Where does baby doll come from?
Although perpetually young, baby dolls have been seen as far back as the 21st century BCE in the tombs of the Ancient Egyptians. The particular phrase baby doll, though, is recorded in English as early as 1725.
The baby doll dress emerged at the turn of the 20th century. It's usually high-waisted with a short hemline, featuring short or no sleeves, presumably named because of its youthful appearance which were associated with garments toy baby dolls wore. A nightwear version became popular in the 1940s. On women, the baby doll look can suggest innocence, sexiness, and even edginess, with 1990s rockers like Courtney Love, Baby Spice, or Babydoll in 2011's Sucker Punch (Emily Browning) juxtaposing its girlish style with a punk attitude.
Evidenced since the early 1900s, baby doll as a term of endearment likens the object of someone's affection to the cute toy. Baby doll was quite popular in early 1960s doo-wops with such songs as The Supreme’s 1965 hit "Baby Doll." It keeps its currency in contemporary tunes, too, if N.E.R.D.'s 2001 Baby Doll has anything to say about it.
Who uses baby doll?
When not referring to a toy, dress, or negligee, baby doll is most often heard or read as an affectionate term along the lines of sweetheart or honey. But, be mindful that calling a woman you don't know baby doll can be condescending, dismissive, or wolf-whistling.
i hope you wake up tomorrow with a huge smile on your face i love you goodnight babydolls
— #guccionmybody (@BabyAriel) June 14, 2018
Some people fetishize the baby doll look ... PornHub has a whole section of baby doll porn, in line with Rule 34 of the internet.
...ur my gorgeous baby doll in twitterville.. Anything for you
@StarStruckNYC, December, 2009
Girl you don't know what you are to me / You are my baby doll / You are my compass star
N.E.R.D., "Baby Doll" (song), 2001
Linguistic experts agree that baby talk plays a role in bonding. However, they're also interested in examining the specific terms of endearment couples tend to use...[W]ords like “baby”, “baby doll”, “sweetie”, and “buttercup” are common in adult baby talk.
Sirin Cale, Broadly, December, 2017