UNS — Spirit doll is widely talked about in social media after one of the Indonesian designers published shared a spirit doll they regarded as their child in their Instagram account from December 2021. The single designer treated their two-spirit dolls like a baby, to the point of creating separate Instagram account for them. Considering the unusual nature of the action, many people were befuddled, and not many even criticized.

Psychology Faculty Member of Faculty of Medical Science (FK) Universitas Sebelas Maret (UNS) Surakarta, Dr. Tri Rejeki Andayani, S.Psi., M.Si., also shared her view regarding the matter. She stated that owning a spirit doll in the form of a baby is a normal phenomenon when it is used as a medium to prepare someone for raising a child. This explanation was shared with uns.ac.id on Sunday (9/1/2022).

“For an adult, owning a spirit doll and taking care of it like a baby is quite normal. It even can be used as a medium for nursing or midwifery students to practice their skill,” she stated.

She also explained that any kind of doll for children, including spirit dolls, can be used as pretend play media. That is, the children act as the mother or older siblings who are taking care of a baby. This method is similar to a famous play in Indonesia around the ’90s, Tamagotchi, that demanded its player to take care of a virtual animal in a console. This virtual animal needs to be taken care of from egg to mature, including feeding it, playing, and healing it when it gets sick.

“Similar to the current spirit doll, Tamagotchi also could train responsibility of children before they take care of a real pet,” she added.

Readiness to have a child

In the interview with uns.ac.id, Dr. Tri Rejeki Andayani explained that basically, every person has the need for love and belongingness, quoting Maslow’s needs hierarchy.

“This encourages someone to build an emotional relationship with other people, which once not fulfilled will lead to loneliness,” she said.

She also added that human has the desire to nurture, care for, and help (nurturance). Therefore, owning a spirit doll could become a medium to channel this need. “Because, in reality, not everyone has children or are not eligible to adopt a child. As we all know, the procedure to adopt a child is not easy. It also requires mental and physical readiness,” she added. Therefore, during the waiting time, spirit doll could become an alternative to channel the tendency because it has low risk and is easier to take care of.

Impact

Although the phenomenon harbors a positive function, Dr. Tri Rejeki Andayani reminded that the doll could make someone lose their reality. She stated that spirit doll owners could develop an excessive emotional bond and build their own false reality. “Considering a doll to have a life or could and provide excessive facilities tend to lead to a wasteful effort. When that occurs, the owner’s social environment should help to get them back to reality.” Humas UNS

Reporter: Dwi Hastuti

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