All of those who are disturbed by breastfeeding dolls with genitals and pubic hair, please raise your hand now.
Amamanta, Spanish for breastfeeding, is a blend of two words that mean love and protection.
It is also the name of a doll family whose members may appeal to holiday shoppers looking beyond the latest Barbie or Bratz doll for a present that’s non-hazardous to body image and can also educate about how babies are made, born and nurtured.
Each 16-inch cloth adult Amamanta doll has genitals and pubic hair, and the mother doll features breasts that can be snapped onto the baby doll’s mouth to help reinforce the importance of breastfeeding.
“I wish children to be happy and grow with the idea that sexuality is important and is part of our lives,” says Margarita Maria Mesa Leal, owner of the company that makes the dolls. Leal hand sews dolls herself, in addition to employing 27 local women in Medellin, Colombia, all of them mothers.
Dolls aren’t cheap; an individual can be purchased for $39 or a family for up to $199. Leal didn’t go into the particulars of what she pays her workers, but she says these prices allow her to pay a living wage and use only high quality materials.
She created a mother doll, complete with a baby in the belly and a vagina, to explain that she was pregnant to her daughter. Though only 3 years old, her daughter took to the concept immediately, requesting a father doll and a sister doll to go with the mother and baby, just like her family. A for-profit, small business was born along with her son.
Leal sold the dolls to various families and small businesses around Colombia, and eventually throughout South America. She also spent much of those early months making dolls for a local orphanage filled with children, many of whom had lost their parents in Medellin, a cauldron of drug cartel-related violence during the 1990s. The dolls were a great tool for educating the children, many of whom did not have basic knowledge of human anatomy or sexuality and some of whom had also been sexually assaulted while on the streets.