chapter  3
Babies Who Touch You: Reborn Dolls, Artists, and the Emotive Display of Bodies on eBay
ByMICHELE WHITE
Pages 24

Reborn artists constitute bodies and intense emotions when selling dolls in the eBay setting. These artists, who are mostly women, make dolls that look like children and provide narratives about their love and intense care for these “forever babies.” They encourage viewers to become attached to reborn babies by conveying the sensations of physically touching and emotionally feeling them. Reborn artists render an affective engagement with dolls that is designed to displace the virtual aspects of Internet settings where things cannot be touched, held, or tactilely engaged. In crafting their relationship with reborn babies, artists also assert the importance of their identities, bring personal sentiments and behaviors into a highly visible setting, highlight reborn bodies, and undermine their claims to power and normativity. While producers use images and texts in order to transform individuals’ views of static dolls into tactile and emotional engagements, people’s valuation of these experiences and the concomitant status of reborn artists vary.