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My name is Michelle Manning Williamson.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Wait, What? The Reborning Trend


Recently, someone mentioned an unusual trend that I had never heard of, and I was intrigued. I am a fan of the unusual and eccentric, so of course I had to read more about it. It seems that there are women out there who collect very lifelike baby dolls called “Reborns” and play with them. When I say play, I mean that they talk to them, cradle them in their arms, and sometimes take these dolls with them when they go shopping or on an outing. They even have conferences centered around Reborns, sponsored by the International Reborn Doll Artists.
My first thought when this was mentioned? Whoa. Weird. What adult carries around a doll, pretending it is a real baby? But these women (and I say women because I have not found a case of any man participating in this trend, although there may be some out there who have stayed off the radar) insist they know the dolls are not real. They say that the feeling of holding the Reborns is just like holding a real baby and gives them comfort. In fact, Reborns are weighted to mimic the weight of a real child. You can even get a Reborn with an heartbeat, or one whose chest rises and falls. These folks are serious about their collecting.

The reasons the women give for their hobby are varied. Some just appreciate the lifelike details, like the individually placed eyelashes and hair, while others get a sense of happiness and peace from holding the Reborns. Still others, who have lost a child or who have grown children, buy a Reborn to help them with the transition of not having children. Is this healthy, I wondered, but came to the conclusion that I don’t really know. Maybe it is. Who am I to judge?
All of us have our quirks that others might find odd. These women choose to spend a lot of money and time on collecting and caring for Reborns as their hobby. Many of these Reborn fans now also make their own Reborn dolls, which takes a lot of patience and skill – and I respect artistic creation in most forms. Whether I find the outcome beautiful, or just a little bit creepy, the creation process is still amazing.
As in any hobby, I am sure there are those who take it too far. But the majority of the folks doing this, as I have said, have normal lives, friends and family and are just average folks. Not only did I learn about this trend, but I also started thinking about people and their hobbies. When it comes down to it, are any of us ‘normal?’ What is normal, and who decides? Collecting life-like dolls might not be something I would do, but if it makes folks happy and harms no one, then why not?

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