Well, the Breast Milk Baby Doll is finally coming to the US – which of course means that the media has picked up the story again!
Bonnie Rochman over at Time has covered the Breast Milk Baby – praising the doll as a healthy way for young kids to learn about their bodies and follow along with their mothers as they feed their younger siblings. As she points out:
It’s one thing to castigate Bratz dolls with their sultry, made-up eyes and Angelina Jolie lips or Barbies with their infinitesimal waists and big boobs; they ooze sexuality and project unattainable body ideals. If anything, The Breast Milk Baby is a refreshing change from the doll-as-tarted-up-playmate paradigm: it’s not about sex; it’s about eating.
Dr. Logan Levkoff over at HuffPo takes the same doll, sees similar benefits – and comes up with a completely different perspective:
So my beef really isn’t with the doll; my beef is with our culture. How are kids supposed to make sense of Breast Milk Baby if the majority of their dolls are missing genitals a la Barbie and Ken? How are they supposed to understand Breast Milk Baby if we debate whether or not it’s okay for our children to see OUR own breasts?
The author laments that we have no dolls available that give us a complete and full understanding of the human body, and yet, when a doll comes on to the market to give us a more holistic understanding of women’s bodies, she argues that it should be put away until there’s better education. Her concern is that :
“[I]f we introduce it out of context and without having provided our children with a positive (and complete) perspective of human anatomy, all it does is perpetuate our overwhelming obsession with women’s breasts. And that’s not healthy.”
It’s the proverbial chicken or the egg: Which comes first? Better education on human sexuality and our bodies? or dolls that allow a space for open and frank discussions with children, and validate the experience of thousands of older brothers and sisters that want to mimic what they see mom doing (rather than only having a bottle available with which to feed their babies)?