someone should tell her it’s not polite to talk with your mouth full.”

For a very long time, as long as I’ve been following their shenanigans, I’ve been catching whiffs of misogyny here and there from that blog, even from their female contributors. Yes, they attack male pro-vaccine advocates with a lot of vitriol, but they are downright nasty toward female pro-vaccine advocates, using colorful descriptions for what those women use. The latest bit of nuttery is this post about… It’s about… Well, to be honest, I have no idea what it’s about. I really don’t.

I know that the author of that piece is trying to write as if she were writing a mock screenplay (novel?) of “Catch 22“, but it’s hard to find coherent thoughts in that screed. The opening paragraph made my head hurt:

“Don’t get me wrong: the “Lancet Paper” and Andrew Wakefield are nowhere near dead. In fact. the front groups are always prematurely celebrating Dr. Wakefield’s politicide and the “debunking” of the modest case study right before both are exonerated yet again by yet another research finding, injury claim or legal ruling.”

Of course that paper and Andrew Jeremy Wakefield are not dead to the people at Age of Autism. They don’t have autism. However, in academic terms, what Wakefield did, his fraud, pretty much guaranteed that he will never be taken seriously by any scientist worth their salt.

So where’s the misogyny? Well, the post mentions the word “whore” several times to refer to pro-vaccine women, and the commenters have piled on with such gems as:

“Nice article, look forward to reading all of it later tonight. But before this thought slips away … it will also be Very interesting to see how these media whores spin the latest massive study, which found that oh-my-good ENVIRONMENT plays as important role in autism risk as their beloved genes. OUCH! No more quoting ancient twin studies to claim ‘it is all in their genes’ without looking utterly idiotic … what now for Gorsky at al.? (I predict them throwing some shit to the wall of ‘Parents age and socioeconomical status’ now to see if it sticks …)”

Yes, the term “whore” is being directed at males as well, but look at the last series of posts at that blog. There’s the interesting series of obsessive-compulsive-like posts about Dorit Reiss by Weirdo. There’s Andrew Jeremy Wakefield’s litigious bullying of Emily Willingham. (Seriously, Andy, many of us have called you a fraud. Your study was fraudulent. You did the worst damage to yourself.) There are Kim Stagliano’s comments about Nancy Snyderman that I mentioned above. And there are all the posts where women of science who dare oppose the idea that vaccines cause autism are also called pharma whores, accused of selling out, and what AoA’s head honcho wrote about Amy Wallace being raped.

The way I see it, women have a hard time in science and medicine as it is. Because they “dared” to stray out of the house, out of raising a family, out of the mold that we’ve created for women in this society, women in science and medicine are often the butts of jokes made in poor taste about their intellectual abilities and leadership styles. A woman that is smart and authoritative is said to be a “bitch,” and, should she be remunerated for her work in any way that is in excess of what others make, then she is said to be a “whore” to her employer or sponsor.

I’ll be fair, though. If Age of Autism writers and editors are not out to get at women who support vaccines more often and more poisonously than men who support vaccines, I’ll more than entertain evidence to the contrary.

5 thoughts on “How many times can you fit “whore” into a blog post and claim you’re not trying to insult anyone?

  1. Sigh. I admit that I find it somewhat annoying when – as happens surprisingly often – I come across anti-vaccine activists who proudly claim that the pro-vaxers are rude and their side never uses insults or attacks. You need to be a special kind of oblivious to believe that.

  2. I was trying to think of that Stagliano comment when Twyla Ramos swore that AoA contributors NEVER EVER engaged in harrassment and were very civil. Heh, I’ll bet Stagliano thought she was being edgey and “one of the guys” but frankly she just comes off as a slob.

  3. I kept going back to that post on Age of Autism…to try and make sense of the utterly deranged ramblings of that poster. And, it isn’t just the male bloggers who have relentlessly attacked Dr. Willingham and Professor Reiss; (the Media Editor and two female attorneys as “guest bloggers”).

    I was online when Wakefield’s threatening letter sent to Emily Willingham and to Forbes, was posted on Age of Autism at 1 AM EDT. It is a blatant attempt to shut down a science blogger. Dr. Willingham was “supposed to” rollover and play dead. Wakefield was was wrong…spectacularly wrong.

  4. Frankly, I’m not really sure what that first post was about either. It seemed to be using the film Catch-22 as its authority. It is bad enough to use a work of fiction as one’s grounding of authority, but then mentioning fraudulent research in that mess really ices the cake with zaniness.

    I noticed another phenomenon, that of using Twitter to spread snippets of conversation in order to use an out of context or mid context statement to further their spread of disinformation.
    Let’s face it, they shan’t be happy until we are living in the world’s newest third world nation.

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