to think that ill-looking reborn dolls are incredibly creepy?!

(67 Posts)
Kacie1985 Sat 26-Oct-13 00:13:27

I don't necesarily have a problem with the normal baby ones, but the premature ones with tubes and things on freak me out! Who on earth would want to buy those?

CrispyFB Sun 27-Oct-13 19:39:31

I was genuinely surprised when my mother told me a few weeks ago that my grandmother (recently diagnosed with dementia) is very happy indeed in the home she's not been in long, with one of these dolls. It does indeed work. Apparently she feeds him/her (it changes!) biscuits although obviously without much success..!

She had a stillbirth and one of her three other DCs took her own life nearly 30 years ago so once I'd thought about it I realised how something like this could give her comfort. I haven't seen her myself as we live six hours away since July (she was still at her own home then, very interested in my DCs too!) so I don't know if she knows it's really a doll or not, but I am very glad something is making her happy. She needs it.

Although I am a bit more hmm over the (not very old) woman I saw in Bluewater a few years back with one in a VERY expensive pram, buying baby clothes for it in one of those expensive boutiques. She was seemingly a regular as well from the way she was chatting to the sales assistant! Still, I have to wonder what she has gone through for her to be that way.

"Uncanny Valley" is the term I think you're looking for over things not looking quite human and creeping us out!

CarpeVinum Sun 27-Oct-13 20:16:40

Uncanny Valley

That's it !

Tis also the cause of my shuddering when people use make up, and eye glue to turn themselves into Anime characters.

The wiki on reborn dolls mentions it too

"Media features and public receptions use adjectives such as "creepy" to describe the reborns. This can be explained by the uncanny valley hypothesis. This states that as objects become more lifelike they gain an increasing empathetic response, until a certain point in which the response changes to repulsion. Department stores have refused to stock the dolls because of this reaction, claiming they are too lifelike.[5][29]"

Mummyoftheyear Sun 27-Oct-13 22:19:17

I think YABU. I once saw a group of women with these 'babies'. It was like an NCT meet up. All had Silver Cross prams, too. I found them really creepy once I realised what they were. But it was blatantly obvious that each woman had her reasons for needing such a realistic 'creation'. I felt sad to see such pain necessitating these strange babies. If they help them, why not!

JumpingJackSprat Sun 27-Oct-13 22:45:39

I may be just being really naive here but I also can't see why a downs syndrome doll would be so abhorrent.

Morloth Mon 28-Oct-13 00:15:25

I would say people with dementia fit into 'not in their right minds' actually.

They freak me out on a level I can't quite explain.

As LunaticFringe says, when you lose your baby, you don't want a baby, you want your baby.

lisad123everybodydancenow Mon 28-Oct-13 00:28:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

1944girl Mon 28-Oct-13 00:40:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GoshAnneGorilla Mon 28-Oct-13 00:49:22

Salsmum - what a lovely post. Your work are indeed very lucky to have you and I wonder if it is something more nursing homes could do, I think it could add a very lovely dimension to reminiscence therapy.

I will have to sit on the fence with regards to reborn dolls. They are certainly not to my taste, but we do tend to be more judgmental and sneering about women's hobbies in society then we are about men's.

I mean, what on earth are model train sets about? Why? But they are an accepted hobby, even though they can be hugely expensive.

Morloth Mon 28-Oct-13 01:36:04

Train sets don't actually remind me of dead children though. I don't get why anyone would want to play with them, but they are not actually disturbing to me.

Lots of things people do are creepy and weird, whilst being harmless that's fine.

But I think actually I will say so on an internet forum discussing them.

CarpeVinum Mon 28-Oct-13 09:29:42


It's not that I wholly disagree with ypu, things enjoyed by females do by and large attract more derision and dismissal in terms of value.

however ai think there is a point where there is a such a chasm of comprehension between the motivations of hobbiests and the gen. pub. that gender becomes less relevant that an "understanding motivations" gap. Trainspotting is a mainly male hobby. In terms of sneering it hasn't exactly been offered immunity due to the maleness of the hobby. As far as hobbies goes that one probaly enjoys number 1 status for wide spread derision.

I don't think the strong reaction towards reborn dolls is in the main down to the "mainly female" nature of those who buy them. I think the uncanny valley effect is potentially the most pertinent factor in why this particular hobby incurrs such a strong negative reaction. There is a wide spread instinctive revultion for the dolls, and that might be what creates a comprehension chasm between those who are repulsed and those who are attracted.

Booboostoo Mon 28-Oct-13 10:38:58

What CarpeVinum said!

Horse riding is a pretty compulsive hobby, financially taxing, involving hard manual labout and a high risk of serious injury, as well as being all consuming in terms of time and devotion. It is also overwhelmingly taken up by women but no one thinks it's creepy. Incomprehensible maybe to those who do not ride, but not creepy. The dolls are not just incomprehensible as a hobby, they are creepy. Petting lizards/snakes/spides is both incomprehensible for me and creepy because I find the animals creepy. I still don't have any problems with horse riders, tarantula owners or doll collectors.

CrispyFB Tue 29-Oct-13 16:24:18

On the subject of the Uncanny Valley: (the lady doing the PhD is a friend of mine grin) - those creeped out by the dolls may find this article published today interesting!

salsmum Sun 03-Nov-13 10:49:17

Sorry just caught up with this post..thank you for the compliments ladies thanks I started off doll therapy in my home completely by accident. I saw while browsing youtube 'Doll Therapy' and was intrigued. There was a lady visiting a residential home with a rather heavy looking,ugly doll with sticky up hair, open staring eyes and a plain blue baby grow on. The doll was shoved into the residents arms and the dolls owner said in a loud voice as if everyone was stone deaf as you do 'what shall we call the 'baby'? confused This I found really patronizing and annoyed me because both my Mum and MIL have/had Dementia and I'd wanna bitch slap reprimand anyone who spoke to them in such a way. BUT that video got me thinking when I saw each of the residents wanting to hug chucky the could I create the same feel good reaction but with a much nicer/realer looking doll?? That's when I discovered Reborns I would take the first one in ( a small little sleeping chap called 'Archie') after my favourite tipple wink and the reaction was amazing 90% of the residents wanted a cuddle (men included) ..this lead on to a reminiscence session talking about Cow & Gate/SMA how much their children weighed, how they used to have glass bottles in the shape of bananas with a teat either end, terry towelling nappies,safety pins etc..etc.. a sleeping 'baby' naturally calms the residents too. I would never say 'would you like to hold the doll' although they knew it was a doll, I would present him wrapped in a knitted shawl and of course ask which side they prefer to hold and some days it was hard to get some of the ladies to 'pass him around' if they asked 'is it a doll?' of course I'd tell them yes..some of the ladies would knit clothes (who doesn't like knitting baby clothes???) and it seemed to satisfy a 'need' which made my lovely residents happy. Not ALL of my residents had a Dementia but still loved a cuddle (we were not a strictly Dementia home). I also used to dress as a panto dame every Christmas which the residents loved because a lot were not mobile enough to attend a real panto (the costume I'd hire out of my own pocket). Friday night was footy nite and we'd play football to music with a massive inflatable ball! much better than telling them at aged 80-90 that they would have to do exercises --plus
I don't look good in Lycra--..oh and occasionally we'd play Bingo too wink x

2tiredtoScare Sun 03-Nov-13 10:52:36

I'm interested to know why the Down syndrome dolls are the sickest thing confused

salsmum Sun 03-Nov-13 14:53:35

Oh sorry forgot to daughter has the Downs Syndrome doll ...unless you look VERY closely (certain colouring, few extra creases) you wouldn't know...but then my daughter does have Cerebral Palsy so maybe she can 'relate' to a doll who is unique smile she is 24 and mentally is just like any of her able bodied peers (who love Forever Friends bears, and eeyore etc..) but she occasionally loves to 'hug' the doll. She does NOT take it out in public and is not on an ASBO or take drugs so if that's the worse she can do....I'm fine with that. I spo's just like a boy would like an action man and a black child may lean towards a black/dark skinned doll to identify with maybe some disabled children/young people can identify with a doll with certain disabilities and can maybe teach them some 'life skills' for when they have children of their own..although obviously their children may not have disabilities. x

Sorry if I derail the thread, (I don't like the premature baby linked to tubes etc, but can see positives for certain people in having one of the dolls) but reading the post about the Mil with a "house full of dolls" did anyone watch the tv series "Maelstrom" (? or something like that) in the 80's? That was freaky!

Booboostoo Sun 03-Nov-13 22:18:07

If selling a doll with Downs Syndrome features exploits babies who have this condition, then selling any doll exploits all babies which is a bizarre conclusion. I actually think that the portrayal of people with disabilities in toys helps teach children to be accepting and inclusive.

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