Monday, December 10, 2012

Mama Bear's Take on the "Breast Milk Baby" Doll

So, I got a ranty note in my e-mail about a breast feeding baby doll from Mama Bear this morning, and guess what.  

I am going to share it with you.  


Because I agree with her totally.  

Well, for that reason and because she explains her point of view splendidly and in such a way that I never could.

All I was going to say is that I found the controversy surrounding this doll disturbing, even more disturbing than the hefty price tag.

But, then again.  I am all hippy-dippy and find nothing wrong with my 2 year old son pretending to breastfeed his baby doll either because I think it is only natural for little tykes to want to emulate their parents.

Anyway, enough of me.  Let's see what Mama Bear's take on the subject is!


Listening to the radio on my way into work today, I heard a conversation which was very disturbing to me as a mother and woman. I don’t think any woman in our country today can fail to recognize that  women and our bodies, our motherhood, are under constant scrutiny ( I could use a lot of other words here, but will leave that for a more appropriate forum), so when the morning show co-hosts , who are generally reasonable and thoughtful people started talking about a new breast-feeding doll I was interested.  

And then almost instantly, saddened, as one of the hosts noted “I don’t have an issue with breast-feeding, but I just find this disturbing.”  

I thought the only thing that should be disturbing about this is the fact that the doll dictates how the child “should” play with it. I much prefer to let the little ones decide their own play rather than restricting their natural imaginative play with toys which “tell”  them what to do.  

Then the hosts opened up the phone lines and I hoped someone would call in with something positive or maybe even pose a question like, “What does it say about our culture, that this is even a topic of debate or conversation?” 

No one talks about dolls that take bottles or baths or cry, so why does a baby doll that eats like so many real babies do warrant a conversation? 

To my dismay, the callers said things like “I have a 5 year old daughter and I don’t think this is appropriate." 

Not “appropriate”?! 

What is there to be appropriate?!

Is it that your child knows she will someday have breasts? That she not be ashamed of her body? That she have a doll that reflects a natural, healthy maternal choice? 

What is so wrong with that?

How can we as culture expect our daughters and sons to ever be equal, if we make girls less-valuable and unclean, just because they have female bodies? 

This is not just about which is better for babies, breast or formula. The conversation about breast-feeding, in public, as a choice, as a requirement of motherhood, and all those things that have become a subject of debate, are just symptoms of how our culture feels with and deals with women and female bodies.  

Who has ever heard someone comment about a baby drinking a bottle in a store or a restaurant? To the same end, does anyone ever say to their son or daughter “that is something we do in private," or "don’t feed your baby like that it. It's for grown-ups only (or girls-only” when we see them “feeding” a doll a bottle? It’s ridiculous right? 

So, why is it so common to say about breast-feeding? 

Let's look into what we are really saying to our children when we say such things. 

We are saying “your (female) body is dirty, shameful, and inherently sexual. You should hide even something as natural and beautiful and normal as feeding and loving your child.  Be ashamed of yourself, of your body. Women deserve to be less than men because of these bodies." 

This sort of thinking is why “female” cancers like breast and uterine cancer still kill so many women.  This kind of thinking is why these  types of cancers are so much less studied and funded than male diseases. 

How is it that so many people refuse to see reality? 

Why do we still insist on treating little girls like they are second class citizens, and when will we finally recognize that we need to change how we think as a society?

Don't we realize that when our daughters suffer from inequality we all suffer too by having wives, daughters, sisters, and mothers that are devalued?

Thanks for sharing Mama Bear even if I am a little jealous that you have always been able to state things so much better than me.

1 comment: