A Right To Her Own Voice


Recently I attended a Nurse-In at Satellite Cafe in Newtown with Luella in tow, naturally. I won’t rehash the entire story, but there was an ugly incident involving the cafe owner and a breastfeeding patron. Since it was back in my old ‘hood and I used to eat at the cafe on occasion I took particular interest and followed the fallout on social media. I expected some backlash but some of it was straight-up idiotic.

I think one of the comments that confused me most, and one that I’ve seen on other topics before was something along the lines of “Shame on these women for using their children to protest. They should all have child services called on them.” No joke. Child Services.

Beyond the obvious that feeding a child on a public side walk is not exactly a threat to their wellbeing, I find it curious that people object to bringing a child to a protest. I love bringing Luella along with me to events like this. For one, she loves being out and about, seeing all the other kids and mums, while I wear her.

But mostly I think it’s really important to expose her to various causes. We’ve also been to a Sea Shepherd rally and a Melbourne Cup protest (and a few anti-live export events in utero).

But today was probably one of my favourite days as a parent. Luella and I marched through the city for International Women’s Day, surrounded by hundreds of other women.

My little feminist in the making!

My little feminist in the making!

I suppose one could argue that she’s obviously too young to understand feminism and animal rights and other social justice causes and that I’m just projecting my views onto her. I fully acknowledge that she may not grow up to have all the same political views as her father and I. What I’m more interested in, is for her to learn that she has the right to speak out when she sees injustice, a right to challenge social and political norms, a right to take peaceful action. A right to her own voice.

So while she’s still young enough she can come along for the ride and the people-watching. And once she’s old enough to start having her own opinions, look out world!

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