The real Living Single fans might remember there was a time when the girls were all sitting around the living room, sharing embarrassing secrets about each other. When it was Synclaire’s turn she talked about how Khadijah used to have tea parties with her baby dolls. Everybody looked at her and then let her know there was nothing embarrassing about that. But that’s when Synclaire hit them with the whammy, “She used to breastfeed them.” **Laughter erupts from the audience.** Yeah, that’s pretty embarrassing. But almost anything goes when it comes to playtime and a child’s imagination. (Who else made their Barbie dolls have sex?)
Now, a 40 year-old Spanish doll-making company, Berjuan Toys, is making sure kids won’t have to stretch their minds all that far. A new breastfeeding doll, which makes suckling sounds and moves its lips, was released into the US market. When the doll’s lips come in contact with sensors, on a halter top girls can wear while they’re playing, they move back and forth.
Though it was released in US markets, mainstream retailers aren’t jumping at the chance to feature the doll in their stores. Dennis Lewis, the U.S. representative for Berjuan says that while the company has received a lot of support from breastfeeding organizations, he told the Associated Press there’s also been a lot of criticism.
“There also has been a lot of blowback from people who maybe haven’t thought to think about really why the doll is there and what its purpose is. Usually they are people that either have problems with breastfeeding in general, or they see it as something sexual.”
One of the most vocal opponents was Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly who said, “I just want the kids to be kids. And this kind of stuff. We don’t need this.”
Considering the fact that the doll, which comes in 8 different skin tones, costs $89, I’m sure some parents will agree.
The jury is still out for me on this one. I do think that Americans have a tendency to sexualize breastfeeding in a way that illustrates more about our own sick minds than the women who are just trying to feed their children. After all giving Barbie the equivalent of double D cups is much more sexual than a baby doll that suckles. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with young girls having biologically accurate representations of what motherhood is actually like. On the other hand, if my daughter wanted to simulate breastfeeding, she could just do it like Khadijah did and put the doll up to her underdeveloped chest and save me 89 bucks.
What do you think, is this doll too much?