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Respect for Dolls

May 1, 2012

    1. Did a few searches and really didn't find anything along this line, but, feel free to merge/delete/etc. if something like this does in fact exist already. As a disclaimer, this is intended for just a general conversation, not a debate. :)

      I let my partner borrow my girls for his final photography project. It was a bit of a risque thing (each of the girls nude in front of a collage of real women), but I gave him my blessing and asked only that he keep the shots of the girls artistic. He had an in-progress critique of the project the other day, and called me up ranting about his classmates. Apparently they had insisted on raunchy poses for the girls and urged him to go for it, even if he had to sneak around behind my back to shoot.

      I was surprised when he told me he kept explaining to them that he couldn't do that--not only for my sake, but the dolls' as well. He said that as he was spending time with the girls and photographing them, he really saw their personalities arise and gained a larger respect for them. Still, his peers kept on with, "They're just dolls, you can do whatever you want to them."

      On one level, I do understand that they're "just" dolls--I don't think they have souls, and I can totally own that the personalities/emotions they embody are things I project onto them. But even still, the thought of my girls splayed out for people to gawk at bothers me. They ARE my personal art collection, they embody my characters, and while they are just "things," they are things that I've invested a lot of personal time and effort into.

      So: Have any of you ever dealt with something like this? How did (or would) you feel about it? Do you think dolls merit our respect (for one reason or another)?
    2. I believe all living- and non-living beings deserve respect. Because even if they aren't alive, the makers and the owners love them and put a lot of effort into them. Treating them respectless is like showing no respect to the human beings involved with them.
    3. what i see here is not only your partner's respect for your dolls but also his respect for you and your wishes. i have to wonder if the people doing the critique would have also insisted that live models do raunchy poses and such. i also have to wonder at the states of their relationships since they were trying to get your partner to do something you explicitly asked him not to. kudos to your partner for standing up to them.

      as to the broader questions of respecting dollies, i spend a lot of time and effort on my girl. i would be hella pissed if someone treated her poorly just because she's a doll and not a living thing. this is a character i've had for more than a decade. a lot of me has gone into her.
    4. Unfortunately, it even happens at meets by people who should know better. I've had and seen dolls snatched up and put into compromising positions without asking permission of the owner. With some people not familiar with BJDs, they go as wild as some people do with Barbies or naked action figures. Nudity they can play with without consequences seems to make them giddy!

      But who knows, maybe down the road one of those gits will remember the dolls and look into them while in a calmer state of mind!
    5. I agree and disagree, I guess. It's not the doll who needs to be respected, it's the owner. If someone does questionable things to someone's possession, they are being rude to that person, and that is wrong. I guess that implies that if someone found a BJD abandoned by its owner, they could do what they want with it and there couldn't possibly be any chance of disrespecting someone... Except, of course, for themselves, because the things you do always reflect on you. However, in this scenario, I would still feel bad for the doll! So I guess I wish people would respect both dolls and owners, but I believe that only the people really must be respected.
    6. I think that, in a way, I might have respect for a doll or other piece of art. I mean, I could have respect for the intentions and vision of the artist (or doll owner) and not want to use the art/doll in a way that would go against those intentions and vision. If someone put together a doll that was meant to be a modest personality, I would not want to take a photo of it in a raunchy pose because it would seem disrespectful to the creator and the beauty of the creation.
    7. This is a tough questions. First of all it's awesome he stood up for you and respecting your wishes.
      I guess doll respect comes down to personal choice.
      Maybe it's psychological, but I won't let a doll be naked around people, I try to keep them modest and always make sure they atleast wear underwear. The doll isn't going to care, it's an object but I feel to put it in sexual poses for people to laugh at would just dissrespect it. These dolls were made to be so realistic, and it's bad enough that some people are disturbed by doll private parts - to see people posing them in ways like that would just add to it. I guess it comes down to respecting someone else's property.
      Weather it's a doll or a house. Just because it can't feel doesn't mean that you shouldn't respect it and it's owner. Ive heard stories of people snatching dolls out of people hands and throwing them around.
      They go 'Whats the big deal, it's just a doll'
      The big deal is, it isn't some toy. It's a doll that is fragile and was very expensive.
      The word doll doesn't give you to right to do whatever you please with someone else's posession.
    8. Just as hobbywhelmed stated, there are immature people out there who just get goofy around nudity. These are the same idiots who do stupid things, giggle, point, make rude gestures, when around classic art featuring nudity. If your boyfriend wasn't being disrespectful of your wishes or your property, I would try not to let it get to you. Maybe this will help...a couple of years ago, one of my friends taught me the wisest saying, "You can only control your actions, not other's reactions." It's taken me most of my life to really get this concept, but I remind myself of this phrase whenever I feel myself railing against things I have no control over and it helps me move on.

      Juli DC
    9. I agree with the general sentiments of the people here. It's about respect for other people's items and respect for things--period. And it reveals a bit (of nothing so good) about other people that they wish to control things that can't speak for themselves and are under their control (and some people will treat living things this way--plants and animals!).

      If an owner wants to pose their dolls in raunchy positions, that's one thing. I think some people get an extra kick out of doing it to someone else's property for some reason. And it's worse if it's in a group of people so they can show off or egg each other on... and it's not their stuff, so they REALLY don't care!

      I don't think it affects the doll so much as the owner and their relationship to the doll. The owner will know about the abuse and will have to deal with it. If the owner is very sensitive, they can project feelings and it can make them feel very badly... so it can be very much as if the doll itself had feelings, as far as the owner is concerned (even if they KNOW the doll is just a doll).

      A disrespect of things belonging to someone IS disrespect for the owner--- so that can make sense of all this, without getting into the whole "do dolls have feelings" issue. It would be bad if anyone who borrowed something did things you wouldn't approve of with your property. You may not even be told about what happened, but even thinking someone wouldn't be careful of what you loaned them would matter. It would be like guests to your home who were careless, or someone who borrowed a nice piece of clothing who started doing something that could damage it. Even if nothing got damaged, you'd lack some trust in them. And you'd wonder how much they cared about you--even if things were only things and couldn't feel anything.

      Interesting subject.
    10. Wow! You guys have all brought up really excellent points. I think you may have pinpointed why it bothered me so much. There's definitely that "no respect for possessions = no respect for owner" element at hand with this.

      They went on about how the explicit shoot would be "for art," and I understand pushing boundaries for art, but... when it comes to (to me) degrading my own art collection for art? That I'm not so much on board for. Besides that, I already have enough of a stigma to deal with anyway--I'd much rather people refer to my girls as "those creepy dolls" versus "those sexy dolls". :sweat

      julidc: I'm super proud to say my partner HAS been respectful of my wishes. I think that as he worked on the project, he really started seeing bjds as more than just dolls--again, as art, and as something very precious to me. (He's the best. <3) And it isn't that I've been stewing over his peers' reactions (as unsettling as they were); rather, I've just been trying to figure out what about their reactions bothered me so much.

      I think it is the disregard to my wishes and, you know, the little fact that they're my dolls.

      Even worse, though: I can't believe people at meets can be disrespectful like that, too! o__o Just snatching dolls up and doing as they please. I can understand the fluttering giddiness at first seeing a doll without printed-on underwear, but come on! :doh
    11. I think your partner did a great thing by telling you what happened.

      It sounds silly, but if I were to give my dolls to a friend for something - and this friend usually photographed their dolls in a risque fashion - I would hope the friend respect my concerns and not do it to my dolls, not even on the sly.

      I would hope that they would respect my wishes because they're representatives of my characters. Yes, they might be using my dolls as models, and they might be posing nude with real people, but if I don't want them involved in anything sexual, they better not be.

      If someone did go against my wishes, I would be really upset. I gave this person my dolls to use in good faith, we had an agreement of how they were to be used, and then they went against my wishes. These characters mean something to you. Those other people have no idea who your characters are, and what they represent; they could probably care less as to whether these dolls were representing dare devils or modest people.

      Like others have said, it doesn't really matter that they're dolls - they're your property, and you can definitely dictate what you want done with your stuff if someone else asks to borrow it. They're borrowing it under your conditions. It's your call to give them carte blanche to do whatever they want, or to set some limits.

      You're fortunate that your partner understood what your dolls meant to you - maybe knew the characters - and stuck up for you. That shows someone who can respect your property and your wishes, and someone you can trust your dolls with next time.

      Like others have said, some people think it's entertaining to get people's dolls to do raunchy poses. People don't realize that not everyone is interested in having their dolls do this, no matter the reason given by the one who wants to do it. If you want to do it to your own dolls, go ahead; I have no idea behind why you want to do it - it may very well be a character thing, because I've seen some dolls portraying characters who don't mind going around nude - but have some sense to know that not everyone wants to engage in a competition of sexy poses with you. Some people see their dolls as just dolls, and others see them as representing characters that you may or may not know about.
    12. like everyone already said, its great that he stood up to those people for your sake and for the dolls sake!
      I personally think it should be a natural thing to have respect for objects as well as for other people and their wishes. Just the other day i saw a little boy smashing a vase against a wall to break it because someone left it on the street and it has no further use whatsoever. It makes me so sad to see those things and that is just a vase! this is a doll we're talking about! Because you don't know what the doll means to the owner (wich could be the world) you should treat it with respect and with that you show respect for the owner.
    13. I can honestly say that I wouldn't care if someone I gave permission to handle or keep my dolls arranged them or photographed them in porny ways. Whatever floats your boat. My roommate likes to surprise me sometimes by rearranging my Thor and Loki action figure collection into elaborate orgy scenes, and I am always impressed by what he manages to achieve lol They're just dolls and action figures. They don't have rights or feelings to exploit, and my characters aren't at all tied to the doll. The doll's 3D fanart, and if they're pictured doing something out of character, it's just bad OOC fanart.

      What would bother me is if they were handled roughly or in a way that could be damaging to the doll, and you can do that just as easily by standing them up as you can by having them enact the reverse cowgirl. Or if they were handled without my permission at all. That's not an issue about respecting the doll, however. It's about respecting me and not damaging my property.
    14. I think that respect for the owner's wishes is the most important thing here, like with any item. If you're borrowing, looking after or otherwise using someone else's property you should understand and abide by any wishes they have about what you can and can't do with it. That just seems like basic level decency to me.
    15. For me, it would depend on the dolls involved, their character or their age. I would be equally annoyed if someone I didn't know came and arranged my dolls without my permission, but as far as raunchy poses go, some of my dolls might quite enjoy it. I got very angry when a housemate of mine, who was a complete idiots, wrote a nasty word on one of my doll boxes that I use as storage, but had he come into my room and fiddled with my dolls, I think I'd be less angry as long as he caused no damage, and used dolls who wouldn't mind.

      That said, I have a very prudish doll who hates even to be undressed, and if someone were to put him into a raunchy pose I'd feel violated on his behalf. He's also underaged and rather childish, so it feels even weirder.

      I think the thing that makes me most uncomfortable is seeing childish dolls in sexual poses. I don't like to see Littlefees, for example, in overtly sexual positions, because I associate those dolls with children. Usually this comes from non BJD people who don't understand that the dolls usually embody childish characters, so simply see them as pieces of plastic which are fun to pose in a silly way. I don't have any childish dolls, but I'm planning on getting a young girl character doll who's about twelve, and would hate it if someone put her into sexy poses with one of my older boys. Does anyone else feel like this or am I being a bit oversensitive, I wonder?
    16. From a property point of view, if the owner says "no, don't, it makes me uncomfortable", that shouldn't be up for negotiation, and you don't need to justify yourself. They're your dolls; being able to photograph them is a privilege, and I'm glad your partner understood and respected that.

      As for respecting the rights of the doll itself - I guess this depends on how a person feels about their dolls? For myself, there are some things that make me feel irrationally upset when I see them disrespected or damaged. Books are one, dolls are another. (I hate seeing books with the cover or pages torn off. >_>) Yes, they're inanimate and have no feelings, but they represent more than their component parts - there was a lot of time and effort and concept planning that went into them, and as of such they deserve some care.
    17. It's a question of common sense. When the item doesn't belong to you and you are borrowing it, you should only do what you have been permitted to do. Good thing your boyfriend stood up to those people.

      I have posed two of my older dolls in more explicit ways and to me it's art. I make a distinction between porn and loving sexual acts. It's all a question of context.

      I would find it gross and ill placed to pose 'children' dolls in the same fashion. It would REALLY bother me. Just like it really bothers me when I see a guy in his 20's and up, collecting little girl anime figurines or displaying those as his wallpaper.... (then again maybe I'm weird...?)
      It would bother me if anyone did anything to my dolls that I forbade them to do. I am already very difficult about people touching my dolls.

      Respect is in the eye of the beholder. Just make sure you define your boundaries before letting someone touch what belongs to you.

      Unfortunately, it seems that even within the hobby, there are some people who when touching another persons doll, lose all sense of understanding of the saying "Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.".
      I personally barely touch other people's dolls. I look at them and take pictures but I don't tend to touch them. That's just me. It's too expensive a hobby to risk someone else's joy in life. I've had someone pretend to run off with my doll. A few steps further and I might have gone berserk on her. lol :lol:
    18. I'm so glad we have a community of caring and courteous people, by and large.

      Whether your dolls are cabinet babies or beloved playthings, they are an embodiment of your thoughts and feelings, an investment of time and money, and worthy of just as much respect as any other person's belongings. If a person doesn't respect your dolls and what they mean to you, in some meaningful way they probably don't respect you either.
    19. For me, something like that is really more about respect for the person than the dolls. I respect my dolls, but I have no problem with sexual photoshoots IF it is something they would do in character, and IF the owners of the other doll(s) (if any) are okay with it. I find it VERY disrespectful to take pictures or put dolls in poses against an owner's wishes, no matter what the pose is. To me, putting my doll in a sexual pose with another doll the character would NEVER be with is just as offensive to me as any out of character pose, whether it's making Amir cuddle another doll he doesn't like or putting Olli with a bunch of tines (he HATES kids with a passion) or a pic of Heath eating a hamburger (he's strict vegan). This is really an issue of character to me, though. My dolls' characters are as important to me as the shell itself and the story/personality does NOT change from role play to writing to doll form to photoshoot. I find it highly disrespectful for anybody to just grab my doll and start forcing poses without asking first.
    20. ^This.

      I was raised to always take care of the things that I have, as well as the things I borrow. To be respectful of other people and to appreciate the things around myself. The kindness and care projected onto others, and objects, shows a level of maturity. It also shows that you can be trusted. (I.E "deeds, not words")

      If I was in a position like your partner, I would have acted just as maturely and respectfully. I probably would have said something much sharper and 'meaner' to make them drop the subject as well. For one, I don't like rude comments about my art in general. It's very degrading, and not helpful. Especially if it is a classroom enviroment, or workplace. Second, criticism isn't criticism if it isn't in some way constructive! (I write a total of 12-16 critiques a week! I know what real, constructive criticism is!)

      And lastly...No means NO. Jeez. That seems to be the hardest word for people to understand.