The world can be an ugly place. As MotherWoman and MadHatter pointed out on their blogs this week, just turning on the news can make you despair for humanity and for the future: college kids being gunned down in Montreal, Amish schoolgirls taken hostage and shot... it all makes me want to shut my ears and close my eyes and maybe, just maybe, grab my children and move to a cabin in the woods.
But the horror that happened in Pennsylvania reminds us that although you can shut your door to violence - to the culture that seems to promote and embrace such violence - you can't necessarily keep it out. And that, my friends, is deeply alarming.
But it raises another a question: should we shut our doors to that culture? Some in the blogosphere are saying no, that we should be mediating that culture for our children. We can't protect our children by hiding that culture from them, the argument goes, because we can't separate them from that culture forever. One day, they'll have to face it. And when they do, they need to have some skills and resources for dealing with it.
I agree with this, for the most part. I know that I can't shield WonderBaby forever from the ugliness of the world. I know that she's going to have to learn - probably sooner than I'd like - about violence and sex. But I want to preserve her innocence for as long as is reasonable. Which is to say, at least for the duration of her babyhood and toddlerhood and pre-adolescence.
Which is why the frightening creature at right makes me want to scream.
Crop top, saucy panties and a chain-linked bottle.
What the hell is a parent to do? I realize that my outrage here might qualify me for membership in Something Blue's Prissy Club, but I don't care - I think that toys like this are appalling. I hate that we live in a culture where someone, somewhere, thinks that this is okay, that a sexualized baby doll is an appropriate toy for children. For anybody.
What do you think?
(Bratz Baby image ToysRUS UK/TM MGA Entertainment)