February 13, 2008

Speaking Of Disconnects From Reality: "My Fake Baby," A C4 Documentary


I'm sure these extra-lifelike infant dolls--which are all over eBay--have been mentioned on DT before; I'm just too creeped and/or bummed out by the whole concept to look them up. Didn't stop the UK's Channel 4 from doing a TV show about them, though, the dolls and the women who collect them. There's a 3-min. clip online, and if you're still using Internet Explorer, you may be able to see the whole thing. Frankly, I'd rather push a fake baby around in a pram.

My Fake Baby: Living Doll [channel4.com via boingboing]


That is a little odd. I would expect these women would feel even better volunteering at the local neonatal wards, where they could hold real babies, and be doing a good deed, as well.

I came across these on etsy.com by way of this site a couple of weeks ago. Freaked me out a bit, but I never thought people would take it to this extent!

Oh, my! That just had me gasp.

Looks a little too much like the withdrawal kid from Trainspotting, as far as I'm concerned.

Think of it as performance art.

To be fair, one woman who's featured prominently in "Fake" runs errands with hers because she's selling them for a living. She's marketing as she markets. She seems quite sane. Some of the other ladies, maybe not so much.

Though I'm not particularly interested in dolls themselves, I have a small collection of life-size, life-like "babies" who come along when I show my prams to interested groups. They're a nice touch nestled inside the carriages.

Occasionally, I take them out when looking for shoes, etc. Most people don't notice if they're real or not, but those who do tend to be delighted by the discovery that the baby is just a very good counterfeit. It's fascinating to see how happy this makes people.

The one that gets the best reception is the size of a healthy 3-year-old (good for demo-ing the Emmaljunga). She's so real-seeming that it's positively scary; several members of my family prefer not to be in the same room with her. No Walmart greeter has ever noticed that she's completely unresponsive, even though they typically address the "child" directly. I'm not sure what this means, but it's probably not a good thing.

Sanity, perhaps, is a relative matter. I think it's safe to say, though, that none of the people in question are remotely interested in caring for real, live babies, neonatal or not.

[a good point about the marketer, and an interesting perspective. Though I wonder if that one grandmother mourning the separation from the granchild she was raising isn't interested. For the sake of any baby, I was glad to know that the woman who can't stand all the mess--eating, crying, diapering, spitting--is not actually responsible for a human being's care. -ed.]

Interesting that you mention the mourning grandmother. Realistic baby dolls are often used with Alzheimer's patients, who sometimes seem to retain a strong need to care for, well, something. Dolls meet the need without being as frangible as the real thing. They're definitely the right choice, as you note, in those iffy caregiver situations.

For those who are interested (or the morbidly curious) here's a link to Zoe, the "3-year-old" mentioned in the post above. (Yes, they have names. Easier on the inventory sheets, and anyway, everyone asks.)

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