It’s been nigh on 30 years since Cabbage Patch Kids receded from popularity. A lot has changed in our world since then, allowing us to forget too easily that these dolls, which look just like other dolls, were marketed as bizarre plant/human hybrids, tilled from the earth before being put in boxes and sold to the world’s children.
Well, Angela Garbes has written an article for Topic whose descriptions ensure that the origins of the Kids will never be forgotten again, no matter how hard you may try.
Garbes ventured to the last remaining BabyLand General Hospital in Georgia, an abominable factory where Cabbage Patch Kids are “born.” She describes the place as “a Cabbage Patch museum-cum-toy store” where parents bring their children to watch bizarrely choreographed rituals designed to inform the young of their dolls’ unique provenance—and to make the adults spend money to visit a lavish advertising effort that will, we must assume, make giving “the talk” that much more confusing years later.
While the article covers much more than the Kids’ first moments in the world, it’s the fine details covering this aspect that stick to the mind like cobwebs. Garbes sets a Dantean scene, laying out the mechanics of the doll birthing process where a 12-foot tall entity called Mother Cabbage delivers her offspring to the looping soundtrack of “baby coos and cries.” Mother Cabbage is painted as “matriarch of the world’s millions of Cabbage Patch Kids, and a towering sculpture made to look like an artificial tree that serves as [a] portal, i.e., birth canal.”
The article describes other, surprisingly clinical aspects of BabyLand, most notably how nurses monitor the health of Mother Cabbage. Garbes quotes these health care professionals as they carry out tasks such as preparing for labor (“We want to make sure [Mother Cabbage] has dilated a full ten leaves apart,” one says) or assuring the safety of Mother’s routine deliveries (“We’ve had no bad results and never once had to perform a C-section—a ‘cabbage’ section, that is.”).
There’s much more to read in the full piece and, for those with steely nerves, many photos of BabyLand to look upon. In lieu of them, please enjoy a short montage of celebrities holding the dolls, now that you know their terrifying origin:
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