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Openness on Owning Dolls - Then & Now

Sep 20, 2016

    1. Hello!

      I see people asking all of the time about how supportive family members and friends are about new doll hobbies and collections, whether they should share or not, and what to say to someone if you want to bring your hobby up.

      This has made me wonder, when you started buying BJD how did you feel about sharing your hobby with others? How has that changed up to this point, and do you feel more comfortable with talking about BJD with non-doll people now, or has it not changed at all?

      For me personally, I learned about BJD young, but didn't start buying them myself until probably two or three years ago. I always thought there was no way I could afford them. Finally I came to a point in my life I could afford one, and I bought her even though no one I knew approved. My boyfriend at the time (Now thankfully ex boyfriend!!) absolutely hated my dolls, I was constantly arguing about my hobby with him. My mom wasn't a super big fan of me spending a ton of money on them, and my grandpa continuously asked me if I was going to resell them and make some money.

      Now, several years later I am lucky enough to have a boyfriend who is extremely supportive of my hobbies including my BJDs, my mom has actually become quite the BJD addict herself, and my grandpa has begun to understand their value (and while still arguing with me about doll clothes or anything being Christmas gifts) now no longer questions it.

      I still don't share much about them with just anyone I meet. When it comes to people asking me about my hobbies, it generally isn't the first thing I bring up. However I think now I would consider telling people about it if the appropriate timing arose. I was never really embarrassed to have dolls, but it is without question something very challenging to approach in every day conversation.

      I can't wait to hear all of your stories!
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    2. When I first entered the hobby, I was so excited to talk to people about it. I told my friends, I talked to local hobbyists, I didn't downplay my interest in front of my parents. I just really wanted to find people to share my love of dolls with. And I did, for the most part, but I was also met with the usual skepticism.

      Years have passed and now, apart from my partner, I don't really share my hobby much at all. I think my interests have shifted and I'm now more interested in customizing and using dolls as a destresser. I'm not quite as interested in the "belonging" part of the hobby - or, rather, it's not something I'm actively striving for anymore.

      I don't mind telling people I like dolls. But it isn't something I'd bring up in a conversation unless I thought the other person may be receptive to it.
      #2 Alchemical, Sep 20, 2016
      Last edited: Sep 20, 2016
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    3. When I first found myself interested in dolls again (I loved my barbies as a kid and didn't put them in storage until my mid teens) it was just my mom who knew. Because I can geek out over just about anythng in her presence. And she lets me. She finds it cute - which is a bonus for me.
      I'll ocasionally send her a photo of a cute one, but it's not something we talk about a lot. When I buy outfits or wigs she always wants to see the end result though. At the very least she marvels at the small scale of the shoes and clothes.

      That was in 2009 or so when I decided I'd eventually purchase a BJD. I think. The more years go by the less I remember what year was what.

      This year, my family in the city (aka the ones I always see) know and have seen them, think they'reodd but find them cute so they write it off as another of my quirks. I went to a family gathering after a meet in the spring so everyone got to look at my dolls for the first time. They knew beforehand I had an interest but it's not something I really talk about because I know it's not something they'd be interested in.

      My close friends know. Mostly because I used a doll show the next morning as an excuse to bail from a social early. They find them creepy but are cool with it, if only because of course I'd be the one who collects dolls and likes them more because of the fact that they can be considered creepy. Again when I'm with them, we don't talk about them as I know they're not interested. It's like if I find a cute reptile picture, they don't wanna see that so I don't share it. We've got other things to discuss. Then again I have a reputation of finding scary things cute, and they all know I'm the one who it takes a lot to freak out. So logical conclusion dolls would be a thing for me.

      I don't talk about it to coworkers, but that's mostly because I try very hard to disclose very little about my personal life at work. And as these dolls are costly,it's not something I want to bring too much attention to. It's none of their business what I use my money for. :sweat I'm sure no one would be surprised though.

      If I were to have a conversation with whoever and they brought up the fact that they like or collect dolls, I'd probably tell them, as I feel like we could maybe get a good and not so awkward conversation out of that.
    4. I think I haven't really changed. I've always been really open about the BJD hobby, and not really caring who knows or what they think. Granted, I was 25 when I got my first resin doll, and I think that had a lot to do with my comfort levels. I was already out of school, living on my own, engaged to a guy who was totally cool with my dorky hobbies, and way past caring about my friends' or acquaintances' opinions. By then, I also surrounded myself with friends who liked me for me, and accepted my weirdness, and had plenty of their own as well. haha So nothing really changed for me.

      If you mean any sort of doll collecting, though, it is different. I've loved dolls since childhood, and been creating and customizing since I was about 11. At that time, they were a big secret, because people at school did bully me often for being a "baby" or liking "baby toys" instead of makeup and clothes and such. Before friends came over, I'd clean my room and hide all of my dolls and other toys in the back of the spare bedroom closet. If people dropped by unexpectedly, I'd rush to shove everything away before getting the door. I'd pretend to hate dolls I loved or lie about playing with them to try to avoid the bullying and name calling. I'm so, so glad to be out of school now!
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    5. I think at the beginning I showed them off a little more and tested people's reactions a bit--and was more prone to get embarrassed or offended by their reactions. Now I know where people stand as far as how much they care or what their opinions are likely to be, so I'm mostly content to have it as a private hobby (I'm a pretty private person anyway). But I'm also not ashamed now to have other people see it when they come over or whatever, so I think it's a good balance. And I do have a friend or two who I can share details with when I get a new doll or something, so that's enough for me.
    6. Great topic.
      Being of the elder generation.... I must say I have actually found myself, a lot more hesitant, in telling people (outside of my family) about my dolly hobby. My dolls which mainly consist of BJD's are everything to me. I can't remember a time when I didn't have a doll or two. I just loved having daughters that I could buy dolls for and would play for hours with them. Now that they have both grown up and left home, they have no interest at all in dolls. But they know that I love my hobby and are very supportive in that.
      I am also very lucky to have such a wonderful husband that is super supportive when it comes to me wanting another BJD. I really did strike the jackpot there. I do have a couple of firm friends here in NZ that are BJD collectors and we have a lot of fun with our mutual hobby. Outside of that..... I play it by ear as to who I will tell.
    7. I had the same, except it was my little ponies. I don't think I ever grew out of playing with then or toys in general. I started collecting them seriously when I was about 11. Around that point my friends thought it was fun and we would go to school and village fetes and jumble sales to find them together, then by the time I was about 13 I was bullied a bit for it. Fast forward to when I was 20 and started collecting transformers I was at uni, with like minded people. Even if they were not toy collectors they thought it was "cool" or "that thing joey is into". So fast forward again several years to now and bjd's ...

      Collecting "kids" items is so common ace for me now that when I decided to get my first bjd I was more like to my family "look what I got! It's cute and expensive and I collect them now!" And they were all like, "Kay, it's your money" my mums been super supportive and really liked them. In fact she now wants to go to a doll meet just to "sit and look" at the pretty dolls. My grandmother thought they were adorable and loved the fact that I make clothes for them. So yeah I am pretty open about them. I know some people will think it's weird or stupid but I don't care. Ive learnt not to care over my many years of having hobbies that didn't quite fit with my peers and family's interests.
    8. Well... my family is really cool with it, though that's because my mom's older sister is a bigtime toy collector, my paternal grandmother collected porcelain and fashion dolls... and then I got into the BJD hobby with both my siblings, so I'm happy that at least in that small sphere it's practically normal.

      My online friends I tend to be pretty open with my dolls about because... well, I want to be able to sometimes blog about doll stuff, so I don't want to hide it. But my non-internet best friend I never really told about the doll collecting or showed my dolls to, and maybe I never really will-- we share other weird hobbies, the doll one has just never come up. But I have showed a couple pictures to art teachers.
    9. I'm an adult with a whole crop of different hobbies and interests, some of which are pretty off-the-wall by "normal people's" only-interested-in-sports-or-TV standards. I mean, seriously... How many people do you know who collect nautilus and ammonite shells, or can even tell you the difference? Or who'll completely geek out over the Met actually staging Janácek's Jenufa for the first time in a dog's age? So, none of my friends or relatives even raised an eyebrow when I bought my first pair of dolls. Dolls were tame compared to some of the things they've known me to get into.

      That said, I don't make a habit of going on endlessly about any of my interests when I'm talking to people who don't share them. I don't now, and I didn't when I was a newbie. It's just not polite... Just as I don't particularly care about their kids' dance lessons, or how poorly their favorite sportsball team is faring, I know they won't care about how amazing Karita Mattila is, or how impatient I am to get ahold of my Vampire Heliot. I've never hidden interests, but I don't shout them from the rooftops, either. That's not likely to change.
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