Vaccination and Sexism in the Media
I have one simple question to pose to you in this article dear readers.
Is it just me or have you also noticed the sexism that is rampant in the mainstream media where the issue of vaccination is concerned?
Why is it that male celebrities can speak their minds about the vaccination issue without as much as a whimper from media outlets, but when a woman attempts the same thing, she is vilified in a media firestorm, her name dragged through the mud and in at least one case, summarily fired?
This blatant sexism should outrage you no matter whether you are for or against vaccination.
Prejudice is prejudice, and it is disgusting, inappropriate and unlawful. The worst part is that these media bosses are getting away with it unless the court of public opinion intervenes to shame them into silence.
Here are a few examples for you to ponder ….
Dr. Oz Questions CDC Vaccination Schedule; Wife “Absolutely Refuses” H1N1 Jab for Children
On more than one occasion, Dr. Oz has indicated that he and his wife deviate from the CDC recommended vaccination schedule. In an interview with Joy Behar (transcript here), Dr. Oz divulged that his wife absolutely refused the H1N1 (Swine Flu) shot for their children and that they spread out the vaccine schedule for them instead of following recommended immunization guidelines.
In another interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Dr. Oz said that neither his wife or his children would get the H1N1 jab.
Here’s a video clip of another television interview where Dr. Oz says that when he goes home he’s not “Dr. Oz”, he’s “Mr. Oz” and his wife isn’t going to immunize their four children (this occurs at 1:12 into the video).
Dr. Oz suffered no public or media backlash from these comments and as of this writing is still enjoying a solid contractual relationship and huge ratings from the Dr. Oz Show which airs on NBC.
Actors Who Express Vaccination Reservations
Actors Charlie Sheen, Aidan Quinn, and Rob Schneider are all opposed to vaccination and have suffered no tar and feathering at the hands of the media as a result.
According to a TMZ report, Mr. Sheen is extremely opposed to vaccination, so much so that he apparently paid for a $380 doctor visit with a box of 7,600 nickels as a form of protest when his ex-wife took their children in to be vaccinated.
Aidan Quinn has openly blamed his daughter’s autism on vaccines. He maintained in an interview with the Irish Independent and reported by Parent Magazine that after receiving the vaccination, his daughter Aida who was developing normally until that point, became nonverbal, did not recognize who she was and was suddenly uncoordinated. He describes the regressive event in the following words:
“So we had a normal child that was walking, talking, doing everything way faster than she was supposed to.Then, after an MMR, she got a 106 degree fever and turned blue and woke up the next day with dark circles and not knowing who she was. And uncoordinated.”
Aida is now 19 years old and still nonverbal with a diagnosis of autism.
Comedian Rob Schneider is openly and vocally opposed to all vaccination. He actively worked to stop the passage of a California law that requires parents to obtain a physician’s signature in order to prevent their child from receiving vaccinations. He said in an interview with a California news station:
“The doctors are not gonna tell you both sides of the issue… they’re told by the pharmaceutical industry, which makes billions of dollars, that it’s completely safe. The efficacy of these shots have not been proven, and the toxicity of these things — we’re having more and more side effects. We’re having more and more autism.”
Did any of these four male celebrities suffer any significant public or media backlash for their views on vaccination?
Now let’s examine what happened to women who expressed similar reservations.
Jenny McCarthy Regularly Dragged Through the Mud for Her Anti-Vax Stance
No one has endured more public and media ridicule for her stance on vaccinations than model, comic actress, and author Jenny McCarthy. It all started with the 2008 interview on Larry King Live regarding her newly released book Louder than Words: A Mother’s Journey in Healing Autism. During that interview, McCarthy asserted that vaccines cause autism. The huge media and public backlash from that interview has continued to this day.
Even after McCarthy clarified that her position is against the toxins in the vaccines and not the vaccines themselves, the vitriol continued. Huge public and media outrage ensued when she was considered as a co-host on The View. Kudos to Barbara Walters for not caving to public pressure and offering the job anyway.
Despite scoring The View gig, Jenny still endures public humiliation for her position. As recently as the past few days, McCarthy endured nasty comments on her Twitter account due to her stance opposing vaccination.
Congresswoman Michele Bachman’s Presidential Bid Killed by Vaccination Views
Congresswoman Michele Bachman’s bid for the Republican nomination for President in the 2012 election was going along swimmingly until her comments about the HPV vaccine in a debate sponsored by CNN. She even won the Iowa Straw Poll cementing her top tier candidacy for the nomination.
In that CNN sponsored debate, Bachmann criticized Texas Gov. Rick Perry for signing an executive order requiring middle-school girls in his state to get vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV). Shortly after the debate ended, Bachman explained her comments on the Jay Leno Show:
The concern is that there are potentially side effects that can come with something like that. But it gives a false sense of assurance to a young woman when she has that, that if she’s sexually active that she doesn’t have to worry about sexually transmitted diseases.
Ms. Bachman’s Presidential bid was dead on arrival after expressing views that deviated from the CDC party line. She also endured extensive media and public ridicule as a result.
Katie Couric Gets Slammed for Interview with Mothers of HPV Vax Damaged Girls
Even huge profile celebrity newswomen apparently have to keep their mouths shut about vaccines. Consider how the enormously popular Katie Couric, whose ABC syndicated news show Katie was ranked #1 in 2012-2013, was canned after only 2 seasons not so coincidentally after she dared to invite two mothers on her show in December 2013 to tell their story about how their daughters had experienced adverse reactions after being vaccinated for HPV (Gardasil).
Couric even clearly stated that she was pro-vaccine and had her own daughters vaccinated.
Ms. Couric backpedaled with the following statement in a post-interview article for the Huffington Post:
I felt it was a subject well worth exploring. Following the show, and in fact before it even aired, there was criticism that the program was too anti-vaccine and anti-science, and in retrospect, some of that criticism was valid. We simply spent too much time on the serious adverse events that have been reported in very rare cases following the vaccine. More emphasis should have been given to the safety and efficacy of the HPV vaccines.
No matter. She was viciously and mercilessly skewered by the media, forced to apologize (for what anyway? Is vaccination a religion now for heaven’s sake?) and her daytime show summarily cancelled.
Why Can Celebrity Men Speak Their Minds About Vaccination But Not Women?
The question remains as to why there is such blatant sexism in the media regarding a celebrity’s position on vaccination.
To this, I will venture an answer.
The reason is because, in general, mothers call the shots with regard to medical decisions in a household.
Dr. Oz said it himself that when he goes home, he is no longer “Dr. Oz” he is “Mr. Oz” and that his wife absolutely refused the H1N1 shot for their children even though he himself received the shot.
Doctor or no Doctor, Mrs. Oz clearly makes the medical decisions in the Oz home.
The pharmaceutical industry, a primary advertiser/sponsor of the mainstream media, knows that keeping mothers in line is key to maintaining high vaccination rates. By whipping the public into a media-induced frenzy regarding any celebrity woman who dares to question or stray from the CDC recommended vaccination schedule, a subliminal message is being sent to all American mothers:
“No woman is big enough to survive questioning vaccines. If you dare to do so yourself, you will get crucified too – by your peers, your family and your doctor. Beware.”
What do you think about sexism in the mainstream media regarding the issue of vaccinations? Are there other reasons you have observed for women paying a huge price for their beliefs and men seem to get off scot-free?
UPDATEWithin mere hours of this post getting published, yet another celebrity woman has been viciously attacked for her personal views on vaccination.
27 year old reality star Kristin Cavallari , wife of Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, announced that she has never had her son Camden vaccinated for anything and she doesn’t plan on doing it for her soon-to-be born child, either, because of research she’s read about the possibility of autism developing from vaccinations. According to ABC News, she said:
There’s really scary statistics out there, and to each their own. Autism wasn’t prevalent — like it is now — years ago, so something is going on, whether it’s the chemicals in our food or the vaccines. Something is happening, and we can’t really ignore that. I choose to believe that I think it’s in the vaccines but, again, to each their own and that’s where I stand on it.
The media induced flogging of Ms. Cavallari has only just begun as of this writing.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
Sarah Pope has been a Health and Nutrition Educator since 2002. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Weston A. Price Foundation.
Sarah was awarded Activist of the Year at the International Wise Traditions Conference in 2010.
Sarah earned a Bachelor of Arts (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) in Economics from Furman University and a Master’s degree in Government (Financial Management) from the University of Pennsylvania.
Mother to three healthy children, blogger, and best-selling author, she writes about the practical application of Traditional Diet and evidence-based wellness within the modern household. Her work has been featured by USA Today, The New York Times, National Review, ABC, NBC, and many others.