Dolls with anatomically correct genitals. They exist. There is (I have just discovered) a massive debate going on between parents as to whether it is right or wrong to give these dolls to our children. I want to weigh in.
Like many people, I would have recoiled in horror a year or so ago if I had seen my daughter playing with a baby doll that had a penis. Mainly because I know my daughter, she questions everything, and explaining what that bit on the dolly’s bottom is, why it is different to hers and how it works would have gone on for days. She would have brought it up in public. She would have told anyone who would listen about this ‘new thing’ she had just learned.
Nowadays I would still feel uncomfortable about my daughter seeing the anatomy on a doll, but for a completely different reason: she was abused. By a man. She knows exactly what that bit is. I would not want her reminded of that.
A lot of people have argued that by seeing the correct anatomy on dolls and learning the correct names for said body parts, children can actually be safer and more aware. I have no evidence to support this, but I can say that even without knowing the name of that body part my daughter still managed to tell me accurately about her abuse – so really it’s not as though not knowing does any harm.
On the other hand I feel that at this point, after everything that’s happened, pretending that that piece of the male body doesn’t exist would be pointless; she’s well aware of it, and it would be better that she learns about it as a natural part of the body rather than a sex object. Barbie has oversized boobs and we aren’t offended by those (I mean, other than the unrealistic body standards).
If a child had a younger sibling of the opposite gender, surely they would already know that girls bits look different to boys bits? I assume. How long can we really keep that information from them? And what’s the harm in knowing that, anyway? We aren’t obliged to explain any more than that, unless we want to. Just that girls and boys are different.
I think my ultimate response is that I am on the fence. In our circumstances things like this need to be handled sensibly, but with hindsight I feel that a penis-sporting Baby Born isn’t the most harmful thing a child could come into contact with. What do you think? Let us know!