Michael Delahoyde, PhD

Professor of English

Judy Doll

Judy: The Birthing Doll

          Ladies and gentlemen . . . you heard right! The Judy doll gives the term “birth” a whole new meaning. Simply remove a large, vital portion of her mid-section and (UH-OH) you’ve found Judy’s little bundle of joy. Below are in-class student responses to the Judy doll advertisements and commentary from Professor Delahoyde.

(here’s another Judy-type birthing doll)

Sample Judy Doll Paragraphs and Commentary

          [NOTE: I usually hand out to each student a photocopy of the Judy ad andsimply ask them to write about it, taking any angle they choose. In otherwords, nothing more than “Discuss.” Thus they have to conceptualize aproductive direction for an analysis, debate, critique, whatever. If agroup of students is particularly career-minded (or major-minded), thereare lots of possibilities here : issues of education and childdevelopment, sociology and gender, business and finance (see #9), politicsand evil, and so on.]

1) Judy is a ’90s doll. She comes with spare parts. She has aremovable pregnant tummy and a flat one. She is getting a baby in style.The best part about it after the delivery is over with she can have herflat tummy again.

1) Poor. This writer is just reporting factoids. We get only thebarest beginning of commentary (irony?) in the first part of the lastsentence.

2) The toy industry has finally gone overbroad. As are societylosses it moral stand to pop culture, toys like Judy sex is allow in arechildren hands. This doll is a big brall of crap. How can we teach arechildren with this?

2) Poor. Ranting is sometimes fine, but not if your writing looksthis careless (“are” vs. “our”; “losses” vs. “loses”; etc.).

3) Judy doll can be a useful tool to educate young children. Youngchildren can learn to be caring and nurturing. These qualities might beapplied later in daily lives. At the same time, young kids should also betaught to tolerate and respect the others. Parents should let their kidsplaying with other kids, not only with toys and dolls. Sometimes, playingwith dolls can make kids self centred. They also learn not to trust otherpeople. However, it all depends on the parents. Parents should be wiseand careful in choosing toys and dolls for their kids.

3) Poor. The ESL problems of article usage and some awkwardness ofphrasing become obvious, but the commentary behind the surface also seemsrandom and rambling, sacrificing focus in order to offer clichpreachings.

4) Judy is the ultimate pregnant woman. During her pregnancy she hasbeautiful wavy rooted hair and soft skin to make her a lovable friend.Does the pregnant “tummy” come with stretch marks? It says “Judy looksstylish before and after her baby arrives.” The Judy doll seems tosimplify the pregnancy process. Now I realize what people mean by thephrase “Bun in the oven.” You can remove the baby whenever you want toand I assume you can put it back when your done. Eventhough Judy wears awedding ring, her husband Charlie is sold seperately. What would DanQuayle think of this. The process of birth seems to be extremelysimplified. I guess this is kind of C-section type birth.

4) Hmm. A few surface problems appear here (e.g., “eventhough,””seperately”), but this paragraph is also unfortunately a jumble. Theideas are good, promising impressive and intelligent perspective; but thediscussion is all over the boards and seems frantic, not focused anddeveloped.

5) The Judy doll company claims that this doll is “a natural way” fora child to learn about pregnancy. However, I do not see an eleven-inch,toothpick-thin piece of plastic to be natural. Furthermore, a child isnot learning about pregnancy, in actuality they will learn that babiescomes out of the stomach (by c-section, or in this case o-section!) andthe mother is thin, free of pain, and doesn’t even smudge her mascaraduring labor! The Judy doll in my opinion is a hoax, aimed at childrenlearning about motherhood before many are even pottytrained!

5) Okay. The comma splice in the middle is disappointing, and “hoax”seems a bit extreme maybe, but we have a focus finally and the phrasing isconcise, original, and conveys a clever perspective.

6) Judy is having a baby! I somehow doubt that this one would escapecriticism in the U.S. by someone. If nothing else the conservative bentof the nation would jump on the fact that while Judy has a husband, he isoptional, so we must pay more to be traditional. Various candidates forpublic office would also mention that the baby is “removable” and can beavoided for the rest of playtime. Isn’t the age of 3 too early forplaying with this kind of toy? I wonder if it is, and if the plastic babycould choke a small child? Wouldn’t that be ironic?

6) Feh. The poli-sci angle is intriguing, but I think we need overtmention of “family values” mania (not “values” at all, just commitment tobreeding). Otherwise, the irony insisted on at the end of the paragraphis unclear.

7) I suppose it is good to give children a way to explore the topicof pregnancy. Judy gives children a chance to satify their curiosityabout pregnancy and childbirth. I also suppose that a good criticalthinker would play the devil’s advocate and look at the things Judy islacking. First things first: what is up with this insta-washboard stomachafter having a baby thing? I would have to say that that’s a littleunrealistic, but I can see how it would put a strain on the manufacturersto equip a doll with cellulite and stretchmarks. Perhaps the mostdangerous aspect of Judy is the possibility that parents might use her asan excuse for talks about sex and pregnancy. Being a strong advocate ofhonest sex education in schools beginning in elementary school, I can’thelp but imagine a young girl running to her mother one day to ask herwhere babies come from and having Judy shoved in her face. Even thedescription of the doll adds to the pile of lies we tell our childrenabout reproduction: “Take off her belly and there’s her baby.” How manydecades have we been telling children that babies live in their mommies'”tummies”? Is there something wrong with the word “uterus”? Judy as atoy to help children become comfortable with the idea of pregnancy andchildbirth (even if the method is a little strange) is a good idea. Judyas an excuse to avoid honest open talk with our children is a potentiallydeadly situation.

7) Good. This writer actually succeeds in using some slangyinformality, too abruptly at first perhaps, but justified ultimately whenwe strike a balance towards the end of the paragraph between responsibleperspective and casual debunking.

8) If parents don’t mind their children thinking that pregnancy is aseasy as popping off the tummy and removing the kid, the pregnant Judy dollis a great addition to the toy box. Can we possibly be more unrealisticwith this doll? Why isn’t the rest of Judy’s body bloated? Why isn’t herbaby slimy and crying and in the fetal position? Also, Judy should moanintermittently and come with medicine for morning sickness. Men designedthis doll, didn’t they?

8) This one seems a bit schizoid (between the first and the followingsentences). Admittedly, this writer would need some control in a longerdiscussion to be persuasive, but I do love it for its de-romanticizing ofthe subject. So: good impulses, needs focus and direction.

9) Judy doll represents a new generation for girl’s toys because themarketing strategy is changed. For many girl’s toys in the market, whatthe toy companies want to sell are the extras of the toy: the clothing andmake-up also. However, Judy has a new feature, the baby. Therefore, thetoy company has one more product line in the whole package: Judy, Judy’sclothes and make-up, the baby and the baby’s stuff. When one Judy toy issold, that means two toys, Judy and the baby, were sold. That means thefuture income also will be double since girls will buy stuff for Judy andfor Judy’s baby. The profit will double. I believe there will be moreand more of this kind of marketing bundlings happening in the future.

9) This ESL finance major takes a different analytical approach tothe subject.

10) That the Judy doll is promoted as “a natural way for your child tolearn while playing” seems absurd. Nothing about Judy, from her vacantsmile (presumably even during childbirth) to her snap-on-and-off “pregnanttummy” is “natural.” The assumption that children are innately curiousabout pregnancy I find questionable, but even if they are, does the”Judith Corporation” really consider this toy educational? How will Mommyexplain when, newly back from the hospital with little brother or sister,she hasn’t snapped back on her “flat tummy,” doesnUt have Barbie hair, andisn’t ready for tennis with her “accessory” husband Charlie? This “toy”is no more educational than would be a Mattel “Stuart Stork” with theobligatory bundle in his beak. It’s probably worse.

10) Excellent. The focus on the advertisement’s own words succeeds inpuncturing corporation pretenses, and, due to variety in sentencing, endson a strong note too.



Dear Judith Corporation:

I am a 42 year old single father of two daughters, ages 8 and 12. I thinkyour Judy Is Having A Baby doll is an outstanding idea. Instead of thestereotypical blond, corvette driving doll, you have finally come up witha novel idea of educating young girls.

To be completely honest, the real reason I am so extatic over your newproduct is I now do not have to worry about having the dreaded “birds andthe bees” talk with my daughters. I have ordered both Judy and herhusband Charlie. As soon as both dolls arrive, I am confident that my twolittle girls will be able to fully understand the magical world of sex andchild birth. I am no longer scared of that one day when my oldestdaughter comes to me and asks, “Where do babies come from?” Judy willanswer all her questions. And when my youngest daughter is faced with thesame question, I will simply hand Judy to her. If that doesnUt work, Iwill send in my oldest to explain.

I feel Judy should be a requirement at all schools. I would go as far tosay from pre-school all the way to high school. YouUre never too young tounderstand how the beginning of life works. I may even go further and saythat the American government should subsidize the manufacture of thisproduct and mail a Judy doll to every girl in the country.


Chris Martin


July 14, 1998
Media Contact: Judith Corporation 1-800-477-JUDY e-mail Judy@JudithCorp.
Lake Bluff, Ill PP On Tuesday, The Judith Corporation introduced its newJudy doll which teachs children about childbirth as well as giving a childa new doll to play with.

Judy looks like a real mommy-to-be. Just take off her tummy, and there isher baby. Judy comes with a pregnant tummy which is removable, a baby,baby carrier and maternity jumpsuit, blouse, shoes and hair ribbon.

“Judy is an educational doll,” said John Simpleton, CEO of JudithCorporation. “Judy teaches children about being a mommy and what thesteps mommy has to go through in order to have a baby.”

Unlike the Mommy-to-Be Doll that helps teach the wonder of childbirthalone, Judy allows for playtime as well. Once Judy has her baby, thechild can dress Judy and her baby. The emagination is free to run withJudy and baby.

To order a Judy doll just send $14.95 to Judith Corporation or call1-800-477-JUDY.

“Judy helps mom with the difficult discussion of childbirth,” said RodNinny, president of marketing. “Mom just uses Judy and everything justcomes natural when discussing childbirth.”