Deanne Carlson is a sexuality expert who lives in Australia. She recently argued on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that parents should ask their babies for consent before changing their diapers.
You can watch the full discussion here:
The chyron may inspire immediate scorn, but she's really getting into a deeper and necessary issue. Part of the culture of misogyny that has pervaded this country and every industry has been the idea that our bodies don't entirely belong to us, and this is especially true for women. In the interview, Carlson acknowledges that a baby can't respond, but argues that we should instill the idea that our children's bodies belong to them from a young age. While perhaps not the best example, it's a worthy cause.
This didn't stop people from talking about how ridiculous they thought it was:
She is fairly stupid though. Because the nappy has to be changed no matter how the baby reacts, so if they react negatively, the message they’ll receive is that their consent is irrelevant. By this woman’s own logic, that is - which is bad logic.— Ben Pobjie (@benpobjie) May 11, 2018
It even became a hot topic on Australian daytime news:
Others understood the point but thought the method was flawed:
sure but....i also understand the upset. this is a really bad way to make that point. babies can’t consent! period. telling people to ask consent before changing their baby is like a parody of the real argument.— Laci Green (@gogreen18) May 10, 2018
i think she wants to encourage a conversation about consent amongst kids, but has made a mockery of it by taking it to the extreme. babies can’t consent to anything. ever. they’re babies! their safety and survival needs are assumed. this is NOT a mainstream view of sex educators.— Laci Green (@gogreen18) May 10, 2018
I see her point. But I’m not sure it actually helps parents with this idea if you train them to just ask in a rote way and yet do what they were going to anyway regardless of the response. Put the focus on areas of consent that are truly possible and meaningful.— R. Mowat (@robinmowat) May 10, 2018
Some people, however, got what she was saying:
I think it's a bad example she's used for sure, especially as it is so easy to mock. But as far as I can tell what she's saying's not as dumb as it first appears.— Nick Names Nuts (@nicknamesnuts) May 11, 2018
Saw this.— Nick Names Nuts (@nicknamesnuts) May 11, 2018
First reaction: Nappy consent. What?
Second thought: Oh, people are calling it left lunacy.
Third thought: She's really just talking about how one might start conversations about consent early on in life.
Fourth thought: We all need to take a breath before reacting. pic.twitter.com/T2CeFj915W
Perhaps she could have chosen a better way to instill the value of consent early in life, but the idea is still important.