In 2009, Spanish company Berjuan Toys introduced Bebé Glotón to the European market. The animatronic breastfeeding baby doll sold well, so Berjuan brought it to U.S. this year under the name The Breast Milk Baby. Not surprisingly, critics claim it sexualizes young girls by teaching them about breastfeeding.
Breast is best, just not in my backyard
Boing Boing points out that many of the critics of $89 The Breast Milk Baby come from the segment of U.S. society that automatically equates breasts with some form of shameful sexuality. Quite outlandishly, Eric Ruhalter wrote for NJ.com that having young girls pantomime breast feeding was akin to having children act out alcoholism, erectile dysfunction or prison rape (he later issued an apology to breastfeeding mothers). Most criticisms argued that a breastfeeding doll would prompt children to ask questions and that this would somehow be a bad thing.
Berjuan’s U.S. spokesman Dennis Lewis doesn’t understand why U.S. critics are up in arms.
“We’re being called perverts and pedophiles for promoting feeding our babies,” he said. “Breastfeeding is important for society.”
Though there are many critics of The Breast Milk Baby, more child development professionals see no harm in the toy, reports Discovery News. Breastfeeding is a natural function girls should understand, even if they don’t go on to have children. Groups like the World Health Organization highly encourage breastfeeding, particularly for the first six months.
The cost of misinformation
In an op-ed for Yahoo! News, columnist Carol Whyte argues that a 4-year-old girl who plays with dolls isn’t ready to pretend she is breastfeeding and that a young boy who sees such mommy play will be “confused and full of questions.” The horror! Thought processes may be stimulated and inquiring minds will seek information. Whyte fails to address why such things would be bad, suggesting that misinformation would be preferable, that a “We don’t talk about such things” whiff of shame is optimal.
When it comes to human sexuality, studies like those by the Government Accountability Office and Kaiser Family Foundation have found that misinformation has tangible negative consequences. A sampling of federally funded abstinence-only sex education programs produced such obviously false “facts” as:
- –Half the gay male teenagers in the U.S. have tested positive for AIDS
- –Touching a person’s genitals “can result in pregnancy”
- –HIV spreads via sweat and tears
- –Condoms fail to prevent HIV transmission 31 percent of the time in heterosexual intercourse (actual rate is 3 percent, per the Centers for Disease Control)
Considering the millions of taxpayer dollars used to fund such programs, it’s clear that misinformation can be expensive. If $89 can help a young girl grow up to understand breastfeeding and not be ashamed of it, that’s money well spent.
Boing Boing: http://www.boingboing.net/2011/05/10/fresh-outrage-at-dol.html
The Breast Milk Baby: http://thebreastmilkbaby.com/
Discovery News: http://news.discovery.com/human/breastfeeding-baby-doll-arrives-in-us-markets.html
Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d0787.pdf
Kaiser Family Foundation: http://www.kff.org/kaiserpolls/pomr012904oth.cfm
World Health Organization: http://www.who.int/topics/breastfeeding/en/
Yahoo! News: http://yhoo.it/fkr6mt
Do you have a fantastic idea related to this article, but just don't have the money you need to start your own company or side-business? Get the loans you need from https://personalmoneynetwork.com to help get your new company underway, from the small loan professionals at PersonalMoneyNetwork.