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August 14, 2009

Bebe Gloton - ¿Qué coño?

Apparently, there's been quite the firestorm with regard to Bebe Gloton - the breast-feeding baby doll manufactured in Spain. Bebe Gloton - "greedy baby" or "baby glutton" or "hungry mouth to feed" (your translations may vary) - allows girls to simulate feeding the baby. To round-out the realism, the baby comes complete with a halter with flaps, similar to those seen in nursing bras, but instead of areolae and nipples, there are strategically-placed pasties daisies. The baby also makes "sucking" sounds as it feeds and will cry when it is hungry. Bonus!

Now, before any of you get your knickers in a knot, my wife breast-fed our three children. To paraphrase The Doobie Brothers, breast-feeding is just alright with me. However, breast-feeding, at least for this writer, is not the issue. Those of us with daughters, specifically those of the older sister or middle child type, have seen them, at times, simulate breast-feeding their own dolls. Whether Elmo's getting a little mid-day snack or "mommy" thinks Barbie needs to put on some weight, the activity is, more or less, an an emulation of their own mothers. A very admirable display. That being said, since our youngest is no longer breast-fed, our daughter hasn't "fed" any of her dolls in this fashion lately - which might explain why Elmo was chasing Dora around with a knife and fork. Ahem.

Anyway, I have two issues with this doll: is it appropriate and, more importantly, is there really a need for it? Let me attack the latter first. I often find myself asking, usually after one commercial or another on Noggin or Disney Channel, why on God's green earth would I want to buy that particular doll or toy for my child? Talking, walking are fine. But is a doll that pees or fills a diaper with simulated shite necessary? Is that level of realism required for play time? "Why use your imagination when your doll can have mencomiuim shits for real?" I just wrote that my daughter simulated breast-feeding her dolls, do I need one that actually cries and makes sucking sounds? Will it spit some up on her shoulder as she burps it as well?

As far as its level of appropriateness, other critics (yeah, I guess I am critical of it in that I fail to see the need) argue that the idea of breast-feeding is too grown-up for children; it might speed up maternal desires in young girls and encourage teen pregnancy. Let's just leave it that other than a child's particular home life and upbringing, I'm always skeptical of claims that something may "encourage behavior" in one way or another - I don't believe metal encourages suicides or homicidal rages; video games don't encourage teens to pimp-kick hookers; and a doll that fills diapers to the brim does not encourage pregnancy (one might argue that it could be a great deterrent). I am not a child psychologist, nor do I play one at DadCentric, so I'm not particularly comfortable venturing into that realm. (If you feel you must flame, let it be known that I will answer you with this very same sentence along with a few choice invectives - you've been warned.) But let me repeat: my daughter has simulated breast-feeding. She's almost three. However, I'm not overly worried that she will, at age 13, want to have a baby. A near-impossibility anyway since she won't be allowed out of the house until she's 25, but I digress. Is it appropriate? I don't know. Again, I go back to the "need." I just don't see any real value in it. To me it only serves to suck out all the imagination of playing.

So, what say you, all wise and powerful readers and commenters? Are you comfortable giving your daughter or niece a doll like this? Do our daughters need a breast-feeding doll? Or is this creepy like a Cabbage Patch kid? Oh, you know those things are creepy with their big chipmunk cheeks, lifeless eyes, (black eyes, like a shark's eyes), Xavier Roberts tattoo and magical cabbage patch behind a waterfall lore. Everyone knows babies come from clouds



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