Toy dolls that wet themselves and allow their "mommy" to change a watery diaper are not anything new. So why is the You & Me Mommy Change My Diaper Doll sold at Toys R Us causing a stir?
The boy version of the doll is sold, apparently, anatomically correct complete with male genitalia.
The product description of the doll does not entirely gloss over the fact that a boy will come with a penis.
The description says the package "includes an anatomically [correct] doll," listing extra diapers and his blue outfit as added features that come along with its $24.99 price tag.
The Change My Diaper Doll sold by Toys R Us explicitly states that the toy is "anatomically correct." (Image source: Toys R Us)
"You & Me baby dolls, baby doll clothes and accessories let girl be girls while pretending to be adults," the company stated on the Toys R Us website, which exclusively sells the brand. "You & Me baby dolls offer collectible and pretend play time dolls that reflect the personality of every young girl."
Reported parental outrage over the boy doll's genitalia started on Facebook, with Monica Beyer for the She Knows blog writing that one commenter on the post said "Little girls should not be shown that on dolls. The company makes me sick." The original post on Facebook appears to have been removed.
Beyer, on the other hand, represents a different camp.
"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," Beyer wrote. "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.'"
While no one in the comments on the Toys R Us website makes any comment about the baby doll's anatomy, the New York Daily News pointed to another site, Buzzillions.com, which has reviews going back 2010 that make it clear people at least have known about the doll's representation of genitalia for a while now.
"I think every child should know all body parts of their sex and the opposite sex," one commenter wrote. "With all the 'cutsie' names made up by parents for 'private parts', how is anyone supposed to know what part the kid is actually referring to???"
Another commenter wrote that "it's not scary and is quite small."
"It's a hard plastic, it's not like 'it' is long or bends or anything like that. 'Anatomically correct' is almost a misnomer. It's really not so different as your child seeing a little boy get his diaper changed; it's just the human body," this commenter said. "I like the doll and would recommend it."
Beyer said that while an anatomically correct doll might not be all parents cup of tea, she thinks they should at least have the option that this doll provides.
"The doll isn't harmful. What's harmful is the notion that a baby doll is disturbing or sexual because it has a penis," Beyer wrote. "Let's be honest here — it's only scary if it's also going to pee on you during diaper changes."