Babes in Toyland

Today’s featured cover is from Babes in Toyland’s Fontanelle.  A few things are notable about this cover.  First, it does not feature an actual child but rather a naked baby doll, albeit an anatomically correct one.  I recall those baby dolls being all the rage in the late 80s and early 90s, but as the moral panic over the sexualization of children took hold they gradually became less and less popular.  You’re unlikely to find them in any major department store these days.  This is ironic because the image is rather dark and suggestive of something sinister, probably incestuous sexual abuse.  Babes in Toyland, now defunct, was an all-female band made up of arty, outspoken and surly neofeminist types (very similar to the riot grrrls) whose lyrics often addressed issues pertinent to third-wave feminists. And the cover photo was taken by Cindy Sherman, also a noted third-wave feminist.

The title of the album refers to the medical term for the so-called soft spot on a baby’s cranium, reinforcing the concept of the vulnerability of children, and the pose of the doll–lying prone, with the posterior section facing out, and the doll’s face in shadow–places the viewer in the role of sexual predator making his way toward the innocent victim, a confrontational image suggestive of child pornography. It certainly makes one feel uneasy, and that is quite clearly the point.

Cindy Sherman - Babes in Toyland - Fontanelle (cover)

Cindy Sherman – Babes in Toyland – Fontanelle (cover)

Wikipedia: Babes in Toyland

Wikipedia: Cindy Sherman

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