Alumni Authors:

Erin N. Avery '08, Gettysburg College

Document Type


Publication Date


Department 1



Real Dolls are life-size, anatomically correct figures. Except for their lifelessness, they are made to look and feel like humans. The availability of Real Dolls allows us to examine the social significance of relationships and gender expectations in a new light. In this paper, we are interested in how the Real Dolls are being offered and accepted as alternative partners. Specifically, we examine the relationship between the commodification of the body and the agency individuals have to create intimacy and connection. We conducted an exploratory content analysis of the customer testimonials on the Real Doll website. Results suggest that the Dolls fit into the stereotypical ideal beauty and promote the commodification of bodies. Buyers use these Dolls not just for sexual gratification but are also used for emotional support. The consequences of these attachments are discussed.

Required Publisher's Statement

Original version available online from Serials Publications.