Are there really kidult - adults who behave like children? Russian culturologists, psychologists, sociologists write scientific articles about kidalts - adults who behave like children. Marketers recommend increasing the production of scooters and toy soldiers. But do these mysterious scammers really exist?
The word "kidult" was borrowed from the English language. In the United States, this neologism, formed from two words: "kid" ("child") and "adult" (adult), first appeared in the mid-1980s. Kidals are now called adults who seem to refuse to grow up and devote a lot of time to activities that are considered the lot of children and younger adolescents: watching cartoons, playing computer games, assembling constructors, collecting toy soldiers.
Some people think that kidalts are a new cultural phenomenon. In fact, people who refuse to grow up have existed for a long time. They just used to be called in other words.
Peter Pan Syndrome
The most famous and principled kidalt can be considered the hero of the books by James Barry "eternal boy" Peter Pan. The character, who lives in a distant Magic Land and stubbornly refuses to grow up, has become one of the most popular heroes of children's literature.
The play "Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Didn't Grow Up" was written and published in 1904, and eighty years later, a book by psychologist Dan Keely was published, which was dedicated to the adult followers of Peter Pan. It was called Peter Pan Syndrome, or Men Who Never Grow Up (1983).
Dan Keely drew attention to the fact that many adult men do not want to lead a lifestyle that corresponds to their social status. They are not passionate about their careers, they shy away from marriage and generally from serious relationships with women, they do not want to become fathers. At the same time, such men are prone to narcissism, love all sorts of entertainment and dream of someone taking care of them constantly (preferably their mother).
Dan Keely branded such ideological infantilism with a nervous breakdown and came up with a name for it - "Peter Pan Syndrome". This term went to the people, but did not take root in science. The fact is that Dan Keely was not a scientist, but a popular psychologist (something like Dr. Kurpatov): although his books were sold in large circulations, the American Psychiatric Association was skeptical of him.
Michael Jackson and other "children forever"
One day in the early 1980s, actress Jane Fonda and a young and successful singer Michael Jackson met to discuss what kind of film projects Jackson could take part in. At some point, Fonda remembered that Staven Spielberg was planning to make a film about Peter Pan. Hearing about this, Michael Jackson suddenly burst into tears and said that he considered himself the real Peter Pan - "a lost boy from the beautiful Magic Land."
It was later revealed that all the walls in Jackson's house were hung with pictures of Peter Pan. Having become rich, he bought himself an estate, where he built a zoo, a small railway and an amusement park. Jackson called the estate "Fairyland", transparently hinting at his idol.
However, the happy fairy tale did not work out. In 2003, Michael Jackson was charged with child abuse. The king of pop music often brought little boys to his "Magic Land", who stayed with him for a long time. Together they rode the rides, fed the animals at the zoo, and rode the train. However, after the singer innocently admitted in an interview that he sleeps with the boys in the same bed, the fabulous idyll came to an end.
While the trial was underway, in which Jackson was eventually acquitted, psychologists actively discussed how healthy such a craving "to be Peter Pan" and never grow up was.
I want this toy
Of course, the business immediately responded to the findings of the marketers. Manufacturers of children's toys began to produce not only Barbies, but also, for example, figurines of the heroes of the movie "The Big Lebowski" - overage idiotswho do not work, but play bowling for days. It is clear that they are not bought by children, but by adults.
Segway motorized scooters are another example of manufacturers' attention to kiddying shoppers. Initially, the idea of releasing scooters for adults seemed crazy, but this product was a huge success, especially after it was unwittingly advertised by the main American scooter, George W. Bush. The manufacturers claimed that it was impossible to fall from such a scooter, but the President of America still managed to do it.
In general, in the West, the word “kidalt” is used primarily by marketers, and even then relatively rarely. For them, “kidals” are not some special social group, but just a special kind of consumers: adults who often buy goods intended for children. The main task of the manufacturer is to take this niche into account and make money from it. No more.
Kidals in Russia: a special way
But in Russia, literally in a few months, scammers have become almost a national idea. It all started exactly a year ago, when the new 2x2 TV channel began broadcasting. That is, in fact, this TV channel has existed since 1989, but lately it has eked out a miserable existence, broadcasting the endless program "Shop on the Sofa".
The company that bought 2x2 decided to go for a bold experiment - to create a TV channel showing exclusively cartoons for adults. The unexpected decision was based on pure pragmatism: advertisers wanted their videos to be watched by young active people with high incomes. The problem was that this audience is extremely reluctant to watch TV, but the creators of the channel hoped that high-quality western animated series for adults ("The Simpsons", "South Park", "Futurama") would still be able to interest them.
The channel, which shows cartoons for adults all day, has never been in any country. The closest in concept to Adult Swim, it has existed in America since 2001, but it only broadcasts at night, and the Cartoon Network TV channel operates on this frequency all day, where they show quite traditional cartoons for children. In order not to burn out, the creators of the new 2x2 were simply forced to carry out active explanatory work: at every step to explain why they suddenly chose such a strange concept. This is where the foreign word "kidult" came in handy.
As part of the advertising campaign of the new TV channel, many articles and interviews with its creators appeared, each of which told who the kidals are and why they love adult cartoons. The word “kidalt” suddenly became fashionable, and the channel itself, having barely started broadcasting, achieved amazing results, overtaking such giants as MTV or MuzTV in ratings.
Does this mean that there are so many kidals in Russia?
Infantilism as a lifestyle
Many successful young people also want this kind of "inner freedom." Some flee from everyday problems to India, becoming "downshifters", and some, after reading fashion magazines, declare themselves "kidals". Escape to the "fairy land of childhood" becomes one of the ways to escape from reality.
However, there are not so many “real violent” kidals who really devote almost all their time to playing games in childhood. Even in Russia.