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Being yourself, being popular, loving dolls

Sep 3, 2010

    1. I was musing to myself this morning, I fell in love with dolls late high school. I had been into anime in middle school, but this was completely different. I was head over heels. However, I was part of what in a stereotypical teen movie the outcast narrator would call "the popular kids" or something like that. I knew straight up my friends would never accept my kids. I collected on the side. I would go to doll meets, but I didn't click with the people there. I felt really out of my element. I didn't have anyone to share my hobby with.
      During college I kept my collecting a secret until my Jr. year where I just..stopped caring. I didn't display my dolls, but I didn't keep them a secret. It's like I grew into myself as a social person, who has this odd interest. Now post college all my room mates have seen them and know. They think it's weird, but there isn't the backlash that I first thought there would.


      I was just wondering, how do you relate to your dolls vs. your friends. Are they a secret? Just a part of you? How do you tackle having a very out there hobby?

      Those of you still in high school/college what is it like?:?
       
    2. Let me start by saying that I was the student that could hang with all the different cliques in school. Universally neutral in estimation and generally regarded as pleasant, sweet, and quiet. That said, the people I most hung out with from high school to college and beyond would have *loved* the dolls. Quirky orchestra kids that sponateously burst into song, DnD gamers, rockers, book nerds, sci fi fans, sparkle geeks...all of them popular really. The stereotypical "popular" kids were into pasture parties and duck/deer hunting. XD
       
    3. Well, I had friends in high school that were into these dolls so I had people to relate to. Now that I'm in college I seem to be turning other people on to these dolls with some very good results!
      Of course in high school i was "The shunned outsider" and spent most of my las two years being called a vampire.:x So I had nothing to loss in that situation. Also now I'm investing in getting my own doll.

      But some of my friends (and family) say that these dolls are creepy and that they don't like them:|. I'm a firm believer in doing what makes you happy and not caring what other people think. Maybe that's just me but hey who am I to judge.:whitetruffle
       
    4. Interesting situation!
      I'm homeschooled and I only have one real friend (who totally accepts them and wants one of her own)... I'd been homeschooling for quite a while before I found out about BJDs, so I don't know how that would go over in public school. When I was in public school though, I was always... popularly weird, if that makes sense... Basically, I fit in best with the "weird" kids; the goths, otakus, the insane kids... etc. And yet, I could easily hang out with the "popular" kids and not have problems.

      Despite this, I can relate to your problem... I am (or was) involved in one chatroom, and it's quite comparible to a highschool. I suppose I was fairly popular, but moreso; I had a lot of authority and status. Now I haven't been there in a while (because of some complicated problems) but I was there when I first found out about BJDs, and I never actually told anyone there... I think mostly I just never thought about it. But even if I had, I probably wouldn't have, because my group would either think I was weird or just not care at all, and I didn't feel like wasting time...
       
    5. This is what I'm experiencing at the moment: my friends think my dolls are scary and my parents are just pushing me to get rid of them just because they dislike it. Sometimes, it makes me think why can't they just be supportive.

      So at the moment I'm in Pre-university, I just kept it a secret because I had a bad experience when I was in high school. One of them just made my dolls sound horrible on Facebook, which was very rude and a scaring time for me. Its really hard to be 100% myself because most of them are just close minded. :(
       
    6. I didn't start collecting BJDs until I was in graduate school, and ultimately I wound up having two different sets of considerations when it comes to how I handle the hobby: my personal life and my professional life.

      In my personal life, I have always been something of a social outcast. Honestly I'm pretty sure there have been like two years of my entire 26-year existence where I felt like I really fit in with a group (not counting my family here, but there are times when I feel like I don't fit in there much either). As a result of that, I stopped caring what people thought of me and stopped letting the threat of being laughed at or being "the weird girl" influence my decisions a very long time ago. I don't go out of my way to let people know about my BJD hobby, but I don't go out of my way to hide it either. My friends all know about my hobbies and are either very supportive and interested in joining themselves or it just doesn't bother them at all. Frankly, I have to say that if someone developed a negative opinion about me just because I collect BJDs, I wouldn't really want to be their friend anyway. Having open-minded friends is very important to me.

      Professionally, I try to keep my personal life completely cut off from my work. That can be tough sometimes when you're an anthropologist or when you're working with kids and letting them get to know you as a person is an important part of the job, but there are still some things I would never ever bring up or discuss in a professional setting. Collecting BJDs happens to be one of those things. So far there have been two specific situations where I wouldn't have wanted my hobby to be widely known. The first was during graduate school, when I worked as a teaching assistant (I helped the professor, taught discussion sections, graded stuff, etc.). It can be tough enough for female professors or women in professor-like positions to gain and keep the respect of their students. While I thought it was fine to be friendly towards them, there was no way I was going to let them know about my hobbies. I didn't need to start handing them possible reasons to look down on me on a golden platter. In the second case, I was teaching in Japan for a year and since I don't know how your average Japanese person reacts to the idea of a 26-year-old woman collecting dolls -- ANY kind of dolls -- it's just not something I wanted to get into. I wanted the teachers and students there to like me for me rather than judging me based on whatever pre-conceived ideas exist about doll collectors in Japanese society. I think the topic came up once, when I had to get a teacher to help me reschedule delivery of Akira's box and she wanted to know what it was, but by then I had known the teachers for several months and I figured I could just tell her it was a doll without going into too much detail. But I never went out of my way to mention that particular hobby to anyone, teachers or students. We had plenty to talk about anyway so there was never any point in mentioning dolls.
       
    7. The popular kids in my highschool were the cheerleaders, football players, and "junkies". I guess it's because I grew up in a small town, but it was honestly a horrible movie stereotype come to life (think "Dazed and Confused"). Anyhow, it was pretty much an unwritten rule in my highschool that if you didn't have blonde hair (dyed or natural), attempt to sleep around, get drunk on weekends, steal your parents' car, and wear clothes exclusively from Abercrombie or American Eagle, then you were an "ugly freak" who deserved to get the crap beaten out of them daily for daring to exist or abused mercilessly.

      Needless to say, I was one of the biggest freaks in the school (1 of 5 Asian kids in the whole town and the only one with natural dark hair, loved to read, didn't bother to date, used Friday nights for listening to opera). However, they couldn't beat me up because I fought back more viciously and never got in trouble (I was also the teachers' pet :sweat). I never bothered to hide my hobbies from anyone; anime, opera, musicals, piano, origami, sewing, cosplaying, flute....I got tormented for them but they made me happier than anything else so I never gave them up or hid them.

      Now, I'm well into college and into the doll hobby. It won't be hidden from anyone because I've never hidden a hobby from anyone for any reason. My hobbies are a part of me, an expression of my personality. If someone can't stand my personality, then they wouldn't be my friend in the first place. In a work environment I tone things down so I don't distract others, but if someone asks, I'll tell them about my hobbies. Also, college is a lot more open-minded so people have been quite curious in the most friendly manner possible.

      And of course, just like in movies, I have seen a form of retribution for all the bruises, slaps, stolen items, and abuse I've suffered from high school bullies. I am one of the few in my graduating class to "get out" of my small, miserable, narrow-minded town while all of my primary tormentors have remained here. Most of them got pregnant out of wedlock (before high school graduation actually) and are currently attempting to care for their kids as single moms with no jobs. I pity some of them now for not being mature enough to care for a child properly; most of them just want to "party hard" on weekends instead of taking care of a crying baby. :( I'm very glad I managed to go somewhere else because it helped me expand my horizons beyond what my hideous hometown had to offer.
       
    8. Wow this is really interesting. The professional/personal thing is something I just started getting into with my first real job. I feel like some people are, for whatever reason, on the fringe of what is considered normal/mainstream society. These people if they have a doll, it might not seem to so out of place because it fits with their overall persona. Other people dress more muted or main stream for them (me) it feels like I have "out myself" as an odd duck when I talk about dolls (or lolita or my archery or any of my other curious interests
       
    9. I can't say I'm extreemly popular. I'm a very upfront person, and when I love something, everyone who knows me knows that I love it. It might just be because my brain doesn't have a filter. Where most people might think, "they probably won't like or appereciate this" or "they're going to think I'm wierd the second I tell them this" I've already blurted it out. I think as a result the people who know me.. Well they aren't really surprised anymore. XD There are so many odd things about me between my personality, what I love and my hobbies, that by the time I was telling them about bjd's (now everyone I work with knows what they are, and my favorite companies, and about MnMs splits, the market place, DoA and the list goes on...) they pretty much just humored me with a "Really? That's kinda cool..."

      Now to temper this, when your brain doesn't have a proper filter, it also leads to some people thinking you're very wierd, and to some, crazy. Luckily, I've never much cared for anyone's opinions beyond the people who really matter to me, and the people who really matter to me, already know all of my sillyness, and love me for it... So I guess it's a good cycle to be in. Even if my friends don't quite like the bjd's, or say they're wierd, they respect me enough not to say they're creepy, or that it's stupid. They question it when they hear about the price tag, but then I just counter with, "And how much money do you spend on WoW, starbucks, movies and other 'treats' each month?"
       
    10. I have always been the "lone wolf". People always think they "know me" from somewhere or have "seen me" before... never known why.

      I started collecting dolls at 16 and never stopped. I absolutely do not care what anyone thinks of my hobbies; never hid anything. I collect dolls, bears, Dept 56, bicycles, motorcycles and cars, so I intimidate most people anyway. I have always been supported by great friends that I have had since HS, hubby and family - They only objected to my Blythe collection one time; they thought they were weird. Kept my Blythe anyway. Actually they helped me invest into the new BJD movement I am in now! Yay!! Cannot wait to get Noir.....
       
    11. I don't care if people know about them or not, and never really have. It was slightly weird explaining Hikaru to my parents, just because I had never been interested in dolls before, even as a child -- I think I was still a little surprised at myself to tell you the truth.

      I started collecting as an adult (27), so there was no highschool peer pressure, though, I was never one of the popular kids in highschool and I doubt it would have stopped me collecting them then if abjds had existed back then. The people I did hang out with were people from my 4-H club who wouldn't have cared and the people in my art classes at school who would have probably appreciated them. Throughout my whole life I've had hobbies -- hobbies make life for me interesting and make me happy. It would never occur to me to let other people get in the way of that.

      If someone asks about my hobbies, I'll tell them about the abjds, and if anybody comes over it's immediately obvious that I collect dolls. However, I don't randomly bring it up to everyone I meet, just because I don't necessarily assume they're interested -- it's not out of a need to hide it, though.
       
    12. I got my Annie-girl in college. One of my friends prefers blythes, so she didn't like her. Another few thought she was the best thing since individually-wrapped cookies. A guy friend of mine is vaguely interested in them now. She came to class a few times, and in the future I would consider bringing her to my office. She's a gorgeous doll, even to people who are creeped out by her. She's my sweetie!
       
    13. In high school, I knew everyone in my class, but I never hung out with the "anime kids". Only in my transition to college did I get really involved in anime, manga, and when my friend showed me the Volks website, I was hooked on that, too. I'd like to think, had I gotten a doll in high school, that most of my friends would be pretty respectful. I mean, they can get a little crazy, but they're nice, overall. In my first college (a community college) you were pretty much anonymous - for the first year, I went around with a Shippo over-the-shoulder bag, and no one batted an eye. I had no friends except a few in one class, so I wouldn't feel as comfortable there as I would in my new, better college.
       
    14. I started collecting BJDs when I was in middle school, and I was 13. My friends found out about it, thought it was dumb, but I basically told them I didn't care because I liked them :'D Now, four years later, I moved to a new school. I got here as a junior, so I was too late to really fit in with any one clique, so I just try to be nice to everyone. When someone there IRL finds my twitter or something and tells me they think it's weird, my response has always just been "Yeah, I mean... it is, but whatever." and we move on to the next topic. At this point, it's just a part of who I am, I guess.

      I don't intend to bring them to college unless I get a reeeeeeally cool room mate, mostly because I want to go to a college that isn't in the best part of town (and my commute home will only be 40 minutes or so by train) but I'm sure I'll talk about them to people who will listen to me :'D
       
    15. In december last year I got my doll. I was in my last year of high school. My friends knew, but said I was crazy to waste such a big money on 'just' a doll. One of my friends thought they are creepy, but to be honest she can't even handle movies like scary movie xD. I met another girl Liz, who is on this forum too. The friends who finds the dolls scary introduced me to her. So know I have a friend who shares the hobby and lives in the same neighbourhood as me. My other friend who thought I was insane to buy her, is getting her first doll next year as well xD so actually everything is going well :P most of my friends share my hobby. We make clothing together, even the girl who's afraid of them!!
       
    16. Thanks for posting this! Much of what you have said sums up my experience with BJDs (although, I started participating in the hobby in my late teens). My professional life is in the social sciences and I prefer to keep it separate and apart from any of my hobbies. As for my personal life, some of my friends are aware of my hobbies and some are not aware. For the most part, my family have been the most aware of it and have been very supportive of it.
       
    17. I got into dolls in highschool, or at least I liked to imagine owning one one day, I hung out with the anime kids even though I didn't watch anime (mostly because I didn't click with the art kids) but I don't think any of them knew what they were really. I had a friend who was into them too, and eventually bought two when we got to college, but I was too broke and nervous to buy one myself. I had a 'lurking' account for awhile, but was too scared to really post since I didn't have a doll.

      Then I went to New York for a semester. Then things started to change. I started being more outgoing, I wanted to be who I wanted to be, and not worry about what my old friends thought I should be. I went to ohayocon, bought a doll, started my life over and didn't care what people thought of me or my doll. My friends were weirded out by it, and I don't really have any doll friends I can really connect with, but I'm not afraid to tell people about my hobby if they ask.
       
    18. I just really got into dolls this past year. I'm not going into my sophmore year of highschool. I've never really been popular as I tend to be on what people would refer to as the "strange side" of the spectrum. For a long time, up until seventh grade, I didn't have any friends and thought that I didn't need any as long as I was happy being myself. I am happy with myself but now that I have a few very close friends that I connect with, I'm even happier. EVen now I'm still considered the "strange one" but my friends love me all the same despite that. I've always been into anime, manga, and video games and that has only intensified as I've gotten older. Hobbies that some may see as "odd" aren't foreign to me and the people around me are used to that. (Especially my mother whose eleven year old daughter told her that she wanted to be Sasuke Uchiha for Halloween XD). My friends take everything I do in stride and even have adopted some of my hobbied over the years. I'm just glad being me and that's all that matters.
       
    19. Throughout my school career I usually was acquaintances with alot of people, in fact in high school my 'group' hung out with every crowd in the school. We had different people join us for lunch just about every day. I don't know who the popular crowd would have been but it really didn't matter. Walking down the street I blend in beyond my power walking - dressing well is important to me so I don't wear any 'nerd gear' because it doesn't hit my aesthetic tastes. So when people ask me what I'm looking at on the computer or what my hobbies/interest are and I get to what would be considered 'quirkier' or 'weird' people are often surprised and the first reaction I get is usually a smile. My experience has been that people love that I have these hobbies that I'm passionate for and that I'm unashamed of.
       
    20. Well, I've never been popular. Quite the opposite even and even in primary school (a small farm community school) I was different from my peers. I loved to act, loved to write, loved to play music. This was something that was just 'not done' and even though I wanted to be a part of the community, I couldn't hide who I was. Wasn't able to lie, nor did I want to.

      This is the attitude I've always had ever since. If people ask me what I do in my spare time, I'm honest about it. Strangely enough, if you act like doll collecting is a normal thing to do, people won't look at you funny, but will just accept it instead. At least, that is my experience.

      My collegues know of my dolls, but have never seen them. I don't like to take them with me, because they're such a hassle to take with me on my bike. At the company where I work though, doll of the more boring things to do. Everyone collects figurines or other collectibles and we proudly showcase them on our desk. For once I'm not the odd one out.