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A Girl Gets Her Doll - Flashback to the 1980s (Guest Post)

A short but sweet post today, featuring a story from Karin, a reader from Germany. Please welcome Karin to the blog.

Tommy, the Baby Doll

When I was a little girl in the 80's I wanted a baby doll and I wanted it to be male as the three dolls I already had were female.

My mum took me to a toy store and the lady there said "We do have male baby dolls, but it doesn't say on the box if it's a boy or a girl. We will have to feel it through the plastic." She pointed to a shelf with baby dolls. They all had the same face, but they were dressed in a variety of colours. As pink was my favourite from the selection I asked for a boy in pink.

"Well, we'll just have to see if there is one" the lady said. And there was! I called him Tommy.

I think it's wonderful that you couldn't tell the gender of the doll by either the packaging or the colour. I very much doubt that they would sell these nowadays.


Karin Bergstermann is an author and counsellor who has specialized in generation conflicts and the history of baby care. She also co-owns the German Training Institute for Breastfeeding Counselling (Deutsches Ausbildungsinstitut für Stillbegleitung - DAIS). You can read more (if you can read German) on www.bergstermann.de.


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Reader Comments (5)

My grandmother had a doll like that in the play room at her house. I forget what his name was... I thought nothing of it and was happy to have a baby boy to play with.

September 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

They weren't very available in the U.S. even in those days. When my cousin's baby brother was expected in 1980, my grandmother wanted to get my cousin a baby doll so he could take care of his baby while his mother took care of hers, and because he was a boy she thought he might prefer a boy baby doll. Living in New York City, she still had to shop extensively and endure many incredulous salesclerks before she finally found one! It seems to have been a good idea, as that cousin became very fond of babies (despite being a tough and manly type of person) and is now a great dad.

September 6, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter'Becca

What a beautiful 'intact' baby boy doll. I remember the '70s and '80s and how opened and enlightened everyone became. What is it about humans that the moment we drop our hangups and start to become enlightened, there is a massive right-wing backlash, and everyone goes scurrying for cover?

It goes though history too. The often bawdy plays of Shakespeare, got swallowed up by the Puritans. Then there was the "restoration" followed by the Victorian era. When the hippy generation arrived, we though the world was becoming sane again (make love not war) but it was almost over before it began and "the land of the free and the home of the brave" became anything but. But what goes around comes around.

We need just one generation of babies birthed with gentleness and peace and raised the same way, and we could turn the world around again.

September 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPat Torngren

That doll is so cute! We have an anatomically correct boy baby doll (Was mine as a child, now my son's) but it has the ugliest face!

I love the idea of a surprise gender when you get the baby home to open up! Aww. I have a real life baby right now but something in me still loves the idea of baby dolls. My oldest (now 3) isn't too big on dolls but here's hoping my new little guy lets me live vicariously and buy him some babies. :)

September 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanine

Oh interesting! You're right-- that would be very hard to find now!

September 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNina Badzin

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