Many are up in arms about the new Breast Milk Baby Doll that has been successfully marketed in Spain and is now working its way into the American market place. This baby doll comes with a halter top that little girls wear. The baby doll cries, but when held up to the “flower petals” – the baby simulates nursing and stops crying. The baby doll can even be “burped” following each feeding.
It comes as no surprise that its production and distribution is being met with ample resistance, as real-life breastfeeding, at least in public, has been demonized as inappropriate, obscene and classified as “indecent exposure”.
American culture (like so many others) has been regulated by a male dominated mindset that has controlled, co-opted, and deemed womens bodies as the exclusive domain of male sexual gratification. The “indecent exposure” spin regarding breastfeeding in public is simply laughable – especially when considering that womens breast are plastered, ad nausea um, over every mass media outlet known to man!
The implicit message is that, as long as womens breasts are exposed for male sexual gratification – all is well. But the moment a female uses her breasts as nature intended – to feed her offspring – all hell breaks loose!
Many of the arguments surrounding the objection to the breast feeding doll cite the premature development of young girls as a primary criticism. But if this were really a primary concern, then why are we so willing to accept fashion dolls that don sexually provocative, scantily clad outfitting, high heels, pouty lips and suggestive poses (Bratz Dolls)? In fact, the Baby Bratz line are even marketed to 3 year old girls, complete with thong diapers!
If we’re so concerned about little girls taking on adult responsibilities prematurely – then why do we embrace the traditional female “toys” surrounding all other forms of adult-based roles of domestic and sexual servitude (sexualized fashion dolls with unrealistic body images, easy bake ovens, cleaning supplies, and yes, baby dolls, provided that they are bottle-fed by artificial, less healthful means, where the focus is on the changing of diapers as depicted by media as exclusively a “female” duty)?
In effect, breastfeeding supports and reinforces the notion of female ownership and control over their own mammary glands – an idea that is counter-indicated by a male-dominated American culture. The backlash regarding the breastfeeding doll has less to do with prematurely introducing young girls to motherhood – and more to do with the fact that this toy instills in young girls the idea that their breasts are meant for purposes other than the sexual gratification of males – remembering that the female body has fallen under the exclusive domain of male ownership and entitlement for centuries. Public breastfeeding is an activity that falls outside the domain of male-centered sexuality – and as such – is publicly frowned upon and discouraged.
There seems to be a serious disconnect in our psycho-cultural perceptions of what female breasts are actually for. I’ve even heard some argue that the breastfeeding doll “sexualizes” young girls! This perspective is testament to just how far astray our values toward and expectations of women have come. The idea of female sexual objectification is so deeply entrenched in the psyches of American men and women alike – that any non-sexual behavior involving breasts stimulates tremendous dissonance.
It’s high time that women reclaim ownership and control over their own bodies and defend and assert their freedom to use their breasts as nature intended. If womens breasts are viewed as sexually arousing to men – the male sexual response should be considered wholly secondary to the primary purpose and function of breasts – to feed our children!
For far too long, the purpose and function of women’s bodies have been co-opted by the oppressive nature of male domination and control. From the shame and secrecy surrounding menstrual cycles, to the all too frequent “faked” orgasm, to the “cloaked” and shunned nature of public breast-feeding, the needs and aspects of women have been systematically silenced and distorted.
Given the choice, I would much prefer my young daughter simulate the natural breast-feeding of a virtual infant than aspire to sexual objectification by wearing the belly-shirts, short-shorts, mini-skirts, bikinis, molded cup training bras and play make-up that currently saturates young girl fashion trends – marketed as an effort to mold our daughters into Victoria Secret wannabes.
In my opinion, the breast feeding doll reflects a desperately needed shift in restoring the efficacy, validity and value of women. As we move away from the domination, aggression and stronghold of male domination and control – the feminine realm is surely staking claim to its rightful place of equal opportunity and representation.