Sunday, August 9, 2009

Baby Gloton: The Breast-Feeding Doll Who Will Scar Your Daughter For Life

So, last week I'm diddling around on Facebook, reading the updates from every person I've ever shared a zip code with, paying little attention to "Judy McCullen Walsh is ready for the pool!!!" and "Alex Sanchez can't believe it's August already," and checking to see if anyone has a baby that rivals mine in cuteness when I see a post that actually interests me. A girl I went to high school with wrote something about a new breast feeding doll and leaving motherhood to mommies while letting kids be kids. Well, y'all know I am pretty much a shoe-in for Breast Feeder of the Year (very prestigious) and couldn't believe more in this particular cause (is breast feeding even a cause?) so I have to check out the comments, and, naturally, put in my two cents. Well, all the women that have commented up to this point, probably 5 or so, are all in agreement that this doll is "disturbing" and "goes too far."

Since I haven't seen the doll, I Googled it to see why this particular toy is so creepy. This is what all the fuss is about:





Wow--scandalous, huh? I mean, the way that little girl is pretending to nourish that doll, what is the world coming to? A bunch of sickos, I tell you. What I'd really like Violet to have is yet another baby doll that comes with a bottle to shove in her mouth. I mean, that is wholesome pretend fun for a kid. Playing Mommy crosses the line from sweet and innocent to deviant when you bring nursing into it. Breasts are for sex, kiddies, don't you forget it!

Seriously, though, the reaction of the public to this doll makes me realize that breastfeeding is still a cause that needs to be supported because there is such an incredible slew of misinformation out there. Just look at what the DOCTOR (he's an MD for Crissakes!) who acts as managing health editor for Fox News.com says about what trauma could be unleashed on a child who plays with this toy:

Dr. Manny Alvarez, said although he supports the idea of breast-feeding, he sees how his own daughter plays with dolls and wonders if Bebe Gloton might speed up maternal urges in the little girls who play it.

“Pregnancy has to entail maturity and understanding,” Alvarez said. “It’s like introducing sex education in first grade instead of seventh or eighth grade. Or, it could inadvertently lead little girls to become traumatized. You never know the effects this could have until she’s older.”


WTF? WTF? WTF? Pardon my eloquence, but did I mention WTF? Did Dr. Manny really use the word TRAUMATIZED? Oh, yes, this is a direct quote and he really did use the word TRAUMATIZED to describe what might happen to a child who PRETENDS TO NURSE A BABY DOLL. Now, I can't help but wonder if Manny's daughter has a dolly that came with a bottle, or a doll who has a diaper to change or maybe a doll who even has a lifelike cry? I certainly hope not because surely, these dolls, too, would "speed up her maternal urges" and lead to a knocked-up 3rd grader. I bet Manny buys his daughter dolls that serve as role models, like those sweet Bratz girls or, of course, all-American Barbie dolls. You know, the dolls that can show her what tits are really for!

The crying shame in all of this, though, is how far away we have gotten from what is natural human behavior. Teaching young girls that breast feeding is a shameful act, an act that they need neither knowledge of nor exposure to, is, I believe a grave mistake. All the lip service that the medical community gives to breast feeding is for naught if kids grow up believing that the nice way to give a baby milk is through a bottle and that nursing a child is somehow dirty.

Now, where do I go to order me a Baby Gloton? Violet's first Christmas gift is coming early this year!

So what do you think? Is Baby Gloton going to give kids the wrong sort of ideas or is she a good toy to promote breast feeding? This blog really upset Megan, my Facebook friend who started the thread that got me thinking about this, which was absolutely never my intention. (I'm sorry you felt attacked, Megan!!) But, it is obviously a controversial topic and I'd love to hear your comments!

3 comments:

Babs said...

Jillie,

You're fighting a tough battle here. We live in a society that values women for their bodies above all, and high on the list is the size(not the mammary function) of their breasts. Most women accept this as their place, and lots of them have breasts enhanced to show how much they've embraced the concept.

We also live in a culture that has become increasingly less dependent on community and especially on extended family. Anthropological studies have shown that breastfeeding declines in proportion to the isolation of the mother from friends and family members who are nursing. While the AMA and the American College of Pediatrics has stepped in to try and fill this void, it is a very different kind of support from what our foremothers enjoyed, and from which they learned to nurture their infants. It's hard to imagine a natural culture that seeks to hide the true function of a woman's breast from a girl of any age, except that that is where we find ourselves today.

I like this doll. Especially for those of us who breastfeed our children, she is a nice maternal role model, and children of both genders emulate the nurturing they've seen at home. There is nothing I can see that's unnatural or that "goes too far" in showing a young child through play how a mother feeds her child, or how it calms a babe when s/he's put to the breast, which is what i can see in the video.

However, we still live in this western, disassociated culture. We must make allowances for its norms. While you and I (and others) may feel comfortable enough with our roles as women and mothers, many of our dear friends do not, and we have to be aware of that.

In the end, all we can do to make a difference begins with how we love our own families, and how we demonstrate our values to our children. It's sad, but nevertheless true, that you and I are considered "radicals." We need to be mindful of that, and prepare ourselves and our children to respect the views of others *and* to honor their values.

Buy the doll for Violet, or I will.

Aly said...

Funny thing is, Jackson pretends to nurse his baby Molly... who, at last check, came with nothing more in the box than a blanket.

Does this mean anything about his sexuality? absolutely not. I believe I heard stories about Andy doing the same, and I can assure the world he is perfectly normal.

To find that people don't like the doll isn't what bothers me. It's that it's labeled as "traumatizing" that irks me. Maybe a bottle-fed dolly bothers a breastfeeding mom & the values she wishes to instill in her daughter, is it on the news? nope.

Anonymous said...

I would love to get this doll for the young girls I know! How refreshing to find a toy that is a realistic and natural representation of life as we know it. While I know bottle feeding has its benefits for certain people, breast feeding certainly should not be as hidden and shameful as it is portrayed to be by so many! A young girl with decent parents who can help her understand the natural purpose of her breasts is probably better off than a girl who grows up seeing only imagery of idealized, large, sexual breasts, like on Barbie dolls!

My neice, who has a baby sister, started mimicing her mother, who breast feeds. Why should there be anything wrong with letting young girls learn a natural act through play? Anyway, children inevitably find ways to use their dolls to explore all kinds of activities, whether that doll is made specifically for a certain activity or not!