Doll's race

Nov 29, 2017

    1. Simple question here!

      As cultural appropriation is a big issue these days, I wonder how do you know which race is a sculpt supposed to be or do you just choose the race your doll is going to be?

      EDIT: Thank you all for your replies! I wasn't sure about this race thing but now I feel a lot more relaxed about it!
      Thanks! ♥
       
      #1 v1rus, Nov 29, 2017
      Last edited: Nov 29, 2017
    2. I tend to view my dolls as not really existing in this world. If you aren't bring deliberately disrespectful to a culture you borrow ideas from I don't see a problem.
       
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    3. I don't think cultural appropriation is a big issue, at least not in the doll hobby. If you want to have a tan doll with dark hair of latin descent...just don't make them wear a sombrero and a poncho selling gum on the corner. If you want a dark skinned doll from Africa, great...just don't be insulting about it. Generally, as long as you respect the culture you are using people don't make a stink about it. The few that might usually are few and far between.

      I think there are some features that usually help narrow down what race your doll is going to be (IE: Blue with a weird tail/cat looking creature...probably should pick an alien race, like the one from Avatar). Yet then again everything is such a wonderful melting pot.
       
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    4. Race of dolls is not important for me. I just see on the face and decide: do I like it or no?
       
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    5. I think as long as you're not disrespectful theres no issue, however i did see a doll site (can't remember which one) selling some cheap looking generic "indian" costumes that made me cringe, especially since the doll in the pictures had light colored skin
       
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    6. Most ABJD sculpts have a lot of flexibility with race because they're sort of in-between white and Asian, which are super vague categories to begin with. And why limit a doll's race based on features? I love sculpts that made to look like a specific group (like Granado Mars, Raguel and MDR Fang) but some people may find them too stereotypical and opt for a different one.

      Personally I think it's perfectly fine to pick a face you like and define their ethnic background with their story, faceup, resin color, clothing or styling. Just have fun with it and don't be afraid to take inspiration from other cultures :)
       
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    7. The only type of race my foll has is elven, she’s based off of Irish and Scottish legends but that’s as close as she gets to a race. As for my humanoid OCs and they are just human, no nationalities.

      I know there’s a lot of skin colors for the dolls out there but with colors like blue and green and purple and even stark white and grey it still doesn’t fit any real race types of things. You make the doll what you wish it to be pretty much!
       
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    8. Of course, being respectful and staying away from stereotypes is something I had in mind! I had doubts mainly because I want to choose a name according to certain nationality and I wasn't sure if that was okay or not, but now I feel more relaxed, thanks!

      I'll try to keep some flexibility on his character's ethnic background! This way I don't stick to only one culture. You were very helpful, thank you!
       
      #8 v1rus, Nov 29, 2017
      Last edited by a moderator: Dec 1, 2017
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    9. I don't have this issue with my current crew - they're all from a video game where race literally means elf or dwarf or giant blue space-goat thing (it's a strange place...), but in the past I've had dolls from Earth cultures. Like others have said, as long as you're not hopping on the stereotype bandwagon, do whatever you want! :3nodding:
       
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    10. I write the characters first most of the time, then choose a doll that fits them, regardless of where the original sculpt's inspiration came from. These dolls are meant to be customizable, so while it's interesting to see the artist's inspiration, I don't feel you should feel obligated to keep that look at all.

      I think most sculpts can work for more than one race or ethnicity, since even with humans, you often can't tell by looking at a person. For example, I have a friend who is half Korean (mom born and raised in Korea, married to a white American military man), and on more than one occasion, people have assumed he's Pakistani. He says it's rare that anyone guesses correctly. There really aren't set traits that only people of a certain race can have, so I think as long as the sculpt fits your character, and any cultural things are done respectfully, then you should get the doll you want.
       
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    11. Oh, wow. That story sounds interesting, something like that happened to me too. I met this chinese boy but my whole group of friends assumed he was korean because of his looks.
      I like the way this can be applied to dolls too, thanks for your comment!
       
    12. Most of my dolls are fantasy-based, and therefore aren't part of a race that exists. I agree with the sentiment that as long as the portrayal of a particular race or culture it is done in a respectful manner nobody will bat an eye. It's interesting to see the level of diversity that BJDs can achieve!
       
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    13. Only some people say things about cultural appropriation, which is really just thought control to limit you're imagination, your own identity, values and morals. Just think about how you want to be treated and go with that. If you want to make your doll into something you think others would find offensive, don't flaunt it in their faces. They are dolls, not people. Sometimes it's best to work out fantasies, even conflicts, from inside you through the characters that your dolls shell. These are your dolls and they can live out any fantasy you want. You can make your own fantasy, if someone else has a problem with it, then that's them. You do you. Everyone enjoys their dolls differently. They are for you to express your own thoughts and feelings. Do not get dolls to please other people, they are for you to enjoy and share as you choose. I would never assume a doll or it's character is meant to emotionally abuse others. If anyone does this, they are just being assumptive and not considering facts and intentions.
       
      #13 mollym, Nov 30, 2017
      Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
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    14. I think as long as you're mindful there's no problem with cultural appropriation. If you're not sure about something you look it up. For example one of my stories is set in north/central Europe so a lot of the characters belong to various European countries, ranging from "Sasha" Alexandr who is half Russian half British, to Mars who is Scottish with German roots etcetera...

      Then you have my stories Par(α)dise and No Man's Land that are both set in Japan (although the Japan of Paradise is a completely fictional country given that it is set in an Ωverse and not the real world). I, myself, am not at all Japanese, however I have loved the culture since I was little, have studied their traditions and way of life, read a ton of Japanese literature and learn the language among other things. So I do not think I am at all appropriating the Japanese culture in my stories.

      That being said I'm Greek, and I have no Greek characters, go figure.
       
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    15. Giant blue space goat things sound awesome.
       
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    16. If someone does point out (hypothetical) you are being disrespectful with your doll's portrayal, like the sombrero/poncho/gum example listed above, I suggest adjusting the doll accordingly. Doubling down and insisting your desire to sombrero overrides human decency is not a good thing.
       
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    17. I have a IMPLdoll Bella in dark tan. It was just that colour which attracted me to that doll, together with her gipsy or Jamaican look. I am a white guy. I modded her to look even more Jamaican. She is may Jamaican elf girl which belongs to the amazons. She is called Avalon "B.A." Mercury. Guess where "B.A." comes from...

      Saito Ikegami is a Chinese or Japanese looking IMPLdoll Iris. She is now in the proces of being modded to look even more Japanese.

      I guess i am a racist now.....
       
    18. I never think about it till now, haha
       
    19. I look at the sculpt's features and decide based on that what race they look like. Can't just dip David Kuncci in brown dye and call him Senegalese. I do have a black doll, but she's a Momoni who can pull off any race with the right faceup.

      I want to shell an OC next, an Ethipian, on a Summerbird Viola body and some head sculpt that can pull off an African character. Maybe even Viola, since Ethiopian facial features aren't all that pronounced in what's typically associated with Afrocentric features. Also working on getting 3 Palestinian dolls, Souldoll Lester and Sean being on layaway and planning a Minifee Mika as Lester's little sister, but I know that with the right faceup, they can actually look Arab. But mostly because "Arab" is an extremely broad term to describe a range of features from "brown-skinned with pronounced Middle Eastern features" to "pink and ginger with freckles".
      All 4 characters are shelled after protagonists in my novel though, and their ethnicity is predetermined by this. They have been researched. I am Israeli and I am familiar with Palestinians as well as Ethiopian Jews. I made sure they're not stereotypes, and neither are the dolls.

      Many sculpts are racially versatile. Momoni for example, but also Iplehouse Benny, DIM Larina, or Souldoll Gana. Then, there are strictly 1-race sculpts. Many of the Dollshe sculpts couldn't pull off anything other than Caucasian, such as Grant Philippe or Amanda Beauty. Some sculpts are vague, but still lean towards Eurocentric features, like most Minifees who could never pull off an African character.

      To me, it needs to both look and feel right.
      Look: the facial features can credibly represent a person from that race/ethnicity.
      Feel: I need to know the culture I'm shelling, and by "knowing" I don't mean watching slice of life anime. I make sure I don't feel like a weaboo or any other type of race fetishist. I have been around so-called weaboos a lot, and it's been embarassing to the point where I avoid events focusing on Japanese pop culture. Reddit once polled Japanese people how they felt about weaboos/wapanese, and it got nasty real quick - understandably.
       
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    20. As a white Caucasian person coming from a country with a history of majority of us being white (with the exception of an indigenous people living partially here and we've been crappy to them to this date...) I have a limited amount of deep understanding compared to the ethnic groups we're often stealing stuff from. So I'd give space to them to speak their mind on this.

      I've actually thought this one lately a lot. I'd like a tan doll or a few, mostly elvish or other fantasy creatures - or humans. I've come to no conclusion yet. Somehow I think all the skin colours and facial features etc. need support they can get so companies would actually keep offering them and maybe keep solving the issues with dying the resin tan and whatnot. I'd like the variety of my doll crew to match the variety in the world surrounding me. But umm I'm kinda confused.

      I'd go with this strongly. Shrinking down or fetishizing a whole culture to a bunch of stereotypes is big problem especially if money is made of it. It happens all the time in my country when tourist shops across the country sell cheapo merch, like dolls etc., of Sami people made in China without any of the money going to the already stomped on people. The latter isn't much of problem in this hobby, though, at least from what I've gathered. Maybe there are some exceptions in the clothing market, but I'm going for mostly very casual or again, fantasy stuff. I haven't been browsing through for example kimonos (and tbh I know next to nothing of them).
       
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