Thursday, April 7, 2011

PETA, Infertility, and You (A Food-Free Post)

I've been thinking a lot about how, if at all, I want to respond to the PETA “win a vasectomy campaign” in honor of National Infertility Awareness week. I didn't want to simply ignore it, but I was also not sure what I wanted to say.  (update: because of the outcry, PETA removed references to National Infertility Week from their campaign!  See Keiko's post.)

A lot of my fellow bloggers -- Keiko and Trinity and Elphaba and Jjiraffe and Inconceivable and Esperanza and Keiko again -- have been posting some pretty amazing letters in protest.  Some, like Mel, have chosen not to respond because they feel that this kind of attention is exactly what PETA wants.

I think I want to suggest (and I hope I don't lose readers for saying this) that we do respond, but instead of doing so directly, to the PETA media stunt (or even perhaps in addition to doing so, if we feel that we need to address it), that more importantly we respond indirectly, by working even harder to make our experiences heard, to give infertility "a face and a name"--or, as Esperanza puts it, "7.3 million faces and names in the U.S. alone."  I think what we do by blogging has the potential to dispel the myths that organizations like PETA perpetuate (whether you take PETA seriously or not here is besides the point).  What troubles me is that the IF blogging community can be somewhat insular; if we want to write about something besides IF, for example, many of us have a separate blog to do so, even a separate identity.  And while it's difficult--even painful--to tell our stories to people outside of our community who misunderstand infertility and say hurtful, devastating things to us (I read posts and comments all the time about not being able talk to our colleagues, our friends, or even our families about IF and loss), I think that's the very reason it's so necessary.

I would encourage IF bloggers to take the Resolve Blogging Challenge (Bust an Infertility Myth) as Keiko suggests, but also to go one step further, and make sure that maybe just this once, people beyond your regular readership see your post.  Tweet it, Facebook it, do whatever you can do, perhaps just outside of your normal comfort zone.  PETA might or might not need to hear from us.  But there are so many other people who certainly do need to hear from us, one heart and voice and name at a time.
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  1. I think that is a good idea. I've thought similar things. All of my IRL friends (and pretty much anyone who has aver asked me about my pregnancy)knows that it took us 18 months to conceive and we were one month away from IVF. Other than the occasional, "it will happen" from an uninformed person, most people were kind and maybe learned something. They usually asked questions and I'm pretty open.

    I started my blog because, although they were helpful, I felt like they probably got tired of my one track mind and other than a couple IRL friends, they didn't have any experience with IF procedures and stuff.

    I do think it is really important to let people know. My soap box was age related IF, which although a natural biological process, still sucks and very hard to deal with.

  2. I think I'll have to take baby steps with this one, but I love the sentiment of expanding our voice for the cause. I'm going to make an effort to do that in some way.

  3. This must be so devastating for anyone who has been affected by infertility. I hadn't heard about this campaign, and I appreciate you bringing this to your readers' attention.

  4. I don't understand PETA sometimes... what were they thinking !!! So insensitive ! xoxo

  5. A thoughtful, inspired post and a fresh take on this PETA madness. Excellent call to action!

  6. Thanks for this post. I think that PETA is its own worst enemy. As a vegan and an animal lover, I don't personally relate to PETA at all. The shock-stunts are just distasteful a lot of the time. This one is particularly disgusting. I hadn't heard of it before reading your post...thanks for sharing!

  7. They removed the reference to National Infertility Week! See (update: because of the outcry, PETA removed references to National Infertility Week from their campaign! See Keiko's post:

  8. I took the liberty of making donations on their behalf. St. Jude says thanks PETA!


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