Friday, April 01, 2011

They're Just Boobs

Apparently, if we want little girls to buy fashion model dolls with gigantic knockers that serve no purpose other than to make them look like misshapen sexpots, it's all good. I probably had two dozen Barbie Dolls and never once questioned that her huge breasts were meant for anything other than holding up her ridiculous dresses.

We equally have zero issue with buying girls dollies that come with bottles. After all, that's how you feed a baby, right? Well, in my house when I'm not home, sure. But if Mama's here, her babies drink right from the tap. Are you shocked? Of course you're not! They're just boobs. They're made to feed babies and it's not a big deal.

Or maybe it is. Anyone else seen this?

Breastfeeding Doll Sparks Controversy in the U.S.
The baby doll toy allows little girls to pretend that they are breastfeeding. Educational or Creepy?
The Spanish toy company Berjuan has developed the Bebé Glotón, a doll created to "breastfeed".
The way it works is for little girls to strap on an apron-like top that has flowers to represent what would be the the nipples.
Once the doll is close to the nipple (flower) it emits a suckling sound and cries until it burps.

Now, granted, I don't feel the need to go out and drop a whole boatload of money on some doll for my kiddos to breastfeed, but equally I don't find it creepy or inappropriate.  Why does anything having to do with breasts freak people out so much?  Is it that it's little girls?

 So, we're comfortable with little girls pretending to have had babies and care for them:

And we're fine with dressing our daughters questionably at Halloween:

But we're not ok with little girls wanting to something as natural, sweet, and nurturing as breastfeeding their pretend baby?

I'll tell you something.  All of my kids have pretended to breastfeed.  My girls have done it with their dolls.  Even my boys have done it, although they prefer to cuddle up with Tickle Me Elmo.  But whatever, they've all pretended to breastfeed their "babies".  And I've never once thought it was creepy.  I kind of always thought it was sweet.  This is how they saw their Mama caring for babies, so that's how they did it too.

I remember when I joined the Catholic Church.  Yes, I did turn out to be a terrible Catholic, true.  I've got the meat sauce lasagna in the oven right now on a Friday, in Lent!  But during that process way back when, Bridget was born.  Catechumens in the Church sit in the front.  Right in front of the priest.  So, I nursed my baby, right there in the front pew.  I had an answer if anyone had ever said anything about it.  I figured God didn't have a problem with breastfeeding, or he would have had the milk come from somewhere more "appropriate".  And if God didn't take issue with the way He built me, I didn't think anyone else should either.

Oddly enough, even in a Catholic Church, people kind of understood that it was a baby, they were just boobs, and if I wasn't making a big spectacle of it, they wouldn't either.

But can we, as a people, and maybe as a society, just get the hell over it?  They're just boobs!  And if my daughters, or my sons want to pretend to breastfeed, I couldn't care less.

Have I mentioned that they're just boobs?

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  1. You know, to be honest, the first thought of this squicked me out just a smidge. And I'm all pro-breastfeeding. But I've never done it, nor will I get the chance, though I totally would if I had a child, and I love to support moms doing so. So though I fully support it, I realized that my comfort level with it isn't as high as I'd like. I think I'm having to overcome the annoying programming of our culture. So squicked out a smidge. So, I like that you're challenging that reaction. Just boobs! Very good.

  2. Careswen, I think it's awesome that you're willing to challenge your reaction. I think it's so instilled in us to associate breasts with sex, that we automatically think a breastfed baby doll is weird. When in fact it's so normal.

  3. A friend sent me your blog address after I wrote an article on this doll as well - GREAT post!! you can read mine at:

  4. Christy, I loved your post! Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

  5. I've had similar experiences at every Catholic church I've been fact, once I even saw a picture of Mary nursing Jesus. I'm glad you had that experience there too...there's nothing harder than having to defend yourself for using those for what they are for! :) In fact, I read a book once that said that allowing your (especially boy) children to know you're nursing and to see it in practice will establish a really healthy view of breasts for them...they'll never wonder what they're for and think that maybe they're only there for decoration! ;) It helps a young man see a woman as a whole person, a potential nurturer of his children instead of as an object for his own gratification. I found that really interesting.

  6. You know, Krissy, I definitely think that's what it's doing for my sons. At least my 13 year old doesn't bat an eyelash at breastfeeding. And I love that!

  7. When my oldest son first started to notice mammary glands as decorative and not just functional, he expressed it like this: "Wow, she [character on a sword-fighting role play game] has really pretty baby-nurses!"

    I think that's fine. They ARE pretty, and they ARE "baby nurses" too. The two functions are not mutually exclusive.

    My girls called them baby feeders too. My husband never had any siblings, so he was never living with someone breastfeeding 24/7 until our first was born. He seems to have this idea that hiding it from the kids is somehow good for them. I think modeling it as shameful or something to hide only makes them wonder what's so shameful about it, and feel a sense of shame about their own bodies and the way they work. I don't want to teach them that. I want them to maintain these ideas: they're just breasts, they feed babies, and it's really NOT a big deal.

  8. Oh my gosh, Kathryn, that made me laugh out loud. Pretty Baby Nurses, indeed!

  9. Look they have to make the bras, the little girl in that picture doesn't even have breasts to breastfeed with, i guess thats what im getting at..

  10. So what? They make fake baby bottles too. My kids never needed any silly play bra to "breastfeed" their dolls. They'd just lift up their shirt and press the doll to their chest. As far as they understand, it's how you feed a baby.


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