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Counter culture v. Mainstream

May 14, 2008

    1. I've read a lot of topics about "What if BJD became more mainstream" and such. I started thinking to myself about the people that think this is an obscure hobby, when others find it quite common. Its kind of like every other hobby, From my personal experience, things that become popular tend to aggravate me (i.e. The fandom of a certain fox ninja anime tends to drive me away from ever wanting to see it) but in contrast I find BJD so beautiful that I'd stick with it no matter what. But there are some people that are so anti mainstream with odd aspects of their life (like people who would stop listening to a band if they became to "big") I feel this is a valid point for thought and discussion.

      My main questions are;
      -Do you consider BJD a sort of counter culture? [clarification in post 19]
      -Do you believe that BJD should remain an "exclusive" hobby? (I use that term loosely)
      -Would it matter if it became popular? Like would you just stop collecting?
      -At what point is the exposure too much?
      -Do you feel special because you collect these dolls? Would you feel less special if more people were active within it?

      And please, lets keep it clean.:aheartbea

      [If this is an inappropriate topic please feel free to delete or edit it, my feelings won't get hurt. I just thought it would be a good topic.]
       
    2. I think right now it's easiest to respond to each of your questions individually.

      -Do you consider BJD a sort of counter culture?

      Yes and no. I find that it depends quite a bit on the collectors themselves. Some prefer to have dolls in "less popular" styles, while others like to keep them in styles that would be considered very main stream in their culture.

      -Do you believe that BJD should remain an "exclusive" hobby? (I use that term loosely)

      To be honest, I don't care either way. As long as the quality of the dolls is still high I don't mind if there are a greater number of collectors.

      -Would it matter if it became popular? Like would you just stop collecting?

      I wouldn't stop collecting. After all, a big part of this hobby (to me, anyway) is the enjoyment you gain from your own dolls, not whether or not other people might have them. To be honest, not collecting or just dropping out of the hobby because it's become more popular seems awfully petty to me. If you find you don't like some of the new collectors, that's another thing.

      -At what point is the exposure too much?

      Once Mattel starts making BJD?? Haha, like I said earlier, as long as companies are still producing the quality of doll we've come to expect then I don't really care I guess.

      -Do you feel special because you collect these dolls? Would you feel less special if more people were active within it?

      There are already thousands of people collecting BJD's, so I don't really feel unique or special for being a collector. That seems like a silly reason to collect them anyway though. You should collect the dolls you like so that you can enjoy customizing/photographing/dressing them. It's always nice to see people being innovative, but wanting to feel special for collecting dolls seems like attention seeking to me.
       
    3. I think I can answer 'no' to all those questions. I've been collecting dolls for 20 years and have seen doll trends come and go. It's nice to see younger people in the hobby, I started collecting young but there weren't many people my age at that time. I think this is a real golden age for doll collecting, certainly the highpoint of the last few decades.

      Collecting dolls isn't a counter culture, what aspect of mainstream culture would it be a reaction to? It might be part of other counter-cultures but isn't one in itself.

      Anybody can buy a BJD these days, most of them are not exclusive. I'd say they are very popular already as far as niche hobbies go, especially compared to other types of dolls or the number of doll collectors in the past.

      No amount of exposure is too much, but I do see the quality of dolls falling as a result of more companies taking interest in the market, and that makes me sad. They used to be harder to get, and that made people put more thought into their doll purchases, I think. But the variety available now is great.

      People are special whether or not they collect dolls. (Sometimes with a capital S.)
       
    4. -Do you consider BJD a sort of counter culture?
      Not really... it's not really anti-mainstream...

      -Do you believe that BJD should remain an "exclusive" hobby? (I use that term loosely)
      No. Pfft. If it was to be exclusive, where do we put the cut-off point? "Oh noes! D: You're the 4,001st BJD collector! You're one too many! Out with you!"

      -Would it matter if it became popular? Like would you just stop collecting?
      I always thought it was kind of silly to dislike things because they are too popular. I wouldn't stop collecting because everyone else was collecting. I just avoid fans that annoy me. Like how I am a fan of Avatar the Last Airbender, but don't associate with Zutarians or Kataang people. (I HATE shipping!)

      Though I guess I don't worry about this very much because the price scares off most people anyway...

      -At what point is the exposure too much?
      I dunno... when the doll starts turning green?

      -Do you feel special because you collect these dolls? Would you feel less special if more people were active within it?
      I don't feel special because of my dollie interests. If I wanted to feel special because no one else is doing it, I'd go take up collecting snowflakes off the top of Mt. Everest or something... Specialness isn't dictated by the objects you have.
       
    5. -Do you believe that BJD should remain an "exclusive" hobby? (I use that term loosely)

      Honestly, a better question would be Would you care if BJD became a "non-exclusive" hobby? And I don't. I seriously don't have the time to worry about trivial things like if something I liked that happened to be obscure suddenly became big.

      -Would it matter if it became popular? Like would you just stop collecting?

      I haven't even started collecting (save for a couple of wigs), but I don't see what the big deal is. Even with the music scene, people will get upset when a band gets big. I don't get it! It's like, everyone is trying to be unique and as soon as that uniqueness is taken away, it's nothing special anymore. It seems to me that people need to get over themselves and realize that even if something is passed as a trend, what matters is if and how you like it. I know that as soon as I get a doll, I'll treasure it and ignore what the people around me think of it.

      -At what point is the exposure too much?

      At this point, I think BJD could use more exposure.


      tl;dr
      BJD should be special to you no matter what kind of exposure it receives.​
       
    6. Thats my feeling on this whole thing, and why I raised this question. You just said it better than I did. =]
       
    7. I think BJDs have become quite popular in the global community already... I mean, look how fast Luts and Volks limiteds sell out, and the sheer volume of people entering contests for free dolls (not to mention the mad scramble for Bermann dolls). It may seem to most that the number is significantly less because collectors tend to be spread out across the world, or they hide their hobby in public. I would be interested to find out how many people in/outside of DoA are collectors!

      Though I think BJDs will only ever achieve mainstream status at the level of collectable Barbies. They don't seem to be too recognizable at anime conventions yet, and I consider anime to be semi-mainstream (thanks to Sailor Moon and DBZ). I wouldn't know about doll conventions.

      About the "counter-culture" thing... I think that's more about the dolls being associated with "punk'n'goth'n'emo" and "lolita" culture more than anything...
       
    8. 1. Do you consider BJD a sort of counter culture?
      No. Rather, I think it's a pretty accessible hobby nowadays. There are loads of different venues that draw awareness to BJDs - general doll collecting, anime, J-rock, etc. While each of these interest groups might seem small individually, bring them all together and that's quite a lot of exposure for ball-jointed dolls. Is it a widespread, uber-popular hobby? No, but that doesn't necessarily make it counter-culture.

      2. Do you believe that BJD should remain an "exclusive" hobby?
      I don't think of it as an exclusive hobby even now. I was a mailing-list DoA member ages ago, and the fandom was a lot smaller back then! The hobby has grown, and will continue to grow, whether we want it to or not. I don't think it "should" be one way or the other - I enjoy my own dolls no matter what. The only thing that might change would be my interest in the fandom aspect of the hobby.

      3. Would it matter if it became popular? Like would you just stop collecting?
      I love dolls of all kinds, not just BJDs. If I haven't given them up by now, I don't think a rise in popularity of one faction of my collection is going to change that. ^^ I know a lot of people are concerned that popular = bad since it brings in a lot of curious fans with a more casual interest to the table, but I don't necessarily see that as negative. As before, the more interested ones will stick around, the less interested ones won't. And there are annoying people that you may feel "degrade" the BJD hobby, but that's true for other interests, whether the fandom pool is small or large.

      4. At what point is the exposure too much?
      I admit that I feel a bit uncomfortable seeing BJDs on newscasts/variety programs because TV personalities always seem to have a way to put a bizarre spin on the hobby, lol. Other than that, I think the more exposure the better! I like being able to walk into a bookstore and see the latest issue of Haute Doll with a BJD on the cover. :D I can also appreciate the exposure a bit because without it, there wouldn't be nearly as many options available to us now. I can still remember when it was very, very difficult to order a Volks doll. Now all you need is a bit of planning, saving, and patience.

      5. Do you feel special because you collect these dolls? Would you feel less special if more people were active within it?
      To be honest, I always feel a little weird to be a doll collector, if you want to define that as "special." I'm actually quite relieved some of my friends started collecting BJDs too so I don't feel completely odd, lol! To me, it has nothing to do with status; it's just a part of who I am.
       
    9. What other people like isn't going to influence what I like. BJDs becoming mainstream wouldn't make me change my opinion of bjds. I liked Naruto (the manga) since 2003, before it became popular. Then it became big and a lot of fantards gathered. So the fantards give a bad name to all fans I suppose. This doesnt affect how I like it, and I can still find plenty of true fans to talk about the series with. For me it would be exactly the same with BJDs. Even if every Paris Hilton wannabe had a BJD sticking out of her purse and there were many fantards of them, there would still be lots of true fans to talk to. Heck, with an increase in fantards there would also be an increase in people who truly appreciate BJDs and not just people wanting to go with a trend.
       
    10. -Do you consider BJD a sort of counter culture?
      As stated by others, it's not a counter reaction to anything in mainstream society thus I would not consider it counter culture. Those that believe themselves to be members of a counter culture may use a doll to express that, but just as many may not feel that way at all.

      -Do you believe that BJD should remain an "exclusive" hobby? (I use that term loosely)
      I get that you're using the term loosely, but I don't even feel like it's that exclusive at all. I think it's a niche hobby, in that those that would find it interesting do find it interesting, and the only blocks on the grand scale are money and effort.

      So no, I don't feel that it is nor should it be exclusive. I think this is partly because I can't see this hobby as some giant secret that once the word gets out every tween and their mom is going to be trading their toy chihuahuas in for resin dolls. Dolls in general are a niche hobby by their nature.

      -Would it matter if it became popular? Like would you just stop collecting?

      As I implied earlier, no. I enjoy it when the companies I like do well and increase their business and are able to supply me with more product and improve their own art. My dolls are toys to me, and if popularity played in part into my choosing or not choosing what toys I play with I wouldn't enjoy a good deal of what I enjoy.

      -At what point is the exposure too much?
      Again, I'm not actually worried about ABJDs becoming the next fad toy, but the only exposure that I would deem bad would be if somehow it got connected to serial murderer or child molester or some other heinous crime and thus made the general populous view doll collectors as extra crazy.

      But yeah, I really don't view exposure as an issue. Living in Japan, despite the doll hobby here being pretty well established and them having large venues and appearing on hobby TV programs and being associated with large brand names and popular anime all leaves it with still being a niche hobby for hardcore collectors. The fashion it's associated with is niche, spending that much money on anime goods is niche, and hobby shows and collectors are niche. Sure there's room for the hobby to grow, but I don't see that as a bad thing.

      I feel it's the same back home in the states. Most expensive collector hobbies of any sort, be it comics or figures or antiques, are all viewed as curiosities by outside observers which is the only way I could see the exposure going if it did grow.
      -Do you feel special because you collect these dolls? Would you feel less special if more people were active within it?

      I just feel like it's just something I do. I don't feel defined by my hobbies, I feel like my personal interests define my hobbies which then somehow accumulate in large piles in my house.

      But really, no, I don't care how many people are in this hobby or are not. I have friends in the hobby and outside the hobby and have a range of interests. If it meant that I could geek out about dolls to more people, great, but it's just really an unlikely scenario. I enjoy being able to share interests with a lot of people.

      As well, the personalities of the people in this hobby are so varied enough that I already pick and choose the people I want to share this interest anyway, I don't see how more people joining would change that.
       
    11. -Do you believe that BJD should remain an "exclusive" hobby? (I use that term loosely)

      I can't really see how something for sale to the mass public can be an exclusive hobby... unless you count only the people who have money vs. those who don't... but that's less and less of an issue with them making cheaper BJDs all the time.

      -Would it matter if it became popular? Like would you just stop collecting?

      It's not popular now?

      -At what point is the exposure too much?

      When it becomes as annoying as some fad dance song that gets too much radio play.

      -Do you feel special because you collect these dolls? Would you feel less special if more people were active within it?

      No, not really. It's just another collection. I don't believe they have souls, I don't have an elaborate story I've been writing all of my life that these dolls become representatives of... so I don't think I really have the attachment some people do to their dolls.
      I would actually be thrilled if seeing these things on the street became more common place, because what I love doing the most is photographing them... but honestly, I'm not really keen on carrying them around in public.
       
    12. -Do you consider BJD a sort of counter culture?

      Not really... I think it's a pretty unique hobby and a great artistic tool of expression, but I don't think it qualifies as counter culture. There's no message doll collectors want to convey necessarily as a community, and I don't think that having dolls really says anything about us as either individuals or as a collective.

      -Do you believe that BJD should remain an "exclusive" hobby? (I use that term loosely)

      Even if I did believe it, there's no way from stopping it from being what it wants to be. I think it's wonderful, and if the rest of the able-bodied population of the world thought so too, well that's chouette. But I highly doubt it would ever get to that point. Stuff's expensive.

      -Would it matter if it became popular? Like would you just stop collecting?

      No. I think you'd have to ask yourself some serious questions beside 'would I stop collecting?' if it ever became popular and you just felt like you had to stop. I think (for most anyway) that it takes a lot of time, money, and effort to maintain this hobby, and throw it away for the sake of anti-conformist reactions is kind of petty. Just my two penniez.

      -At what point is the exposure too much?

      I guess the thought of girls in Juicy Couture sweats lugging around MSDs in their ginormous totebags would be a low point in BJD history.

      -Do you feel special because you collect these dolls? Would you feel less special if more people were active within it?

      I agree heartily with what a few people have already said: I am not what I own, I am not what I lack.

      Actually I guess I feel a little broke, but that's nothing special. :]
       
    13. I don't consider BJD mainstream since whenever I talk about them most people have no idea what I'm talking about at first. However I wouldn't fall out if they were mainstream. I have this odd habit of finding things in their early stages before they become big. Music and anime are good examples for me. I don't listen to the mainstream most of the time simply because it bores me. I like the indy sounds better. And I'm more interested in watching anime and the horror movies in their original form. For me its not about being unique so much as what I like. When a band gets a major label or gets popular I don't drop it. I may fall out of the fan community simply because I don't like the rabid fangirling and the 'poodles' who think they are the superior fans. That annoys me and drives me away from the community, but not the band/show itself.

      It already exists in this community as well so there's nothing more to hate unless they start lowering the quality of the dolls to sell them at WalMart. If they want to make lower quality for the mass market that's one thing, but keep the higher quality too. I don't care if the entire world knows about BJD and everyone walks around with one. I don't see that happening because they are more like porcelain dolls and not everyone collects those. I'm not interested in what everyone else is doing however and sometimes its nice having the merchandise easier to get when its popular so I wouldn't complain if they became more 'mainstream'.
       
    14. -Do you consider BJD a sort of counter culture?

      No. To me, a counter-culture implies a certain shared philosophy or idea. There is no shared philosophy in the BJD fandom, because it's a hobby, not a lifestyle. If anything, there's an intense amount of variety -- the only thing that unites us is the joints of our dolls. Everything else is up to taste.

      -Do you believe that BJD should remain an "exclusive" hobby? (I use that term loosely)

      Exclusive to whom? I've only been in the fandom a few years. Are we talking about the fandom closing its gates or something? I think more than anything, the price tag of the hobby will keep it exclusive. BJDs are not quickly obtained, disposable things that make for good trendy items. If they became a fixture of culture, they'd be more in the niche of something like iPods -- an expensive item most people have to save for and tend to cherish. However, considering a lot of people find dolls to be creepy and spending so much on it to be frivolous, I don't think it could ever be that popular.

      Exclusivity implies there would be some sort of membership clause, as if someone else decides who gets to be in the club or not. I'm not qualified to make that kind of decision. Since anyone who can afford to can buy a doll, I have no idea how the mechanics of making it an exclusive hobby would even work.

      -Would it matter if it became popular? Like would you just stop collecting?

      I might become annoyed with it, but as is my only doll is limited, not very loved mold. My tastes tend towards what's less popular as it is, so even if everyone had a doll, I'm pretty sure I would have dolls that were unique to me.

      -At what point is the exposure too much?

      All of these types of words make the implication of there being certain types of people I wouldn't want in the hobby -- newbies apparently being one of them. And to be honest, there are people I feel are frivolous, dolls I think are ugly or overrated and people whose attitudes I dislike. I'm not trying to sound hateful, that's just part of being a human. However, these thoughts are not ones that occupy my time. In fact they rarely do. If there is something or someone I don't really like, I just ignore it -- far be it from me to decide what people should do with their time and money. It doesn't effect me, so while in annoyance I might roll my eyes at something, I'm not going to say that someone shouldn't be in the fandom. So why would any level of exposure worry me?

      -Do you feel special because you collect these dolls? Would you feel less special if more people were active within it?

      I feel my doll is very special to me, but why should the acquisition of a material thing, no matter how beautiful and how much time I put into him, make me special? Sometimes, I have a feeling of being really proud of a picture, or pleased with something I bought for him. However, my pride is in my own sense of accomplishments -- not the fact that I happen to have a hunk of beautiful resin special ordered from Korea. If there's something special about me, it's how I see the world and relate to it in a creative fashion, which is somewhat channeled to my doll. It's not the fact I own the doll itself.


      That being said, because I know most people aren't going to touch too much on this for fear of seeming mean or elitist, I can see why people become concerned about the fandom becoming too large and dolls becoming more of a commodity.

      A) It could drive trends in the market to places that are less desirable to more established fans.

      If a 'new fandom' enters the fandom, and they all like... oh, animal minis (for example), and companies start focusing more on that instead of what they used to, that's troublesome. I can see how people are concerned for this. However, change is inevitable. Companies will go where they want to go, or where they believe they'll make the most money. When it's something you're as invested in as the BJD hobbyists tend to be, I suppose it's not difficult to take it personally. However, it's important not to blame others for what you perceive to be your misfortune. Disappointment sucks, but we're still talking about a hobby here, not life or death situations.

      B) New and different fans could be seen as 'damaging to the hobby reputation.'

      I think some dolls are unattractive, and people don't photograph them well. When I want to make my pitch to friends that this is an artistic thing we do and they can find a dozen pictures of a unattractive looking doll with embarrassingly bad pictures in the gallery, even I might think why are you spending money on this again? No wonder people think we're nuts, I have no idea what this person is going for at all. I'm not going to lie about my own internal dialog, because it would be hypocritical after I make this point: We shouldn't care how other people see us as a hobby. I would never single out someone that I thought took an embarrassing photo, because if they felt it was good enough to post online, then that's their bag. It's nothing to do with me, and as long as they're happy, who cares? Even the most beautiful pictures of the most detailed and expensive dolls won't get us taken seriously by cynics or naysayers. Just because you have a doll does not make you part of 'my group,' because 'my group' is made of people whom I've befriended, or whose work I admire. Because of this, I have no qualms about anyone else being part of the looser group of 'people who have ABJDs.' After all, I only consider myself associated with them if I want to be associated. If someone considers me to be part of this bigger group in any way other than a loosely common thread, then that's their own stupidity.

      C) The more popular it is, the less noticed you will be.

      Again this a matter of motivation for being in the fandom. If you're worried about your voice disappearing in the crowds of new doll owners, then maybe you're not in the right place. Maybe you should try out for American Idol or something, I have no idea. Egomania and entitlement issues can get pretty bad in this hobby, and since it's such an expensive one it's somewhat different than it can be in other fandoms. Honestly, if you can't stand to be a little bit humbled by an increased population, you've got bigger problems on your hands than the inflation of your fandom. You already rule over your little resin people, do you need a flock of fellow fans kissing your butt as well?

      D) The more people join, the less intimate and personal it becomes.

      This, unfortunately, may be inevitable. But the level of personalization and interaction is still entirely up to the individual -- the PM system still works, people have ljs and other things, it's not impossible to get into touch with like-minded people. Through my own efforts and attending a few meet ups I've made some great new friends. It may not be close-knit like it once was, but overall my experience in the fandom has been a positive one.
       
    15. -Do you consider BJD a sort of counter culture?

      No, just another type of doll to collect. Hobbies are not counter to anything, except maybe NOT having any hobbies.


      -Do you believe that BJD should remain an "exclusive" hobby? (I use that term loosely)

      I'm not aware that it is an exclusive hobby now. Expensive is not the same as exclusive, and besides, most people can buy a doll if they save for it.


      -Would it matter if it became popular? Like would you just stop collecting?

      It seems to be popular now in doll collecting circles. I collect dolls I love and I don't care if it's popular or not.


      -At what point is the exposure too much?

      I can't imagine that this will be a problem for me.


      -Do you feel special because you collect these dolls? Would you feel less special if more people were active within it?

      I feel a little strange because I collect these dolls. The only people I know who share my fascination with them are people I've met through this forum, online or at meetups announced here. This does not make me special, but odd, compared to the rest of my friends and family. I have no objections if other people want to feel odd as well.
       
    16. -Do you consider BJD a sort of counter culture?
      I consider it more of a culture within a culture; an expression of your own culture through the media of an emulated humanoid figure. In that way, yeah I guess it could be counter-cultural; at the same time, some very outrageous people have extraordinarily conservative doll tastes, and vice versa.

      -Do you believe that BJD should remain an "exclusive" hobby? (I use that term loosely)
      This brings to mind the debate about bringing popular anime and manga to the US; many hardline otaku feared they would lose their "cool" factor. I say the more the merrier, as long as standards of manufacture are maintained. Their exclusivity can be kept in place by their price alone.

      -Would it matter if it became popular? Like, would you just stop collecting?

      Define popular. There are two distinct types of popularity - the type where things simply become common and most people either like or know of them, or popular in the "Miss Teen Idol" kind of way. As long as it didn't get obnoxious, I wouldn't mind.

      -At what point is the exposure too much?
      When standards drop to meet demand. I don't want to see BJD's being aimed at younger audiences, as the number of people under the age of 15 who can handle them is limited; breaking the "price barrier" and exposing the industry as a whole to cheaper manufacturing and poor quality materials for the sake of "popularity" would probably make me stop collecting, if not for the sheer fact of not wanting to own an inferior product.

      -Do you feel special because you collect these dolls? Would you feel less special if more people were active within it?
      The people don't make me feel special; the sense of accomplishment I get when I look at my doll and say, "Hey, that looks good on you, I'm glad I saved up to get that," is all that matters to me. To me, the "special" factor comes for the pride and the work that goes into people's creations; perhaps some do enjoy having more than the next, but that doesn't matter to me.
       
    17. -Do you consider BJD a sort of counter culture?

      I don't think BJDs were ever a counter culture. I think a more appropriate term might be subculture. We do still function within the wide social group, but we hold our values slightly different.

      We save for dolls while some others might save for different things. There are some similar likings in BJD collecting (like an appreciation for the Japanese culture and history and for anime and manga and a liking of fantasy) but I don't think they are necessary to be a BJD collector. For instance, I'm not as interested in Japan or their media as other BJD collectors are.

      So I think we're sort of...sort of a subculture whose main similarity is collecting and appreciating the art of Ball Jointed Dolls.

      -Do you believe that BJD should remain an "exclusive" hobby? (I use that term loosely)

      Exclusive how so? Exclusive to who? Just reading some of the comments on these boards leads me to believe there are a wide range of people, already, who collect BJDs. Not all of them like anime, not all of them enjoy fantasy, and some of them are admittedly more conservative than others. Perhaps at the very beginning there were a certain type of people who bought these dolls but BJD has already proved its ability to transcend social groups.

      Or do you mean exclusive regarding the artists? Exclusively Asian or exclusively well-made? In that case, I'd much more appreciate BJDs to be well-made regardless of how popular they become. Someone mentioned earlier that perhaps they'd stop buying if Mattel started making them.

      I sincerely doubt that anyone would buy from Mattel, even those wanting affordable dolls. Well, I would hope so. But I would hope that there would be enough former BJD buyers to keep the artists in business. That's definitely my biggest fear regarding that.

      -Would it matter if it became popular? Like would you just stop collecting?


      Referring to my last comment, it would only matter if larger companies started mass-producing these dolls and putting the smaller artist companies out of business. That would be the one and only regret I would have if BJDs became popular. I think I might cry if that happened.

      As far as it becoming more acceptable in my social group, I think I would quite like that. Perhaps I would no longer get joy from scaring people with dolls, but it would be easier to take them out. I don't have any BJDs now but I certainly couldn't take my Pullip out without getting a comment or two that was negative.

      My favorite sort of unique, also, is having what everyone else does but differently. I don't think, if the integrity of BJDs are kept past their popularity, there will ever be a day when everyone's BJDs will look alike. There will always be a unique aspect, someone who thinks of something else that will make everyone step back and say, "Woah, I didn't expect that from a doll!" That will never be lost.

      -At what point is the exposure too much?

      As the other person said, as soon as popularity starts severely reducing the quality of Ball Jointed Dolls. As soon as molds are mass produced and artists are put out of work. That is when exposure is too much. As soon as we start getting model numbers and dates instead of artist marks and subtle flaws, that is when exposure has reached its limit.

      -Do you feel special because you collect these dolls? Would you feel less special if more people were active within it?

      I can honestly say I don't feel special because I collect these dolls. I feel like I have a hobby. I feel like any coin collector would feel. I feel like anyone who collected stamps would feel or buttons or swords...I doubt any of these people feel special either.

      I feel different. But different and special aren't exclusive terms. I don't think I'd feel any less different if my social circle started collecting as well. I think I'm confident enough in myself to not let others who challenge what I view as my own uniqueness get in the way of expressing myself. (This is something I had trouble with when I was younger, mind you.)

      ---

      This was an interesting topic because I think it's very prevalent! I think porcelain doll collectors are coming in from the older side and fashion doll collectors are coming in from the younger side. In the future, I predict the collectors of BJDs to be even more varied than they already are! Only time will tell if that effects anything in the quality or anything in the media or society.
       
    18. "Do you consider BJD a sort of counter culture?"

      No. Hobbies tend to create communities, but there's nothing especially counter-culture about this one so far as I can tell.

      "Do you believe that BJD should remain an "exclusive" hobby? (I use that term loosely)"

      Not especially. Exclusive how? Only people of a certain age or higher/lower? Only people in a certain tax bracket? Only people who know the secret password? I think there's enough built-in exclusivity in that there is a small production run of most dolls.

      "Would it matter if it became popular? Like would you just stop collecting?"

      I'd love it to become more popular -- it would likely be easier to find some of the things I'm looking for. If I wasn't interested, I wouldn't have ordered -- or drooled for years before taking that plunge. I don't see a reason to become disinterested just because other people say, "Oh, hey, that's cool, where can I get one?"

      "At what point is the exposure too much?"

      Two words: "Happy Meal". *wink*

      "Do you feel special because you collect these dolls? Would you feel less special if more people were active within it?"

      Nah. I am entirely secure with my weirdness as it is. The popularity or lack thereof of any one of my given hobbies -- or even all of them -- wouldn't likely change that in any significant way.
       
    19. I see that many of you aren't understanding exactly why I used the term "counter culture"
      The definition is "the culture and lifestyle of those people, esp. among the young, who reject or oppose the dominant values and behavior of society."
      And I see a lot of that in various ways, some of them relating to BJD, I'm not implying its a form of rebellion or a political act, just that its something that could be viewed as abnormal, like tattooing once was. Sorry, I think I just made things worse for myself.
       
    20. Well, in terms of "abnormal" I'd say that collecting large Asian dolls would be considered a little strange by most in Canada. However, according to your definition "counter culture" is considered a type of rebellion against main stream society. This is a really diverse hobby and different people collect BJD's for different reasons, but I don't get the feeling among most collectors that they're doing so because they want to "oppose the dominant values and behaviour of society", although their dolls may represent a style that isn't part of the main stream culture in their society.