Is it OK to... ? (Approval or permission-seeking and the community.)

Jan 12, 2011

    1. The usual disclaimer: hopefully, this hasn't been covered. It's come up enough times, in enough forms, and in enough places, that it seemed like maybe it deserved a topic of its very own.

      If you look through the forums -- particularly General Discussion and here in Debate -- there are a lot of threads dedicated to asking, "Is it ok to... " with just about anything from 'create a hybrid' to 'use fur' to 'cross-dress your doll' to... well, you get the picture. Everything from keeping one's doll in its box or on a cabinet or on a shelf to setting it on fire or running it over a truck has, in some form or another, come up in discussion. There's also the basic answer most people have at least seen to this issue when it arises: "It's your doll, do what you want with it," and it's repeated just as often as the questions themselves arise.

      For discussion:

      Where do you feel the question itself comes from?* Is it a desire to be accepted by one's peers? To find out what might shock them? Insecurity with one's own wishes or choices and/or a need for reassurance?

      Is there anything like this that you have wondered about personally?

      Do you personally go with the "to each his own, it's your doll, do what you want with it" theory? If so, are there any exceptions to that? (Beyond the things noted below, or things that are outright illegal.)

      *Please note, I don't mean questions like 'is a good idea to use a Sharpie on your doll's face' or 'is it OK to huff MSC'; those are questions with simple answers that aren't really open to interpretation in the same way if at all.
       
    2. I think a lot of where those questions come from is people who are looking to be a very active member of a community and in some way or another are curious if their actions are 'acceptable' by other hobbyists or are dolly hobby faux pas. In one hobby circle people might have a general opinion of things that are considered very rude by most people within that hobby but people in another hobby might find that action totally appropriate.

      I personally have wondered a few of those questions myself. For example, "Is giving tiny dolls (ones that look 4-7) a sexuality considered taboo in the dolly world?", and I have also found myself wondering, "If there is only a limited amount of something available, such as only three pairs of one type of limited edition doll shoe, is it considered rude to buy two of those three pairs?"

      I know in certain Lolita fashions when there is a very limited edition dress or something available, while it is possible to buy more than one, it is considered very rude to do so and you are a very bad hobbyist to take the chance away of owning that dress from someone else within the hobby and will most likely be shunned for it.

      The doll hobby is far more open than a lot of hobbies, which I think is where these questions come into play for some people. Just because we're in the doll hobby and know it is normally very open-minded, people coming in from other hobbies which are more close-minded might not. I know quite a few hobbies where certain acts WILL get you shunned from the community, and God help you if you didn't know that before committing this horrible act! They just kind of assume everyone already knows these things and is purposely being spiteful by doing something, depending on the hobby and it's circle, of course.
       
    3. This forum has a lot of members who are relatively young, and who have spent hundreds of dollars on a hobby that their family and peers might consider childish or creepy. It's not surprising that they look for validation, even if it's from strangers on the internet.

      As for the second issue, I think people are free to do whatever they want with their property. I, however, am also free to form opinions about what said people do with their dolls, particularly when they post their work on a public forum.
       
    4. This is interesting, because it pops up aaaaaall the time but I don't think it's ever been discussed.

      Where do you feel the question itself comes from?* Is it a desire to be accepted by one's peers? To find out what might shock them? Insecurity with one's own wishes or choices and/or a need for reassurance?
      Personally I think that people that just get into this hobby might be intimidated by more 'experienced' owners. By that I mean people that own a group of dolls, expensive dolls or just really cool dolls. I've had comments like "oh you have so many dolls, that's so cool" and the likes. It seems that in many eyes more/pricey/elaborate dolls mean you are a 'better' owner or something. I don't agree with this at all, but that's besides the point. I think newcomers want to be liked by these 'cool' owners and create a network maybe. It works like this in any hobby. A cool person thinks you're cool, so you're one of the cool guys now. I think most people just want the feeling of approval.

      Is there anything like this that you have wondered about personally?
      Not about my own dolls, but about the marketplace. Yeah, I had an "Is it okay to..." question, but in this case it was more about the community and interaction with people.

      Do you personally go with the "to each his own, it's your doll, do what you want with it" theory? If so, are there any exceptions to that? (Beyond the things noted below, or things that are outright illegal.)

      I am all for the creative mind. If you want to dye your doll purple and give it yellow spots, that's cool. It's your money and your creative outlet. It shouldn't matter what other people think. If people will like you less for what dolls you have and what you do with them, you don't want to be friends with them anyway.
      Some things are not to my taste, but who am I to tell the owner that I find it ugly or anything like that. It's not harming me, so why should I, right?
       
    5. I think it stems from seeing several people making a negative comment about something and then people start to think "Wait. It's not okay to...?" I think it's natural to be considerate towards what is "the norm" and to try to not offend other people by going against the norm. If you encounter something you hadn't given much thought and then see people react to it in a negative or disproving manner, it's only logical you want to find out what's the deal. The question "Is it okay or not and why?" helps people figure out the what and why of the community they are in and avoid being cast out due to misbehaviour.

      Now, also seeing a lot of "Is it okay to..." questions make people think that asking these questions are the norm and if you don't ask these questions, you're doing something wrong.

      Personally I don't mind what people do with their dolls as long as it isn't illegal or immoral, although what is immoral (and to an extent illegal) differs from place to place. I may not like things or disprove of things, but that is only my opinion and I will in many cases keep it to myself if do not feel offended.
       
    6. Where do you feel the question itself comes from?* Is it a desire to be accepted by one's peers? To find out what might shock them? Insecurity with one's own wishes or choices and/or a need for reassurance?

      I suspect that in large part it stems from a lack of security or confidence where there is a concern over how something will be received. Occasionally it might stem from disapproving of something themselves and wondering if others feel the same way.

      Is there anything like this that you have wondered about personally?

      Honestly, no. I can't think of anything. When I first got into dolls I did tons of searching and reading on DoA and felt like I had a fairly decent understanding of the community. Also, though in some areas of my life I'm not terribly confident, I've never felt insecure about my dolls -- it never crossed my mind not to just do what I felt like doing with them. I suppose it's because dolls are so personal -- my doll choices are my own and my own only, so there is no need to consult with the rest of the community. Maybe it helps that I'm an adult and used to doing things more on my own and pleasing myself.

      Do you personally go with the "to each his own, it's your doll, do what you want with it" theory? If so, are there any exceptions to that? (Beyond the things noted below, or things that are outright illegal.)

      Other than things that are outright illegal, then no. People can do whatever they want. If it bothers me, then I go look at something else. Dolls are personal to their owners and a good way to explore various subjects and issues safely. Besides, I think we all need something that allows us to just let loose for awhile.
       
    7. It's only fair that I answer the question, too, really. ;)

      As for where the question comes from, I think Rikka_Mikka got part of it -- it's searching for where the norms or community standards are. Beyond that, I'm with anbaachan a great deal. I see these questions from new members -- which goes more toward the community norms -- and from younger members. I think a lot of the younger members are at a time in life where there's a need to prove adulthood, and with that comes some pressure to 'set aside of childish things' in a way that adults don't face in the same way. (With the distance of years comes the permission of 'eccentricity' or 'choice of hobby', while someone younger might be judged as being 'still childish' within peer groups.)

      I've wondered about one doll I plan to mod specifically, mostly because of gore factor. I personally find the plan as something that would be visually beautiful and distinctive, but it'd also be visceral and could be very unpleasant for those not able to, well, look past the gore factor. Some people can't, and that's also fine, IMHO. I'd probably not post her here if I ever do the mod for those reasons. (And I probably won't, because replacing a female MA CW body if I screw up is no longer possible. Ah, well. I also reserve the right to be a coward.)

      I'm a firm believer in 'do what you want to do'. I have enough on my plate handling my stuff -- I don't have the time to try to police what others do even if I was inclined to, which I'm not.
       
    8. Besides being young, many people might not have friends and family around them that are into the hobby, or that would shun them if they even mentioned anything doll-related to them. If they have artistic ideas that they want to share with and get feedback on, a large forum like this with lots of people that have been through the same thing would be the best place to do it. And you get opinions from people who have been in the hobby longer and know more and people who have maybe only been around for as long as you have or even less.

      And even if you know people who are into dolls, RL friends might give different feedback than people on the internet.

      And people around here are just really nice and willing to listen and not make you feel totally stupid for asking something. I'm all for doing whatever I want, but it is nice to hear that other people like my ideas as well sometimes.
       
    9. I agree with everything above and would add one more thing: sometimes I think people are just trying to engage others in discussion and interact with the community. Perhaps seeing others ask similar questions encourages them to pose the same sort of "Is it okay...?" discussion topic. As someone in their forties I did wonder about the amount of permission seeking but after a while I realised some people just like to talk/interact/discuss. There is insecurity in some of these posts but I don't think it's always about that. I think some are just trying to get a conversation started.
       
    10. Where do you feel the question itself comes from?* Is it a desire to be accepted by one's peers? To find out what might shock them? Insecurity with one's own wishes or choices and/or a need for reassurance?
      All of the above, honestly. To me, it comes off most of the time as a need to be validated or accepted into a community; that can branch off into other reasons of 'why'. I like to be accepted into my local theatre or community of renaissance festival workers and actors, but I've never asked nor felt the need to ask, "Is it okay to buy my garb/costume instead of sewing it myself???" I also don't really feel the need to be "liked" by everyone in the community.

      On some cases, I think the wording gets muddled. For example, a thread topic being "Is making a hybrid doll okay?" when the author is actually asking "Do you think hybrid dolls are okay?" The former implies asking the community as a whole, where the latter implies asking each one individually.

      However, there are a few topics and threads that scream 'Please validate my opinion/reassure me/tell me I'm right!'


      Is there anything like this that you have wondered about personally?
      Nope.

      Do you personally go with the "to each his own, it's your doll, do what you want with it" theory? If so, are there any exceptions to that? (Beyond the things noted below, or things that are outright illegal.)
      Yes. I really can't bring myself to care about what people do with their limited or one-off Volks dolls or super-special limited Sards or Beryls or Kakerus or K-dolls or standard releases.

      The only thing I can think of that would change it would be if I had Y doll for X years and sold it to Z and Z intentionally ran over it with a truck. I'd probably be a little miffed. I actually have refused a sale of a doll because my buyer (someone I knew fairly well) decided to relay to me that she intended to put this male doll in nothing but a pair of pink panties and running shoes and scurry around scaring people with it and leaving it in windows to 'freak people out'. This was highly immature in my opinion and I had no intention of being her enabler.
       
    11. I ignore threads that are people blatantly screaming out for validation. I find they are usually illogical questions and to answer them would be pointless. I have to admit that I'm really glad I bought my first doll, had in her in my hands and ran around my house squealing with joy BEFORE I joined this forum. I see so much of this 'is it OK to like this doll?' or 'should I get this doll first or another doll?' going around that it makes me wonder if being part of this 'community' takes away some of the joy by just making people insecure *_* I can also see how people can get burned out or leave the hobby if they are too far into the community aspect and lose their love of the dolls themselves in a tangle of peer pressure stress.

      Personally, I bought a BJD because I love beautiful dolls, I love sewing, so I had a look around for a really nice doll I could get to play dress ups with for a reasonable price and found these ones. I understand its the financial aspect for some that might drive them to seek approval, but c'mon, ALL these dolls are beautiful and worth the money - just buy the one that calls to you and play with it, mod it, hybrid it, cuddle it, take it to the movies, stick it on a shelf and stare at it weeping tears of joy - whatever floats your boat - you are far more likely to enjoy your investment than if you're staring at your computer screen biting your nails cos some 17 year old on the internet might tell you you've done something wrong :lol:
       
    12. Where do you feel the question itself comes from?* Is it a desire to be accepted by one's peers? To find out what might shock them? Insecurity with one's own wishes or choices and/or a need for reassurance?

      I have often wondered this myself, but after reading these types of posts, it seems to me that they are usually made by a person who is very young or new to the hobby and wants to be sure not to offend anyone. Perhaps in some cases it is a cultural thing, but I don't know without actually knowing the person.

      Is there anything like this that you have wondered about personally?

      No.


      Do you personally go with the "to each his own, it's your doll, do what you want with it" theory? If so, are there any exceptions to that? (Beyond the things noted below, or things that are outright illegal

      I don't care what people do with their dolls. Sometimes when looking at gallery posts, I see things done to dolls that I cannot imagine doing to one of mine, but that is just personal taste.
       
    13. I think, that a lot of doll owners had made very bad experiences with other persons and want to get a positive confirmation from other doll owners.
      Everybody can do whatever they want with a doll- but not every feedback can be positive when posting them online.
      I made the experience, that a lot of people are personaly offended when somebody doesn`t like their dolls.
       
    14. I wonder how much peer pressure there really is, though, and how much is worry over nothing. Or because people experience a lot of pressure elsewhere they expect to be hit with it here. Maybe that's one of the reasons why all the "Is it ok....?" threads seem strange to me. I've never felt or really experienced much in the way of pressure (or maybe I'm oblivious to it???) in this particular hobby. There is so much variety in the community, that I'm not sure that there's any one thing to conform to. Plus, it's a life skill of sorts, being able to exist as part of a group without giving up on what it is that you want and need which is an issue that can arise anytime a person starts participating in communities/group activities.
       
    15. This statement probably needs to be bronzed and put somewhere important. Very much agreed. It's a large part of why the concern over these issues confuses me sometimes.

      I'm super sensitive to social pressures in some respects. I... don't get that here. Even when I was completely new, the feeling I got from the forum and from other doll folks I'd met was, "Oh mah gawd, I have finally found my people! That's where y'all have been hiding!" rather than worry, since so many people here are just downright imaginative and creative. (That's pretty much my definition of 'my people': creative, imaginative, and like dolls. I'm simple, I know.)
       
    16. Wow great question? I have long wondered about this myself so I will share my point of view on the matter.

      *Where do you feel the question itself comes from?* Is it a desire to be accepted by one's peers? To find out what might shock them? Insecurity with one's own wishes or choices and/or a need for reassurance?

      I believe that some owners are afraid of being judged. This is a highly creative hobby and many people might not be totally used to the "creative process". You know that crazy process where you pour your heart and soul into something and it becomes very personal and THEN you plan to expose it to the world! I think that the idea of exposing your very deeply felt personal preferences might make some people feel vulnerable and insecure, yet at that same time they want to share! So they put out a little feeler first :)

      However, sometimes I think those "Is it Ok" posts are actually started because some owners DO want to judge other owners. Like the "is it Ok to turn down face-up commissions because of brand etc..." In those cases I feel the thread starter is bringing something to public trial that is seriously bothering them. Perhaps they just need to insure that someone else is bothered too and ultimately validate their feelings.


      Is there anything like this that you have wondered about personally?

      Nothing ever popped into my mind when I was just working with my dolls on my own. However, I have clicked other peoples threads because a question was asked and well...I did want to know how the community felt. So although I never wondered about it on my own I did start to wonder once the question materialized.



      Do you personally go with the "to each his own, it's your doll, do what you want with it" theory? If so, are there any exceptions to that? (Beyond the things noted below, or things that are outright illegal.)


      Totally I believe in "to each his own". There are no exceptions unless you actually break the law and bludgeon someone to death with your Soom Monthly :) There are indeed subjects that I find taboo for me but I am careful not to enforce my personal views on others when they are creating. I just don't click the link if I don't want to see something. Expressing yourself creatively is a complex endeavor and I don't want to start coming up with rules of play in the dolly world.
       
    17. I think you both have my thoughts on why we get these sorts of questions covered. Though I think there is a simple third answer, sometimes people use unfortunate phrasing when asking strangers a question. Semantics are hardly the forté of casual writers.

      I know when I'm at work (I'm a buyer) I'll ask a vendor "Can I have two dozen of X please?" as if there's honestly a chance they'll say no. I'm not anticipating any particular or negative response, I feel I'm being slightly more personable and open rather than pushy or demanding but some sales reps will respond with funny sarcasm because there's no reason for me to be anything other than forward. I don't think deeper reasons are always the issue behind these "Is it okay?..." style questions.
       
    18. I see your point. Certainly there have been times when a question was phrased as "Is it Ok" when in could have been asked without. Meaning that the "Is it OK" just got tacked on the sentence to start the question rolling when in fact the poster might not have been looking for validation. Perhaps they were just starting a conversation?
       
    19. Where do you feel the question itself comes from?* Is it a desire to be accepted by one's peers? To find out what might shock them? Insecurity with one's own wishes or choices and/or a need for reassurance?

      I think part of it is trying to establish what is an accepted practice in the hobby - especially for those that are newer. I also think that at times "Is is OK to..." questions are a way of asking a particular question in a simpler way, afterall with an internation user base it's probably going to make it easier for more people to participate in a discussion on "Is it OK to use fur?" than asking "What are the moral and ethical standards surrounding the use of fur in BJD costumes". It's a lot shorter question too.

      I do think there is some desire for reassurance in some of the 'Is it OK to..." questions too.

      Is there anything like this that you have wondered about personally?

      There were some things earlier in the hobby, but not as much now.

      Do you personally go with the "to each his own, it's your doll, do what you want with it" theory? If so, are there any exceptions to that? (Beyond the things noted below, or things that are outright illegal.)

      I generally do, although there are some of the more moral/ethical questions that I tend to have a stronger opinion about.
       
    20. People frequently want peer group approval, moral or otherwise, of their decisions. It's something I don't entirely understand but it is quite common.