Something Fishy about an eating disorder site's information
|yes, this is from a cigarette ad for "Slims"|
but you get my point.
When I was asked to leave SF, the only place on the Internet or "real" life I knew of with other parents on it, I was crushed. Yes, I had a different view. Yes, I disagreed with others. Yet it hurt more than I can say to be exiled.
I had already been upbraided and disparaged. I was not unaware that my views upset people. What I was saying about feeding your kids, about it not being our fault, about brain issues was wildly unwelcome. But I remember the day afterward when I went to my computer and couldn't go there any more. The door was shut. I found it humiliating and unfair and cruel. I cried a lot. For a while after that if my young son saw me sad he'd come pat me on the back and ask if it was "those fishes."
I licked my wounds and moved on. I started another online forum as an alternative, a community that went on to start two organizations for parents (Maudsley Parents & F.E.A.S.T.) I have seen the ideas that got me exiled go from "controversial" and offensive to accepted if not welcomed. The ED world has changed, for the most part. It took a lot of folks a lot of work to get us here.
At the time, though, I was actually scared of the backlash. I considered being silent about what I experienced there. Who was I to object?
I realize now that what I experienced was classic social control, and that I allowed myself to be intimidated. It is HARD to stand up for your beliefs and for others when you feel alone. It is hard to be sent away because you won't go along with what you believe is wrong. In retrospect we can see the right path but at the time.... you don't. Feeling alone, and not wanting to be a troublemaker, and wanting to be pleasing, these all get in your way. You hear the criticism and you hear the gossip and even being "right" doesn't seem like enough. Your ego gets bruised. You doubt yourself.
But things have changed. That's a lovely realization. That's a fantastic realization. We've come a long way. It is okay to talk about brains, to talk about food, to encourage parents to get in and not butt out. We don't need to apologize and defer; we can act and we can support one another instead of pulling one another back down.
Yet, the Something Fishy site is still there and the content that was out of date and harmful to parents in 2002 is still there and still causing ongoing harm. A group of wonderful activist parents are fed up and are trying to get that fixed. They are speaking up and asking all of us to do so as well.
The Something Fishy site needs to be changed. The former owners (CRC) who bought it from the original couple who created it have benefitted from years of SEO and clicks that direct people to their referral lines. CRC and all the other advertisers have had many years and countless profits from the site without changing that content.
The new owners, who are still unclear on their identity and goals, say they want to make the site positive. I say they should make it RIGHT. Take down the archaic and harmful content. Be part of the present. I did not agree, philosophically, with the original owners but they were sincere. The owners and the users engaged with the site in good faith. I hope more people step up to ask that the good faith be honored by taking down or updating the site.