A Street Life Of Fake Babies

fake babies
Image by brilarian via Flickr

The streets this morning were full of school kids carrying fake babies. Mostly in hand-held baby carriers slung over the arm like a shopping basket. I didn’t see any boy-men with babies just impossibly young looking girl-women.In the distance one girl was sat atop the back rest of a park bench with her feet on the seat and her fake baby abandoned on the path. She herself was hunched over a mobile phone texting.

When I worked in a secondary school for a while they too had fake baby fortnight but I was never entirely sure whether the exercise really got across the implications of having a child at such a young age as I often saw many fake babies held recklessly by the arm, dragged around from lesson to lesson like a small bag of shopping. The various programmed wails of these artificial cherubs-at-arms filling the corridors and even sometimes disrupting lessons with their cries for attention.


2 thoughts on “A Street Life Of Fake Babies

  1. My son was rereading Flour Babies the other day so it’s interesting you should write about this.

    I am not convinced either. Having had many small babies, I find there is something peculiar about the cry of your own that stops you in your tracks – no other baby’s cry will do it. I have looked after other people’s babies quite often and it is an entirely different experience – harder in some ways of course but it does not have the emotional pull/drain that you get from your own, that feeling of overwhelming responsibility that almost sucks every ounce of energy out of you, it is more functional in the way that looking after a fake baby would be. Certainly with a first baby there is a moment, usually early on, when it hits you that you have this “thing” for life – and it is not actually a good moment, short-lived though it is, it is very very frightening.

    I often wonder if fake babies might not have the opposite effect. These pretend babies are easy to cart around and ignore and yet give the day a focus I am sure, make the students feel as if they are carrying out an important role and being adult.

    Is there any research that you know of? Interesting!

  2. You took the words out of my keyboard! As the baby-on-the-floor example suggests, girls may not take these ersatz bundles of joy seriously and may be misled into thinking that real babies are as easy to care for (or neglect).

    While these dolls may teach girls something about the practicalities and chores of childcare they do not convey what is equally important, that affective bond between mother and baby of which RB writes. In fact, in glossing over this, the dolls may do more harm than good, conveying the notion that a baby is merely a messy machine that you need to tend but not care for.

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