Update: Inspired by the response this post has generated, there is now a Facebook group for feminists who have been Banned by Everyday Feminism.
Anyone who's read my blog knows I'm a feminist. With posts like Guns Don't Kill Women - Male Entitlement Kills Women, For the Love of God, STOP Asking Women if They're Okay, Advantages of Traveling While Female, and The Real Reason Women "Spend So Much Time In The Bathroom", it would be pretty hard to argue that I stand for anything BUT equality and empowerment.
And yet... I've been blocked from commenting on Everyday Feminism's Facebook posts, which they pay good money to promote on my feed.
I was not trying to sell their readers Viagra or Louboutins. I wasn't trying to teach anyone how they can make $1,000 per week working from home! I wasn't being mean or calling anyone names. All I said is that maybe, JUST MAYBE, the reason a doctor didn't diagnose an overweight 19-year-old with lung cancer... was because it's exceedingly rare for teenagers to get lung cancer. And not because he was "medical fat shaming."
My comment (which has now been deleted) included quotations and citations from leading lung doctors and research organizations. It excluded any kind of hurtful or offensive language. But it did include the hashtag, #VictimhoodCulture. Because, to me, that's exactly what this post was about.
A woman with a cancer that was extremely rare for a woman her age, and which doctors know little about (“In the young, symptoms, if there are any, are often ignored or mistaken for something else,” wrote Dr. Geoff Oxnard, a lung cancer specialist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, in an Atlantic post) was eventually diagnosed with cancer. Treated. And has been cancer-free for three years. Instead of rejoicing, she's playing the victim.
I went to see my PCP in Pittsburgh. She told me I had bronchitis and walking pneumonia.
So far, it sounds quite reasonable.
Over a month later, I was still coughing. At that point, I was told that I had bronchospasms. She gave me Advair and a rescue inhaler.
Still not seeing the fat shaming. If you take five seconds to Google "can losing weight reduce bronchospasms," you'll find thousands upon thousands of websites that say, yes, for sure! Are ShareCare, NormalBreathing, MDLive, the Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center, and LiveStrong all fatphobics, too?
So then, the girl continues going to college, "paying her cough no mind," and occasionally mentioning to doctors that she has a cough. They give her an antibiotic. I'm no expert, but to me, this course of action makes sense.
I mean, should everyone who presents with a cough be given a CT scan for lung cancer? Smoker or nonsmoker? Teen, recent grad or mature adult? If I came in with a bloody nose, should I expect to be tested for ebola?
It sucks that she got cancer. It sucks that she suffered all those years. It sucks that she has medical debt. I'm just having a hard time seeing how "fat shaming" fits into the narrative.
Admittedly (as I wrote in my comment), I could be wrong. There could be a total major problem with "fatphobic" doctors in this country. If that's the case, please, Everyday Feminism -- show me the study! Show me the data! Is there something beyond this one piece of anecdotal evidence that should compel me to accept that this girl was, indeed, fat shamed?
Are my questions offensive? Is my view invalid? Is it really unreasonable for me to ask for data, rather than a single anecdote? Ought my comment to have been deleted -- and my account blocked from making further comments?
I was actually a little surprised, when I first made my comment, that almost every single comment in the thread was something along the lines of, "OMG the same thing happened to me!" and, "You go girl!" But now, it all makes sense. When it comes to Everyday Feminism, you agree... or you get blocked.
I expected more from you, Everyday Feminism. You kind of make me embarrassed to be a feminist. (I swear -- we're not all like that!) You kind of confirmed everything that Coddling of the American Mind piece (I know you're not a university, but still -- you have a responsibility to your readers):
Higher education has taken a further step toward intellectual homogeneity and the creation of an environment in which students rarely encounter diverse viewpoints. And universities will have reinforced the belief that it’s okay to filter out the positive. If students graduate believing that they can learn nothing from people they dislike or from those with whom they disagree, we will have done them a great intellectual disservice.
When the ideas, values, and speech of the other side are seen not just as wrong but as willfully aggressive toward innocent victims, it is hard to imagine the kind of mutual respect, negotiation, and compromise that are needed to make politics a positive-sum game.
But, to be fair, Everyday Feminism isn't the only publication that blocks people who disagree with their agenda.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a so-called "scholar" and essayist, has been pushing an anti-GMO agenda. You know -- in spite of having no background whatsoever in genetics. Justin Smith, who is weeks away from completing a Stanford Ph.D. in Genetics, tried to have a conversation with Taleb about GMOs. Because one of Justin's passions is promoting scientific literacy and combating anti-science views. (He even volunteers at theTech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, among other things.)
Justin -- the kindest, most conflict-averse person I've ever met -- was almost immediately blocked from commenting on Taleb's Facebook page. Despite saying nothing offensive. And despite having expertise in genetics and an education from one of the best research institutions in the world.
It's one thing when some dumb mom reads an article on the internet and thinks she now knows more than a Stanford Ph.D candidate about vaccines. It's quite another when a professor at NYU, who has no background in genetics, promotes an anti-scientific view on GMOs. (Oh, and by the way. Since half the people who "oppose GMOs" don't know what GMO stands for... it's genetically modified organisms. Just sayin'.)
But maybe it's not that surprising... Because apparently Taleb also thinks Neil deGrasse Tyson is a "fraud"
In the video shared that provoked Nassim's derisive comment, Neil deGrasse Tyson supports the safety of GMOs, a view held by the vast majority of scientists, but is quickly labelled a "fraud" for views that don't agree with the page's owner.
Everyday Feminism. Nassim Nicholas Taleb. And people/publications like you. You have a responsibility. I'm all for banning bullies and spammers from commenting on your social media. But it's cowardly to block everyone who disagrees with you because they disagree with you.
Maybe instead of doing that... you should only post articles that you can support with data. Or, at the very least, agree to disagree. Stand up for what you believe in -- and encourage your readers to do the same! Just please, stop fostering narrow-mindedness and victimhood culture.
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