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Sex Expert Says Parents Must Seek Consent Before Changing Baby's Diaper

Woman with blue hair talks about sex and consent

The flowering of the #MeToo movement against sexual assault has brought many abusers to justice, but the emphasis on consent can go way too far. One sexuality expert in Australia illustrated the absurdity of the overemphasis on consent by suggesting that a parent should seek his or her baby's consent before changing a diaper (called a "nappy" in Australia).

“'I’m going to change your nappy now? Is that okay?" Deanne Carson, founder of Body Safety Australia, suggested in remarks to ABC News. "Of course, the baby’s not going to respond, 'Yes, mom, that’s awesome. I’d love to have my nappy changed.' But if you leave a space and wait for body language, and wait to make eye contact, then you’re letting that child know that their response matters."

Carson has long supported teaching kids about consent in early childhood, but emphasized that this does not necessarily involve teaching them directly about sex. She encouraged "talking about how our bodies belong to us and we have the right to say yes or no." Extending this to a baby's diaper change seems more than a bit far-fetched, however.

SkyNews commentator Rowan Dean denounced this idea as "left lunacy," but Carson defended her remarks saying, "The idea around consent is about empowering children with their rights and protecting them from sexual abuse."

A few others also defended Carson. "She's saying you should ask the baby if it's OK. To get kids used to the idea that their bodies are their own," John Bowman tweeted.

To be fair, a great deal of psychology suggests that long-term problems in life do trace back to childhood, and some even into infancy. Even so, applying the idea of consent to a diaper change is frankly absurd -- and extremely insulting to real victims of rape and sexual assault.

Joe Hildebrand, a writer for The Daily Telegraph and television news personality on Australia's Studio 10, argued that this argument effectively derails the good results of the #MeToo movement.

"We’ve just had a movement which has exposed sexual assault, rape, serial rape, sexual predation by high profile people who made a succession of women’s lives a misery, and then you have something idiotic like this that tries to ride on the coattails of this movement," Hildebrand explained. He further suggested that sexual predators will start to breathe easier if the movement is derailed in this fashion.