By Erin K Costello
I'm going to start our page off by writing about the person who helped make this website happen, Kate Tietje. One of the many medicine deniers you'll come across online is known as Modern Alternative Mama, or MAM for short. Her real name is Kate Tietje. She's also regularly referred to as Ktits or KT in the pro-vaccination community. Her idiocy isn't reserved to strictly vaccines though, she manages to spread it around all things science. As a result of her efforts, she has become someone we often find ourselves writing about online. For those who aren't yet familiar with MAM and her boundless stupidity, let me fill you in.
MAM has been around since 2009 when she began her Modern Alternative Mama blog. Kate is a Christian mother of 6 children ranging in ages one month to ten years with her husband Ben. She boasts about her search engine fueled medical research by mocking those with an education in order to validate and spread her ignorance. It's the typical narcissism that comes from graduates of Google University.
Since 2009 she has become most popular for her anti-vaccination beliefs , her anti-mainstream medicine views, rejecting modern science as seen preserved here (she tends to remove proof of her stupidity from her blog when called out loudly enough), the time her toddler broke his arm and she denied him medical treatment for a week, and for the time she told the internet she favored her son over her daughter. I think SciBabe said it best when writing about MAM; "If she had a bigger following, she’d be the most dangerous Mommy blogger on the internet. "
Kate fancies herself to be a crunchy, all natural, educated mama. However, her education according to her consists of a music degree and choosing which search results to read through her confirmation bias. She uses her "research" to spread lies and misinformation about some serious subjects. The pinned post in her Facebook group, Modern Alternative Mamas!, reads as the following;
"Our members tend to practice, and our group is specifically supportive of:
*Breastfeeding and next-best alternatives
*Natural birth, including home/unassisted
*Intact boys/no circ
*Real food/healthy nutrition (not USDA version)
We do not argue any of these positions. You do not have to fit them all, but don't come seeking support for something in opposition to these. This is a place for natural/alternative families to learn and grow, not defend themselves.
We do not allow:
*Promotional/advertising type posts (with the exception of admin or by permission)
*Fundraisers/GoFundMe type posts
*Political posts not related to our goals (i.e. a political 'vaccine laws might change' post is fine; general politics are not)
*Creating posts to insult the group or other members
*Blocking any admin
*Suggesting "go to the doctor" for non-emergency situations
*Suggesting antibiotics or any specific pharmaceutical ever (a doctor will prescribe if truly needed)
*Mocking, belittling, or insulting other members"
Don't let that last bit fool you. The second you stray from her tenets and show any support for vaccines, circumcision, MSM (mainstream medicine), or even piercing your baby's ears you will be met with harsh judgments and insults, even from Kate herself at times. After all, like Kate always says, "When you know better, you do better," and no one knows better than Kate in Kate's world.
All one has to do is dig into the Teitje's a little bit to learn their true motives; money. Like every other woo shill before her swearing by pseudoscience, Kate sells her own home remedies , books, and other shit. However, these aren't the only failed attempts of a Tietje empire. There's the real food menu planning website , which looks like nothing more than emailing you weekly recipes, and Epitelo Music Academy which claimed to specialize in home music lessons for autistic children, despite Kate not having any special education experience.
Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with attempting to make a living at home on the internet. However, if you're going to make outrageous claims and try to sell me shit my 13 year old can make if left to her own devices, while destroying my kitchen, I'm going to look at your motives. Motives for the Tietje's are likely to be the rent on their home (which was listed at $2,000 a month by the house owners before the Tietjes moved in), their 6 children, and the strain of neither parent working outside the home. I'm also going to look for honesty in your claims, which tends to fade away when caught in a lie while trying to sell some of your shit. *see pic below.
You don't have to go any further to find a perfect example of delusions of grandeur than Kate Tietje. Despite her best website only being worth $12,950, and having a unique daily traffic of 2,139, she assumes herself in a class with Dr Oz. In a MAM post called "Why the Science Critics Are Dangerous" she writes;
"just a few weeks ago, a group of doctors called for Dr. Oz to be fired from a staff position at a university because of his TV show — they didn’t like that he makes strong claims for supplements and alternative health products, and felt that this interfered with his ability to be employed as a serious doctor…
It may or may not surprise you that as a popular blogger in the alternative world, I’ve faced the same types of criticism — obviously on a smaller scale. There are entire groups dedicated to “stopping” me. These groups leave comments on my Facebook page almost daily, telling me how “dangerous” I am and linking to some article that’s pro-vaccine, pro-GMO, etc. They regularly — at least a couple times a month — write articles about me and all the “woo” I peddle.
I ignore them, generally, as do many of my colleagues. (Food Babe is another huge target for these people.) But it seems that despite ignoring them they’re only speaking out more and more. They’re doing so more publicly. They’re writing for major media and calling people out."
She doesn't get that none of this is about HER. If she woke up tomorrow and decided to make and sell her own jewelry and claim it was the best jewelry ever made we'd never mention her again. But when you make dangerous and false health claims while claiming to be informed on the subject because Google, we are going to speak the fuck up. In fact, she's even lying in her claim above about ignoring such groups. This website you're on at this moment started with our Facebook page What's The Harm? The page was started in the summer of 2017 after our Facebook group, Banned By MAM, was closed down due to a flood of reports. Reports that MAM herself called for in her closed group of close to 20,000 members at the time. Her members then began to harass some of us individually, including MAM herself who posted to group members profile info for a Mary Smithe. If Kate ever does ignore those who rally against her it's probably because she sends her minions to do her dirty work.
There will be many quacks, snake oil salespeople, and alternative health care D-bags we write about on this website. It felt fitting to start the site off with MAM since she helped inspire our website's existence. Happy quack hunting!
What's The Harm?