Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Reborn Babies: Filling A Hole With A Bigger Hole

This can't be a healthy trend in toymaking...:

They’re called “reborns”: incredibly lifelike baby dolls that sell for up to $4,000 to adult women who collect them, change their clothes, and in some ways treat them like real babies.
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The vinyl dolls don’t just look exactly like real babies — they also feel real. Their bodies are stuffed and weighted to have the same heft and a similar feel to a live baby.
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Dolls may be one of a kind, or one of a limited series made from the same mold. Some customers order special dolls that are exact replicas of their own children who died at birth or in infancy.
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The customers are almost all women. Some buy them because they collect dolls. Others buy them as surrogates for children that were lost or have grown and left the home. Some women dress the dolls, wash their hair, take them for walks in strollers and take them shopping.

One woman in the BBC documentary, married and in her 40s, said she wanted a real baby, but was too busy to commit to caring for a real one. A reborn doll satisfies her maternal instincts, she said, without all the carrying on and mess.

Reborns, she said, “never grow out of their clothes, never soil them. It's just fabulous. The only difference, of course, is these guys don't move.”
"A reborn doll satisfies her maternal instincts..." And here I thought the main purpose of parenthood in general, and motherhood in particular, was giving, not getting. From personal experience I can certainly sympathize with the customers who are buying these toys because of the traumatic loss of their own baby, but I'm sorry, I just cannot see how living with such an illusion is helpful. If you really feel like "mothering" something, get a REAL thing to mother, so that you can make a difference. Adopt! Get a pet! If you fear long-term commitment, adopt an old pet. Help a neighbor by babysitting more often, become a Big Sister... good grief, there are no end of practical substitutes, that allow others to benefit from these unfulfilled maternal instincts.
Officially, the definition of maturity, "having completed natural growth and development", "having attained a final or desired state", implies that we've stopped changing... but doesn't maturity really mean that we're finally ready to be changed..? We usually give children toys to play with so that they can practice growing up; to prepare for the changes to come. What greater change to we have to make ourselves go through, than to be prepared for the long, unpredictable struggle undertaken in order to raise a good child? What challenge needs more faith, the faith that one can learn from mistakes made along the way, than that of being a good enough parent?
Here, "mature" adults, by avoiding the struggle, and the "messy" mistakes that go with it, are using their new toys as a selfish excuse to avoid adulthood itself. What a lack of faith...
[Thanks to Jeff at The Curt Jester]

2 comments:

SUZANNE said...

Wow. I'd love to have one of those dolls. They look so real and so huggable.

Dag said...

Suzanne, you'd probably find a doll like one of those above to be something you'd value and something you'd get some positive feeling from that you'd probably give to others, including your own children. However, consider that such dolls aren't really meant for ladies such as yourself but are more likely for those who spent their time and youth having abortions after some long time of casual or even "committed" sex without the intention of having children. These dolls are for ladies such a those, for the most part, I do think so. These are imitation babies for those who don't want real babies and the real inconveniences of real babies. My impression of you is that you likely have lots of love left over for dolls too.

Why didn't I ever find a girl like you when I was a young man?

Oh, I remember now. I was married to a girl who wanted babies. But I was too busy, too engaged in other things, too, you know....

A long distance hug from me, Missus. And hugs for your babies, too.