Santa actor gives little girl a lesson on body autonomy


‘If you don’t want to, you say no’: Santa actor gives little girl a lesson on bodily autonomy

"It's important she knows she has complete autonomy over her body!"


Tricia Crimmins


Posted on Dec 13, 2023   Updated on Dec 13, 2023, 5:31 pm CST

A man dressed as Santa Claus validates a little girl’s decision to not sit on his lap and talks about bodily autonomy in a viral video.

In a TikTok posted over the weekend, mom Katie Love (@katielovesocial) shows a man dressed as Santa Claus talking with her three year-old daughter. When her daughter told Santa that she didn’t want to sit on his lap, Santa says that he told her, “This is her body, and she’s in control of her body.”

“Way to stand up for yourself, and way to say what you believe is right,” Santa says in the video. “If you don’t want to, you say no.”

Though Love’s daughter looks slightly confused in the video, it’s evident that Santa’s message meant a lot to Love, who is heard cheering in the video.

“Thank you Santa for respecting my daughter’s choice,” Love wrote in the caption of her TikTok. “Even applauding her for it!”

On Wednesday, Love’s video had almost 2 million views.

@katielovesocial This response was 🔥Thank you Santa for respecting my daughter's choice & even applauding her for it!🎄🎅 #toddlersoftiktok #santaclaus #christmastiktok #toddlersbelike #adviceforgirls #importantmessage #toddlermom #toddlertok #wholesomemoments #femaleempowerment #girlpower #bodyautonomy ♬ original sound – Katie Love

The concept of bodily autonomy, or the idea that people get to choose what happens to their bodies and whether or not they’re touched, goes hand in hand with consent. Even though bodily autonomy might not have been taught to members of older generations when they were young, many modern parents find it important to impart on their children.

Some commenters on Love’s video said the gesture resonated with them, as did the idea of respecting children’s bodily autonomy.

“I am low key jealous of this generation of kids being raised by parents teaching them body boundaries,” one commenter wrote.

“I just cried,” another said. “As a child who was uncomfortable [with] touch and [family] who pushed me, this is so good to hear.”

“Yes I love this. My in-laws hate that we don’t force our kids to kiss them,” a commenter said. “Sorry, they said no!”

Others noted that Santa’s hand was still on Love’s daughter’s shoulder, which she may not have enjoyed.

“As his arm is around her,” a commenter wrote. “So close but so far.”

In an interview with the Daily Dot, Love said that she “was always taught to be polite” and do as she was told when it came to kissing and hugging family members, but she wants her daughter “to feel complete control over her body.”

“She doesn’t need to push through being uncomfortable to make someone else comfortable,” Love told the Daily Dot. “Children have such little control in life, it’s important she knows she has complete autonomy over her body!”

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*First Published: Dec 13, 2023, 5:30 pm CST