There’s a mom in San Francisco with a nose ring (I know…why keep reading, right?) who has decided her infant son needs to give her his consent before she picks him up or interacts with him. Yahoo Beauty thinks this is a great idea and apparently so does the entire Internet. This is because of #rapeculture, or something.
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Since the moment he was born, we've always asked before we pick him up. I always feel for his "yes". Why? Because we want him to know that his body is his, and that others' bodies are theirs, and no one gets to make choices about someone else's body. . #lessonsinsovereignty #bornfree #endrapeculture . Sidenote: If you ever want to hold someone else's baby, my suggestion is to ask the parent, then ask the kid. It always touches my heart when someone takes a moment to connect with him and says "Can I hold you, dude?" . ADDENDUM: Thanks to everyone who has shared support & also those who don't agree, but are thoughtful & respectful. Unfortunately, hundreds of people have come here to call me nasty names & wish terrible things upon myself & my child. I'm not interested in engaging with that kind of immature, thoughtless vitriol; if you bring it, I will report + delete. I pray we learn to meet our fellow humans w/ curiosity & kindness. . This short post was followed by a 10 min interview with a very kind reporter, which was turned into a short article. It wasn't designed to be a piece of in-depth journalism. Most media isn't. A whole bunch of other media spun-off from that. I have spoken w/ no other reporters; no one has asked me questions or checked facts. . Some have assumed that I'd never touch my baby w/out his explicit consent. That's not what I'm saying. I love my son – I would never sit back & leave him in harm’s way. It’s my honor & responsibility to care for him in all the ways a mother would. . I also talk to him, ask him questions, and “attune” to him in the way that I think the majority of mothers do, intuitively. This is the beginning of a lifelong conversation about choice & consent. I believe that when children feel that they have *some appropriate* choice, it leads to a greater sense of healthy autonomy. I want him to make healthy choices with his body & respects others’ as well. . I am by no means saying that people are bad parents for not doing what I do. So long as we're not harming or neglecting our children, to each their own. I'm not a perfect parent. I'm simply working at being as loving & conscientious as I can be, every day.
“I don’t ever want my son to be a sexual perpetrator or the victim of one, and the best thing I can do is honor his choices about his own body,” Moodley told Yahoo Beauty. “I also want him to pay attention to his instincts, and forcing physical touch could interfere with that.”
I don’t want my son to become a rapist either! Have I been doing it wrong all this time? I’m nothing if not up for a new experience, and so I tried this newfangled method today with my two-year-old son. Here’s how it went:
8:00 a.m. G wakes up and cries. I enter his room and say, “Can Mommy pick you up to change your diaper?” He crouches back down by his pillow and looks at me like I sprouted another head and shouts, “NO!” I respect his choice and leave him alone.
8:15 a.m. G is crying again and so I go back to ask him for his consent to change the now over-soaked diaper. His response is still “NO!” as pee drips down his legs and onto his pillow. “Are you sure?” I say, “that looks uncomfortable.” He reiterates his lack of consent and demands that I turn on his show. I comply (because that’s what all good mothers do, right?).
8:30 a.m. Now sitting on a soaked sheet and getting hungry, G calls me. “Can I take you out now and change your diaper?” G nods. “Wet,” he says. I change his diaper, pull out the soaked bedding and start a load of laundry while he toddles around playing with cars.
10:00 a.m. A rancid smell is wafting from G’s diaper. I say, “G, you’re stinky. We need to clean you up. Can Mommy change your diaper?” He runs screaming into the corner yelling, “NO!” Not wanting to disrespect my son’s body or contribute to #rapeculture, I say “Okay” and go back to my chores.
10:10 a.m. G is walking funny and clearly uncomfortable. “Mommy really needs to change that diaper now, G, or you’re going to get a rash.” G looks like he might be about to consent when he changes his mind, runs back to the corner and screams, “NO!”
This goes on for another hour and a half.
11:40 a.m. G is crying because his “butt hurts.” I change his dirty diaper to find a festering rash underneath with blisters he can hardly stand for me to touch with a cloth. I soak him in some baking soda in the tub and apply cream and a new diaper while explaining to him that his diaper needs to be changed immediately. He looks annoyed and slaps me while yelling, “NO!” *
12:00 p.m. We are playing outside when G starts wandering toward the creek bed which is off limits. “Mommy needs to pick you up now and take you away from here, ok?” I knew already how this would be received. “NO!” he screams and scrambles down the incline to the water below. He can’t swim. It’s rushing water. But being the progressive parent that I am, I figure it’s all in the cause of stopping rape so one child’s life is expendable for the greater good. **Really, Yahoo? Really?
*Obviously, I did not allow my son to sit in poop until he got a terrible rash because I’m a sane adult who understands that two-year-olds are not rational and cannot give “consent” that is meaningful in any way. If left up to them they would eat crayons and sand all day.
**Again, this did not happen. Do not write in the comments section about what a bad parent I am because you don’t understand satire.