Voodoo Dolls In China

So the latest fad among young people in China is the voodoo doll, and it is also the target of crackdown by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce due to the bad influence.  This is actually a good case study either for a sociologist or marketing scientist.  The product does not appear to be centrally produced and distributed by any manufacturer; at least, the products are not labeled as such.  Nevertheless, this appears to be a national phenomenon as a Baidu search of "巫毒娃娃" (voodoo doll) revealed local reports from around the country (e.g. Beijing, Qingdao, Jinan, Hangzhou, Urumuqi, Changsha, Shenyang, Guangzhou, Guizhou, Wuxi, etc).  The diffusion of this product is the confluence of word of mouth, small entrepreneurship, traditional media coverage and Internet forums and commerce sites (alibaba, taobao, etc).

(Yangzhi Evening News via Sina.com)  March 9, 2006.

"Stab you to death ... you are the reason why I did not pass fourth grade ... stab you to death ... stab you to death ..."  When the student named Wu went back to her university dormitory in Wuxi, she saw that her roommate named Lin in the upper bunk was using a needle to prick a small toy figure.  The menacing expression on Lin's face terrified Wu very much.  The doll was a "voodoo doll", which is popular among university and high school students in the Wuxi area.

According to Wu, Lin is a taciturn student who rarely speaks to anyone.  Because her English results were not good and she failed fourth grade English three times in a raw, she is even less talkative.  But Lin thinks that the reason why her English results are poor is because someone is deliberately teasing her.  A short while ago, a secondary school classmate of Lin now studying at a Shanghai university recommended that Lin buy a voodoo doll, write the name of the offending person on the doll and then prick the doll with a pin every day while cursing.  Then she can ward off evil and guarantee passing grade four English.  Lin heeded the recommendation of her classmate, and this was why the scene occurred.

(Changsha Evening News via Sohu.com)  March 27, 2006.

[in translation]

A colorful cotton thread is wrapped around and around to form a doll.  The doll holds a steel needle stuck into a red heart, and the two large black eyes added a ghostly aura.  This is the basic pose of the "Heart-Stabbing Male" voodoo doll in the Hexi university district.  Yesterday, the reporter found these voodoo dolls on prominent display at a number of gift shops near the Hexi universities.  These voodoo dolls were all made out of cotton threads.  They have different expressions and poses, and the ones with needles through their hearts look particularly menacing.  Some students were looking at them and discussing.

According to a shop owner, he had brought these voodoo dolls from Beijing.  Supposedly, these toys were imported from Thailand.  Since these voodoo dolls were relatively high-priced at an average of 50 RMB apiece, he did not expect good sales and so he only brought 20 for the shop.  Unexpectedly, the dolls were very popular and he has sold 16 in two or three days.  He intends to bring in another batch.

The shop owner told the reporter that there are four main series of voodoo dolls on the market, namely, the love series, the health series, the protection series and the demon series, with more than 50 styles.  These four series serve different functions.  For example, the demon series is used mainly to curse other people.

From the user explanation for the voodoo dolls, the reporter found out that the toy manufacturer claimed that the voodoo doll curses are used principally to seek lovers, curse enemies, break curses, win lawsuits, make your lover faithful, chase away enemies, bring health, etc.  If the owner wants to wrought magic with the doll, he/she should paste a piece of paper with the name of the target onto the doll and never remove the paper or change the name.  If your target has changed, you need a new doll.  At the same time, in order to prevent others from cursing you, you ought to buy a protective doll of your own.


Sociologists think that the popularity of voodoo dolls is due to two reasons: first, in a society in which competition and conflicts are increasing, certain narrow-minded people experience setbacks and attempt to use superstitious methods to express their discontent; second, it is the influence of consumerism that caused people to be driven by curiosity to blindly follow a fashionable trend.  But this kind of fashion is not a good thing, because it does not relieve any psychological blockage.  Rather, this brings out the worst "evil" in imperfect persons, causing them to use curses and revenge to face people and events and leading people into narrow-mindedness and self-absorption.  From this angle, the voodoo doll mania needs to be stopped. ...

To see product offering, see Voodoo Doll Online