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Blogger SciBabe Debunks Pseudoscience

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Yvette d’Entremont, under the stage name, “SciBabe,” serves up edgy humor while debunking pseudoscience with the keen eye of a professional analyst.

Yvette d’Entremont is “SciBabe,” a blogger who presents her content with a quirky and risque style and backs it with higher-ed degrees and a history of working as a professional chemical analyst. She’s authored Gawker articles with titles like, “The Food Babe Blogger is Full of Shit,” and posts videos where she consumes large amounts of homeopathic remedies to prove their impotency.

Once afflicted with mysterious headaches, she fell for misinformation and got sicker. Now she’s on a crusade to debunk pseudoscience––and she’s dishing out some sass along the way. SciBabe says homeopathic medicine, anti-GMO, and anti-vaccine health movements are the most frivolous, even dangerous, health movements right now.

A feud with another blogger, “Food Babe,” sparked d’Entremont’s popularity early this May. The aforementioned Gawker article went “nutty-viral” and garnered millions of views. Then she made the front page of the Los Angeles Times. Institutions globally are requesting her for speaking engagements. There is already a book deal, and there may be a television show in the near future.

D’Entremont hails from small-town New Hampshire and majored in chemistry and theater at Emmanuel College. She picked up the SciBabe gig full time after she was laid off from her analyst job with agricultural chemical company, Amvac. A couple years earlier she suffered a mysterious headache for eight months, and during that time turned to the internet for a cure. She bought into the ideology of “Food Babe,” a blogger and “food activist” whose real name is Vani Hari. When Yvette lost weight a little too fast, her doctor suggested she might have an eating disorder. Then she had a revelation about the lifestyle Hari was championing: “A food blogger with no qualifications is telling me I shouldn’t have [certain foods].” says d’Entremont, “I started looking at it very skeptically and I realized there was no science behind [what she was saying]. It took a little while to look through and go ‘A-ha, these people are selling this to vulnerable people.’”

These two internet vigilantes have become increasingly embroiled in a GMO war rich with character assassinations, and not without the involvement of corporations. A recent exposé by the New York Times found that both the biotech and organic industries are recruiting academics to lobby and take shots for them.

Hari wields an arsenal of self-branding, fearmongering, and tantalizing food porn. With tenacious and evocative public relations tactics, she has established a loyal readership of three million, and regularly musters enough social mobilization to force major food corporations, from Chipotle to Kraft, to change their policies. Her book, ‘The Food Babe Way’ hit number one on the New York Times Bestseller list and TIME magazine rated her in their “Top 30 Most Influential People on the Internet.”

Granted, SciBabe is not without her marketing too. Her website sexualizes her brand and dresses it up as a particular type of edgy “cool,” such as with the slogan “Come for the science, stay for the dirty jokes.” But in comparing her arguments and the discourse of fans on her Facebook with that of Food Babe’s, something becomes clear: One leans on fact and rigor, and the other on emotional rhetoric and ideas from the scientific fringes.

Says d’Entremont: “People aren’t stupid. There is just so much information, it’s hard to parse through. So I’m trying to give people a guide to get through that,”

See her this Tuesday in the UMass Boston Campus Center ballroom, from 3 P.M. to 5 P.M. as part of her “10 Rules to B.S. Detection” tour. The event is sponsored by The Mass Media.