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feminism and vaccine issues

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 

For discussion more than debate…..

 

Do you consider yourself a feminist?

 

How do you think feminism has played out in vaccine issues?

post #2 of 34
Hmm interesting thread concept.

I'm a feminist and chose to vax myself and my son. I did so because I feel it's in his best interests as well as socially responsible.

Not sure I see a direct connection between my feminism and this parenting choice although as they say 'the personal is political.' I do feel like my brand of feminism requires social responsibility.
post #3 of 34

Yes, I am a feminist.

 

As such I believe that I have societal obligations to others and not yo just self. Hence , I am vaccinated and I vaccinate my children.

post #4 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marsupial-mom View Post

.

Not sure I see a direct connection between my feminism and this parenting choice although as they say 'the personal is political.' I do feel like my brand of feminism requires social responsibility.

 

I can think of several connections.  

 

The idea for this thread came about because I see the outright dismissal of primarily mothers reports of vaccine reactions as misogynistic.

 

Some of the louder voices on the pro-vax side are skeptics.  I have heard the average skeptic is 25 and male.  I am wondering why a person who in all probability never had to make a vaccine decision has a voice in this debate.  

 

This sent me searching the web to see if any  articles had been written on vaccines and autims and I came across the following  ideas, both more from the pro-vax POV:

 

-  Vaccines allow mothers to work rather than tending sick children.

 

-"one reason some parents reject vaccines for their children has to do with the low-status position of stay-home parents (moms in particular) in larger society which breeds a culture of intensely competitive parenting where vaccine rejection becomes a powerful marker of status. It's a climate which allows non-medically trained laypeople to self-ascribe social status greater than medical doctors and scientific researchers."   Blech.

"http://oursalon.ning.com/profiles/blogs/on-feminism-and-vaccination


Edited by kathymuggle - 7/15/13 at 6:33am
post #5 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:

 

-  Vaccines allow mothers to work rather than tending sick children.

 

Just to expand on this:

 

Before the era of vaccines, most kids would catch rota, rubella, mumps, chicken pox and measles.  You were probably looking at a week or 2 absence per disease.  I know some of the justification for CP vaccine was it allowed parents not to miss work.  I do think, statistically, more moms call in sick over sick kids than dads.  So vaccines might save moms from taking off a week or more at a time, which some moms might like and the vast majority of employers appreciate.  I know some jobs won't allow for those kind of absences - and you could be looking at job loss or reduced hours for taking off time with sick kids. 

 

On the flip side, though, I get very twitchy about using drugs to solve a societal problem. Drugs should be used to solve medical issues; societal change should be used to solve societal problems.  Lousy sick leave policies are a societal issue.  No one should face job loss or unpleasant working conditions because they take time off for a sick child.  The idea is pretty repugnant, and the opposite of feminism in some ways. 

 

Of course, some women do not want to miss work (even if there were no consequences for missing work) to care for sick kids.  I do not think that is a valid reason to give a kid a shot (not wanting to miss work) and I am torn on whether we as a society should accept this as their parental right, or fight against it for the sake of kids.  To divorce it from vaccines for a moment:  I know a woman who gives both of her kids Benedryl to sleep every night.  They have no health issues that I am aware of.  Her sister says she is just lazy and does not want to deal with night time parenting. Assuming for the sake of this argument that the sister is correct,  should she, as the mother, have the right to give her kids meds because she wants them to sleep, or should society be sending out the message that this isn't the most brilliant parenting move?

 

(fwiw, I know many pro-vaxxers do medically think vaccines are a good idea - in which case, fine!  Vaccinate as you see fit.  I am more interested in the argument that people should vaccinate so parents, primarily mothers,  do not miss work for this thread)

post #6 of 34

I'm a feminist, and in favour of vaccination as a modern medical miracle (for want of a better word to describe something which has saved millions of lives and which does not have religious overtones). I don't see the two as related.

 

But it is an interesting point that in not vaccinating you're committing to your kids potentially being sick from a variety of infectious diseases and needing greater care while they recover from them. I could see that being shouted about as a status symbol - look I can afford to not work and look after my kids when they're sick! 

 

 Now personally I want my kids to avoid being sick so they don't have to be sick - that's why I vaccinate. But I'll admit that I do see it as a side benefit that my husband and I are then less likely to have the disruption that unexpectedly having to miss days off work introduces into our finely balanced lives!

post #7 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by prosciencemum View Post

I'm a feminist, and in favour of vaccination as a modern medical miracle (for want of a better word to describe something which has saved millions of lives and which does not have religious overtones). I don't see the two as related.

 

But it is an interesting point that in not vaccinating you're committing to your kids potentially being sick from a variety of infectious diseases and needing greater care while they recover from them. I could see that being shouted about as a status symbol - look I can afford to not work and look after my kids when they're sick! 

 

 Now personally I want my kids to avoid being sick so they don't have to be sick - that's why I vaccinate. But I'll admit that I do see it as a side benefit that my husband and I are then less likely to have the disruption that unexpectedly having to miss days off work introduces into our finely balanced lives!

I think it's an interesting point that people that vaccinate fully on schedule do not consider that they are committing their children to potentially suffer from an adverse reaction that requires they need greater care and would result in them being out from their job and potentially losing their job as a vaccine injured child can may require extensive care. 

 

I also want my kids to avoid being sick which is why I do quite a lot to safeguard their immune systems and keep them functioning optimally.

 

I know that it's anecdotal, but its is often said by parents of unvaxed children that they rarely get sick (with non VPD's) and miss school. In fact their fully vaxed counterparts (and often vaxed siblings) are sicker and miss more school in their casual observations and discussions with friends.  

post #8 of 34

Seems to me that a lot of parents (on these boards, anyway) who don't vax also avoid day care and homeschool, so their kids probably aren't exposed to as many bugs either. Our daughter has never been in daycare, is fully vaxed, and is almost never sick. 

post #9 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by erigeron View Post

Seems to me that a lot of parents (on these boards, anyway) who don't vax also avoid day care and homeschool, so their kids probably aren't exposed to as many bugs either. Our daughter has never been in daycare, is fully vaxed, and is almost never sick. 

could very well be. I wish someone would do a survey/study about this taking into consideration daycare/activities ect. I realize that would be quite hard to control for potential "exposure" - but interesting nontheless. I myself think that genetics, how a child was born (Csection vs vaginal birth) nutritional status/diet etc have a great deal of impact on how often a child gets sick. 

post #10 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by prosciencemum View Post

 

 

But it is an interesting point that in not vaccinating you're committing to your kids potentially being sick from a variety of infectious diseases and needing greater care while they recover from them. I could see that being shouted about as a status symbol - look I can afford to not work and look after my kids when they're sick! 

 

 

I don't see it as a status symbol, but more as a privileged position.  Anyone who can afford to stay home (even if they are on a tight budget as a consequence) or has a job that allows them time off without significant consequences is privileged.  Not everyone has this.  I wish it weren't a privilege (the ability to take time off with sick kids ) but a right.


Edited by kathymuggle - 7/15/13 at 11:37am
post #11 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by prosciencemum View Post


But it is an interesting point that in not vaccinating you're committing to your kids potentially being sick from a variety of infectious diseases and needing greater care while they recover from them. I could see that being shouted about as a status symbol - look I can afford to not work and look after my kids when they're sick! 

 Now personally I want my kids to avoid being sick so they don't have to be sick - that's why I vaccinate. But I'll admit that I do see it as a side benefit that my husband and I are then less likely to have the disruption that unexpectedly having to miss days off work introduces into our finely balanced lives!

In vaccinating my kids, I committed myself to many days missed from work for doctor appointments for the vaccine reactions, OT and speech therapy appointments to deal with the resulting damage from the vaccine reaction, IEP meetings at school, and an enormous amount of time in the kitchen in order to provide a gluten-free diet, which had not been necessary before a certain vaccine visit.

I would have preferred a missing 2 weeks of work to deal with the VPD, even if it meant losing my job. The best job in the world could not possibly be more important to me than avoiding the health problems suffered by my children because of vaccination.
post #12 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by erigeron View Post

Seems to me that a lot of parents (on these boards, anyway) who don't vax also avoid day care and homeschool, so their kids probably aren't exposed to as many bugs either. Our daughter has never been in daycare, is fully vaxed, and is almost never sick. 

My kids were in daycare, have attended public school since kindergarten, attended summer camps, and participate in a variety of other activities. They were always way healthier than nearly all of their peers; the common cold and the intestinal viruses that wiped out the rest of the class pretty much skipped over my kids. I attribute this largely to breast feeding rather than vaccines, but I do note that my youngest (who had the fewest vaccines) is the healthiest of all my children.
post #13 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

I don't see it as a status symbol, but more as a privileged position.  Anyone who can afford to stay home (even if the are on a tight budget as a consequence) or has a job that allows them time off without significant consequences is privileged.  Not everyone has this.  I wish it weren't a privilege (the ability to take time off with sick kids ) but a right.

Many moms who cannot take off work for a sick child have family nearby and/or friends who can help. Others arrange a pool of working mom friends with different schedules who take turns watching each other's mildly ill child.

And many, as we know, have no choice and resort to giving their sick children Tylenol and sending them to school, where they infect everyone else.

And all the vaccinations in the world aren't going to fix that.
post #14 of 34
I've mentioned this elsewhere, but I see what is essentially a male-dominated pediatric and governmental establishment talking down to a primarily female-dominated body of medical decision-makers. The former people feel their sworn duty to educate and enlighten all of these Mommies who clearly get their misinformation from a Playboy Bunny, The View and (cue ominous music), THE INTERNET. yikes2.gif

We're not informed or skeptical parents, we're just "frightened" and "scared" and need "reassurance." (Buzzwords I see in various "news" stories about vaccines). Considering how everything is structured--with medicine still being male-dominated in at least its culture, and with mothers usually being the ones to investigate medical decisions and take children to the doctor--we have a set-up that facilitates the classic sexist interactions.
post #15 of 34

There are plenty of women (mom's or otherwise) who are pro-vaccine and even women who are medical doctors. So I think you're over interpreting this as a battle of the sexes....

post #16 of 34

When my husband goes to the well-child check-ups and says, "we're not vaccinating today," he never gets a single word of opposition or even an eyeroll from the doctors and nurses.

 

Whereas I got absolute HELL from the nurses.

 

For a while, I had to bring DH with me to appointments.  Now that the pediatrician has decided--on his own--that he doesn't want to "see any more severe vaccine reactions on his watch" (his words), it's not so much a problem any more, though the nurses still do their eyeroll at me.

 

But there was an obvious difference between how the nurses treated me ("misinformed, panicky, needing reassurance, oh, here we go again, I don't have time for this hysterical mommy"), and how they treated my husband ("intelligent, well-educated, did the research, worthy of respect").

post #17 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marnica View Post

could very well be. I wish someone would do a survey/study about this taking into consideration daycare/activities ect. I realize that would be quite hard to control for potential "exposure" - but interesting nontheless. I myself think that genetics, how a child was born (Csection vs vaginal birth) nutritional status/diet etc have a great deal of impact on how often a child gets sick. 

 

I'd like to see something on that one.  I've never heard it before.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marnica View Post

I think it's an interesting point that people that vaccinate fully on schedule do not consider that they are committing their children to potentially suffer from an adverse reaction that requires they need greater care and would result in them being out from their job and potentially losing their job as a vaccine injured child can may require extensive care. 

 

I also want my kids to avoid being sick which is why I do quite a lot to safeguard their immune systems and keep them functioning optimally.

 

I know that it's anecdotal, but its is often said by parents of unvaxed children that they rarely get sick (with non VPD's) and miss school. In fact their fully vaxed counterparts (and often vaxed siblings) are sicker and miss more school in their casual observations and discussions with friends.

 

Conversely my vaxed kids have never had anything beyond a normal cold
 

post #18 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

 

I'd like to see something on that one.  I've never heard it before.

 

 

 

Conversely my vaxed kids have never had anything beyond a normal cold
 

I think that the moms who delay/withhold vaccines are more likely to be the moms who breastfeed, and are also more likely to feed a healthy diet.  

 

On the other hand, I'd like to see some research comparing autoimmune disorders in vaxed and unvaxed populations.  Yes, there are many things that can set of autoimmune disease--but if vaccination is not only one of them, but one of the strongest factors, that could have an awful lot of ramifications...

post #19 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by prosciencemum View Post

There are plenty of women (mom's or otherwise) who are pro-vaccine and even women who are medical doctors. So I think you're over interpreting this as a battle of the sexes....

Medicine is male-dominated, though. There could be more female peds than male, and I'd still argue that it's male-dominated because men hold the higher-up positions and historically (even currently) wield the influence. Keep in mind that the increase of women in medicine is an historically recent phenomenon. In my generation, our mothers were taught to obey their (male) doctors on all things medical and parenting.

And don't even start me on obstetrics and its longstanding patriarchal tradition of doing things to women's supine and helpless bodies and "delivering" babies while witch-hunting the those naughty, dissenting "lay" midwives, (as is the climate in the U.S). But I digress. Sort of.

Sure, women choose to vaccinate their kids fully. Most, in fact. But I'd argue that the treatment of those who question a given vaccine schedule has some sexist undertones.

Wanna have some real fun? Google the terms "Jenny McCarthy" and "bimbo." Jim Carrey stood on the vaccine platform with her. I haven't heard anyone call him a bimbo.
post #20 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Turquesa View Post



Wanna have some real fun? Google the terms "Jenny McCarthy" and "bimbo." Jim Carrey stood on the vaccine platform with her. I haven't heard anyone call him a bimbo.

I loved Jim Carrey's statement,"WE (the vaccine critics) are not the problem!  The PROBLEM (vaccine reactions) is the problem!"

http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/12/age-of-autism-award-jim-carrey-quote-of-the-year.html

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