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First of all, I do not have a problem with the toy. However, I think we overestimate the ability of children that young to fully comprehend what is going on around them and that perhaps you are overreacting as much as those who want to ban the doll.

I've worked with children a lot and there have been countless times when adults think there is a huge issue or a giant moral dilemma that will perpetuate negative behaviors in the future (such as having sex too young or thinking breastfeeding is shameful). Then when the parent or teacher goes to have an "honest conversation" with them, the child has no idea what they're talking about and just smile and nod or look confused.

This is not because children are stupid or unintelligent, but because they are only really interested in themselves at young ages. Listen to their conversations, most of them tell stories about other people in the first person perspective and not as a third person observer (I think it is very fascinating). We want to treat them like little adults but let's be realistic about their limitations. For example, children don't understand sarcasm until about age six and do not understand lying to protect someone's feelings until about ten to twelve. Breastfeeding may not be quantum physics, but it’s not some major issue that we have to indoctrinate into kids heads at five years old.

We've gotten to the point where kids cannot be kids and grow up on their own. We are so afraid that they may fail or think the wrong thing about a toy or issue. What's the point of talking to a five year old about breastfeeding? They know it happens; most of them have seen it before if they have siblings. Who cares if they think it is gross or beautiful? They believe in cooties and that kissing people of the opposite sex is gross.

Children grow up and develop their own thoughts and attitudes that do have a basis in their upbringing, but how many people do you know hold different views than those of their parents? If this doll and the grossness/beauty of breastfeeding is such an issue, then we should really go after how some Christians, Jews, Muslims, Republicans, Democrats, or etc are causing more damage to society because they don't accept other beliefs or cultures. But we don't, we go after a stupid toy that won't end society or make it a haven for people who breastfeed. Society will go on as it normally does and history will repeat itself, as it does, and we’ll be having this conversation again with some other toy.

I appreciate that you are trying to bring awareness to an issue you believe to be important, but I think you are wasting your breath, or fingers. Your article that is actually on the importance of breastfeeding is a much better use of your talents and time. Children like to play with things that intellectually and physically engage them and they've always wanted to pretend to be mommy or daddy. The fact that gets lost in this argument that I think is the most important is: CHILDREN PRETEND TO BREASTFEED EVEN WITHOUT THE TOY.

If this toy gets banned, children breastfeeding dolls won't suddenly end and neither will breastfeeding. As terrible as banning gay marriage is, it doesn't make homosexuality stop (just ask several of my cousins or my brother-in-law's brother) and doesn't make the public think less of it (the public has a higher opinion of homosexuality now more than thirty, twenty, or even ten years ago).

So I guess to summarize my point: Use you talent and energy for spreading the word on the benefits of breastfeeding like you did in "Suck On It! Why America Needs to be More Breastfeeding Friendly." Maybe even start a petition or something. But please leave the nitpicking over a toy that won't change society to those who like to hear themselves talk, even though they can't finish a term as governor. You're so much better than that my afro'd friend.

August 15, 2011 - 12:35am


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