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Can dolls be too pretty?

Jul 22, 2011

    1. Forgive if there is another thread the same as this one; as usual, I searched but nothing came up. Also is this post is unsuitable, forgive that too ^^

      I had an idea about this when I posted a picture request thread (here it is) for dolls with acne, warts, etc. One poster replied to say that she couldn't see the point of a doll with a conventionally unattractive trait such as pimples. She said it made the doll sound less intriguing. I countered by saying that to me, it sounded MORE intriguing, because it's not every day that you hear of a doll with spots, acne, warts, etc. To me, it sounded like a really original and kind of playful thing to do with your doll.
      Another poster replied to say that she thought flaws with a doll's appearance made the doll easier to relate to. So that bought up the conundrum- as dolls are generally created to be beautiful- far more beautiful than most humans are- does that in a way distance them from us? And if one were to make a doll intentionally unattractive, would that change the way you felt about the doll and its character?
      Personally, I love it when dolls and characters have flaws. It makes them seem far richer and more interesting to me. Lets face it, we've all heard of the "This is Mary Sue Ember Raven Nightflower, she's the top in her class at everything, she's also a model living in New York and at night she turns into a cat and kills bad guys and everyone loves her". I personally think it would be much cooler to see a plain doll with spots and whatnot. More interesting, anyway, and easier to relate to, and probably more fun. What do you think?
    2. I think it's more fun to give a doll some "character"-- but every now and then it's just fun to look at some outrageously pretty doll--I'm thinking of Raurencio Studio's Adonis in the Swan Lake outfit. Haha, that thing looks good enough to eat--the fact that it's a boy doll somehow makes it less omg diabetes. I admit to loving Lieselotte, too, who is just a heap-o-cute, lace and ribbons. But like any sugary confection, these kind of dolls need to be balanced with some more meaty types just so you don't get tooth decay. ;) That is what I love about DoA--there is something for everyone....your crew are pretty fab, too!
      • x 1
    3. Interesting concept, really. Personally, I like my pretty dolls. Most of them are of the fantasy variety (elves, faerie, ect) so spots and warts clearly don't fit, as those types generally represent the epitome of beauty. Even on my human dolls, I never considered something like that. Of course, given the fact that none of them are fully blushed anyway, a random wart or pimple would just look weird.

      Honestly, I don't see why people would be so against it. Look at all the gore mods in the galleries. Seems to be popular enough and, in my opinion, gore is definitely NOT attractive. Fascinating, yes. Pretty? Not so much.

      So if some people don't have an issue with gore mods, they certainly shouldn't have an issue with something as mundane as pimples. That's just silly.
    4. Personally, I like the flawlessness of the dolls' physical appearance, mostly from a photography standpoint. The smoothness of the doll's skin is something I find lovely, and not having to remove little blemishes in post-processing is a really nice break from doing it on real people!

      Acne and the like, should it be part of the character, I wouldn't find any problems with. But I wouldn't bother to add it for "realism" unless it actually was a major part of the character's backstory. Should a character be battle-scarred, I would of course give them an actual scar. Would I add it solely for the sake of making them flawed? Probably not.

      Character-wise, though, absolutely! Flaws are absolutely necessary to make a character seem realistic and relate-able.
    5. I like dolls because they are beautiful and nowhere near approaching reality, so I would have zero interest in one with unattractive blemishes, weight problems, or disfigurements beyond unrealistic, fantastical ones since a well done scar or certain amputations are something I can appreciate, and only then when they are contrasted sharply with how beautiful the rest of the doll is. I want idealized beauty, perfection.

      I suppose it's like how I have always preferred Greek sculpture with its love of the ideal and hated Roman sculpture, which was more realistic and would often go right down the warts. Representing a person exactly how they are in real life with no interpretation does require a lot of technical skill, but there's no transformation for me so it's less imaginative and less interesting. I've found that the more realistic sculpts out there leave me cold and hold no interest for me.

      As for the Mary Sue, a poorly written character will always be a poorly written character, it doesn't matter if they've got a face full of acne or amaranthine eyes or are Harry Potter and Tom Riddle's long lost lovechild. And really, the whole "My doll is ugly therefore more original/my doll wears jeans and tshirts, not goth lolita/my doll is straight!111/I want a fat doll/look at my gore mod" protestations often come across as people trying too hard to be unique and special snowflakes. And when you're actively trying to be a unique and special snowflake, it stops being interesting.

      I don't need to relate to my dolls. They're dolls, not my best friends or people I need to be empathetic with, so that's not an angle for me either. I've never felt that need to own a doll just like me or understood it.
    6. Don't confuse "a perfect doll" with "an uninteresting doll". ;)

      With my horror mods I try to recreate a form of beauty. Not one that would be appreciated on the catwalk, but beauty in the craft and skill it took to create.
      I also have a doll with a half healed black eye. It's not an attractive feature, but because it was hard to keep it from looking fake and to not over do it, I think there's some form of beauty in the way the doll looks. Even if the dolls themselves may not look pretty, I do strife for a form of perfection.

      The prettiest perfect dolls are the ones that give the impression of having a personality instead of having a blank stare.
    7. Thank you, Fishcake, how kind of you to say ^^# I too love Adonis, but the funny thing is, I wouldn't look twice at him if he were a girl. It would be just... too much :D

      Kim- surely it doesn't automatically follow that a badly-written character is a Mary Sue and vice versa? For example, I can think of several well-written characters that are total Sues (Harry Potter, I'm looking at you) and many badly-written characters that really aren't Sues at all- such as the ones in a few Jonathon Coe novels. I thought a Sue was a certain kind of character, but correct me if I'm wrong, of course :)

      Muisje: Ah, but your horror-modded messed-up-eyed doll MAY well be perfect, if not pretty! That's the difference between perfect and pretty, I reckon. You don't have to be pretty to be perfect- as any well-done horror mod will show. It could look exactly as if the skin is peeling off to reveal the flesh underneath, in which case it would be perfect, but probably not pretty.
    8. The point I was trying to make, though possibly not clearly, it is pretty early, is that just because a doll has pimples or isn't pretty or has things we perceive as flaws - angsty past, drug addiction, pick your trope - doesn't automatically make it interesting or deep. It can still be just as poorly conceived and presented as your basic Mary Sue.

      I almost think there needs to be a name for a particular character type where the creator tries to get away from the dreaded Mary Sue so much by going with the opposite direction - less attractive appearance, glaring character flaws - that they actually go back around and end up with a Mary Sue in spirit if not appearance.
    9. There is, it's called the Anti-Sue, a character that tries to go so far away from the Mary Sue ideals that they essentially are that.

      I have to agree with Kim on this issue. It seems that some owners focus on the odd or unusual simply to try and make their characters and therefore themselves seem more unique. How many times have we seen threads here in the debate threads about " I gave my doll's character X trait, only to find someone else has a doll with X trait, what should I do?" Now, in the cause of character copying, it could be an issue, but really how many dolls out there are gay(or bisexual) vampires? Tons! I happen to have one such vampire character, and I know plenty of other vampires of his orientation exist. However, just because he's a gay vampire doesn't mean he has to be held to that. Yeah, he's a vampire and he prefers guys, he also is a horrible gambler who enjoys drinking with friends and works part-time as a waiter at a cafe for fun. He has a long-time boyfriend and several flings on the side when he chooses, and deals with his boyfriend's wrath for each one, and if it weren't for the fact that his boyfriend has a complete obsession over him (read: yandere) then he'd probably be dropped faster than a hot potato. Yes, he's a bit of a jerk, which doesn't make him the perfect boyfriend, but that's how I chose to make him.

      Just because a character fits a stereotype doesn't mean they have to be that stereotype. It's the tiny flaws both in the sculpt and in the characterization itself that makes each character somewhat unique. Yes, every character should have flaws of some sort, but having physical flaws does not excuse a character from having no flaws of a personality. The same goes for dolls and their characters in my opinion.
    10. I have to agree; I find dolls that other consider "unattractive" more favourable than the perfect porcelain look.
      I do like the conventionally attractive dolls, but I find it is more about the personality or the 'vibe' the doll gives off that attracts me.

      One thing that bugs me about the BJD community is that a number of sculpts are so similar, you know, typical pointed nose, rosy cheeks, great big eyes (or dreamy ones), perfect hair without a hair out of place. It's like how we are in real life in this generation; we only fit in if we're perfect and look/think/act like every other person or else bear the consequences of being shunned and teased.

      One of my friends kept making fun of one of my "cheaper" Kizdolls boys because one of his nostrils was less even than the other. The funny thing is that this is one of the things I was attracted to in his sculpt. I think it's very charming.

      I absolutely adore albino and ginger dolls too, but if my mother comes into my room while I'm looking at such dolls she goes 'ew what is that'...
      I guess in the end each person's perception of what 'art' is makes up their opinion. My mother is a person who is not very open to different types of art and some people are just not willing to appreciate art in whichever form, whether stereotypically attractive or otherwise.

      Chances are I am to wound up and passionate about this topic for this post to make sense... :?*_*
    11. Oh yes, the Anti-Sue. I've heard of that. I wonder what's worse?:lol: Doesn't bear thinking about really!
      No, I too agree with Kim, in part anyway. Anti-Sues are probably every bit as annoying as real Sues, but with a splash of self-consciousness thrown in. Is it possible to get the balance between Anti Sue, decent character and Mary Sue? And how would one go about it? And how would you distinguish the characteristics of a well-rounded, rich, believable character? In how the doll looks? How the owner dresses it?
      The mind boggles :?
    12. THIS! This is a question worth an entire debate thread alone( I'm actually surprised no one's made a thread about this considering how important some consider characterization of dolls to be.)

      I think the main thing that makes both the Anti-Sue and the Mary Sue so annoying is the worship from other characters( usually unwarranted) and the fact that the plot seems to bend to serve their wishes.I also feel one of the main flaws of both types is that they are unbalanced, the Mary Sue's traits are all "good" and the Anti-Sue's are all "bad", if that makes sense.
    13. Well, talk solely of characterization of dolls is not permitted on DoA as it's about writing and not about the dolls.

      But in a visual hobby like this, where I only interact with most dolls by looking at pictures of them, I still only want to look at pictures of dolls I find attractive. I don't find the wartier aspects of things found on real people attractive, so I don't want to see them on dolls. I also don't particularly care about other people's doll stories unless they are a friend, and you often don't have access to that looking at just a random picture of a doll anyway. There's an entire roleplaying universe my dolls are all a part of that is extremely detailed and for a silly RP has grown into something very rich and rewarding for me that has hundreds of written pages and lots of character art, but I certainly don't expect all of that to be conveyed in my doll photography. I am simply not that talented. I do my best to make my dolls have a presence and come across as themselves, but beyond that, all I hope is that people see my photos and think my dolls are pretty. And if they don't, that's fine too, since I think my dolls are pretty and my opinion is the most important one.
    14. I agree with the original post. I like to see character flaws, whether physical or personality wise.

      In a BJD world of vampires, demons, gods and goddesses and fairies, etc, of my 13 current dolls, all are human except 3. And two of those three live as humans, very rarely showing powers. My humans have real human problems and feelings, not magic. And though my dolls mostly appear to be attractive, in character, Loki, my DZ Mo-B hybrid, has dealt with acne. Its not actually on his faceup, but in his role play, he has had a pimple or two. Loki also had severely damaged teeth (in character, his sculpt doesn't show teeth) until his husband paid to get them fixed. I have dolls with scars, some intentionally added, others caused by accidents, that I didn't even bother to fix because I have no issues with flaws. My sister used to have a doll who had an eye offcentered. I thought it was just a notorious Bobobie wonky factory positioned eye, until she informed me that his character was SUPPOSED to have an eye a little off. Axl, my BBD Valentine, has one eye pupil slightly larger than the other. (Apparently, David Bowie has this same condition??) Amir, my AoD Chen, has one eye darker than the other. Seems a lot of mythical dolls have mismatched eyes, but Amir is human and has a case of heterochromia. Mike, my DiM Robel hybrid, has a birthmark on his chin. Its actually a discoloration in the resin, straight from the factory that way, but I accept it as a built in character trait, not flaw.

      I'm sure there are more than I'm just not thinking about. haha

      I just really like the idea of imperfect dolls/characters. Especially since role play IS a big part of the hobby for me, its nice to see characters that aren't supposed to be flawless and loved by all.
    15. I think it is quite cool that the dolls are too pretty. And I happen to like Mary Sue and Marty Stu characters sometimes, at least if they are cute :lol: Come on, who doesn't love the rugged homosexual demigod vampire kitsune boy dolls? I love them. And I enjoy reading about them too. I wish there would be more of them in real life ;)
      There is not enough sugar coating on my life in reality, so why not have it in the doll world?
      On the other hand, I wouldn't consider a less slim or ginger doll less pretty (in fact, I think most redheads look great). I think flaws are always something subjectively judged. Pimples or warts though are not something I would like on my dolls. Like I wouldn't on me, neither.
    16. This is true. If a missing eye, big scar, or other dramatic "flaw" doesn't make a doll inherently more interesting to me, I certainly don't think things like pimples or warts would, because I don't consider those actual flaws. And because BJD skin is less detailed, I think those sorts of blemishes would be hard to do well. I think pimples could easily end up looking like a case of chicken pox . . .

      I do want a certain amount of distance. I don't create characters like myself, which means my BJDs aren't like me. My fantasy is about escapism, in the end. I think where "too pretty" would come into play for me is when the doll looks too much like the very stereotypical western fashion doll feminine or rugged dimpled-chin short-haired masculine, because I'm personally very bored with that look on dolls or people. And yet I've still been wowed by skilled people doing that sort of look. I can sympathize with the idea of wanting to do or see something different, because I do get bored with seeing the same things all the time, but just doing a hard 180 on a concept doesn't make it any more interesting.

      I can like anything if it's done reasonably well. :sweat Execution of a concept, enthusiasm, passion, attention to detail, these are what will likely draw my attention more than what the specific concept is.
    17. I think an inperfect doll would be really interesting! I can't see it working with just paint though. I'd want to see it in the mold. A more artistic doll I guess in realism.
      All my dolls are mostly in the unreal fey beauty camp but a doll made, maybe not to look ugly but to have something about them that was off sounds wonderful. I keep hoping for dolls to come out with big noses or too strong a jaw.

      Than there's iplehouses Ringo who appears to be missing his top teeth. >.>
    18. Another thing that makes me think about this issue is the perpetual perfection of BJD boobies. I received my first girl doll body the other day, and I was struck by the size and pertness of her breasts, despite me asking for the most discrete bust! She must be a D cup at least, and her boobs perk up in a lovely round fashion that is very very rarely seen in real women. Most women have saggy breasts, assymetrical breasts, uneven nipples, stretch marks... all kinds of things. But doll boobies seem to have been modelled on the women in porn mags. This is a mostly female hobby, in terms of owners, so it makes me wonder if any girl-owning women feel a bit... insecure about their perky-boobed resin babes?
    19. Well, I have found that I don't bond well with overly pretty dolls. They seem more like a collectable you put on a shelf and never touch again compared to dolls that are either pretty but flawed or simply cute characters. I have found that the longer I have stayed in the hobby, the more I want to see unique and individual dolls rather than the same ol' perfect, flawless make-up on a doll's face. I love seeing gore/zombie mods, because you can really see an investment of time in them. They are also unique, and completely their own. That's not to say that I don't like pretty dolls, I simply mean that if I find one too pretty, I end up not wanting to play with it because I am worried about damaging the face-up too much. I think for me, I personally have to find a doll that I can relate to look and character-wise. Maybe that's why my cuter dolls always end up staying longer than the 'OMG GORGEOUS' ones. ;)
    20. Nope not at all. Though it might be TMI, mine are middle size and very perky. They're also very even. So I don't get boob envy from well endowed gals. Even if my boobs were less than perfect- it's a bloody doll. Why am I going to down myself because of an object? Ain't gonna happen. No need to encourage self hate or read in too much. I wouldn't buy a doll with asymmetrical boobs because it would be a pain in the rear to find shirts for her. I guess I don't care about simple, everyday flaws like pimples because frankly they're ugly and gross on people and they'd be ugly and gross on a doll. Certain things, done in an artistic way, can be beautiful despite what they are (and that's often the purpose of such art). The flaw itself doesn't make your character or doll anymore interesting, and a bad attempt will just make it look bad.

      My Iple girl has a "beauty mark", a mole above her top lip near her nose, and it suits her. I didn't do it to make her more unique or anything like that and it was originally an accident, so I just left it there and have been replacing each time she gets a different/new face up.