Doll roleplay on platforms like TikTok and Instagram is taking childhood games to a new level of messiness. Creators in this budding genre stage videos featuring toys that act out delightfully unhinged and sometimes scandalous scenarios. With a shared commitment to bringing dolls’ romantic, domestic, and interpersonal chaos to life, these content creators offer a portal to boundless fantasy, absurdity, and fandom.
Intriguingly, many of these doll roleplay scenarios explore dark themes and challenging life experiences. They provide creators with a safe and fantasy setting to navigate their own personal struggles. For example, @sylvaniandrama creator Thea Von Engelbrechten incorporates themes from her own life into the narratives, using the Sylvanian Families dolls as vehicles for artistic expression. By reimagining instances like being punished for plagiarism, Von Engelbrechten brings a sense of justice to her dolls’ stories.
The doll roleplay genre encompasses a wide range of creative approaches. Some content creators meticulously recreate popular TV, film, and theater scenes using dolls, while others focus on dysfunctional family dynamics or personal experiences. Through this process, creators like Bela Delgado (@belatown) and Warren Wright (@warrencito) find healing and catharsis. Delgado, drawing inspiration from talk shows about dysfunctional families and his own challenging childhood in foster care, enacts justice through the dolls, providing himself with a power he felt he never had as a child.
Psychologists and therapists also recognize the therapeutic potential of doll roleplay. Using dolls as stand-ins for themselves or those who have hurt them, patients can process trauma and abuse from a safe distance. In this way, dolls allow individuals to explore their experiences without directly involving themselves in the narrative.
For many content creators, there is a deeply nostalgic and healing aspect to doll roleplay. Returning to the “implements of childhood” evokes a sense of nostalgia and brings healing to one’s inner child. Delgado, who wasn’t always allowed to play with Barbies as a child, now finds solace in making a livelihood out of something he was shamed for. Similarly, Wright uses dollmations to celebrate the little kid in him who enjoyed watching musicals with his late mother.
Humor plays a crucial role in this genre, as creators infuse their doll narratives with wit and comedic elements. With the ability to explore dark themes, release creativity, and provide a therapeutic outlet, doll roleplay is a captivating world where childhood play meets adult imagination.
– Toy Story 4: From Barbie doll to Woody, character profiles explained, The Independent
– Doll Play: Using Toys to Help Children Heal and Grow, Child Mind Institute