I was recently alerted that there’s a Facebook page whose status updates and threads mostly focus on finding new ways to insult me. Insults about my intelligence, my motivation, my writing (that one hurts the most, to be honest). And of course, it is chock full of the requisite accusations that I am being paid by the formula industry to write this blog.
My reaction to this isn’t outrage or horror, but rather a half-hearted meh. I’m used to this crap by now. Between my writing and acting careers, I’ve dealt with my fair share of ego-blows, and my skin is appropriately thick. I know what I write about isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. (And some people really don’t like tea.) Also, I’ve realized I’d better get used to it, because with my book coming out in a few months, I’ll likely be attracting more vitriol and suspicion than ever.
Then today it hit me… I’ll likely be attracting more vitriol and suspicion than ever. Holy hell. I’m going to get sick of defending myself pretty quickly.
So in honor of the vitriol and suspicion I expect to be arriving at my door in lieu of royalty checks (because let’s be real, books make no money these days, especially for first time writers authoring academic tomes about infant feeding), here is my “Startling Disclosure Post To Save Those Who Think I’m a Shill for “Big Forma” From Endless Hours of (Mostly) Fruitless Investigation“.
Well, hello there, vitriolic and suspicious individual! I assume you’ve come here because you are trying to unearth some dirt about me. As a researcher myself, I know how time consuming this can be. And since, if you’re trying to expose me, my very existence has likely caused you hours of consternation already, I figured I’d do you a solid and save you the work.
A dark (chocolate) past
From an early age, the FFF really liked TV. Even the commercials. And there was one, with a supremely catchy jingle, which she used to go around humming:
N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Nestle’s makes the very best…chooooclate.
In her defense, she had no idea that Nestle had done despicable things in the third world. Ever since finding this out, she has done intense approach-avoidance therapy to get the ditty out of her head. She’s even resorted to listening to Carly Rae Jepson *to overwrite the catchiness of the dreaded company’s jingle. Hey, I’ve just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s the truth, so lay off me, maybe?
Still, there is no denying that she has eaten her fair share of Crunch Bars. I’m sure she’d plead that this does not mean she is in any way condoning Nestle’s actions in regards to formula marketing, but that it just means she is addicted to sugar. Liar, liar, pants on fire.
*warning – if you click on this link and hear this song, you may never get it out of your head. I mean never. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.
An Insidious “Reality” Check
Back in 2008, when FFF was still pursuing her acting career, she applied – on a lark – for a reality show about expectant parents. She somehow convinced her husband to go along with it (although it was probably the lure of a year’s worth of free diapers rather than her powers of persuasion that pushed him over the edge) and the two ended up being featured for the remaining six months of their pregnancy on a web series for Pampers.com. The original series was 100% breastfeeding friendly – so much so that they casually glossed over how she was feeding her baby in the wrap-up episode, rather than using the footage from the planned breastfeeding episode (because that footage was so horrifying and depressing that if they had used it, it would have been perceived as far more anti-breastfeeding than it would be to avoid the subject of infant feeding altogether).
About a year later- right around the time FFF was pitching her book to publishers – she was contacted by the producers and asked if she and her family would be willing to be part of a follow-up series on parenting young kids, also for Pampers. The family agreed, signed contracts, and began filming.
That series ended up being hosted not only on the Pampers site as originally planned, but also the website of baby food company Beech Nut, and… wait for it… Similac. A formula company.
::waiting for the audible gasps::
Yes, it’s true. One might say that the FFF indirectly received money from Similac for being part of a documentary series about parenting. Granted, the money she received was actually from the independent, completely non-formula-industry-connected LA production company who created the series, who later sold the rights to Similac. Granted, the series followed three families, two of whom were parenting toddlers well past the traditional breastfeeding/formula days, and one with a newborn who was exclusively breastfed. And granted, the FFF had no control over what happened to the series once she was signed on to it, which is evidenced by the fact that while she was writing this post, and went to find the links for the videos, she discovered that certain organizations have been using the videos to support a particular political cause which she absolutely does not agree with, and the thought of this really makes her want to scream oh holy hell why did I sell my soul for a couple of free diapers… But these things shouldn’t matter. What matters is that we now have proof – the FFF was partially funded by a formula company!!
(Don’t believe her when she gives the lame excuse that the formula company didn’t even know she wrote about formula feeding at the time, no one ever interviewed her prior to filming about her experiences with breastfeeding, and that the series had fudge-all to do with her platform as the FFF, but rather the fact that the first Pampers series did really well, probably because no one knew about her controversial alter-ego. Or that the main reason that she had used a nom de plume for her blog in the first place was because she’d been worried it might reflect poorly on Pampers if anyone found out that their poster child for motherhood was a formula feeding blogger.)
You can see the series on YouTube still (I’m a bit surprised that none of you have brought this up yet, as it’s pretty easy to find, and certainly no secret.) Take a look, and prepare to be shocked at the overwhelming evidence that FFF is in fact a pawn of the formula industry, not a person with feelings and friends and flab and opinions which were formed through countless hours of research and introspection.
Further Evidence That FFF, AKA Suzanne Barston, is Evil Incarnate
Now that the jig is up, and we know that FFF is really Suzanne Barston, a Nestle-jingle-singing member of the infant formula cabal, let’s dig a little deeper into her sordid personal life:
- Once (maybe three times) her daughter ate dog food because Suzanne wasn’t paying attention.
- Her husband is a photographer, and one of his biggest clients is a lingerie company. In other words, he is contributing to the sexualization of breasts. Thankfully, the breasts in question are mostly silicone. So he’s mostly contributing to the sexualization of silicone.
- She doesn’t always recycle.
- She bribes her kids with gummy worms.
- She really likes the band Phish, which we all know means that she is a dirty hippie and most likely a drug addict.
- She watches The Bachelor. And not in an ironic sort of way.
- She used to be an actress. Not only is she not an academic or physician, she spent the majority of her adult years essentially playing make believe for a living. She’s probably a really good liar, which is why she’s been able to convince so many women that formula feeding isn’t something to feel guilty about. (Let’s ignore the fact that she must not have been a very good actress, considering she now runs a money pit of a blog and eeks out a living writing articles about gout rather than starring in The Office.)
- She went on a few dates in high school with the guy who wrote Go The F**k to Sleep. This makes sense, because morally questionable people who hate babies are attracted to each other!
- For the majority of her first pregnancy, she was seriously concerned that she could never love a baby as much as she loved her dog.
- She went to Northwestern University, which is known to have ties to the formula industry. (Okay, I totally made that one up, but who knows. They might.)
- She’s a snarky smartass who is totally belittling the fact that anyone who has the nerve to have an alternative opinion on the subject of formula feeding is assumed to be benefiting from it financially. She might even have the nerve to argue that there are plenty of people making money off breastfeeding moms, from pumps to breastfeeding fashions to breastmilk screening kits to lactation services, and that it would be really nice if all breastfeeding-related bloggers would take a pledge to cease all advertising of these products and services immediately so that their blogs will not be affected by sponsor bias. She’d probably think it was funny to sarcastically accuse people like Jack Newman of being in the pockets of the nursing bra industry, because what other financial incentive could he have to write books about breastfeeding? Seriously, that FFF is an idiot, because anyone who writes with zealous intolerance about parenting is doing it for purely altruistic and noble reasons, while people who advocate for acceptance and support of all parenting and feeding methods are delusional jerks. Or paid by the formula companies. One or the other.
Hopefully, that should give you enough fuel for your anti-FFF fire. If not, feel free to make some stuff up. Just make it really juicy, okay? The Bachelor is on hiatus and I am seriously in need of some good made-up drama.