taking the passive out of passive-aggressive

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Welcome to the mysterious and creepy world of Reborners!

These women (and they are ALL women) tear commercial dolls apart and remake them in the image of the Perfect Newborn. Versimilitude is paramount, so they spend a lot of time with oil paints achieveing that perfect "blue, mottled tone" of babies fresh from the delivery table. For added effect, they stitch human hair onto the dolls' heads, and weight them with birdshot or something, to give that realistic heft. They then take numerous creepy photos of themseles with their "babies," make up fake adoption certificates, and give them trailer-trash names like Skye and Madison.

It's difficult to say whether this phenomenon is merely annoying, like the baby-doll making and scrapbooking habits of Michael's habitues, or incredibly perverse a la Realdoll. Because while there's a craft-y element to the whole thing (finding the perfect materials, obsessively copying some ostensibly objective reality), these women also fetishize passivity and helplessness. Their whole fascination with newborns seems to be built around babies' inability to speak or move independently, allowing them to be dressed up in ridiculous costumes and photographed. Really, what could be more pornographic?

Add to this a somewhat morbid fascination with angels, the color pink, script fonts, and the name "reborners." and it starts to actually look even MORE sinister, like some bizarre, Christian-orented facsimile of snuff films. A way for supposedly ordinary women to indulge their profound need for total control by making a saccharine travesty of innocence.

See also this Times article, which laughed gently but didn't go anywhere near as deep as it should have.


At 5:30 PM, Blogger sweetney said...

funny, i posted something about that a while back -- super creepy shit. those people are officially whack in my book.

At 6:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

whack is the sound you get when someone hits your forehead with a steak or say a cricket bat covered in butter.

wack is what happens when white people use ebonic terms either inappropriately or out of context. Just lampin'!

At 6:40 AM, Blogger Claire said...

werd up, homie.

At 10:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those people would be the first to deny any weirdness *whatsoever* to their, uh, fetish. Sort of the same way in which its tough to convince cult members that they're in a cult, or that an alcoholic drinks too much.

You can even get preemie reborner dolls! (saw it on a site). I guess because God loves those precious preemie...dolls...too. (?!)

Does God love Thalidomide reborner dolls? Do reborners? Could I get one of those, you know, with flippers instead of arms? Creeps.

Get this "poem" (take that Wallace Stevens!) It's a perfect (almost boilerplate) example of a lot of the fakey-fake, saccharine "babies are God's innocent little angels" hogwash:

(Excerpt): "They do not judge
or have trouble
expressing themselves
Instead, they appreciate
the wonder of life.

They are the best of ourselves,
magical creations of our souls
who live only to love
and to be loved"

That's written, from what I can gather, about real babies. My real babies (and, newsflash--everyone eles's too) are little human beings that smile, shit, eat, cry, keep you awake at night, amaze you with their achievements, and ruin sexy marital moments. It's everything all at once--it's not a total joy, nor is it a total drag. It's just like life, in that respect.

But the "poem" fetishizes the whole baby thing: What happens when Baby Godsgift grows up and is gay? Tells you to "Fuck yourself, old man?" What if Baby Prefectangels doesn't even start off life as white and American? (The poem is from a page (lababyboutique.com) that says you, too, can help real babies if you are a WAL*MART employee. And we all know how much WAL*MART loves those grown-up brown skinned babies. And what they think of the grown up, wanting-to-be-unionized former babies.

The whole thing is an example of a late-culture amalagam of conflicting interests, sub-culture fetishism, and a fake, misguided notion of what values and family really are. The allure seems to be that babies are great becasue they are helpless and haven't done anything to piss you off--yet.

It's like baby Peter Pan syndrome--freeze them at a stage before they become difficult to handle. The best part of having a kid--I'll bet most normal parents would agree--is *watching your kids grow*.

It's like preferring plastic plants to gardening and then fetishizing the fake roses on your sill by watering it and talking to it and getting it a special pot.

Hers' what I think someone should do: Start a big movement that puts normal, working mothers on a pedestal. Start a donation fund for childcare for these women. Put links to congresspeople to raise the minimum wage, force big business to deal with labor fairly, puish for family-friendly leave policies in companies, and make affordable, safe, convenient daycare a hot-button political issue.

Put your facsimile babies down and help someone who can really use the help, people.

At 4:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well...you heard it from a reborner. i am a working mom, artist, gardner, wife, and someone who enjoys "reborning"
i reallize it is your right-NO- your duty to express your right to free speech. but before you go bashing someones perhaps "fetish" maybe you should read up on it a little bit more.
many reborns have gone to good causes to help organizations such as "newborns in need" and various independant fundraisers.
many sell to collectors who have nothing better to spend their money on.
perhaps it is weird...people do weird things

to me it is an art. alot of work and time go into a quality reborn.

"the allure seems to be that babies are great because they are helpless and haven't done anything to piss you off--yet"

i guess my point is that (being a newborn) is the one moment in time they DON'T piss you off and these reborns never will, they can't...they're not real, or didn't you know that

by the way i find your comparison to pornography, alcoholism, and the cult...indecent and unfounded.

feel free to bring it on! Karen


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