A doll is a child's toy that represents a baby, child or miniature person, and can include likenesses of animals and imaginary creatures. Dolls can be fashioned from a vast array of materials, ranging from stone, clay, wood, bone, cloth and paper, to porcelain, china, rubber and plastic. Playing with dolls usually involves roleplay and imagination.
Dolls that represent babies or children are traditionally most popular among girls. Action figures representing superheroes and their predecessors, action dolls, are particularly popular among boys. Though some boys will get quite defensive about calling an action figure a doll, due to perceived gender roles.
Dolls for adults
While dolls have traditionally been toys for children, they are also collected by adults, for their nostalgic value, beauty, historical importance or financial value. In ancient times, dolls were used as representations of a deity, and played a central role in religious ceremonies and rituals. Lifelike or anatomically correct dolls are used by health professionals, medical schools and social workers to train doctors and nurses in various health procedures or investigate cases of sexual abuse of children.
There are also sex dolls for adults.
Dolls and spanking
Children often play with dolls in scenarios where the child plays the role of an adult (e.g. a parent) and the doll plays the role of a child. In such scenarios, it is not uncommon for the child to scold and/or punish the doll for being "naughty", for example by spanking the doll (see children spanking dolls). In people's imagination and in spanking fiction, there is also the topic of dolls that are designed for spanking, see spanking dolls.
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