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I wanted to read the NYTimes piece but it was paywalled. I do have the free version of @Burnt Toast and generally appreciate her nuanced takes on diet culture, fatphobia & body autonomy. But I can also see how writing about her views for a general audience could be challenging out of context.

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The link I shared to the article should be free, but let me double check that.

Writing for a general audience without the context would make it really hard to see her as anything but a quack, and I am still so baffled by the thinking around the reporting. There was some explanation for her rationality in the piece, but none of those were in direct quotes. And there could have been a couple more sources brought in too.

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While I haven't read the NYT piece I appreciate your rational view of what was and was not said. It's an example of the frustrating aspect of journalism, making me wish for a one on one with the author to ask why did you do this or omit that?

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I agree wholeheartedly and expect to hear her take sooner than later, since she’s very active here on Substack.

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Apr 29Liked by Kristi Koeter

Glad to get your perspective on this. I checked in here right after I read the NYT piece and it left me unsettled. I also had more questions than answers - why did the writer focus so much on her marriage? Is the feature supposed to be about her and her writing and activism or is it a gossip column about a well-known person getting a divorce? There was a strong undercurrent of judgment and shame running throughout.

I feel that - in the United States, at least - many people have lost the ability to engage intellectually with ideas, deciding whether we agree with them or not, whether they are relevant for our situations, and adopt the ideas that we find useful and leave the rest.

So many parents, especially, will make a particular parenting style or author or dogma, part of their personality - "I'm an Alfie Kohn parent." or Ellyn Satter, or whoever the guru du jour is in their social circle. And I've read "Unconditional Parenting" and found use in some of his ideas, the same way I liked Child of Mine without it having to become my bible.

I think Virginia Sole-Smith's writing raises issues that many women need to consider (about parenting, about the demands we place on motherhood). I can believe that her ideas and perspective are important and valuable without deciding that I must always let my children have access to Oreos.

The comments on the NYT article were just off the chain. It reminded me of parents who were so incredibly threatened by the idea that their parenting style might not be the 'one true way.'

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Thanks, Cathi. I'm so interested in getting the perspective of opinions. I was troubled by the focus on her marriage too. One of the questions running through my mind was "If this profile were about a man, would we be discussing it?" Probably not.

That's a good way of thinking about the commenters, and I think you're right, we've lost the ability to intellectually engage and disagree respectfully. The solution to all of these issues are not nearly as black and white as many of us would like to believe. I'll admit, the profile made me take a hard look at myself and my own dogma.

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