Photo Credit: Clare Dickinson/Flickr/Getty Images
A new doll will hit toy store shelves throughout the UK next month and mental health experts are already up in arms about it. Why? Because the baby girl’s special quality is rejecting food.
According to the Daily Mail Online, the Spanish company Famosa introduced their latest creation recently at the London Toy Fair. The “Nenuco Won’t Eat” doll is designed to turn its head numerous times when the “mother” attempts to feed it (thanks to a magnet placed inside the spoon). The doll will take the food, however, when the “mother” positions the spoon at the precise feeding angle.
Nikki Jeffrey, Famosa’s UK marketing director, said the doll is simply teaching little girls about real life. “'The doll is designed to re-enact the play between a parent and a child. The idea is that the child understands that the doll is being mischievous and that the child encourages the doll to eat the food, just as a parent does with their child. We believe the doll will teach children the value of eating healthily as it is eating fruit and vegetables,” reports the MailOnline.
That’s not exactly how the mental health community sees it. Chris Leaman, policy manager at the child and adolescent mental health charity YoungMinds, told the website, “This doll sends the wrong message to children and encourages them to think that refusing food is normal behavior.”
A spokesperson from B-eat, an eating disorder clinic, told the MailOnline, “Research shows young children are becoming aware of body image at a much earlier age. A doll that refuses food is hardly a good example to them.”
I’d like to ask the toy people at Famosa this question: Why do toddlers need to learn how difficult it can be to feed a real baby — a baby girl, no less!— 25+ years prior to motherhood?
Sad as it is, the majority of girls will be dealing with body image issues by the time they’re 10-years-old. Just let the little ones play house, play princess and play in the world of make believe to their heart’s content. The life lessons will come soon enough.