Olivia Wilde just became the poster child for why this ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has become so frustrating.
And note, naysayers. I used the word "frustrating" while still fully supporting the challenge. Nothing could be better for fighting ALS. Publicity-wise, the ALS campaign is brilliant. What better way to bring attention to this urgent cause. If the fundraising figures are even remotely accurate, the challenge has already raised over 70 million dollars to fight this devastating disease.
So I was trying... trying... not to let the self-indulgent celebrity videos I watched interfere with my enthusiasm for the ALS Ice Bucket challenge, but Olivia Wilde's posting was my tipping point.
It's cringe worthy.
In case you missed it, Wilde threw a bucket of "breast milk" on top of her head, instead of the usual ice water. Then giggled. And it just set me off. Here's why.
1. It was offensive to us moms. Sure, Wilde was joking that it took her "all night to make this [milk]", and any intelligent being realizes it couldn't possibly be real breast milk (not even Wilde's breasts could produce that amount, for the men wondering....) but it was in poor taste. If you are a breastfeeding mom, you know the stuff is liquid gold and not easy to produce. Even joking about wasting it is taboo. It's our babies' food! And believe me, it takes a lot of loving effort to even produce a few ounces.
It was also offensive to the non-breastfeeding moms. Way to rub it in, Olivia, that breast milk is so easy to produce that you can flippantly pour a bucket load on your head. Even as a joke. Giggle giggle. It's just not that funny, especially to Moms unable to produce any, but wishing they could.
2. It exemplifies how celebrities took a perfect "teachable" moment and squandered it. Why is Olivia Wilde even talking about her breast milk? Does it have anything to do with the ALS challenge?
Instead of reciting a fact or two about ALS before each video (or asking the viewer to make a donation), most celebrities -- like Wilde -- manipulated the Bucket Challenge to be all about themselves. Watch me as I scream and squirm when hit with some cold water. Or in Wilde's case, breast milk. In fact, it may reflect more on the intelligence of our current celebrities that many seemed surprised to learn ice cold water is cold. Yes, ice water has a way of being like that.
(And footnote here: anyone else tired of the "bowls" celebrities use? Where I come from, that's not a bucket. But I digress.)
3. Olivia Wilde's stunt was personally disappointing. I always liked her. She's a decent actress. She seemed to be a cool chick. The type of person who could be a guy's gal and a girl's best friend.
But more to the point, just last month, Wilde proudly advertised the fact she was breastfeeding, with a beautiful spread in Glamour, showing her nursing her baby. At the time, I admired that she was doing her part to chip away at the stigma breastfeeding has among the ignorant.
So it was even more bizarre that she -- of all people -- would throw a bucket of the stuff -- real or not -- on her head. At best, it was stupid. At worse, offensive, at least judging from the twitter response.
And yes, I get it. The ice bucket challenge is supposed to be fun. And I know Wilde didn't intend for her video to be offensive. But it was one of those weird, unfunny jokes people make that leave people scratching their heads. For me, it showed that the ice bucket challenge has been hijacked by self-obsessed celebrities, more interested in grabbing attention than anything else.
Maybe next time, we could hear more from these celebrities as to why ALS needs our money. How the disease slowly affects our loves ones' limbs, speech and breathing. How it robs them of their independence and quality of life. Maybe then, we could take this wonderful challenge and make it a teachable moment so we can defeat this deadly disease once and for all.
As for Olivia, I'm sure it was a joke. But it's a teachable moment that some antics aren't that funny. They're just bizarre.