Toys ‘R’ Us has aroused controversy this week with its new You & Me Mommy Diaper Boy Doll, which–thanks to the magic of battery power–cries when its diaper is wet. But the crying’s not the issue. The issue is how that diaper gets wet in the first place–the You & Me Mommy Diaper Boy Doll comes standard with a tiny, anatomically accurate penis.
This has led some parents to go berserk, decrying the “sexual” nature of the doll and insisting that it come with some sort of warning label on the box. Equally loud are the voices saying that there’s nothing wrong with kids playing with a baby that looks, well, like a real baby. Dolls, from Cabbage Patch Kids to Barbie and Ken, are rather famously devoid of certain body parts–but does that need to be the case? What exactly are children being protected from when the human figures they play with are distinctly different from their own bodies? Might that not be more cause of concern for a child than seeing what a body actually looks like?