Henceforth, when you are buying a blank-groined doll for your child to play with at Target, you will have to figure out whether it is for a girl (Barbie) or a boy (GI Joe) on your own. While this task may not seem all that daunting to you as a toy shopper, Fox News for one, feels thatrefusing to designate toys as specifically for little males or little females launches the nation down a slippery slope in which a youngster's future sexuality will not be determined not by nature or nurture, God or Darwin, but by whether the tyke was forced to sleep on Buzz Lightyear or Hello Kitty sheets.
Toys have always been rigidly sexually segregated in America, according to these pundits. In Revolutionary America, boys were given sticks and told to pretend to shoot the natural enemies of colonial Americans, bears and Redcoats, while girls were given rocks and told to pretend that they were baking fresh loaves of hardtack bread. During the Civil War boys on both sides were given make-believe Gatling guns and girls blue or gray-clad dolls covered with little blood-soaked bandages.
The Depression brought the first era of unisex toys to America, as both little boys and little girls were told to go play in the dirt, as it was the only entertainment their parents could afford.
As someone who neither buys toys or shops at Target (my sentiment being that if you want to furnish your life with cheap Chinese crap, you might as well go to Walmart, where the Chinese have shipped goods that are even cheaper and crappier) this controversy leaves me unmoved, as does the other dust-up of the week, a photo of a woman breast-feeding two boys simultaneously, one her own and one a neighbor's little lad, one on each of her mammaries or, as we laymen refer to them, "funbags."
This photo, of a perky, attractive young mom with two perky, attractive young boobs with a perky, attractive tot perched on each of them, has ignited the proverbial firestorm on social media. Many critics feel it is "icky," on the unspoken principle that up to a certain age, a male should only have his mom's breast in his mouth, then after a certain breast-free interval, is allowed to suck on anybody's breasts but his mom's, in an activity customarily referred to as "getting to second base.".
Others have defended the Double Breast-Feeding Mom, including Salma Hayek, the actress, who once was criticized herself for snatching up a starving African child and letting him slurp some of her own milky goodness while she was lactating. Yes, her detractors felt she should have let this kid malnourish away, instead of letting him slake his hunger at one of her A-list mammaries.
Now that she is as famous as Salma, at least this week, the Double Breast-Feeding Mom is on course to be enshrined in the pantheon of American Moms along with the Naked Breastfeeding Yoga Mom, the Tanorexic Mom and the Octomom. I wish her happiness in her fifteen minutes of notoriety.
I know those little lads in that pic look happy. And because they are little males, we know exactly what both of them are thinking:
"Mine is bigger than yours."