August 1, 2014
Anatomically Correct Doll: Toys 'R' Us Male Doll's Genitals Taboo?

A boy doll sold at Toys "R" Us that is anatomically-correct has caused a firestorm among dueling thoughts over body image and proper parenting.

The You & Me Mommy Change My Diaper Doll cries and wets its diaper like babies often do. Nothing strange there, right? Wrong -- depending on what side of the argument you're on -- this particular Toys "R" Us boy doll has something most others don't: an anatomically-correct penis. And judging by one woman's reaction, she didn't see it coming. Not only that, she wants it off shelves.

A New Jersey mom visited the toy giant recently and purchased a baby boy doll for her daughter. Later, when they returned home and removed it from the packaging, the startled woman discovered realistic-looking genitals on the doll. She took to Facebook, posted the photo showing off the doll's anatomy and shared her outrage over the toy retailer's decision to offer the doll for sale.

She said:

Why?? These (are) little girls that don't need to know the anatomy."

Almost immediately, readers on social media sounded off and offered up opinions on the matter. Some responses were rather curt and benign. Others were more passionately-driven over the Toys "R" Us doll's anatomy. Correct or not, some weren't buying it.

Here are just a few responses:

"Little girls should not be shown that on dolls. The company makes me sick."

"Little girls should not be shown that on dolls. The company makes me sick. Luckily this is America, buy a doll without the appendage. Not that I think it is wrong, but I always wondered why a little kid needs to be changing diapers on a doll anyway."

A writer at SheKnows countered the fallout from the doll's penis anatomy and looked closer at a consequence of upholding the taboo culture on genital reveal.

"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," said Monica Beyer.

Dr. Michele Borba, an educational psychologist and child expert took a more radical approach in response to the anatomically-correct male doll sold at Toys "R" Us. She says the manner in which a parent communicates to a growing child weighs heavily on how they respond to their bodies and conversations that point to body parts and image in future.

She says:

"At ages 3, 4, 5, we should be talking to them with anatomically correct words: penis instead of pee-pee. You don't do that with other body parts. You don't call it your 'elbow-y' or your 'toe-toe'... We've learned that if parents are relaxed about this when kids are younger, then the child will feel comfortable coming to you with harder conversations later."

Another expert looked at both sides of the argument and offered their opinion on the Toys "R" Us doll fallout.

"There's nothing inappropriate, per se, about this doll. Having said that, I don't know if it's really necessary. I don't know if I, as a parent, would need to buy a doll with a realistic-looking penis for my child. The company has a right to make it, and parents have a right to make a choice. You may not want this in your home, and that's OK. Make that choice," said New York City psychotherapist Dr. Robi.

Valeria Lukyanova, aka human or Real Life Barbie Doll, is in the thick of an brewing argument over self-acceptance and what constitutes beauty. Her case is an extreme one, but some children, teens, and young adults are conflicted over the prevailing controversy. As a consequence, there is a contingency that views the Human Barbie Doll as a role model.

Ironically, the baby doll from Toys "R" Us with a boy's penis is not the first doll to be correct in the rendering of its anatomy. The Archie's Bunker's Grandson Joey Stivic doll, circa 1976 (via eBay), is rumored to be the first to tap into the social mores of the time.

[Image via SheKnows]