Thursday, 10 January 2013

Toys and baby equipment as class markers

To my great surprise, I ended up unknowingly being a ‘hip mother’ when Number One Son was a baby. He happened to get a teething toy called ‘Sophie The Giraffe’ from his aunt who had been in France and brought with her a random baby toy bought from a local shop as a present. To her and my surprise, this turned out to be the hippest toy on the market among those yummy mummies living in the fashionable London postcode areas. Only this week Mail Online mentioned that Peaches Geldolf’s baby Astala has a Sophie and they presented this fact as a news item.

Sophie The Giraffe

Number One Son’s Sophie has been packed away a long time ago after it lost its squeak due to its stay in the bath with him. However, my status as a ‘trend setter’ in this respect was totally incidental and Number One Son could have had any teething toy. And he did have others, filled with gel and kept in the fridge – where they were forgotten and taken out long after the whole set of teeth had been erupted.

Number One Son did not however use pacifier after he reached six months. Unlike Kai Rooney who is three and has been seen with his pacifier in public. The late use of pacifiers is derided, and at the same time as Mail Online admired Sophie the giraffe, it shook its virtual finger at Coleen Rooney and pointed out how the late use of a pacifier can result in possible damage to the teeth and speech. The late use of nappies, dummies and bottle are seen as symbols of certain type of parenting, seen in the council estates and frown upon by the middle classes. The Rooneys personifying the normal bloke and the girl from next door made rich just underlines how Mail uses class stereotypes when writing about different baby and toddler accessories.

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