Why Does The Media Insist on Calling Porcelain Dolls Creepy?

Porcelain Doll Left Anonymously on Doorstep In Talega, California. Courtesy Orange County Sheriff's Dept

Porcelain Doll Left Anonymously on Doorstep In Talega, California. Courtesy Orange County Sheriff’s Dept

So, evidently some little old lady in Talega, California, left some porcelain dolls on porches as gifts for little girls in her area. This created a media firestorm all the way to the United Kingdom.  “Mystery ‘do-gooder’ causes panic by leaving sinister dolls resembling REAL young girls outside homes in gated California community” screams the Daily Mail. “10 ‘Creepy’ Porcelain Dolls Found On Doorsteps In OC Were Meant To Be Nice Gesture” says CBS Los Angeles.

I was interviewed on this great crisis this morning by Inside Edition.  Before the interview, I said I wasn’t interested in talking to them if they were just going to portray the whole episode as creepy. Oh no, they assured me. So, what was the first question the reporter asked me? “Isn’t this whole thing just a little bit creepy?”  Sigh.

All that happened was that an older lady decided to give away her doll collection. Most likely no one in her family was interested in them, and so she decided to leave them as gifts for little girls in her community.  If they were toy trains, or toy race cars, or games, people would have been curious, but they would not have, as Inside Edition says on their web site, “freaked out.”

I find it sad that the only time dolls are mentioned by mainstream media is when “creepy” can be discussed (well, unless it’s a Barbie Doll and then “sexy” can be discussed).  Don’t believe me? Last month, you could have read about “Welcome to doll island (if you dare): Secret shrine to little girl who drowned more than 50 years ago has become a creepy tourist attraction” Or, how about from just yesterday “Real-life doll house on sale in New York City… but it comes with two tenants and will STILL cost you $1.3million“.  That article doesn’t mention creepy-looking dolls until the third sentence at least.  Perhaps the Daily Mail has a Bureau of Creepy Dolls staffed with it’s own reporters?

In any event, these days images of Chucky rather than images of beautifully crafted 19th and early 20th century porcelain dolls are much more likely to fill the heads of younger reporters. And yes, getting an anonymous gift of any sort for a child can be disconcerting until the donor can be ascertained…but I still don’t get the immediate jump to “creepy,” “sinister,” and “freaked out.”  I think that little children from the late 1800s and early 1900s would look at little children today pressing little buttons on a tiny black screen for play instead of having a tea party with their dolls, and would be “freaked out” by that.

This entry was posted in Modern Dolls and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Why Does The Media Insist on Calling Porcelain Dolls Creepy?

  1. Judy says:

    I agree with you completely. There are too many people who claim to be afraid of dolls. Somehow their irrational fear gets turned around and people who appreciate and collect dolls feel like they have to be on the defensive. It’s ridiculous. Thank you for speaking about this.

  2. Donna says:

    You should have seen how the Today show staff handled this story too! They were also “freaked out”. Savannah Guthrie has decided that porcelain dolls now trump clowns in the creepy department! Another reason for me to stop watching the Today show!!

  3. Hi, Denise,
    They called me, too. I spent two hours trying to upload Skype to talk to them, but spent about another 20 minutes on the phone with them. I said the same thing; that I didn’t want to protray dolls as creepy, and that the whole idea was silly. Like you, I identified the dolls. At first she thought they were hand made dolls, she was asking me about people who make dolls. They wanted to interview me with a lot of dolls in the background. Guess why. I told her I didn’t have that many out, but her editor was in the back insisting “the more [dolls] the merrier.” I was basically apologetic that Skype wouldn’t work properly, but I admit to being a little relieved, too. This whole creepy doll stuff is irritating to me. Great post, by the way! Ellen

  4. I should not type without my glasses; I ment “portray”

  5. And, meant. I have since heard from other collectors about The Inside Edition piece; the whole thing is silly to them, but they think you did a good job. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *