Deborah Yaffe

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The bottom line

By Deborah Yaffe, Nov 10 2016 02:00PM

The famous supposedly-Jane-Austen silhouette has turned up in some surprising places: at lunch

. . . on finger nails. . . decorating various expanses of skin – both temporarily and permanently . . . And now it’s coming to the bottom of a baby near you.


BumGenius, a brand of cloth diaper manufactured by Cotton Babies, recently added an Austen print to the stable of designs, now numbering twenty-two, in its Genius series. She’s in good company: Among the others who “used their talents to leave an inspirational mark on the world” -- thereby earning the right to adorn the derrières of babies in Park Slope and Palo Alto – are Mozart, Einstein, Audrey Hepburn and Olaudah Equiano, a once-enslaved African whose 1789 autobiography helped persuade the British Parliament to ban the slave trade in 1807.


But back to the real poop here. (Sorry. Couldn’t resist.) The Austen print, in shades of blue and gold evocative of Wedgewood, shows a tea table covered with cups, saucers, plates, sprigs of greenery, and a locket, opened to reveal that silhouette. Like all the Genius prints, the design also includes the words “I’m a genius” – in this case, scrawled boldly in a ribbon-style script. (A rather Lady Catherine de Bourgh-like declaration, it seems to me. I doubt Jane Austen would approve of such naked self-promotion.)


Because I am an environmentally insensitive sloth, my now-grown babies wore nothing but disposable diapers, and no ties of blood or friendship currently connect me to any infantine diaper-wearers. But if you’re better placed than I to check out the practical uses of the bumGenius Austen pattern, please report back.


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