So it’s Victim Mom vs Warrior Mom now? Here is some perspective


Jenny Mccarthy Victim

Sending all the wrong messages

Jenny McCarthy, more famous in the autism community for her on again/off again autistic son and her war on vaccines than her actual acting career, has made some very bold statements during the latest Autism One conference where she likened some moms to choosing to be victims and enjoying the “oh woe is me” victim role.

For some light reading on the subject:

Jenny McCarthy: Autism Moms “Fall in the the victim role…and they are loving it”
Words Matter
A letter to @JennyMcCarthy

There are a lot more posts and articles out there but I don’t want to list every single blog/article in the autism community because everyone has written about this.

I was going to let this go by as just something silly, nonsensical or, more or less, stupid.

But, upon thinking about it more today, I’ve come to the conclusion that I should say something. Something that I feel is imortant.


To recount what it was that she said, I’m going to borrow from the Left Brain/Right Brain post (the first article I listed above):

As we continued to talk about alternative treatments for our children, I noticed the room separating into two sides. We were no longer talking as a whole anymore. There was a group of moms who didn’t want anything to do with what we were talking about. They slumped into a corner and had a “woe is me” attitude. I decided to eavesdrop on both conversations.

The “woe is me” moms were talking about how they didn’t get to shop or go to the beach with their friends anymore, and the “I’ll try anything if it will help my kid recover” moms were trading success stories about the latest treatments.

And, later…

“My other theory was that they enjoyed the victim role. I know that might sound mean, but I’m sure you’ve met people who are constantly having shit go wrong in their life. They complain and play the “don’t you feel sorry for me” game.

Now, for the most part, the autism community got up in arms over this in one of two ways… either being offended as she had called them victims, or defending her as they felt that she was making a great point.

My stance is, it’s all a matter of perspective. Now, hear me out.

This is just an example, but where’s the dads? How come it’s only moms who get a label? If anyone should be offended, it’s us dads that work every bit as hard as the victims and warriors combined and we’re forgotten about completely.

See? Perspective.

Anyway, more to the point, I’d like to offer a few alternative perspectives.

The two groups

The two groups that she alludes to were contained within one larger group of moms discussing alternative treatments. I can only assume, and this is just me, that if not all, then most of those moms were in the anti-vaccine camp… believing that vaccines, or other toxins, had caused their child’s autism in the first place.

This already excludes a lot of moms in the autism community. The majority I’d say, since most autism moms do not believe the vaccine theory. This means that she’s casting a divide within an already divided group.

So to put it mathematically, in hypothesis only and my numbers will be way off, if the split is 75/25 for moms who don’t believe the vaccine theory and those who do… then she’s dividing up the 25 into two groups. If 50/50 then it would be 13/12 or something like that.

It’s still very wrong to label those moms and cast judgement, I’m just saying that maybe she’s not talking about the moms that you think she’s talking about. You know, the moms that have no qualms with the toxins of the world.

The Accepting Mom

The prevalent perspective is that Ms. McCarthy is talking about moms that have come to accept their child as they are.. with or without autism. That those moms do not seek out chelation or force feed their children bleach and therefore would rather just be the victim.

If this is the perspective of choice, then you must realize that it’s how she sees things. It’s her own perspective.

I realize that this won’t be popular among those who like Jenny McCarthy or feel how she feels but remember, this is only to illustrate a different perspective.

See, she may consider a mom that does not try things like giving their child a bleach enema as just playing the victim but I tend to think of that mom as simply having common sense enough to not try something obviously dangerous, and stupid.

She may consider a mom that accepts their child for who they are as enjoying the victim role so much that they give up rather than try tons of pointless and costly treatments but I tend to think that not seeing their children as damaged goods in the first place, and having unconditional love trumps all titles that one can fling at them.

She may consider a mom that talks about her struggles in raising a child with autism as a person that basks in the feeling of being the helpless victim but I tend to see that mom as someone that I can relate to, get advice from, share experiences with and understand.

She may see a “warrior mom” as a woman that battles “big pharma” and government agencies. That’s fine. To me, when I see a mom crying about how the evil empires broke their child, how much money they spend on treatments that put their children in danger because they are so desperate to cure them… that’s when I see a victim. In fact, I hear it in their chants: “big pharma is making money while making our children sick. We’re the victims!”

She may see a mother that never stops fighting for their child as a warrior mom but I tend to think that ALL MOTHERS NEVER STOP FIGHTING FOR THEIR CHILD. If they do… they’re not really their mother. Moms do not give up. Period.

She may see compassion, positivity, acceptance, understanding and love as being the victim. Then I say, please call me a victim too.

If seeing my child as perfect makes me a victim and seeing my child as broken, in need of being cured from the damage done by evil doctors makes me a warrior… I’ll take the victim title, thank you.

That’s just my perspective. And opinions are born out of perspectives. They do not make them fact.

Her opinions, based on her perspective, should remain her own.

She’s entitled to them.

As I am entitled to mine.


Victim and proud.

About Stuart Duncan

My name is Stuart Duncan, creator of My oldest son (Cameron) has Autism while my younger son (Tyler) does not. I am a work from home web developer with a background in radio. I do my very best to stay educated and do what ever is necessary to ensure my children have the tools they need to thrive. I share my stories and experiences in an effort to further grow and strengthen the online Autism community and to promote Autism Understanding and Acceptance.

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17 Responses to So it’s Victim Mom vs Warrior Mom now? Here is some perspective

  1. Kathy June 21, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

    Thank you. I thought I was the only one who had similar thoughts. Nothing against Jenny McCarthy, but I feel I do the best I can with the means I have.

  2. Caryn Haluska June 21, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

    Bombdiggity! But, then again, you knew that already.. 😉

  3. Carolina Renee June 22, 2012 at 12:53 am #


  4. Marsupial Mama (@MarsupialMami) June 22, 2012 at 1:25 am #

    I *heart* this post!!

  5. Tessa June 22, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    I love this. Thanks for your wonderful perspective. By the way, my husband is a SAHD to our 2 year old with autism, and he’s a proud victim too.

  6. ic2manywords June 22, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

    I would rather be a victim if that is what being a victim is, too. I am a grandmother to a spectrum kid. There is a family in our church where half of them are on the spectrum. I am blessed to be someone who attracts kids on the spectrum and gets sought out by them. I feel honored by every autistic child who comes and touches me, talks to me and shares with me (depending on their own abilities is what affects how they interact with me). I always feel so humbled to be someone they find comfortable enough to interact with and spend time with. I would rather celebrate any person and encourage them as they grow than risk injuring them on unfounded treatments that could possibly harm or even kill them.

    Great post! Thank you for your encouragement to all of those out there who believe that the right thing might not be what is popularized by former Playboy models.

  7. Autismum June 22, 2012 at 3:54 pm #

    My son is perfect too. The only victims are the people he slays with his big blue eyes and cheeky grin.

  8. mylindaelliott June 23, 2012 at 3:18 pm #

    Pretty good perspective, in my opinion. I don’t see my child as broken either. BUT I never stop fighting…for any of them.

  9. Jane June 24, 2012 at 3:25 pm #

    She wrote about parents (moms) she met when she enrolled her son in the UCLA treatment program in one of her books and as a result, when I first showed up at the same treatment program with my child, I was completely leery of the moms there. I had no interest in chelating and bleaching my kid, my scientific training aside; then again, I don’t believe in “doing nothing” — er — why would we be enrolling our child in this program if we believe in wallowing in victim-hood.

    It turns out that yes, there are some of these types of parents there who will try anything and everything because they feel they have an obligation to “do their utmost” to “recover” their children just as JM says she’s recovered her child.

    On the other hand, I find more parents who may “dabble” in some “biomedical” therapies (I have no idea why this term is even used — there is nothing “biological” or “medical” about the therapy if we were to scrutinize the scientific basis behind these therapies) but most of these parents are going with treatments that have been backed by research including various speech, OT, PT, and behavioral modalities.

    What I’ve seen most is a form of parental peer pressure, where sometimes I wonder if I refuse to buy into the various fad-du-jour, that I am demonstrating that I don’t love my kid enough or am willing to do enough to help him. Eventually I find my parental peers who subscribe to the same philosophy I do, and there are plenty of these parental peers. I admit I will cringe when I hear about a UCLA-based psychiatrist prescribing supplements, fortunate for me we were assigned the one who is hard-nosed about data supporting specific therapies and medications.

    • Jane June 24, 2012 at 3:29 pm #

      Oh I almost forgot, in the same book she trashes the spouses and claims all the moms she met had absent spouses who couldn’t handle the diagnosis and either flee or go into denial. That pissed me off even more than her categorization of us “warrior or victim” mothers. I’ve met several dads who spend ENTIRE 6 HOURS at the treatment center waiting for their children, who have rearranged their lives and schedules to put their kids first, and who are true collaborators and partners with their spouses in their kids’ therapeutic program decisions. Maybe I went to the UCLA center in a parallel universe, I don’t know.

  10. Nan June 25, 2012 at 12:23 am #

    This is the first post I’ve ever read on this blog and I already love you. (Platonically, of course.) I am the mother of a 5 year old with autism, and my husband is absolutely amazing with him. It’s good to know that there are other people out there who think Jenny McCarthy is a nutbar.

  11. Jane October 15, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

    I would rather be the mother of a healthy and formerly autistic child.

  12. Naomi October 16, 2013 at 8:37 am #

    What I heard at similar conferences (DAN!) was that their children were broken, their lives were on hold, they were desperate to fix their kids. I always got the impression that nobody’s life could go on until this horrible thing was eradicated by nearly any means. And what I saw them promoting was the same things that have been promoted for other incurable disorders like MS. If the same things cure everything, that sounds like snake oil.

  13. ellen U January 11, 2014 at 9:51 pm #

    I’ve never thought Jenny McCarthy’s son ever had real autism, so I don’t even consider her an autism mom.

  14. xtine000 January 2, 2015 at 8:03 pm #

    I’m sorry but you can’t think of Autistic children as “perfect. Everyone can see that they have terrible issues. That’s part of today’s “PC” thinking that is not serving anyone, it’s just an emotional bandaid that does not work. Are potential partners, employers and members of their social group going to see them as “perfect” ? No. The thing that helps people the most is being realistic about their situation. This is not meant to be mean but to benefit the people involved. The truth is, there ARE “Munchausen Moms” in the world who like to have sick children, maybe she noticed a group of them. Were you there? Then how do you really know?

  15. Roger P January 9, 2015 at 2:01 am #

    It is very ODD that someone with an allegedly autistic son would write a bunch of books about his alleged autism then suddenly stop talking about his autism, or showing anyone his “autism” and then go on to be a talk show host that wears glasses to make herself look “educated” in the absence of her having any educational degree. sounds like damage control here. That said, the reality is Jenny McCarthy’s son does not appear to have ever had real “autism” and as such, this is the reason she doesn’t talk about his autism anymore….she simply jumped on autism topic at the time because it was a stepping stone to more publicity and opportunities, just as any sociopath would do. So very creepy, strange and just pathetic. Her son never had autism, but the book publishers don’t want to lose money on their phony autism mum, so they just turn a blind eye. Wow. So scary and disgusting.


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