Controversy Over Modern Doll
Just in time for the holidays, a stir has been created in the toy world. The Breast Milk Baby, created by Berjuan Toys out of Spain, is being criticized for sexualizing young girls and being too provocative to be put on American toy-store shelves. While manufacturers and consumers seem more at ease in European markets, it is ironically Americans who don’t want this doll to make their kids’ Christmas wish lists. Apparently Americans are too concerned with provocative images and the sexualizing of young children.
The Breast Milk Baby comes complete with a soft crying sound, the ability to burp (which makes it fascinating for some kids I know…), and it makes a sucking sound, much like a baby would make while nursing. The catch that seems to be bothering some parents is that the sucking sound is triggered by flower decals on a halter top that is worn by the child playing with the doll. When the baby doll’s lips come in contact with the shirt decals (which are placed over where the nipples would be on a mother), a sensor is triggered and nursing sounds can be heard.
Critics say that this type of toy sexualizes children and should not be available – and that people in public don’t want to see this type of behavior. This thinking seems aligned with the same people who try to stop mothers from breastfeeding in public (even when fully covered). Breastfeeding has been around since – well – the time of people, and is a natural way to feed children (in fact, is the #1 recommended way to feed children around the world). Even though the decals are little flakey for my personal preferences, perhaps it is time to give our kids dolls that at least mimic positive, loving, actions that aren’t sexual in nature.
Would you rather give your child one of the following toys?
5 Toys that Are Worse for Children
Struts – The toy horse that loves to wear…heels…and strut her stuff. These horse figures are intended for young girls and claim to combine a girl’s love of horses with her love of fashion, and are packaged as “fashion flirty fun”. The horses come with wigs and hot pants – every equestrian’s dream attire for that prized pony.
Spring Break Doll – Mattel has done it again and brought us the Monster High Skill Shores Friday the 13th Frankie Stein Spring Break Doll. Yes – that is the real name. And yes, this doll is intended for kids, sold at places like Toys R Us, and she is wearing a mini swimsuit that has her all ready for spring break. She is advertised as being “ready for some roaring good times…and has a cool treat to help her spring into break!” Since when do tweens and younger go on spring break trips for roaring good times, complete with a cool drink?
Pee & Poo – Yep – just what it sounds like. Except these are soft and cuddly versions of pee & poo. OK – that doesn’t even make them exceptions, just creepy. Even after potty training many children, I just can’t see the place for these creatures – time to flush those away.
WWE in Tight Pants – The first time I saw this guy, Cody Rhodes, I thought I had somehow inadvertently stumbled into the toy section for adults. The WWE “wrestling” star comes with what appear to be tight spandex Speedos and a bag to cover his head. Enough said.
Cavity Creations – OK – maybe it is wrong to pick on dentists, but this Play-Doh dentist set is creepy. The idea behind the toy might promote oral health, but the name spells shivers – Dr. Drill and Fill. What child is comforted about going to the dentist with a name like that?
The toys we choose to fill our kids’ toyboxes with and trip over during the night as we stumble to see who was coughing or calling for a glass of water might also fill our nightmares. But a doll that breastfeeds shouldn’t. I would much rather have kids learning and pretending about caring for babies than have them develop a storyline for a vacation that Mr. Rhodes, WWE star takes with the Spring Break doll.
There has long been a debate over whether or not toy guns make children violent, and researchers tend to agree that violence makes kids violent, but toys allow them to express their ideas, concerns, and questions. Let’s help our kids find toys that stretch their imaginations, but that don’t need to involve flirty animals or wrestlers in hot pants. Or maybe those are better than these “learning toys” for new parents – these breastfeeding puppets might just win the booby prize for bad gimmicks.