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How do you tell?

Apr 30, 2017

    1. I'm so lucky to have a daughter who is a longtime bjd owner and lover and this place to read and talk about my dolls. Beside this all I never talk about it with others. There is, beside my husband and son in law, no one outside the hobby who knows I own these dolls until a few weeks ago. I told a colleague/friend about it. Sometimes I see photos from owners taking there dolls out and even to work. I keep them in a box until I have time or people around me who understand the hobby.
      Would love to let others know how much I like bjd's but am afraid how they react. How do you tell without getting ridiculed for loving dolls this much?
    2. Hi there, fellow teacher!

      I'm not afraid of ridicule as much as disapproval due to the amount of money these beauties cost* ... no one at my work knows, but I do have a photographer friend who might meet one or two of my dolls soonish. (I'm nearing 20 full dolls, no way am I disclosing that "in real life"!)
      My best friend has seen some of them, he sort of liked the idea of XXL action figures but otherwise doesn't mind them one way or the other. My parents know (father disapproves because it's what he does) ... the only time they've really been taken out in public was before I moved here, when I took them to my go-to craft store because I had bought so much for the dolls there. Then at some point I was explaining why I needed something in a certain size (can't even remember what!) and they got curious, so I told them about the dolls and promised to bring one along next time. The store folks absolutely loved them - then again, they work at a craft store of all places and know to appreciate art in all its forms.

      I guess that's the key, presenting the dolls in the "right" way for the people to relate to - not as a glorified toy, but as customizable pieces of art, photography or sewing models, inverted poseable puppets with the string inside them, meticulously engineered and beautifully sculpted by artists. Maybe customized by you? Do you sew your dolls' clothes? Do their faceups? Create miniature stuff for them? That's the kind of thing(s) I've found people outside the hobby can relate to and understand the appeal of.

      *Being a musician, on the rare occasion I've been asked what dolls cost I've said something along the lines of "less than a flute" - that kind of puts it into perspective. Music people are used to handling expensive stuff, and taking it everywhere because it constitutes their working equipment. But that's still the thing I'm most afraid of, having to disclose just how much I've been spending on this hobby. Then again, I don't need the latest technology nor a big huge expensive brand new car, so all the money I save on not needing a new {insert gadget here} every couple months can go into dolls. But I wouldn't expect people to understand that part.
      • x 2
    3. I've definitely only shared my doll hobby with art people out in the 'real world'-- and with family members who also collect some sort of doll or toy or miniature. I'm lucky to have several relatives who are into those related hobbies as collectors, so they get it, and they don't need to know how much things cost.

      I wish I knew how to share some of what I'm doing with my best friend. This is someone I've known since we were in middle school, we showed up in the same halloween costume in seventh or eighth grade and were inseparable through community college, kept in touch even with adulthood and living in different states. But this is also the one friend I have who's not an artist and they aren't a heavy toy collector-- they love Legos, but they don't chase down rare/expensive sets, so they don't get the 'spending huge amounts of money on a toy' thing. I could certainly liken it to spending money on electronics as far as the cost goes (and it's not like my friend is judgey anyway), I just want to be able to show the appeal.
    4. I live in an out-of-the-way little neighbourhood, in the middle of England, where most residents are of a certain age and set in their ways. I wish I could live in a metropolitan surburban scene, where there's a much more eclectic community that appreciates art a lot more, so I could shout from the rooftops about my hobby.

      I've had Alex for 5yrs (almost) and, as far as I'm aware, only my parents know of his existence. Well, my grandma has finally learnt about him, but is yet to meet him. I'm a little fearful of that discussion. Colleagues...what are those? I jest; but, I don't get on well enough with my coworkers to share my "unusual" hobbies with them.

      But, I'm also happy in my little bubble, having my doll(s) to myself, for now. ;)
      • x 1
    5. "Inverted puppets" is such a fitting description. I plan on using that in the future.

      I've tried sharing with others not in the hobby. It's not very fun for me because they don't like the dolls the way I do. Even my mother who went through a phase of making her own dolls just looks at them, says nothing, and moves on. It's so much more fun to share with people who understand the emotional effort that goes into a character.

      I agree with @ivorysand about being happy in my little bubble. I don't want my hobby joy tarnished with negativity.
    6. Truthfully, I don't quite understand the stigma that is attached to this hobby - and I sometimes wonder if it's as bad as some of us seem to think it is. Instead of calling myself a BJD collector, should the subject of hobbies come up, I just say that I collect dolls. This is rarely met with anything beyond interest or complete disinterest. If someone is of the former contingent, I'm happy to explain what an Asian ball jointed doll is, because chances are that they've never even heard of one, and at the worst are puzzled only in the way that people are by other adults who have a passion for 'toys'. (I have a colleague at work - a man in his sixties - who collects RC airplanes and helicopters. Each to his own!)

      Millions of people collect dolls, and a lot of those dolls are incredibly expensive; I've seen Barbies go for hundreds of dollars - and those were mass produced pieces of machine-made-and-painted plastic! But I can't even imagine deriding the people who are willing to drop that much money on them, because it's a collecting hobby - and collectors are rabid fans who understand the ins and outs of their niche of the collecting world in a way that others do not. I honestly believe that most people understand that. Certainly other collectors do! When it comes to dolls, there are people who collect bisque, porcelain, Tonner, Barbie - the list is endless, and based on personal aesthetics. There are those who have a mad passion for repainting inexpensive Monster High dolls, and what they do with them will knock your socks off! No one should be ashamed of a hobby that they're passionate about. Personally, I think we're the lucky ones in the doll hobby; these beauties are works of art, handmade with love before we even begin to customize them - and the available clothing for those of us who do not sew is nothing short of amazing, the available artists for those of us who do not paint are awe inspiring, the craftsmen who make the furniture we balk at creating are beyond talented - the list goes on. And...our lovely boys and girls pose and photograph so beautifully that nothing else comes close. So..."I collect dolls." Say it loud, say it proud - and if anyone is rude enough to ask the price (seriously, who does that??), just laugh, roll your eyes, and say, "Too much!" :cool:
      • x 5
    7. My maternal grandfather must have spent hundreds of his hard-earned money on model trains and RC planes. Maybe even thousands, when it's all added up.

      People spend thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, on artwork and paintings. Cars, bikes, antiques, historic surgical equipment, figurines, teddy bears, etc. People collect what interests them most.

      Hobbies are hobbies; each to their own.

      But, there just seems to be something about this hobby, our hobby, that makes people turn their noses up more so than others. Maybe it's the expenses incurred. Maybe it's the aspect of changing clothes and posing these dolls that people mistake it for playing with them. We're grown adults "playing" with dolls; there's a similar stigma surrounding the reborn doll community. Maybe it's both, or something I've not even touched upon.

      That's why I'm happy keeping on the fringes, neither delving too deep into this hobby or merging it into my social life. Coming home to Alex after a hard shift, and having time to myself with him, is something I relish in. It's my time, away from everything else, and - at the moment - I'd like to keep it as such. My life is not where I want it to be, but I have my little slice of paradise with Alex. Making things for him, sitting him in my lap (like a big kid with a barbie), or just having him in my eyeline. It's comforting; it's my little bubble, in a dark foreboding world. And, I don't want anything to burst that bubble. So, I keep it as my little secret. My parents don't know, yet, that I've ordered a second doll.
      • x 1
    8. Thats true. People thinks it's normal to spend money on cars, clothes and going out. I have an old car, don't care for designer clothes and love to cook at home :) I think I'll take one of my dolls with me when I'm going to shop for fabrics next time. They know I have dolls but never seen one of them. Maybe a good step forward not feeling awkward to love bjd's so much at my age :)

      I'm lucky to have a daughter in the hobby and have forum like this and on Facebook. It can be a lonely hobby

      We live in a small village to. Never met someone nearby (except for my daughter) who's in the hobby. Seems like a little small secret World here :)

      Hihihi I will! Thank you :)

      That's what these dolls do for many of its owners, giving them a change to escape. Maybe thats the charm to, it's just for you, no explanations. My concern is in the not understanding that I'm not childish because I have dolls or selfish if I want to buy something for them. My son and his wife know I have them but not how much (I think they think I have 2, not the 9 I really own) I know they think it's strange or think I'm into the hobby because my daughter is. In reality, I got into the hobby because my daughter was but I'm so glad I am because it really makes me happy after a long hard day to take time to get them out of there boxes, to make them something or just let them keep me company
    9. But that's the thing. I hear this a lot, but I have yet to see it specific to BJDs. In fact, most people don't even seem to know what BJDs are. I don't take my dolls into the outside world much, just because they're so freakin' huge - but my daughter does take her minis out sometimes, and anyone who is interested enough to look twice, generally looks a third time with interest and a "What kind of doll is that? It's so cool!" It's a conversation starter, and really, I've never seen anyone be snide to her. People tend to be either drawn to them or a little creeped out by them, just because they're so realistic - but similar reactions are also endured by enthusiasts of herpetology and entomology. ;)

      I'm sorry you have to worry that the stodgy people in your little neighborhood would give you grief if they knew, but I'm glad you're moving on with it anyway, and getting a second doll. Eventually perhaps you'll move to a place where you don't have to fear that everyone will be quite so judgmental...and maybe even make a doll-loving friend or two at a local meetup. :thumbup
      • x 1
    10. Most of the people who know I own BJDs collect dolls (mostly Fashion Royalty/Integrity, action figures--which can be very expensive, and Pullip--JunPlanning/Blythe).

      My parents are aware I have BJDs, but I think they believe they're large Pullips. (I was into Pullips first.) I haven't really talked about prices--they're more concerned about the detail of their sculpting. (My mom has noted on the genitalia and large boobs, while my father--a doctor--is pretty unfazed.)

      The only time my dad commented (in a kind of stuttering and stilted way) was when he found part of a dolly penis on the lawn. I cut it off with a Dremel for a MtF mod and didn't get all of it.

      I've always had weird hobbies. I started with modding Barbie when I was very small (the first frankendollies I made), by cutting off bits of their faces and hybriding bodies, legs, and arms. (I was before Monster High, so the customizability of my playline fashion dolls was always limited.)

      Then, in middle and high school, I moved to Pullip, and then action figures. I think the bodies of the action figures (I was originally into Volks Neo Guy for his poseability) was actually more disturbing to my parents because the musculature is even more pronounced (I think they were worried it was some sort of playboy thing). I prefer HotToys True Type more now for realism.

      In short, I've always had weird hobbies, so I'm not sure my parents really noted on the change from other dolls to BJDs. My other hobbies (dyeing and soldering) are more worrisome for my parents. I think they're worried I'll mess up the pH of a dyebath (very hard to do without access to potash or lye) and get my hand eaten or turned to soap (saponified). They're afraid I'll burn myself with a blowtorch with the soldering.

      As a result, BJDs are a relief. (I just don't talk about the Dremeling and X-acto blade cutting.) Even though I'm fully an adult with my own job and house, they'll probably always worry about me a bit.
    11. My husband and grown daughters are "supportive" in that they wouldn't dream of telling me what I should or shouldn't do, they compliment my photos, and they'll buy me doll accessories as gifts. One of my girls even knits things for my dolls. But none of them share my enthusiasm.
      I don't like to mention my hobby to others because I don't like the stereotype of the old woman doll collector and I don't want to have to go into a lengthy explanation of how these dolls are different. If the subject does somehow come up I emphasize the photography aspect, which is just as important to me.
      I've been to a couple of meets but I actually prefer connecting with other hobbyists online. For me, it's a lot easier. For some reason I don't feel a great need to talk about dolls in person.
    12. I'm pretty open about it I think, especially if you talk to me for a bit (like asking about what I sell in my etsy shop, or what I'm buying fabric for) as it usually ends up coming up in conversation before too long. ...And I have a picture of Calli (my ResinSoul Mei) as the lock screen on my phone.
      I think most of the time that's how I find out if someone is interested or not, it comes up in conversation. And if they are interested I'll talk more about my BJDs, and if not I just sort of give a brief explanation of what they are (ex: That they're dolls that are highly customizable and are jointed so they can pose almost like a human) and move on.
    13. I'm very socially awkward, but luckily everyone really important in my life also collects dolls -- my fiancee is the one who bought me my first doll, and I got my mother and aunt into the hobby shortly after I started seriously collecting and they have a bunch of dolls. :) So really the only time I feel like I have to explain my hobby is like.. online if someone I'm talking to isn't in the hobby, or IRL if I'm out with a doll and someone asks questions.

      As much as I'm shy and don't like talking to strangers much, I don't really mind rambling about my special interests, so I don't mind talking to people about them. I never mention cost, because I'm always afraid someone will steal them.. I usually just say they're Asian resin art dolls and talk about how customizable they are :) so far so good.
    14. I've made and/or collected dolls for most of my adult life. I've always loved dolls and have always collected various other things as well. I only recently started collecting BJD's, but I don't differentiate them from the other dolls I collect if I tell someone that I collect dolls. I don't remember ever really worrying about what people thought about my doll collecting, but then I'm more of an introvert, so I probably never really discussed it with many people. I have to admit, though, I could be a bit embarrassed about how much I have paid, or may pay, for a BJD if I were telling someone about them that didn't understand collecting. Sometimes it's hard to justify the expense to myself, let alone someone who could never understand.

      Like you, I'm glad to have this forum, as well as Facebook groups, to talk about dolls. I have two grown kids and they don't collect dolls, but they do understand my passion for them and accept it.
      • x 1
    15. I just take a risk and casually slip it into conversation. "Oh, that mini object is so cool, I'm a doll collector, it would cute for photos." "I spent yesterday sewing all day, made some new outfits for my dolls." Then they can either skim over it or ask about it. I really don't care what anybody thinks of my collection, I got past caring long ago. I spent my teen years hiding all the "weird" things I loved, and finally decided it's really inconvenient to keep hiding, and I really shouldn't have to. Everyone has hobbies, some more obscure than others, but we all enjoy things. It's not harming anyone, so I have no reason to be embarrassed or ashamed. Though to be fair, most of the people I care about most have their own nerdy hobbies, so they tend to be more understanding than some.
    16. I am a member of a traditional doll club and also a sewing for dolls group. We always do Show & Tell. The sewing group meets in a quilt shop. We started out sewing outfits for 18" dolls and now we sew for any type doll. I have seen members of both groups bring in BJDs. We are located in South Dakota and the nearest doll shop is Denver Doll Emporium, 400 miles away.
      My late mother-in-law made ceramic dolls and that was big a few years ago. Now, no one in the area pours dolls. Yet, we still want to be creative and customize our dolls.
      There is a great interest among the ladies to know more about BJDs. We are retired ladies and I am one of the youngest at 62. We are not afraid to show off our dolls.
      Now, I am trying to find out all I can about BJDs. Don't be afraid to show your dolls to others. We would love to see it.
      #16 Webbie, May 1, 2017
      Last edited: May 1, 2017
    17. First off, I call them 'art dolls' or say 'I'm a doll person' to non BJD people because most people get the wrong idea when they hear 'doll collector', there's unfortunately a negative stereotype of that in my experience. All of our hobby jargon is confusing so I don't explain that part at all. :? (Unless they ask about it further)
      My fashion friends know because I like doll fashion and it comes up in the conversation occasionally, my art friends know because they have seen some dolls I've done face-ups on and know I'm starting a doll photography project this summer, my history buff, goth and steampunk friends know because we talk about costuming, styles, trends, events we will go to and fashion, etc.
      I guess it just comes up in conversation as we talk just as their manga collection, dog obsession, shoe collection, tattoo addiction, music mania, etc comes up as the things they like and are into. Once a friend knows I'm a 'doll person' (often the only one they know), they ask about them and what I've been doing with them lately, just as they ask what I've been writing, what I've been listening to, what good movies I've seen recently, etc.
    18. Honestly most people get curious about it, never had a bad reaction like people seen to expect. The most common is the shock over the price and that is always funny. But then I never cared what people think and they know it, with strangers I only talk if the subject (dolls, hobbies, etc) come up and the explanation size depend of the interest they show.

      Is like any other part of personal life there's no reason to go around telling it to strangers but nothing to be embarrassed of it either if come up. If people try to make fun of it or be rude about it they are obviously not someone you want to hang out with to begin, so who cares what they say. There's never any reason to feel embarrassed for something that make you happy, just enjoy it.
    19. Thank you so much for all the reactions! I'm so glad finding people here who understand this great hobby!
      Someone said to me it could be an empty nest syndrome because my children all left home. First I thought they maybe right but I love dolls all my live and had the first bjd before the kids left home. I just have the time and a bit more money now to put into the hobby.
      I think I'll try to be more open about it and starting with calling myself a collector :).
      • x 1
    20. I've told a few people and didn't get much of a reaction. Haha.
      I'm kinda in the same boat with going out with them. But I'm trying to get out of my comfort zone more!
      And I mean, the only thing fear does is hold you back. So I'm trying to be more fearless. XD
      I've taken my dolls to meets and such. I'm sure I've gotten looks walking into the meet up spot.
      But it all doesn't really matter. Just because someone doesn't understand it, doesn't make it any less special to us.
      And I don't really mention price, at least not at first. I'll only mention price if I'm comfortable with the person.
      Not to mention we are all ridiculed and judged no matter what we do!
      So we shouldn't let it dull our creativity and love for something so special to us!