Paper #1

          A newborns head is usually shaped like a cone, their faces havebaby acne, their eyes are crossed, and there is a clamp with a blood clotwhere the navel will be. These are all typical characteristics of a realnewborn baby. Playmates Water Babies Little Baby Doll claims to depict areal newborn (who incidentally is wearing lipstick, mascara, eyeshadow,and blush). In order for Playmates to sell this particular doll to thepublic, they have produced a Little Baby Doll with rosy cheeks and aperfect smile. What child could resist wanting such a doll?

          The concept behind the Playmates Little Water Baby Doll is to “addthe magic” by filling the doll with warm water, which in turn makes thedoll “seem to come alive”. According to instructions on the packaging,the child is to open the plug found in the doll’s back, “burp” out any airpockets by “gently sqeezing the doll’s body”, and then “firmly insert theeasy fill funnel and fill slowly with warm tap water. “Fill her with warmwater…she feels just like a real newborn…so soft…so tiny”. How cana doll made of rubber and filled with water feel like a “real” newborn?You do not burp a newborn by squeezing it’s body. Playmates Water BabiesLittle Baby Doll may lead children to unintentionally harm newborn babies.

          It appears that Playmates is trying to give our children a senseof what it is like to care for a newborn baby. Such statements as; “Yourloving touch makes her wiggle and squirm-just like a newborn!” and”Nestled in your arms, she’s so soft and warm-you’ll believe she’s real!”,would indicate that the only skills required in order to care for anewborn is a loving touch. Playmates has omitted all of theunpleasantness of having a newborn baby, such as the messy diapers and theconstant spit-up! If the toy company uses a real newborn to model theWater Babies Little Baby Doll after, would the doll sell? Of course not!

          On the box, a little girl is shown looking down at the baby lying in a cradle with a pink blanket. The doll is wearing a gown with flowers on it and a pink ribbon. The Water Babies Little Baby Doll is often referred to as soft, tiny, and warm. These are words that are most often used to describe a girl. Studies have shown that daughters, in contrast to sons, are rated as significantly softer, finer featured, weaker, and more delicate. It is obvious that the doll is a girl that is designed and made specifically for little girls to play with. It appears that sex-role socialization is taking place. What is this teaching our children? Is it showing them that it is the role of the mother to be the one to care for the children? Also, does it teach boys that only girls play with dolls? Playmates Water Babies Little Baby Doll has successfully promoted gender-biases, sex-typing, and sex-role socialization.

          On shelves in every toy store you will find toys that promote gender-bias, sex-typing, and sex-role socialization. Studies show that sex-typing and sex-role socialization appear to begin their course at the time of the infant’s birth (Rubin 156). We are taught to label everyone and everything around us. Because of the way that our society is organized, women have greater social and domestic responsibilities than men (Walton 29). Childrens toys display this fact by making dolls and tea sets for girls and GI Joes and Rambos for boys. Our children are taught the values of a society that discriminates based on gender and race.I really learned alot from this assignment eventhough at first I thought it was ridiculous to make such a big deal over a baby doll.


Walton, Anne. ìWomen Scientists: Are They Really Different?î
          InWriting About the World. Ed. Susan McLeod. Fort
          Worth: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1991.149-57.

Rubin, Jeffery Z., Provenzano, Frank J., and Luria, Zella. “The
          Eyeof the Beholder: Parents View on Sex of Newborns.”
          Writing Aboutthe World. 25-38.