Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Reborn Again

Cute baby, eh? Wrong, it' a doll, called Reborn Dolls. I saw them on TV today and was totally freaked out. I always think to make anything too close to real, but not quite, makes it creepy. For instance, in animated movies when there have been ones that tried to be realistic it didn't do well and gives people the creeps because the characters are almost real but are still wrong. But movies like Shrek or Japanese Anime are very popular because they are too stylized to bring that sense of wrongness. We can except distortion of the human body within a certain context with no problem. As an artist I've long been aware of that feeling of "Wrongness". When most people look at a piece of art they usually don't know enough about art to say why they feel what they do, but they can intuitively sense when something is wrong. I tend to follow that sense of what is wrong rather than what is good when working. These dolls are just wrong.

To add to the creepiness is the fact that most of these dolls are being collected by adult women, who keep the dolls around all day and treat them just like babies, even when going out. That's just weird. In some ways, though, I don't think most of these women are to blame. Just about all women, and a majority of men, experience a release of endorphins as well as other chemicals, and activates the reward centers in the brain. This is entirely involuntary and bred in by evolution. Let's face it, without those chemicals how many babies would survive to adulthood?

When we oooh and aaaah over a baby face, or any cute and cuddly face like a kittens, it happens automatically. I can well imagine young mothers 100,000 years ago who didn't release those chemicals smashing the baby's head against the rocks because it won't stop crying during the night. Those who did that, or who just left their kid somewhere, would not pass on their genes. While the people strongly moved emotionally will take care of that kid no matter what and have more of them who will pass on their genes. So that chemical reaction to "cuteness" is a very powerful survival mechanism. Studies show pretty much all mammals have this kind of reaction.

So it could be these women haven't had those emotions in a while and suddenly they are holding one of these dolls and their brains explode. And the emotion would continue every time she picked up and cuddled the doll, which would just reinforce their desire for the doll. Blame it on evolution. It's still damn creepy, though.


Anonymous said...

What if these women used their desire to nurture by fostering a child or even a cute little puppy or kitten? There are any number of "little ones" (of all species) out there who could use nurturing, and IMO that's far less creepy than a plastic doll.

KevinBBG said...

Definitely true and they would be giving an actual living being a good life (hopefully). But I think the attraction is that there is no risk involved with the dolls. The dolls can't get sick or run around and knock things over - or grow up and leave home. They get the emotional involvement without having to deal with any of the messiness of real life.

Anonymous said...

Kevin writes: >>>But I think the attraction is that there is no risk involved with the dolls.>>>

And there's the problem in a nutshell. It's all selfish me-me-me, without any inconvient needs of the object their fetishizing.

RebornDollHouse said...

As one that thought reborn dolls were creepy at first, I can appreciate the effort and care it takes to create on of these works of art. So much so that I created a website dedicated to showcasing this art form.

In theory, the more creeped out you are by them just means the reborn artist is that much more talented.

People collect different things for different reasons. What I might find strange, someone else may not.

As with most things, to each his own.

Reborn dolls said...

I make these dolls, and I get called a reborn doll artist.
For me its a craft and challenge to make a doll as realistic as possible. Like everything in life there are different buyers who are looking for different things in a doll.
But as the post says, most reborn baby buyers are most attracted by the "cuteness" of these dolls before anything else.

Frank said...

I make reborn dolls and I have to admit i thought they were a little creepy at first. After taking a deeper look at them though i think its a credit to the artists that get them looking this reel. One day, when i grow up, i may be that good. Maybe

Reborn Doll said...

I have been reborning and collecting reborn dolls for years and I have to say it is the most relaxing hobby I have ever had. Sure, at first to the lay person it may seem a bit creepy, but once you do it and see its value your mind changes so fast.

Reborn Baby said...

Reborning is the art of transforming a vinyl doll (either whole doll or kit) into a realistic looking baby doll (usually of a human baby- but sometimes elves or chimpanzees may be made). The person who makes this transformation is called a 'reborner" or reborn artist. The more realistic looking the doll is the more successful the artist is considered. Once completed the doll is called a 'reborn', 'reborn doll', 'reborn baby"or 'fake baby'.