Your Fear Of Dolls Is 100% Real, So Take That, MOM
I don’t generally scare very easily. I mean, it might be because I don’t watch scary movies, but that is neither here nor there. What I mean is, monsters and zombies and whatnot don’t frighten me. But there are two things that I do not fuck with under any circumstances: clowns, and dolls. Clowns because obviously, they are wrong on many levels. Not funny! Only terrifying. And dolls … well, when I was a kid, I collected porcelain dolls. Then I saw an episode of some stupid scary show where the dolls came to life. From that moment on, I couldn’t be anywhere near a damn porcelain doll. Made my mom sell my whole collection, gtfo of my room and go to hell, dolls. I’ve been nursing a fear of dolls since then. And now I know my fear is completely justified and real. Jury is out on it being rational, though.
Plenty of people have a fear of dolls. And it can seem pretty silly. But really, aren’t they creepy? They’re creepy.
For most of us, our fear of dolls dates back to when we were kids, and we were introduced to that lovable little murderous scamp, Chucky. Or maybe it was from Puppet Master! Most kids aren’t inherently afraid of dolls. But our fear is conditioned over the years through exposure to some of the evil dolls we see in movies and pop culture. Just last year, that movie Annabelle came out and ignited that fear in many of us all over again. There’s just something about them! You know that as soon as you turn your back, their heads are going to turn and they’ll track you with their dead glass eyes.
So, sure, we’re afraid of creepy dolls in movies. But why does that fear then seep into real life?
According to Kate Wolitzky-Taylor, PhD, a faculty member in the department of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at UCLA, we start to associate the fear we feel in those situations with dolls in real life. Wolitzky-Taylor says, “This consistent pairing of dolls with other creepy, scary stimuli may lead to experiencing fear or nervousness when confronted with a doll or an image of a doll. Learning is a big factor, whether it’s direct learning experiences, or vicarious learning through others.” There’s even a documented phobia about the fear of dolls, called pediophobia. Although it’s so uncommon, Wolitzky-Taylor says she’s never come across it in her years of clinical research or practice. Genuine pediophobia would be debilitating, where your fear of dolls would cause immense distress or impairment. So I don’t have … that. But they ARE creepy.
For those of you who have a fear of dolls, stay strong: Halloween is almost over! Then we just have to deal with whatever new creepy ass doll comes becomes the new hot toy this holiday season.