Some mothers of infant children are positing that they can teach their infant sons not to become part of “rape culture" by asking their sons’ permission before they pick them up.
Heat Street reports that last week Nisha Moodley, mother of 6-month-old Raven, posted a selfie on Instagram with Raven with this explanation:
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 [sic]: 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?”
In the comments below Moodley’s post was one from Robin Weir, mother of a 7-month-old boy, adding, “We do this too … makes it feel more like we’re doing things ‘with’ him rather than ‘to’ him.”
Moodley’s post gained so much ground she was interviewed by Yahoo Beauty. She told Yahoo Beauty, “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. I also want him to pay attention to his instincts, and forcing physical touch could interfere with that.” She added, “There have been times where Raven has responded by reaching his arms out for a hug or turning his head or body away.”
Yahoo News quoted “parenting expert” Sharon Silver supporting Moodley:
This idea is part of the wonderful [“Recourse of Infant Educarers”] (RIE) parenting philosophy, which is essentially respecting a child’s timetable and allowing him or her to participate in the full range of experiences as the result of a decision. It’s the underlying premise of positive parenting.
The RIE website states the basic principles of RIE are to “not only respect babies,” but “demonstrate our respect every time we interact with them. Respecting a child means treating even the youngest infant as a unique human being, not as an object.”