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Doll Owner Stereotypes?

Aug 20, 2010

    1. Looking in the archives of the General Discussion page, I noticed a thread that had to do with people being stereotyped in this hobby due to their age. I have not seen someone ressurect this thread, so I' give it a shot, and even add to it to make it more debate-oriented. But if there is one, and I haven't seen it, please link it or delete it.:sweat

      We talk a lot about stereotypes, unfairness, and the challenges of being in such an uncommon hobby on DoA.

      1) Do you think BJD owners are put into a stereotype? If so, describe it.

      2) Be honest - do you think you fit the stereotype at all? Not at all? Why?

      3) How do you think there came to be stereotypes in the BJD hobby?

      For my part, I think we're put into a kind of stereotype. My dad is having difficulty seeing that these aren't dolls you can just toss around or something, and I plan to be careful with mine. He's one of those people who thinks a doll is either a toy, or something kept on a shelf forever. And I think this is what most people tend to think when they see someone, or a couple of people sitting around with a bunch of dolls.

      And I also think, since the hobby began, owners have sort of carved out their own stereotype. I think, because these dolls are made in Asian countries, a lot of doll owners are into anime, manga, and anything culturally found in Asia. So, I think that a lot of non-anime viewers, for example, may feel left out because they see the ABJD hobby as sort of an extension of that.

      I have to say that I fit the stereotype to a degree. I like anime and manga, not very much into Jpop or Asian groups, but I do like some.
    2. Interesting points. I don't really see one specific stereotype that applies to all BJD collectors, I actually see several groups. I do like anime/manga when I stop to watch/read it, but I'm not really into that in general. I was born in America, but my background is Asian, but I don't believe that this really had a bearing on my interest in BJDs. If anything I was actually more weary of BJDs because I had this phobia of ordering things where the company is clear across the globe from me. I also see another set of doll owners who are very much into costuming/sewing/crafting for their dolls. I don't see myself as really falling into any of the stereotypes, but nevertheless, here I am in love with these dolls. lol I've never really found myself feeling left out because I don't fit into a set mold though. I appreciate the wide diversity of people that I've seen throughout the DoA forums.
    3. Interesting. The problem with stereotypes is that they are used to dismiss things out of hand, which usually is the loss of the people who engage in them.

      I think I'm pretty much the stereotype, even though I'm a lot older than the average BJD lover (I know there are plenty of older people but I'm talking about the median age) I am a fat, nerdy woman who likes games, anime, Asia (especially Japan), and I am a BL fangirl. The only thing i don't care for is Jpop. My BJD and other dolls reflect an Asian type of aesthetic, which for the males is quickly labelled as girly in the West, with all connotations that come with that label.

      The point is, there is nothing wrong at all with the stereotype! I embrace it happily and proudly.
    4. 1) Do you think BJD owners are put into a stereotype? If so, describe it.

      2) Be honest - do you think you fit the stereotype at all? Not at all? Why?

      3) How do you think there came to be stereotypes in the BJD hobby?

      Really interesting points.I have to be honest that I totally fit in the 2nd point raised.As mentioned,doll owners are into anime,manga,and so on...I'm one of them.I'm really into these that's why I went to major in an animation school,thinking of going into concept art.My usual dress style is often classified under "cosplay" in my class.Simply because I dress in slight gothic style even when I'm in school and I picked up the language and I'm very into Jpops .However I do need to clarify that I started learning the language simply because I LOVE listening the songs and wanted to understand without looking at translation,also because I find learning something new is interesting!
      There's also other reason behind the other points mentioned but because of these, I'm classified as a stereotype~_~ by my classmates and some lecturers.
      Honestly,I don't think BJD owners should be put into stereotype.Not everybody has the same interest right?It's just like some may find interest in soccer or other sports or some other stuffs like modelling kit.Personally I have no interest in any of these mentioned examples. Yet those people are willing to spend maybe 10 times more than what I could spend on a doll for a ticket or something memorable.Why aren't they put into stereotype?True enough that not everybody can see the beauty of a doll or the interesting part of this hobby,it's just the same like I cannot see what's the exciting part of a soccer game or maybe a model kit.Although I'm classified as one by the rest,I don't see myself as one.To be frank,I used to be afraid of dolls in the past and that was for years until I came across some which really managed to attract my attention.but there's not much difference between Before getting a doll and After gettinig a doll.
      I'm still the same old manga /anime lover majoring in animation school because I love to draw.
    5. 1) Do you think BJD owners are put into a stereotype? If so, describe it.

      Yes - I'f I'm being brutally honest, the outside world (insofar as they think of us at all) think that we're anime-obsessed, drama-llamas with no friends other than the plastic ones we buy for hideous sums of money. They assume that we don't understand the difference between reality and fiction, that we wish we were Japanese, and that the dolls themselves are replacements for real people or relationships.

      Within the doll community, I think we consider ourselves to be a little bit weird, but creative and generally intelligent. Possibly, even, a cut above the non-hobbyists in some respects (all those enraged threads in which people say "And she didn't know that you're not supposed to touch their faces!" or "And she didn't know that my female headsculpt on a male body dressed in a frilly pink dress was a boy!").

      2) Be honest - do you think you fit the stereotype at all? Not at all? Why?

      Well, I do love Japan, and I have a bit of a superiority complex. I suppose I'm a "creative" sort, or at least I think I am, and I'm not the most sociable person in the world. I suppose it's pretty accurate, though I try not to get involved in drama (I'm not very good at it!) and I consider dressing up (Going about one's everyday life trussed up in lolita, or goth, or cosplay, or pretty much anything more complicated than a shirt and jeans) to be a bit infantile - Then again, I work with my hands, and my other hobbies revolve around sports and the outdoors, so it feels strange to even consider wearing jewellery or makeup, never mind frou-frou skirts and complicated layers.

      In short, I think I do fit the stereotype, up to an extent, but anyone seeing me at an aikido tournament would never guess :)

      3) How do you think there came to be stereotypes in the BJD hobby?

      ...And this is the part that will get me screamed out of the forum. I think that, in general, the more vocal members of the community give gthe rest of us a bad name - There certainly IS an outspoken, gosurori-wearing, drama-loving, deviantart-frequenting, myspace-using, socially inept element to our community, who shriek and wail whenver the uninitiated accidentally offend them, who prance about ending every sentence with "-desu!", who dress up and take their dolls with them to the supermarket and who, in general, can't help but alienate people, but these are by far the minority. They're just the minority that most people notice.

      Think about it - Vegans get a bad name because some of them throw a hissy fit at the sight of a burger, feminists get a bad name because some of them hate all men, stamp collectors get a bad name because some of them never talk about anything else... But for every militant subscriber, there's the nice girl at the health food shop who gives you free asparagus, the woman who wears a pro-choice pin on her lapel but won't talk about it unless you broach the subject and the stamp collector who goes deep-sea diving.
    6. Actually, I am not. Not in the least. I'm 30 years old, and I just recently decided I wanted a BJD. I like them solely based on the doll's beauty and artistic merits. No anime involved. ;)

      1) Do you think BJD owners are put into a stereotype? If so, describe it.
      Yes. But I feel that the stereotype for doll or other toy collectors is one of being childish. At least, this is what I have run into most often. People seem to assume your odd, babyish, lonely, or some other negative thing if you enjoy collecting toys of any type.

      2) Be honest - do you think you fit the stereotype at all? Not at all? Why?
      No, I don't. Just because I enjoy toys (dolls or whatever) does not mean that I am childish. I don't "play" with them as a child would. I admire my toys for their beauty or for how cute they are. I do like to brush the hair and keep them nice looking. I treat them as collectables. Collecting toys does *not* make that person someone to shun and/or make fun of. Sadly, it seems some adults have a real problem with other adults who do enjoy collecting toys. Furthermore, it seems to be OK in their minds to try to humiliate those that do like toys. I will never understand why some people feel that it is acceptable (even the right thing to do!) to attack the toy collecting hobby. - Yes, this is a huge pet peeve of mine! And the reason I don't openly tell people about my hobby.

      3) How do you think there came to be stereotypes in the BJD hobby?
      Well, my experience is not solely based on Ball Joint Dolls, I am basing this on any and all toys. Most people don't know what a BJD is and wouldn't know it from any other mass produced doll. Thus, I think grouping them with toys is appropriate. That and most people even if you were to try to explain would still think you were "stupid" for spending so much on a doll/toy.

      I am unsure why people seem to think that anyone who collects toys is somehow mentally messed up, childish, lonely, or otherwise inept or not "grown up" or mature in some way. I guess that some people may have been forced to give up all their childhood toys and told that they were "too old" for toys and took it as law. Just because your and adult, some people seem to have it in their heads that it means you are not supposed to (or not allowed) to enjoy toys. I seriously doubt that many (if any) adult toy collectors "play" with their items. I know I don't. I enjoy them as cute and/or beautiful and treat them as collectables. I don't sit and have tea parties with "Mrs. Pretty" or what have you. :P

      Perhaps they do bring me child like joy. I have some other toys (not BJDs) from my childhood and anytime I look at them I smile. They make me happy in a way no car, purse, clothes, or other item most adults seem to think are legitimate things to spend tons of money on ever could. :)
    7. I fit the "people who like guns, and buy lots of little scale ones for their dolls" stereotype. :lol:

      I all seriousness, though, I think that saying there is a "type of person who collects ABJDs" is like saying there is a "type of person who drinks coffee" or there is a "type of person who rides a bicycle." There will be far more exceptions to than examples of almost any descriptive rule anyone comes up with.
    8. I pretty much agree with everything Ratty said.

      Don't forget about how we're all a bunch of sexual freaks because the dolls are anatomically correct. ;)
    9. Oh yes. I mean, I for one get incredibly turned on by tiny resin sausages. :D

      It's a funny old world we live in - I mean, I consider woodworking to be a stranger hobby than dolls (You pay thousands of pounds to buy equipment to spend weeks cutting up expensive timber to make furniture that may actually be of a lower quality than things you could buy at Ikea) but people are always more shocked when I say "And I like painting dollies" than "And I made that table, it took me six weeks."
    10. Yeah, I think people are just more impressed if you make something "useful" rather than something without a designated purpose. Art is sadly undervalued.
    11. So many people are going to hate me after this post, but it's honest. A lot of the stereotypical behaviors grate on my nerves a little when they are taken to extremes, and I'm not ashamed to say so. I don't think these folks are bad people, I just don't always want to be around them when this is going on.

      1) Do you think BJD owners are put into a stereotype? If so, describe it.

      I think a lot of it has been touched on already, but the 'likes anime, likes manga, is probably a yaoi fan, probably likes a lot of fanfic of various sorts, probably does cosplay, goes to anime cons, probably likes fantasy fiction' stuff appears fairly common, as does Jpop and gothic lolita fandom. The 'believes all things Japanese are superior to everything else in existence and gods above and below help you if you don't worship at the altar of anything that comes out of Japan' subset get noticed; at least when I mentioned I collect these dolls to a group of acquaintances, their first comment was about how I can't possibly collect these dolls because I despise those people with a blazing passion. (I pretty much despise anyone who blindly worships every scrap of things they often don't understand all that well or aren't willing to see both sides of, since everything has good and bad aspects. If you refuse to accept that any negatives exist, you can't actually understand it in any real sense, to my way of thinking.) I have actually had people ask me if I'm about to start using Japanese terms for things that have perfectly sensible English terms to describe them for no good reason beyond being a part of this hobby. (And I have seen this on the board enough to say, yeah, a few people do seem to do this.)

      2) Be honest - do you think you fit the stereotype at all? Not at all? Why?

      * I have, indeed, been to two anime cons. One in the late 80s, one just this year. It counts, much to my chagrin. ;)

      * I was an anime fan when I was younger, but think of it as just another medium these days. A story will grab me or it won't based on its merits like any live action film or series would. I watch things dubbed since 'watching' is more like 'listening and glancing over once every few minutes while I'm working because I'm too busy to do much else' and don't think I'm losing out on any deeper experience because of it since the alternative is not 'watching' it at all. In fact, I find the knock-down, drag-out, epic flamefests over the sub vs. dub issue to be deeply hilarious. I live with a hardcore anime geek and have not smothered him in his sleep, however, so my tolerance is (necessarily) high. ;)

      * I have a book on Gothic Lolita trends for my costume history shelf but am well aware that my large hind end would look patently ridiculous wrapped in several yards of ruffle, so I refrain. ;)

      * No offense to the fans of it, but most Jpop sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard to me, so I wouldn't call myself a part of that group.

      * I like kimono and traditional Japanese textile arts. I've learned a little about them, though not to the degree many who study them in depth do. This is more an outgrowth of studying fabric painting when I was younger and going to college for costume design than 'OOH JAPAN!'.

      * I have actually been to Japan. I loved it. I was also 13 at the time and did not appreciate it in the way I would now as an adult of 36, so I would like to return some day to see if my impressions are the same, and what sorts of changes I can observe. (Note: I've also been to parts of Europe and want to go back there, too. I like travel, period, so there isn't anything particularly distinctive about Japan itself here.)

      * I'm not particularly attracted to yaoi. Or fanfic of any kind, actually. Just not my thing. Enough of my friends are that my immunity to discussion of it around me is pretty high and I have a general understanding of what people are talking about.

      * The language thing? Drives me nuts. When describing a unique cultural phenomenon, they fit beautifully and I have no issue. It's not always the case, though. There's a thread here asking about whether people are interested in sculpts of <insert Japanese term here>, when it simply meant 'people older than their teens' from what I could glean from the thread. Not everyone knows the term. Pretty much everyone can figure out 'people older than their teens' and actually contribute to the conversation in a meaningful way. Seriously. Dollspeak is one thing; it's its own lingo and its wise to learn it to understand what is going on on the board. The assumption that everyone is conversant in all the linked-fandoms'-lingo gets my teeth grinding.

      3) How do you think there came to be stereotypes in the BJD hobby?

      Hobbies are contagious. You tend to catch them from someone, often someone you already have something else in common with. That dynamic alone means that a hobby is going to spread through a group of people who usually share another hobby or interest. Artists who pick up the hobby from other artists are more likely to be a part of that 'crowd', just like the anime fans who pick up the hobby from friends who are anime fans are likely to be part of that one. It isn't a bad thing, but simply the way social groups work.
    12. We talk a lot about stereotypes, unfairness, and the challenges of being in such an uncommon hobby on DoA.

      1) Do you think BJD owners are put into a stereotype? If so, describe it.

      That's difficult, because there are a lot of different aspects to the hobby, and it depends on what a person is exposed to as to what assumptions they might make about owners. Also, outside the hobby most people don't really know what an abjd is so I would assume that the stereotypes about doll collecting generally might be applied more.

      There are different groups in the hobby -- often because they came into it from different places. Some got into abjds from in interest in Japanese pop culture - anime, Jpop/Jrock, manga, street fashion etc, or are just interested in Asia generally. Some came in from other forms of doll collecting and may be influenced by that. Some are big into customizing, while others are more traditional collectors, etc etc. And of course, there will be overlap, and some people who perhaps fit into none at all.

      2) Be honest - do you think you fit the stereotype at all? Not at all? Why?

      To an extent, sure. I came into the hobby from an interest in yaoi. I was looking through an art site, and came across pics of someone's doll. I was thrilled to find abjds, because they looked like the beautiful boy characters from manga I enjoy. However, while that got me into the hobby and informed my tasted in sculpting style (I still prefer stylized dolls), it does not define all that I do in the hobby as I've largely moved beyond that connection into embodying my own characters as dolls. With a couple of exceptions, I don't really have a lot of boyxboy pairs anymore. It's not because I now dislike yaoi (quite the opposite, really), but that I have other things that I want to do in this particular hobby and other stories I want to tell.

      3) How do you think there came to be stereotypes in the BJD hobby?

      There are groups of people with overlapping interests, and when a group gets big enough they become noticed. However, I feel like there is perhaps a greater sense of stereotypes existing in the hobby than outside of it as our hobby is small and not that well known.
    13. 1) Do you think BJD owners are put into a stereotype? If so, describe it.

      When I was in high school, almost everyone seemed to be in one group or other, I guess because they were trying to fit in somewhere. I suppose in some age groups there is a "typical" ABJD fan who is a person who likes anime and Asian culture.

      2) Be honest - do you think you fit the stereotype at all? Not at all? Why?

      I know absolutely nothing about anime or manga and have no interest in Asian pop culture. I am a doll collector and just like the dolls.

      3) How do you think there came to be stereotypes in the BJD hobby?

      I think stereotypes are invented by people who are incapable of accepting other people as individuals, but have to clump them into artificial groups in order to feel superior in some way. If the anime-Japanese pop culture-obsessed fan is the stereotype for these dolls, most of the people I know personally who collect them do not fit in this group.
    14. You made a point about people not being able to understand what their appeal is... Thinking they're either simple playthings or collectables that never come off a shelf... I've seen in happen many times, and it's a little offensive when someone says something like "So what are you gonna do with your dollies when you outgrow that stage?" (My grandfather actually said that) even though it's not their fault, they don't know what kind of doll it is or what it's used for.
      Anyways, onto the questions.
      1) Do you think BJD owners are put into a stereotype? If so, describe it.
      There's a few... There's the stereotypes about doll owners being creepy, insane or lonely, the stereotypes about dollists being perverts, or childish, or all of them being Anime fans... We're stereotyped a lot, all hobbies and niches are.
      2) Be honest - do you think you fit a stereotype at all? Not at all? Why?
      I do. I'm heavily into the realm of Anime and other general Asian culture, and that's one of the reasons I got into them in the first place. I ignore people when they say that's a bad thing; because I can't help it. When I was younger, I lived in Japan for four years and like a lot of children I ended up watching a lot of anime and being exposed to that kind of culture, so since it's what I grew up with and what I knew, I just stuck with it.
      3) How do you think there came to be stereotypes in the BJD hobby?
      Same way as any other hobby. Those who aren't in the hobby don't understand it, but they've seen a couple themes in the hobby so they peg all hobbyists involved with it to one expectation.

    15. 1) Do you think BJD owners are put into a stereotype? If so, describe it.

      I think there are a few... otaku, lolita, japanophile, that sort of thing. When someone pictures a doll owner I think they picture an overweight woman between 20-40 who either wears lolita fashion or tshirts with anime characters on them, and obsess over yaoi.

      2) Be honest - do you think you fit the stereotype at all? Not at all? Why?

      Not really. Although I do enjoy slash and gay fiction, yaoi is a negative for me because it does not represent realistic relationships, and I can't stand the idea that one guy has to be "uke" and the other has to be "seme" for a relationship to work. I enjoy some anime but for the most part I've outgrown the interest. I do enjoy lolita fashion, but I would never wear it myself. I do like asian music, but that's fairly expected considering I like all sorts of music all over the world. My favorite band is ZVERI so lol...

      3) How do you think there came to be stereotypes in the BJD hobby?
      It's a bit self inflicted, like any fandom. I think that you see mainly the most extreme or those which stand out most, and often those are negative aspects. I don't really count drama into this because every fandom ever has drama, and I think that's like, expected. Most of the images I saw and remembered of dolls were elaborate costumes, or 'yaoi' themed sets. People don't recall the one that was just a cute doll photo- they remember the ones that were 'out there' or wild. It's natural for stereotypes to occur in subcultures though, and that's just part of being in a fandom or sub culture.
    16. 1) Do you think BJD owners are put into a stereotype? If so, describe it.
      Yes, but so are people of all hobbies. It's just how outsiders see it, so I guess that makes us all "creepy perverted otaku's who waste lots of money on useless dolls" then?

      2) Be honest - do you think you fit the stereotype at all? Not at all? Why?
      I like alot of Japanese things, like anime, JRock and Japanese fashion, so yes, I fit the stereotype.

      3) How do you think there came to be stereotypes in the BJD hobby?
      The same way there ever became stereotypes, people not in the hobby make assumptions, then once they've made said assumptions they don't change their view.
    17. 1) Do you think BJD owners are put into a stereotype? If so, describe it.
      It keeps getting repeated, but yes, japan or asian obsessed, lolita style, or loner, loser, freak. Whatever, there are stereotypes in every hobby. I don't think it's something to rebel against. We choose to be who we want to be, and if we don't want to be a stereotype, we won't. If we do choose to be, I don't think we care so much :)

      2) Be honest - do you think you fit the stereotype at all? Not at all? Why?
      If anything, I think I'm the opposite of what outsiders would imagine. I'm kind of butch. I wear cargo shorts and sneakers and don't like my boobs to show too much. I won't wear jewelry, I like to keep my hair very short. Also, I'm outspoken, I like to spend time with people. I'm social and outgoing. I don't think people would look at me and assume I collect ABJD but I do, and I'm proud of it! I'll show anyone my dolls :)

      I do write/read/enjoy fanfic and gay fiction is part of that, but I'm gay and I would enjoy it whether or not I was a BJD collector.

      3) How do you think there came to be stereotypes in the BJD hobby?
      Teamonstar, described it best. The ones that fit into a stereotype are remembered more.

      But for the record, there is nothing wrong with being an anime fan, wearing lolita dresses, being fat or being anti-social. You know, it's all who we are. And we're lucky enough to share a beautiful hobby that connects us all.
    18. 2) Be honest - do you think you fit the stereotype at all? Not at all? Why?
      I must appear like a nightmare to some people on DoA who dislikes stereotypes.
      I am not the kind of stereotype that appears on this board that much perhaps but one which is frequently shown in Japanese media. The classic nerd or "otaku" as some refer to it as now.
      A skinny guy who wears glasses, collects dolls, reads fantasy novels and manga, plays video games and rpg and who grew up watching anime.
      I was only five when I saw my first anime, Starzinger, and I am now almost thirty.
      I have also studied Japanese and dream of being able to make my own anime one day. And I am into artsy stuff too like painting, sewing, making miniature stuff for the dolls and writing. Did I forget anything that could possibly make me any nerdier? Oh! I even cosplayed once! As Subaru from Tokyo Babylon. :lol:
      There is only one thing that differs me from the classic nerd/otaku and that is that I am pansexual with a very strong preference for other men so the plushies and action figures and posters I have in my apartment features guys like Griffith from Berserk, Keith Anyan from Toward Terra, Yamamoto from Reborn or Zoro and Ace from One Piece for example instead of scantily clad women. And I love yaoi. So perhaps that make me a bit of a mix between a Japanese otaku and a western fan girl?
      Actually my first thought upon seeing a bjd was that I wanted to make one into Griffith.

      I happily embrace being a stereotype though if that is what I am. Because what matters to me is that I do what ever makes me happy without hurting anyone else.

      I will not bother to answer the other questions though because others have already answered them so beautifully.
    19. The stereotype? As said above... creepy lonely lolitas who love Japan and show off their status with their doll's pricetag.

      Do I fit? I have studied Japan on a cultural level... but why not? If a country says, "You can't hope to understand us because you're foreign" wouldn't you at least try? It sounds like a challenge to me (plus as a growing economic global power, there's a practicality to learning in order to do business with them). And most of my dolls are cheap. And I'm not lonely. In fact I'm pretty much NEVER alone with 2 cats, 2 kids and a husband constantly around. I just enjoy sewing.

      Why the stereotype? Because they are often pictured or seen at conventions and people just assume we all fit in one category. I happen to know older people who also collect BJDs who came to the hobby from collecting Barbie or Tonner. BJDs are fashion dolls (in that you can dress them and show off their clothing designs). They appeal to a larger group than many would assume they do... it's not just the anime crowd.
    20. Hmm.. Lots of people have already stated the stereotypes here, so I'm just going to gloss over that one. I will say however, that stereotyping and prejudices are a part of human nature, even nature in general. It's just a factor of psychology which [used to, for the most part] help ones survival. I know I sure as hell am guilty of stereotyping/prejudice...Can't help it. The best thing is to overcome it, but that's where lots of people fail miserably. :/ I don't feel bad about it. And I hardly care for the people who would stereotype me, because they don't know me =u=;; It's a little silly to be hurt by such a thing.

      Frankly, a lot of people I've met in the hobby do fit those stereotypes, from what little exposure I've had to them. As for their more delicate parts of personality and interests, I wouldn't know. I haven't taken the time to extend my knowledge of that.

      I don't fit stereotypes at all... <A>;; I'm a medical student hopeful, life and school comes before fun and games for me. I no longer have a vested interest in cartoons or anime, and when I did, it was purely for art/story purposes [which I think is important to separate from anime itself]. I socialize, have friends, go outside, visit the gym, straight, etc.. you get the idea. :/ I can't help the asian culture thing, because i'm actually asian =n=;;; All in all I am a very practical sort of person. In touch with reality, if you will.