Not Fitting In With Other Collectors?

Jan 29, 2021

    1. Does anyone feel out of place when it comes to the community at large? I sometimes feel like I'm out of touch with the things that everyone seems to love most about this hobby. I don't "bond" with my dolls, nor do I find them personally attractive, and I don't necessarily care about the "personality" inside of them. I do not think they're real, I just find them as I would find any other collector item ; pretty.

      Of course, I create characters out of dolls, and have my own elaborate worldbuild outside of them, but when it comes to the doll itself, I feel bad for viewing it as almost nothing more than an artistic outlet and character-driven decoration. I don't "play" with my dolls, and any joy I feel towards them is more about knowing how much time I spent waiting for them and the time I've spent crafting for them. I feel bad for sometimes feeling unnerved when other collectors are super into their doll's personality, and use them as emotional support objects ; but I know that they probably find me just as weird in turn.

      Does anyone else feel a little different from the other hobbyists around them?
       
      #1 appleskins, Jan 29, 2021
      Last edited: Jan 29, 2021
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    2. I'm not crafty, and I don't shell OCs or do the bond thing either. I love my dolls, but aside from getting them a 'look' that I like admiring and taking photos of, I don't do very complex imaginative stuff with them.
       
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    3. Everyone has a different way of enjoying this hobby, while I feel that your view is uncommon- I don't think it's weird! You view your dolls like I view my boyfriend's tractor collection; cool to look at, nice to own, pretty to look at. And that's okay! We all collect for different reasons, and as long as you're happy, that's all that matters!
       
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    4. Am pretty much the same, that my dolls are mostly to me a means to an end kind of thing.

      I love what they represent (my OCs), and I like how they look, but I don't care much for the doll itself? Which is why when a doll didn't fit the OC anymore I was always quick to reshell. I also don't get cuddling with them, using them as emotional support thing, attaching human emotions to them ("He's sad because I didn't buy him this outfit") or thinking they have a personality. They are an inanimate object. I like them, but mostly because they look how I want them to.

      But I also never cuddled much with stuffed animals or ever got overall emotionally attached to any object :sweat Also don't believe in spirituality or similar.
       
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    5. i'm in the same boat. my dolls are to look pretty. I don't have OCs for writing. i'm not a 2d artist, so they're not there for modeling. i have fun prettying them up, and getting just the right clothes, or painting on the face, but at the end of the day they're going to look pretty for me and hold different poses occasionally.
       
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    6. I get where you're coming from, OP... I'm not a "bonder", either. Nor am I an artist, or a writer or even all that crafty. I'm "just a collector" and always have been. I think of my dolls as pretty toys that I like to tinker with, not as little resin children or soulful spirit-companions. I'm not even sure that I consider them Art really, though I do value them pretty highly and like having them around as aesthetic objects.

      I do play the character game with most of my gang... But for the most part, that's just a reflection of the majority of them being styled as resin versions of my MMO and tabletop RPG characters.

      If it helps any, the community these days is much more laid-back about the whole bonding and dolly-souls and all that business than it used to be. There's no wrong way to doll, but it took a little while for the Just-Collectors and the Not-a-Bonders and the My-Doll-Is-A-Toy types to reach a kind of balance point with the hobby in general. It's really rare to be told that you're a terrible, neglectful owner for having a different approach these days. :XD:
       
      #6 Brightfires, Jan 29, 2021
      Last edited: Jan 29, 2021
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    7. I feel like this is probably more common than one would think. I'm also in the "my dolls are dolls" category. They're there to look pretty and I enjoy dressing them in cute clothes reminiscent of my favorite idol bands. The most personality they get assigned is their name.

      The only area I've felt out of touch from other collectors in is that I don't do any design or creation myself. Faceups, clothing, wigs, eyes, everything is purchased. I also don't own any dolls with fantasy parts. They're all plain humans.
       
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    8. I'm also the type of person that doesn't have an emotional attachment to my dolls, as far as thinking they feel sad, or pain, or whatever other emotion if I don't handle them for any amount of time. I leave mine in the closet, for many reasons but mostly to keep my cats safe, because I would take a bullet for my cats. I love my material possessions, but not in a romantic or emotional manner, more so in the sense that I worked hard to get the toys I own; I would be more than upset if I suddenly lost them, most are super unpopular and all discontinued so it would be hard to find them in the condition I would be willing to purchase them again. I don't give my dolls personalities either, I don't even write stories about them, most are based on OCs I didn't create or are fanart versions of licensed characters I love -- like an action figure but in doll form.

      I also never found any of my dolls physically attractive, I find them beautiful the way I would find beauty in nature, animals; modern art would probably the closest I could describe how I find my BJD appealing, and why I like modifying them. I've never been a sexual person however, so it's always a bit foreign to me when I hear people saying they find certain sculpts physically/sexually appealing. Even more when people call their BJD "my kids/children/babies," but then have them in erotic/suggestive poses or outfits... I'm not a mother and never planned to be one, but I have a lot of nieces and nephews I babysat when they were children, I can't imagine calling them my kids then gifting them sexualized anything… but I am a weirdo, so maybe I'm freaking off on that subject. DX

      I'm a weirdo I already mentioned, I never found that I had to fit in. I like reading about other people's take on the same subject because I find it interesting to see how most people see the same thing I see, in a completely different light.
       
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    9. My dolls are basically small scale dressmakers dummies, so do not feel bad, just a step up from a hanger on emotional attachment.
       
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    10. I certainly love my dolls!

      But I don't know that I feel particularly different than you describe, @appleskins ! I don't think you're even close to alone in the way you describe your way of approaching the hobby.

      I may speak very fondly of a doll, but it's because that doll brings me joy in it's beauty or what I'm planning to create. Maybe I do feel some closeness to them sometimes, but I wouldn't say that's the focus.

      :)
       
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    11. When I talk about my dolls as if they have thoughts, feelings, or preferences, it's just a cheeky shorthand for describing the personalities of the characters that the dolls represent. I don't believe that the dolls themselves, as objects, literally have some sort of innate needs or personalities. With that being said, I do feel a certain affection toward my dolls. I've always found it easy to become attached to inanimate objects (I still have my childhood stuffed animal collection, I can't bear to part with them). As long as collectors are respectful to one another, I think it's great to have a wide diversity of ways that each of us relate to our dolls, and it's okay if we don't always understand each other perfectly.
       
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    12. I bond to my dolls, but I'm actually bonding to the character, not the resin doll shell itself. Without the written character, the resin dolls don't really mean anything to me.

      I feel a little "different" from a lot of collectors, not even due to the dolls themselves but because I don't share many other interests with a lot of doll collectors. I have absolutely nothing against anybody with different interests than my own, but sometimes it can be hard to make long term friends in the hobby when dolls are the ONLY interest you share with others.
       
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    13. I think you'll find that many people view the hobby in a similar way that you described. I certainly share similar viewpoints in the way I view my dolls as objects.

      I can see why its easy to feel like an outsider though. There are many threads and discussions regarding more interactive concepts in this hobby (bonding, roleplay etc)... and when I first joined I found it strange admittedly, but over the years I just understand it to be one of the many facets of enjoyment for people.

      "Fitting in" is such a challenging thing regardless of your personal take on the hobby. Our community is so large and made up of so many types of people, backgrounds, cultures and interests... it can be challenging to find common ground with someone besides, "I like dolls". However, some of the best friends I've made from this forum (friends of 10+ years)... I honestly have nothing in common with in terms of taste, style and collection habits (yes even friends who talk to their resin babies lol). Those people are my friends because our personalities meshed. I only happened to meet them by participating on the forum!

      So, long story short... don't sweat it! You can enjoy the hobby in a different way than other collectors and still make awesome personal connections. :)
       
      #13 Dybbuk, Jan 29, 2021
      Last edited: Jan 29, 2021
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    14. Nothing wrong with that - we all enjoy our dolls differently.

      Personally, I play with mine (pick them up, dress them, take them places etc.) but I don't see anything weird or odd about your approach to collecting.

      When I first started attending (DoA*) meets I felt like both I and my dolls stuck out like a sore thumb.

      For a start there were very few guys who attended the meets, plus I was old enough to be the father of most of the others there, and my Victorian-child styled dolls were nothing like the goths and emos that made up the majority of the dolls brought to the meets (many of them brought by goths and emos - I always dress in bright colours with mismatched shoes and socks). But they are such a lovely group of people, very welcoming and inclusive, that it really didn't matter, and many of us have very different approaches to the hobby and our styles of collecting.

      Teddy

      (*I specified DoA meets because I'd already been to a couple of meets with people form a smaller/local forum who were a very different dynamic, and whose approach and styling was a closer match to mine.)
       
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    15. Same. I used to try it in the beginning and it never felt right to me either. It was especially difficult sometimes since I had close friends in the hobby who would go on about their characters and all that other stuff.
      I've gotten a lot more sure and confident in this after I took a 7 year hiatus from bjd due to life happening. My taste in dolls has changed and it is now really just up to what I find pretty or fascinating. My plan now is to just get an doll to the point I want them to be in regards to look and such and then I sort of just display them in a cabinet. They become part of my home decor in a way.
       
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    16. Since I don’t make OC’s, or create backstories, and bonding to me is, do I like the doll enough to keep it, I feel like I’m not like most collectors. When I first joined the hobby I really wanted to make my dolls look awesome with the perfect wig, outfit, etc. I tried over and over, many times. I just can’t do it. I think about quitting due to frustration and all the money I’ve wasted. I'm crafty and can make just about anything I want, but I can’t put together a BJD’s look to my satisfaction. Totally bjd inept, lol.
       
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    17. Like any other hobby, the real point is personal enjoyment, and to take from it whatever gives you the most pleasure. When it comes down to that, no one else's opinion of what you do with it or how you feel about it matters - not even those who share the hobby. Because of that, I wouldn't worry about not fitting in. You collect BJDs? You're one of us. :thumbup
       
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    18. I'm not a prolific photographer nor do I post a whole lot, so I feel like I'm at the margins of the hobby. This is fine by me, I'm in this for my enjoyment first and foremost.

      As for bonding/not bonding, one of my favorite things about BJDs and the community is variety. I don't mind how a person views their dolls. What bothers me is those who go "You're yucky if you don't view dolls the same way I do." If you feel the need to put down other collectors or insist your way is the only proper one, I won't interact with you. Thankfully, I haven't encountered those types in years.
       
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    19. I'm on the same page as you. I don't ascribe personalities or feelings to my dolls - they are lovely pieces of artwork to me. Heck, I still haven't even named any of them!

      I know my outlook on them sounds a bit cold to some people, but I really do love having my dolls! I get joy from seeing them everyday, safe in their display case, much like the joy I get from looking at any beautiful artwork. I treat them like expensive artwork, carefully with cotton gloves, if I ever need to handle them.

      That said, I totally don't mind how others enjoy their dolls. If it gives them happiness, why should I care?
       
      #19 Sheyda, Jan 30, 2021
      Last edited: Jan 30, 2021
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    20. I used to bond with my dolls as characters, but then I left the hobby for many years and now that I have come back I have my dolls now as artpieces. Or at least working in that direction to make them more of a display art rather than fully personalized characters in dollforms. I still have my characters, they are just not dolls anymore. It´s mainly because I felt it stopped my creativity working with them overall. once they were done I had a hard time to find new things that was in the same style. Perhaps it was the journey towards that goal of a finished design that was more exciting.
      Future plans with new dolls don´t involve in finding personality but I would like to create small stories so it keeps that interesting spark with the doll design.