Apparently, the Atlanta affiliate was not the only one to pick up this story. Several news stations had run the same piece, and viewer comments on various stations’ websites were generally along the lines of these: “Why don't these pigs just make dolls who have sex for little girls and get it over with? This is really disgusting. How about a masturbating Bob doll for the boys? This is way beyond acceptable.” “Forget Ken And Barbie. Let’s all look forward to buying our children Bill and Monica dolls equipped with the latest accessories such as suction pumps, stain remover, and a realistic lie detector.”
Berjuan Toys, the doll’s maker, explains the need for a breastfeeding doll: “The Breast Milk Baby will revolutionize our nation’s attitudes to good infant health, while letting little girls share in the wonder and magic of motherhood. Shouldn’t they be ready for a healthy future?” If Berjuan has such good intentions, why were so many viewers and readers upset by this doll? There are a lot of things going on here.
First, as evidenced by the comments above, there is the same old, worn out thinking about breastfeeding as a sexual act. Believe it or not, the breasts were created to nourish babies and children. Shocking, I know.
However, there’s something else going on in addition to the unwillingness to see breasts for more than chest decor. By continually sexualizing and attempting to shame breastfeeding, nursing will continue to be the nation’s second choice when it comes to nourishing our young. It’s a vicious cycle: breastfeeding is shamed, people forgo breastfeeding, thus it is further marginalized.
Maybe The Breast Milk Baby is just what the lactavist ordered to begin taking steps towards normalizing and enculturating our youth towards breastfeeding. By providing girls with an alternative to baby dolls whose accessories include bottles, the choice to breastfeed when they become adults may become more normative.
At the end of the day, however, the parents who might buy this doll for their kids are probably already pro-breastfeeding. Someone who thinks that breastfeeding is the equivalent of fellatio in the Oval Office is probably not going to rush out and buy the doll. Until people stop seeing breasts as exclusively sexual, and, in turn, stop seeing the bottle as the go-to feeding device, The Breast Milk Baby is only going to fuel the fires of the close-minded who simply cannot or chose not understand what nursing is all about.
Although I admit that I am not going to be shelling out $89 for the doll, I intend to do my part towards normalizing breastfeeding by nursing in public, engaging with the local breastfeeding community, and making sure my daughter (and anyone within earshot) knows that I am proud to nurse her and am pleased to make my mammaries more than decoration.
What do you think about The Breast Milk Baby? How do you try to normalize breastfeeding?
If you are interested in more efforts to normalize nursing, check out these resources:
• Learn about your legal right to nurse in public . . . anytime, anywhere.
• What’s Facebook got to do with it? The Facebook v. Breastfeeding controversy continues.
• Check out the Indiscreet Breastfeeding Manifesto!