Saturday, May 25, 2024

Mom shamed for bringing her son to Burning Man insists the festival is ‘definitely a place for kids’

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Bianca Snyder is urging moms to be confident using the “devil’s lettuce” and slamming sancti-mommies who shame her for taking her son to Burning Man every year.

“You won’t believe the number of times I’ve heard that … BURNING MAN is NOT a place for kids,” she wrote in a TikTok montage of her family enjoying Burning Man festivities. Her 7-year-old son Tage is seen sliding down an illuminated slide, sifting through books at the Burner’s self-help library and dancing near neon sculptures in the desert community. In another video Tage is seen playing “Burner Ball” with a motley crew of festival-goers.

“I think that Burning Man is not a place for crotchety adults. Burning man is everything that you didn’t know you needed … but it is most DEFINITELY a place for kids of ALL ages!” Snyder wrote. “If you are NOT ready to release your inner child into the wild, then you should probably stay home and watch TV.”

At Burning Man, a festival that celebrates radical creativity and community, participants observe a “gift economy,” sharing food, cocktails, back rubs, solar showers and, yes — sometimes drugs and orgies. Commerce is not allowed, except sales of ice and coffee. There’s no advertising, and admission is $575, whether for a day or a week.

“We pack in more fun, laughter, play and adventure into 2 hours of exploring on the playa than most families will ever experience,” Snyder wrote in another TikTok that showed her family making the most of the event. Replies of every variety flooded the comment section, some praising the mom, and others scolding her with quips like “Cool he can go to the orgy” and “State needs to take custody now. What poor parenting.”

Even the Burning Man website says that “kids and families have been part of Burning Man since the first burn in 1986 on Baker Beach,” but social media doesn’t seem convinced. Snyder said she’s been relentlessly shamed online since a photo of her breastfeeding her 22-month-old at Burning Man went viral.

“This was the worst public shaming I’ve ever experienced,” Snyder said in a TikTok video. “A photo of me breastfeeding was in the 110 most epic photos of Burning Man. The flood of hurtful words ensued. I thought, why do I feel shame for doing something that I love that is natural? I realized people on the internet don’t know s— about my life experience or my perspective on life. It was a breaking point where I said, f— this. I’m doing this my way.”

Synder continued that the lesson she learned from the ordeal was to be confident in her choices. “Despite what the haters said about me. I can live in my happiness bubble and savor every moment of motherhood without succumbing to the criticism or expectation of others.”

In another TikTok, the cannabis entrepreneur and influencer called on moms to be confident in their life and parenting choices. “Why is it as a society that we want to fit in? We want to be normal. We want to be one with the flock. But like, what if the flock kind of sucks? … Every experience that you have that you fall in love with is because it’s unique, it’s not blah. It’s not normal,” Snyder said in the TikTok. “It’s not what you do every single day.”

She continued: “I work to inspire mothers to be confident in their choice to consume plant medicine, devil’s lettuce, whatever you want to call it. … I want others to be their unique self — let’s be as freaking weird as we can. … We’re not going to be that perfect cookie cutter no matter what, no matter how hard we try. I pretty much just decided to stop trying, because trying is a lot of work and I’m over working hard for someone else’s expectations. … I’m trying to give myself grace and be cool with that, and I invite you to do the same.”

Snyder recently spoke with Insider, describing Burning Man as a place where people “can cultivate the experience that you want to have,” continuing that festival-goers aren’t required to partake in the more “extreme” activities (drugs and orgies), and that there are “people doing yoga, there’s people having important conversations that are relevant to improving the future of mankind. There’s people experiencing art.”

Snyder told the outlet that her family enjoyed biking around the desert and climbing on massive artscapes, Tage told Insider that his favorite Burning-Man activity was Burner Ball, a baseball-adjacent game where there are no rules and all the Burners are on the same team.

When Insider asked Snyder about exposing Tage to the nudity that’s a common occurrence at the festival, she said nudity wasn’t something she thought a child needed to be sheltered from.

“We are all humans. We all have that same anatomy,” she said.

Snyder also said that when Tage has witnessed substance use and public intoxication, she has used it as an opportunity to teach her son caution and compassion. “It’s teaching him how to handle real-life situations that he is going to encounter.”

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