Nasty horrible dolls. Why are monsters popular?
Debate about the dangers and benefits of Barbie dolls and the like barely had time to resound; parents and psychologists are still arguing about whether to give girls into the hands of Bratz hooligans, and dolls have already appeared on store shelves, in comparison with which Barbie and even Bratz look like innocent pups.
Glamorous witches Bratzillas, young devils are the heroes of Angel’s Friends animated series, scum and undead adolescence Monster`s High, girls-demons Paola Reina … Chinese manufacturers are not lagging behind, filling the market with fakes and fakes. Deadly pale, cadaveric green, poisonous pink, surprisingly attractive pupae are of interest to both children and adult collectors.
A surge of sympathy for scary creatures, mostly demons and vampires, for the last ten or twenty years can be seen in cinema (a vivid example is the popularity of the film “Twilight”), and in literature (from the novels of Vladimir Orlov to the saga of Ann Rice). However, trying to explain the relevance of toys by the presence of “dark” subjects in mass culture, I think, the same thing as explaining X through Y.
Let’s try to dig deeper. To begin with, we recall that the doll was not always intended for children’s games. Toys were charms, as well as patterns on clothes, and carving on utensils and platbands of the house. Representing the world populated by strong, often hostile spirits, people tried to make them serve themselves or at least protect themselves from them. Scary figures and masks scared evil deities; rag dolls, necessarily without a face (a technique of spiritual security!), protected their owners from trouble or contributed to business success. The spread of monotheistic religions, offering protection against dark forces, led to the extinction of the magical component of crafts, rituals, games.
Toys finally migrated to the nursery. However, in a society seriously concerned with religion, the emergence of children’s evil toys was impossible. In Russia, puppet devils and death could only be seen in the crib. We see a different state of affairs in modern secular society. Sacred history and folklore are perceived by many people as not related to everyday life.
The characters of the legends, including the evil ones, are romanticized, losing their terrible appearance and acquiring in return the human features of appearance and character. In the modern consciousness, angels, demons, vampires, ghouls appear as human-like races, like Tolkien elves and hobbits. Friendship, love, marriage are possible between them. They are exotic and no longer scary. Independently conscious zombies are standing apart in this row, but it seems that this is not for long.
Books and films showing the positive qualities of negative creatures began to appear massively not so long ago. Ideas of works intended originally for adults, simplified and distorted, penetrated to children. The modern child is accustomed to the romanticized perception of otherworldly beings, and not even the tragic (as it was not so long ago), but the pop, debased. I think the roots of the demand for “dark” dolls lie, among other things, in the secular picture of the world that is taking shape in children’s consciousness.