The dolls that fill in for children
WANA (2021) – According to official statistics, Iran will be the oldest country in the world in the next 30 years. This will bring up many individual and social consequences both in national and international arenas, perhaps even bigger than the coronavirus crisis. PHOTO
Now, within the past few years of the century, the country is struggling with the challenge of a declining population and a rising aging population, and a slew of factors including the lack of planning by officials to resolve the issue over the coming years will make Iran the oldest country on earth.
Lifeless dolls that astonishingly resemble newborn babies called “reborn dolls,” have found their own charm in Iran. At first glance, reborn baby dolls look so similar to a real baby that it might shock you. When dressed, it’s as if a newborn has fallen asleep after taking a bath. These dolls have found customers among single-child families and couples who, for various reasons, cannot have their own babies.
Mojgan is one of these customers. As the mother of a 5-year-old girl who constantly complains about not having a playmate, Mojgan bought a reborn baby doll. She thinks this silicone doll can replace the void of a younger sibling for her child. The lives of people such as this 5-year-old girl hugging a doll like her younger siblings show a new style of living among Iranians.
Mojgan tells of the purpose of preparing this doll as a playmate for her five-year-old daughter: “The feeling of hugging this doll is exactly like the time my own child was a baby. I remembered exactly when my child was a baby. This doll looks and feels exactly like my own baby.”
A child made of silicone, with its features painted on with a brush, and who does not bother its parents and does not grow up does not naturally need love, but psychologists say it can fill the emotional void for a mother longing for a child or a child who wishes for a sibling.
Maryam is a 24-year-old girl from Tehran who has started creating these reborn silicone dolls for the first time in Tehran. According to her, she provides the necessary materials for herself at her own expense and creates dolls eerily similar to a real life baby. Maryam, responding to WANA’s question about the main reason she started this business said: “I did not intend to start a business from the beginning because it was all out of my interest, but after the second doll , the demand for this kind of dolls (reborn baby dolls) became a lot.”
Due to the bad economic conditions of Iranian families in recent years, couples have become reluctant to have children, and single-child families are avoided as it is believed loneliness can cause irreparable damage to the child. These innocent and silent dolls don’t come with the hassles of a real baby; there is no diaper, no bad smell, no crying, no food. These “kids” similarly don’t have many societal expectations to let you down on either. They don’t grow up and leave you, nor do they disappoint you, and never violate the dignity of parents. In this way, a “mother” never experiences failure in relation to them. On the other hand, for many women, these children test their feminine personality and motherly ability.
It was in 2002 that the first silicon dolls were sold on eBay, but these days they have also become a niche for some Iranians who are attracted to these dolls to meet the spiritual needs of themselves or their children.
The process of procuring these dolls is more like adopting a real baby than buying a product. However, many consider them a collectible item while others use them to fill the hole in their lives left by a child.
For those who do not have children to deal with and find their motherly identity, these dolls seem a painless companion. On the other hand, keeping these dolls is a step in moving from the imaginary world of having and raising a child to the real one.