Quoted: Tough titty–on feminist mothering and the breast feeding doll

The Crunk Feminist Collective has a thoughtful post up about breast feeding and feminism. The piece also touches on the messages we send young girls about mothering.

Dolls and doll-play have been a long-standing point of entry into discussions about the social construction of race and gender. My mother and grandmother certainly invested in all of the latest doll trends of the 1980s when I was a child—I had Cabbage Patch, Kid Sister (though he’d deny it, my cousin Chad had a My Buddy doll and lots of masculine “action figures”), Black Barbie, anatomically correct newborn twins, and the coveted Betsey Wetsey, which peed all over my bestfriend Amanda’s bedspread at a sleepover.

In my Intro to Women’s Studies classes, pointing to the gendered implications of toy choice—i.e. little girls are given dolls and little boys trucks or trains—opens my students eyes to just how early gender socialization starts.

Enter the breastfeeding doll.

My first reaction when I saw the video was “Oh, hell no! My future daughter will not be socialized to think about her breasts’ mothering potential before she even grows them.” Just like I won’t teach my daughter that the sole function of her period is to make her capable of becoming someone’s mama. Her breasts tell her things about her own health and development. They also can be a source of pleasure, both cosmetic and sexual. Her menstrual cycle, not just her period, is about the whole of her sexual and reproductive health. Her vagina both eliminates waste and facilitates pleasure. I don’t want my future daughter’s self-conception to be reduced to or primarily shaped by her female anatomy and its biological functions. Read more…

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About Tami

Tami Winfrey Harris writes about race, feminism, politics and pop culture at the blog What Tami Said. Her work has also appeared online at The Guardian’s Comment is Free, Ms. Magazine blog, Newsweek, Change.org, Huffington Post and Racialicious. She is a graduate of the Iowa State University Greenlee School of Journalism. She is mom to two awesome stepkids and spends her spare time researching her family history and cultivating a righteous 'fro.
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