Toys are items for play or for having fun. Generally, toys are to play with by children and pets. In all likelihood, the oldest toys were sticks and stones played with by Neanderthals i.e. cavemen if you may. As technology evolved and mankind became increasingly sophisticated, toys became increasingly advanced. An example of a toy is the teddy bear doll.
Fast forward to post Civil War America, somewhere in the backwoods of Mississippi, President Theodore Roosevelt decided to draw the line by refusing to execute a tied and beaten black bear cub. His compassionate behavior was seen as a strong sign of his refusal to adopt a racist attitude towards the Black community in a fractured United States.
Through this action, President Roosevelt also inspired toymaker Morris Michtom to design a doll in the form of a bear cub. He named it Teddy’s bear. It would then go on to sell millions all over the world. In addition, bringing joy and comfort to countless numbers of children and even adults all over the world.
A Teddy Bear Doll
Carried forward into the modern century the teddy bear doll has become a cultural icon in his own right. What exactly was the factor behind the runaway success of the teddy bear?
Dolls have been around since at least 200 BC, with the earliest dolls being simple wooden figurines. As the times have moved on, dolls have become increasingly detailed and elaborate.
The design of a doll resembles humans as closely as possible. Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to replicate a human being, which resulted in some unintentionally creepy side effects. Ornate figures made from porcelain with highly detailed painted on features, dolls are traditionally the playthings of little girls all over the world. Honestly, if little girls played with dolls like those back in those days, we seriously need to question our own masculinity.
Teddy Bear Dolls, Resemblance of a Bear Cub
Although much younger then dolls, the teddy bear doll was much more popular with consumers as compared to dolls. One of these reasons would be the “Uncanny Valley” effect i.e. the revulsion or distrust that we feel towards objects with a near identical resemblance to human beings. In short, it is the uneasiness or creepy feeling we get when we look at objects that look human, but on some level just does not.
The teddy bear doll lacks any of these characteristics. It resembles a bear cub and not a human child or baby. Hence, to us as humans, we do not feel any revulsion or fear towards it. This would go a long way in explaining why teddy bears have been so much more popular then dolls. With cute face and chubby body, he generates feelings of warmth and love in humans. Whereas, porcelain or plastic dolls which resembles too much like human beings just make us want to run in the opposite direction as fast as possible.