Fighting that Doll stereotype

Aug 20, 2008

    1. If this is a duplicate thread, please direct me where the same discussion is taking place.

      I have been mulling with this thought for a long while now. These dolls seem to have a stigma attached to them. Usually, it's that they're evil or they're creepy and weird. Consequently, people who own dolls are weird and creepy. That is the perception and it really bugs me.

      As much as I like to be open-minded and realize that doll owners come from all walks of life, the dominating stereotypes I see coming from high-exposure media, such as TV, movies, and music videos is that people who own dolls have some sort of mental issue, usually is gothic or child-like. Here's some of examples of what I mean:

      (ali project) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNu2TTV-8PI
      (Kerli, and what a cute video, though) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6xi7VY8iDM
      (The Doll Master) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doll_Master

      I'm bothered by this. To me, the abjd hobby is still small and niched, but there's already a stereotype being affixed to it, and the above is what it's gonna be. I admit that bjd's tend to attract peculiar people and there's something inherently creepy about these dolls, but for those of us who aren't gothic lolita or aren't in that sort of thing, that's something that we're going to have to deal with.

      What is perpetuating this gothic stereotype? Am I in the wrong hobby because I care so much that the crowd here seems overwhelmingly gothic? I don't appreciate this stereotype mainly because I hate it when people jump to conclusions about me based upon my likes. Please share your thoughts. I've been itching to discuss this for the longest time.
       
    2. i suspect its the price one has to pay for doing things outside whats looked on as "normal"
      its the same with doing stuff like D&D, collecting comic books, listening to "weird" music..etc

      when society don't see one as a perfect carbon copy of normal,
      it often uses the weirdo category on people...

      as for films with bjd ya also have one called Cinderella
      its Korean, the girl owning the doll is probably the most sane of the main cast..
       
    3. Dolls have always had a negative stereotype. They've always been seen as creepy and frightening..And that's because of the movies they make of them. BJD's just happened to get lumped into the majority of dolls. And generally, every hobby has its stereotypes. Anime, usually is seen as creepy fat males oogling cosplayers. Comic book fans, same thing only over comic book heroines. As far as it being gothic..I've seen alotta dolls dressed that way, and some hobbies merge. Like Lolita into dolls, anime into dolls. And those same people might be into other things like Ren Faires and seamstressing. Whatcha hafta do really is just enjoy the hobby for you and don't worry about the other people.
       
    4. To be honest, I don't see the gothic stereotype with BJD. I know there's a lot of Lolita floating around, but the stereotype I run into the most often is that we (doll collectors) are overweight shut-ins who never leave the house and prefer the company of resin to reality.
      Which is a TOTAL falsehood. I have a very active social life, a wide range of hobbies and as much as I love my boys, they're horrible conversationalists so I go out often.
      The best way to deal with stereotyping? I ignore it. More often than not the people doing it have no idea what they're talking about so I never take it to heart.
       
    5. I'm with you. I'm very not goth. A lot of people I've introduced my hobby to have actually asked "but.. you aren't goth, are you?"
      It's very strange! I'm not really overwhelmingly into anime either, although I do enjoy it.
      I think a big part of it is simply the impact of Japanese culture on America. This is quite a Japanese hobby! And in recent years, a lot of the major impact Japan has had on the US (aside from video games etc) is through anime and fashion. Hence, Japanese culture in America is the purveyor of gothic lolita, and that's what the majority of people associate with Japan, and, thus, with ABJDs. And, further stemming from that, are the stigmata associated with being gothic and having a preoccupation with Japanese culture (and there are a few off-kilter people who are into either or both of those things; several of those that I've seen try for shock value for attention-getting purposes). So I think it's basically just kind of a whirligig of generalization.
      But I wouldn't fret. I'd say just try not to let it get to you. There are a lot of ignorant people in the world who allow other people to do their thinking for them, and it isn't worth taking their parroted opinions into account.
       
    6. I find that as long as I don't act weird and creepy, no one assumes I'm weird and creepy because of the dolls. I'm a pretty straightforward, no-nonsense person, especially with people I don't know really well, so finding me weird or creepy is a bit of a stretch anyway. But if I was carrying my doll around talking to it and stroking its hair I wouldn't blame anyone who saw for thinking I was strange, because that is a very strange thing for a grown woman to do.

      IMO it really comes down to how you present yourself, and who you choose to inform about your hobbies. If my classmates knew I collected dolls they might think it was weird or childish, but it's also none of their business, so I don't tell them.
       
    7. I think you really hit the nail on the head here. I totally agree that the best way to fight the stereotype is to ignore it, go out, have a life and enjoy it. If you occupy yourself with how your hobby defines how people look at you or think about you treat it as no big deal and people will be able to see the rest of your personality.

      But yeah, I definitely see the stereotype being more like the crazy cat lady or the strange girl with no social skills rather than the spooky goth or devil worshipper. This may be one of those things that's also cultural/regional as well, but that's my general experience.
       
    8. I think these doll's can be perceived as creepy because they fall on a strange boundary - they look human but are really inanimate objects.
      People are often uncomfortable with things like that.

      The way I got into them as actually through their creepyness - I was really fascinated with the art of Etsuko Miuro, and Hans Bellmar
      (both of who's work is very disturbing.) Even now - I love playing up the
      creepy factor with friends who have never seen one before.

      People also like neat little categories for things. For example - I have pink hair, but hardly ever wear black, and mostly do candy colored pastel,
      feminine styles. But because this is an "alternative" look people
      will say I'm goth, or punk. Don't let what other people think influence you! :lol:
       
    9. Whenever I see the word 'stereotype' come up, it reminds me of just how often I've had people in Hong Kong ask me if all men in Scotland really go around dressed in 'skirts' (as they like to call it) - to which I answer that they aren't 'skirts' but kilts and no, not every guy in Scotland wears a kilt. Yet every time I go back to HK to visit relatives (usually once every two or three years), they seem obsessed by the thought of kilted Scotsmen....

      Anyway, without digressing any further; I would just like to say that it annoys me that people tend to stereotype certain places, people or in this case hobbies.

      I'd blame the 'Chucky' thing for the whole 'dolls are creepy and will kill you/steal your soul while you sleep' image people have of dolls. But somehow I get the feeling that people thought dolls were creepy before the Child's Play movies were even made.
       
    10. Omg I just watched that Doll Master movie--FREAKY!!! But I'm weird, I just felt bad for the bjds.

      As for the stereotype thing, I don't own a doll yet, but all my friends so far think its weird I'm buying one for almost $500...still in the end I don't mind, I've been considered weird for so many things, and really I love these too much to let people's opinions bother me.

      That said it is stupid/sad/wrong that us hobbyist are considered creepy...I mean some people are obsessed with stamps, or baseball cars, or bottle caps...now I think THAT is more weird.;)
       
    11. As for that stereotype, it may be the look of the dolls themselves- some people prefer dolls with a very edgy yet childlike dressing style, like some of the more spooky Lolita dolls out there, and the Beauty White and such dolls look inherently ghostly to some people whether the owner wants that or not. They see that sometimes, and assume- hey, these owners must be spooky Goth people! Frankly, I'd like that, if it were more of the Abby Sciutto, 'creepy-and-they're-kooky' kind of Goth, rather than what pop culture seems to think Goth is. Dolls fall in the uncanny valley, and people kind of assume that of their owners, too.
      There are a LOT of doll owners who look gothy/punkish, even if they aren't actually goth or punk. So we're not a bunch of white bread Generation Xerox cheerleaders, who cares? That's what I *like* about this doll community. Does it make the owners creepy? No. People take one look and assume that every goth is maladjusted, lonely and depressed- when the ones I've met, at least the ones out of junior high, are more lively than their 'mundane' counterparts by far and often better adjusted. I'm not particularly goth myself, despite gravitating towards dark colours (it's what I get for being a- sigh- 'big girl', or at least on the borderline, and too timid to work it like I should) but I'm definitely attracted to things that are eerie and off kilter. However, I don't think dolls are that for me, or for most other owners.
      The 'nerdy' factor comes with being a collector. OF ANYTHING. People give you crap about it? Tell them there are stamp collectors who spend even more on THEIR collections, and theirs can't even move.
      Or pin collectors. Though I'm not sure those really exist. ('Ask me about my pins!' =D )
      People who actually get to know people in this fandom ought to soon realise we aren't all falling into those stereotyped lines.
      When we're talking about doll stereotypes, how about the 'yaoi boys' stereotype? That's what bugs me most of all. You can't have a doll who's into the same sex (well, their character is, that's a whole other kettle of fish...) or just overly bishounen, or who you get laughs out of posing with other boy-dollies, without being pegged as a... what's a good, childish derogatory term for a yaoi fan? Well, a yaoi fangirl. In a bad way. Or somehow wishing they were unrealistically portrayed gay men- as if the dolls are living out every scrap of our fantasy lives.

      The stereotype of being childlike goes with the territory, I'm sure. Sigh...
       
    12. You know, Nollyn, I wonder how many people are jealous of the healthy relationship you have with your imagination and the fact that you can channel your creativity into these inanimate objects. So many people are locked up in ideas of what is “normal” and what isn’t. You are exploring the world of human experience without these fetters. Don’t worry about it! Ten years from now, when your dolls are watching you contentedly from a shelf, the rest of the world will be figuring this out.
       
    13. Am I the only one who's paralyzed with not caring what stigma gets attached to these dolls? They're fun. I work hard to earn the money to pay for them. Anyone who objects can either shut it or put up with me picking apart their hobbies in return to point out that it's not all that insane in the grand scheme of things.
       
    14. I havent yet been described as creepy.
      I've always been into sewing and creating things so my friends understand.
      I tell them it gets me to create things and they agree.
      While they may think they are weird at first, they usually grow on them.
      One of my guy friends suprised me the other day and was like "Oh wow, Liam got some mantastic new boots." So they are definately getting used to my having them.

      I sometimes take the kids out with me to places, like jo-annes, i get some funny looks here and there, but you would be suprised at how many people are like "OH WOW! they are so pretty! where can i learn about these?!"
      I dont dress gothic, i am into anime and video games but i dont dress like it a vast majority of the time.

      I agree with everyone else, i just ignore the stigma. :D
      Boyfriends i've had while i've had my dolls, have made things for them or baught themthings so i'm not too worried about that aspect either. lol...if someone doesnt like what i'm into im not going to judge them, and vice versa if they are going to judge me for something i'm passionate about, then screw em. I dont need people who are un-accepting and close minded.
       
    15. I feel you just have to ignore the stereotype with anything, dolls or otherwise. If you like being what becomes the stereotype, keep at it, you don't need to change to suite other's feelings. If you like being different from the stereotype, same thing.
      I've never felt that there's much wrong with someone who likes to be a stereotype, but I don't feel that they should be forced to be the "speaking" part of any hobby or nitch, it's not fair on them or the rest of the community.
      If someone has a problem and can't drop the stereotype, you can always state that there are many different people and levels within a community. It's really not worth getting into fights over.
       
    16. I'm as far from goth as can be.

      I agree. Whatever stereotype is attached - it's merely that, a stereotype, and it will not apply to everyone. The hobby isn't even meant to cater to everyone. Why be in it, or in this community, if you cared about negative comments?
       
    17. Amen!

      Those few people whose opinion I truly value don't judge me by my choice to collect dolls. Besides, I have 4 giant dogs and a really old pot belly pig. I was already working my way towards being the weird lady on the block.
       
    18. I personally think the "goth" stereotype is only on the surface. It's the "public" face of BJD. On the flip side, the vast majority of collectors I've met have tended to be stay-at-home moms and middle-aged women (like myself).

      The stereotype I keep running up against with non-doll people is the "slightly creepy spinster who's too old to be playing with dolls". My coworkers, for the most part, are accepting of it, but many of them pretty much think I'm weird and should get out of the house more. In fact, one of my coworkers (I work in a bank) thinks I should go to the casinos with her "like grownups do". And what? Gamble away all my dollie money?? No thanks!!

      I just laugh it off and go on playing with my dollies. Who cares what anyone else thinks?
       
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    19. Yeah, that's just something else. :/
      We don't want our dolls to smell like smoke and alcohol. And we could spend that money towards a new doll or some neat stuff for them. If gambling is a "grown up" thing to do, I would rather just eat some Total and play with my dolls. :)
       
    20. I have to agree with you. I would definitely not be collecting $500+ dolls, if I cared what others think about me. I'm a boring, stay at home mom. I sew, knit, clean my house, garden, wear Crocs...which everyone says are the ugliest shoes alive, and I collect dolls. Also, at my age...it would be rather sad if I cared what people said about me or my doll collecting.