Oh dear, the Daily Mail have been at it again.
In their sights this time is the Breast Milk Baby. It is a doll created for young girls that allows them to ‘breast feed’ their doll via the means of a bib featuring flower ‘nipples’. The doll cries until you hold it to the bib, making suckling sounds. It even requires burping afterwards. Apparently, according to a Mumsnet user this means that the toy is forcing young girls to ‘grow up too quickly’, and is ‘toe-curling gross’.
I think I’ve missed something here. Breastfeeding is a natural process. Are children not meant to understand how their bodies work, or will work in the future? There have been countless dolls that have been designed to ‘eat’ and ‘wet’ their nappies (Baby Born probably being the most famous and enduring example), is that ‘gross’ too? These are just biological processes.
The most obvious problem with the Mail article and its stance on the doll is that it’s instantly linking breasts to sex. This is a common problem in modern society. From an early age, we are taught that breasts are simply a sexual tool, something to be used to entice men and to be pumped up with special bras or surgery. At the same time we are taught they are shameful, that being proud of your body (including your breasts) is slutty. Is it any wonder that there is so much confusion about their purpose in society?
Surely there are worse toys to give a young girl? What about the Bratz line of dolls? Or this Barbie toy washing machine, that comes in bright pink? EUGH. Are we honestly saying that it’s better to give girls toys that aspire to nothing more than vacuous vanity or household monotony than give them a toy that teaches them something valuable?
I’m not arguing that little girls should to be given realistic dolls, because they need to be taught about motherhood. I’m rather ambivalent about dolls as solely female toys. Why can’t boys role play as fathers? However, I think that this is an excellent step in the right direction in children’s education. It’s no good tiptoeing around the fact that breasts are involved; because this is exactly what breasts are designed for. If a girl can be taught this from a young age, then the hope is that she can grow up with a healthy image of that part of her anatomy.
Now, if we can only tackle unrealistic porn, Page 3, unhealthy images in magazines, and slut shaming, then we may be getting somewhere...
Image via The Breast Milk Baby Website