Sex and science: Hawai’i’s ‘Babes Against Biotech’ flaunt T&A to attack GMOs

Is it appropriate to use sexualized pictures of women to promote a political cause? What if women are doing the exploiting of themselves because they believe they are saving humanity from the evils of Big Ag and Corporate America?

Jokes about breasts and men looking at breasts and women being upset about being objectified and women empowered by the power of their sexuality are stale clichés. How many times in sitcoms have we seen a man talking to a curvaceous woman only to have her point to her eyes 2f1203_ce3b255c151c721d13a3ab934122e6e3.jpg_srz_330_270_85_22_0.50_1.20_0and say “Hey, buddy, up here!”?

Like it or not, boobs get attention.

Which brings us to Babes Against Biotech, a gaggle of self-proclaimed well-endowed “chicks” who have banded together to form one of the most recognized anti-GMO campaign groups in Hawai’i, with a huge social media footprint that includes tens of thousands of Facebook followers.

Using bare breasts to get noticed is their unoriginal raison d’être. For most of its existence, the first thing you saw when you went to Babes Against Biotech’s website were calendar pictures of barely

Babes Against Biotech Pinup Calendar
Babes Against Biotech Pinup Calendar

clothed beauties interspersed among oddball posts proclaiming the imminent destruction of our planet from eating non-organic foods.

GMOs are a “global BIOHAZARD,” writes Naomi Carmona, who founded BAB’s two years ago. Carmona, a transplanted Californian who has affected a born-again Hawai’ian persona as “Nomi Kaheaonalani,” proclaims love and peace and harmony and protection of the earth—that’s aina in Nomi Carmonathe Hawai’ian language promiscuously co-opted by recent transplants (in Hawai’ian: “malihinis”) to underscore their adopted bonafides—all the while threatening everyone and anyone who embraces modern agricultural technology as tools of the corporate devil.

“Babes Against Biotech invoke the power of natural beauty & brains to raise GMO awareness, get GMOs labeled & out of food!” Carmona has written. Her expertise? She touts her credentials as an “advocate comedian” on “Planet Earth.” That must be the brains part. Mostly, she flaunts her physical assets. 

Miranda Radik, a writer and author of the Bad Skeptik blog, calls Babes Against Biotech “a baffling insult not only to science and reason, but probably to women everywhere, too.”

Perhaps Radik is being too harsh? Maybe we should cut Carmona some slack and grant BAB’s campy self-parody some credit—assuming that the self-parody is intentional. After all, if breasts can stir a helpful public debate about the science of crop biotechnology, who cares about bad taste and post modernist overreach?

When it comes to GMOs, the babes clearly engage in a unique form of public debate. Last March, during the state’s annual Agricultural Day celebration Carmona and her compadre-in-arms Jessica Mitchell reportedly physically assaulted Dean Okimoto of the Hawai’i Farm Bureau, who they consider a patsy of biotech corporations. (The babes tried to spin the attack, portraying themselves as victims, by posting an edited version of the incident, but witnesses were clear about who the aggressors were.)

Mitchell, aka “Keoni,” is notorious in her own right. She claims GMOs have “poison in every cell”. Mitichell’s measured temperament was representatively on display last year when she racially attacked Clarence Nishihara, the chairman of Hawai’i’s Senate Agriculture Committee, who she said should “go back to Japan” for refusing to take action on a an anti-GMO bill favored by our favorite babes.

What do these fevered ladies do when they’re not tearing down modern science? Radik captured and posted this picture below, which was accompanied by a vicious personal attack (see below picture) followed by numerous insulting and threatening comments (not included here) on the home page of BAB’s site targeting a PhD scientist who dared attempt to testify at a hearing on a bill to ban GMOs.


Accompanying the picture: “omg u r liek so hot and stuff, how come ur not on our Babes against Biotech side and stuf1/??!” The insulting picture and blurb were followed by numerous scathing personal attacks.

So much for embracing the ‘aloha’ of Hawai’i.

Besides rants and physical confrontations, what does Babes Against Biotech stand for? Other than aligning themselves with any mainland group that will sign on to their anti-modern technology/anti-GMO agenda, there appears to be no coherent philosophy driving them other than shamelessly exploiting their own sexuality. Is it because that’s all they have to offer in this discussion?

Maybe that’s unfair. After all, they do offer invaluable information about how to score with anti-GMO protestors. Click on the link for February 2013’s Babe of the Month: “Go NON-GMO so you have a chance with a girl like Ryelee,” reads the caption to her picture.Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 9.57.01 PM

Well, at least they provide “Resources” and “Science” links. On second thought, lower your educational expectations. “Resources” takes you to a list of outdated and marginal studies by self-proclaimed anti-GMO scientists—research reviewed and rejected by mainstream science organizations–and notes about articles written exclusively by activists. The “Science” link transports you to a promotion for GMO Free USA, an anti-GMO group founded by Diana Reeves, a mother who blames the health problems of her children on foods with genetically modified ingredients, and now purports to be a science expert. Needless to say, there are no links to the National Academy of Sciences or the World Health Organization, among the 100+ independent global science bodies that have found foods with GMOs safe or safer than conventional or organic foods.

Related article:  Center for Food Safety on how to trash a healthier eco-friendly potato—It's a GMO!

The pinup site does regularly feature a Babe to write a barely coherent anti-GMO screed. For example, someone named Chellsee Lynn (her model/working girl name) posted a picture of her half-bare Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 11.40.07 PMbody next to an article titled “Subliminal genocide through the genetic modification of food.” Here’s a taste of Chelsee’s and BAB’s nuanced intellectual firepower:

What is happening to our society? Why are we so dependent on alternative sources for food? Convenience of modern day society has created a weave of perception towards mindless control for corporate America to guide us away from our state of overpopulation to our demise. Not only in the United States but worldwide! Many countries have outlawed Genetically Modified seeds due to the patent infringement attacks set forth by the Monsanto and Syngenta chemical seed companies.

Genetically modified corn has already been tested to sterilize males and inhibit reproduction. Much like the German genocide of the Jews during the holocaust via fluoride poisoning that also was utilized to sterilize and control their victims. Today, fluoride is found in many eatable and non-eatable substances like that of toothpaste. Now why would an additive that was once utilized in the control and depletion of a culture through genocide be in our every day modern conveniences?

Such drivel is sad to the point of pathetic. But it’s fair to ask: Why get so worked up? Surely no one takes these women seriously. Boobs are just a sideshow to a serious debate about our food supply.

If only it were so. Jessica Wooley, Gary Hooser, Tulsi Gabbard and other activist legislators in antigmobandwagonHawai’i trying to ban biotechnology are locked arm-in-arm with Babes with Biotech. The reality is that BABs is entirely mainstream with allies in high-profile global anti-science groups. Babes works particularly and closely with Europe-based Henry Rowlands (who the GLP previously profiled), the guru behind many of the world’s most popular and oft-cited anti-GMO websites and editor of Sustainable Pulse, an anti-science “news service” wildly popular in mainstream advocacy circles. Rowlands and his web of connections do their best to spread the Babes’ message around the world: sexy broads on the beach are credible spokespeople for ‘just label it’ proponents.

The working girls also coordinate their efforts and message with financial and propaganda allies, including the most notorious of the anti-science scam artists, Maharishi linked Jeffrey Smith, who runs a one man advocacy group, the Institute for Responsible Technology (Smith believes the title is not tongue-in-cheek), as well as with the Organic Consumers Association and Center for Food Safety. In other words, Babes Against Biotech works seamlessly with the mainstream anti-GMO organizations and are welcomed into state legislatures to provide ‘scientific expertise’ on the alleged dangers of genetic modification.

Yes, boobs can sell; but at a steep price for women who flaunt their physical gifts. It’s been said that for many women the brain is the most important erogenous zone and the center of female libido. For Babes Against Biotech, considering that the brain is apparently not providing more traditional functions, that may be its only function.

Jon Entine, executive director of the Genetic Literacy Project, is a senior fellow at the Center for Health & Risk Communication and STATS (Statistical Assessment Service) at George Mason University.

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