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Why I’d rather explain a doll penis than a doll with no genitals

An outraged mom recently shared a photo of an anatomically correct baby doll on Facebook. I don’t get it. When did it become taboo to talk about body parts with our kids?

Anatomically correct baby doll sparks outrage

The baby doll appears to be this one from Toys “R” Us, and from what I can tell from looking at the website image, it isn’t labeled as anatomically correct on the box. Shoppers aren’t accustomed to seeing baby dolls with genitals, so I can understand the mom’s initial surprise. What I cannot understand is why it’s such a big deal.

The comments from this mom’s friends range from a simple, “Wow,” to a more impassioned, “Little girls should not be shown that on dolls. The company makes me sick.”

Naked babies are not dirty or sexual

How on earth is it inappropriate for a child to see a naked baby? What about a baby makes a penis or a vulva dirty or sexual? Because that’s what it sounds like when people say that it’s wrong for little girls to see it. The truth is, when a child points out the body part that she doesn’t have, all a parent is required to do is call it by its name.

This really brings up so many other conversations, such as using the proper words for body parts (including our genitals) and the shame children grow up with for nothing more than being a boy or a girl. It’s similar to parents who don’t want their children to see women breastfeeding in public because they don’t want to have to explain “that.”

Body shame starts early, and needs to be stopped early

Really? It’s a penis, it’s a vulva — one on a baby is not going to kill you and it’s definitely not going to turn your child into a pervert. Some people have them, others have something else. Hiding these body parts away is an element of a larger issue — that we are ashamed of our bodies, and that even babies are shameful.

What happens when a child’s mother gives birth to a baby boy? It’s concerning that parents are so uncomfortable explaining a new or different body part that they’d rather keep babies blank or under wraps, and if an anatomically correct doll finds its way into a home, then it suddenly becomes a viral photo shared and re-shared on Facebook.

The bottom line is that, while you may not choose to give your child an anatomically correct baby doll, parents should have the option. The doll isn’t harmful. What’s harmful is the notion that a baby doll is disturbing or sexual because it has a penis. Let’s be honest here — it’s only scary if it’s also going to pee on you during diaper changes.

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