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Social Status

Nov 23, 2010

    1. Okay, so this may have been discussed, if so, please remove and direct me the right way!

      When going to my first meetup, I noticed that some people had these remarkable dolls that I know cost an arm and a leg and probably some toes from the other feet. One lady said she kept most of her dolls in the box; is this somehow showing social status? Like the difference between owning a Bobobie Tiny and a Fairyland Feeple?
      What about fullsets? Are we as BJD owners trying to creat social classes amongst ourselves???

      btw, I hope I didn't insult any BJD Owners... I have a bobobie tiny AND a Fairyland Feeple!
       
    2. I think for some, they are some what of a status symbol, they create the ability to show case one's talents to put together a
      high end well put together doll, and the love to show them off. I know some love to but the limiteds and show them off as well and they wont buy anything but them. I have seen some BJD owners look down upon other low
      cost dolls, but all in all that is a pretty rare occurrence, and i have not really encountered it personally. For me, I love the
      homemade stuff, whether it's just basic t shirts and jeans to the very elaborate costumes, because its all about what you want for your doll and yourself. I believe its a very personal hobby that has many facets to it and if someone is snooty I ignore them :)
      I love this hobby, I love the people and the hobby.
       
    3. I distinctly get the impression that there are "Social classes" in the doll world, but that's the same as in any hobby - In archery, for example, there's a difference between a Hoyt owner and a W&W owner, and there are people from both groups who consider themselves "above" speaking to the other kind of owner (Someone who shoots 570 on a cheap starter bow will lord it over someone who's spent thousands of pounds on kit to do the same, but likewise someone who spends money on his kit can talk about his superior commitment to the sport).

      It's the equivalent of Volks purists looking down on Bobobie enthusiasts, then the Bobobie enthusiasts going out and making beautiful things - And waving them in the Volks crew's faces.

      Then there's the making vs. buying debate - that I know I'm guilty of - In which people who buy fantastically expensive limited outfits and people who sew all their own thinking that the other faction are either rich, spoilt and lazy, or cheap, undercommitted and prone to producing ugly dolls.

      The other "branch" of snobbery is obviously time determined - "I remember when you had to carve missives to the companies on stone tablets, then have them shipped to Japan on the back of tamed turtles..." that one seems to only cut in one direction though - There's no cachet in saying "I got into this hobby yesterday and most dolls will ship within a few weeks..."

      It's the same everywhere, and it's never going away.
       
    4. I'd have to say in most cases, no. That type of thing would depend more on their intention than the actual items they own. Sure, people can jump to their own conclusions but that doesn't make them right. If you're getting a 'social status'-y feel from the situation it may just be your own feelings and not necessarily linked to anyone else around you.

      However, there are indeed times when that seems to be the case. But again, not by the items they own, but how they speak about those items. I guess what I'm trying to say is, it's more about the attitude than the items owned or the price of those items. The real way to know if someone is doing something purely for the social status is they will; 1. Mention the name, brand and every other detail (like how X doll was limited to only 100 in all the world!) at any chance possible to boast, even in a totally unrelated conversation, because they need that attention and assurance to feel like they have a place in the social structure. 2. Tell you (even if you don't ask or don't care) how much it cost constantly. If the person is doing none of these things constantly I find it is not them trying to show social status. For people who want to show social status, they never truly just want to 'show' it, they want to flaunt it.

      I keep my dolls in their box when not being played with. Why? I have many reasons. Among those reasons is I have two dogs, I don't want dog-hair all over my dolls, their clothes or their wigs. I really neglect to see how trying to keep something from being dirtied or broken says anything in the world about social status, I have to laugh thinking about it.
       
    5. i aggre with everything rikka_mika said
       
    6. I don't think it's very wide-spread. We're a small-ish community - especially when you look at the big picture of hobbyist in general, and doll enthusiasts in specific. That so many of us come together to share in our love of BJDs as a whole is what really drives this community. There will always be "that guy/girl" who will be an elitist or snob, and think that cheaper dolls (like a BBB tiny) aren't as good as the newest Soom tiny, or Volks, or Fairyland, or whichever. Overall, though, I don't think that we really have to worry so much about the social status of a specific doll.

      Let's face it - if we really cared about what people thought of us, would any of us be in this hobby?
       
    7. I am a bit confuse about the question.
      Keeping your doll in a box is a social status thing? Or buying dolls that cost a lot is a social status thing?
       
    8. Oh yah man, cause owning a doll is like sooo damn cool! ;)

      Hehe, I've owned dolls on the entire spectrum of prices. Usually folks just buy what they think is pretty. Most people have dolls from a bunch of companies, some folks only have dolls from a specific company. I don't think it "means" anything unless YOU (general you, no one get mad) make it into an issue.

      As for the whole keeping a doll in a box thing... I'm not sure what you meant by this but I keep all my dolls in a gigantic polka dotted trunk when I'm not doing stuff with them. But that's just to keep them out of the way and out of the sun...... and away from my cat hehe.
       
    9. I think there are divides like in any hobby. You shouldnt feel influenced negatively by other people in the hobby. If you love dolls that are cheaper than others, or clothes that arent limited etc, then thats what you love, dont feel like you have to step up, unless you feel you would like to, for instance you might have been doing face ups and see peoples that are better. Dont get down about it, just work hard at your hobby and feel satisfied by your own goals. Like Orson Wells said to Ed Wood; 'Dont spend your life making other peoples dreams'.
       
    10. I haven't done too much RL socializing with other doll folks, but I certainly wouldn't say that buying fullsets or keeping dolls in boxes have come across to me as social status activities. Owning certain brands of dolls or clothing might be lorded over someone (to be honest I've never actually seen this or experienced it so I doubt it happens all that much). I've occasionally seen a certain attitude on DoA towards fullsets or buying expensive brand name clothes that suggests those are lazy, less creative, less original, etc. Keeping dolls in boxes has never seemed to have any particular status one way or the other as far as I can tell.

      But by FAR most of the time, what I see/read is people simply talking about what they have and what they do, which is not the same thing as judging others. I think sometimes it gets misconstrued as such.
       
    11. I'd have to agree with Rika, that sometimes (sometimes!) social classes can be a product of your own feelings.

      I live in a country where we Don't Talk About Money, and people who talk about how much x cost seem to be pretty rude and often braggers. (in contrast, it's perfectly acceptable to say "I got these shoes for 50% off! Bargain!" or "I got these shoes from Number One!" (cheap shoe store.))

      So coming into this hobby, it was quite disconcerting for me to see people talking about how much they spent on dolls, people with savings counters in their signatures, etc. Particularly for people who mention how much something cost, it seemed to me like they were trying to be elitist by showing how much they have spent on things. But in most cases, it is just evidence of a cultural difference, not someone who is actually bragging and showing off.

      I do think there are some people who are a bit snobby, and look down on x company compared to y company. But I don't think that contributes to social status, as most other people don't accept that those snobs are 'elite' because they own a certain limited edition or whatever. I think that social hierarchy is dependant on people accepting the levels of status, and there is so much variety within this hobby that that is simply not the case. I myself admire people who make beautiful outfits and mod their doll in interesting ways, while there are other people who would admire a mint LE. There is such a range of taste I don't think any one type of person could be the penultimate example of bjd collector.

      I think also, because there is so much variety, sometimes something someone does - like keeping dolls in boxes - may seem weird and a symbol of elitism. I myself would prefer to have my dolls sitting where I can see them and play with them at a moment's notice, but then I can understand why other people may want to keep them clean and out of the way of pets or children. You could equally say that people who leave their dolls out are doing it as a sign of social status, because they want everyone who comes to their house to see them. Works both ways!
       
    12. I'm assuming the "keep them in the box" they mean like never taking them out? That's a value thing when you're a collector so if that's the type of owner they are primarily, then it makes sense. Some people may think they're higher dolly social status than others because of their collections I'm sure but some others think the idea is hilarious. I think the majority just buy whatever dolls they like without worrying about that though. I'm not concerned about it - I'm in this hobby for my own enjoyment not to find my place in a hierarchy that potentially exists in someone elses head. People can choose to have those views or choose not to. Doesn't stop me from owning what I want and keeping my dolls in or out of box as I see fit.

      EDIT: I've done the savings counters and I feel uncomfortable having others know my finances that well lol. But they are a good way to keep track of where you're at and in the saving up room it's inspiring to see that it WILL go up if you keep at it.
       
    13. I think it's honestly less "social status" and more an example of a different style of collecting. Many people who came over from Barbie or fashion dolls may be more comfortable either having dolls in the box or in a cabinet for display. Is this any more or less valid than the person who takes his or her doll everywhere and it never sees the inside of a box? Nope. It's simply part of how that owner enjoys his or her dolls.
       
    14. I think the OP's comment is emblematic of most of the discussion about social status/elitism among BJD collectors. Someone says something innocuous ("I keep my dolls in their boxes;" "I like Volks best;" etc.) and it is interpreted as a put-down of owners who don't keep their dolls in boxes, or who like Bobobie dolls best, or whatever. People need to stop reading so much into things and accept simple statements for what they are--statements of preference or opinion, rather than personal attacks or attempts at one-upmanship.
       
    15. I really don't see this. I've been to two meets, one was quite small (just me and another owner, 6 dolls) and the other was fairly large, (10+ owners, too many dolls to count), in both cases, the expensive dolls and the less expensive dolls were sat down next to each other and there wasn't any snobbery involved.

      There are a lot of ways people collect dolls. Some are just for display, some are for playing with. I agree with anbaachan that this is more about a perceived elitist streak in the hobby than any real elitism or snobbery. Rather than believe that others are making you feel inferior about how you collect, examine your own feelings about why you feel this way, because the way someone else collects dolls should have no bearing on how you collect them.
       
    16. I've not seen very much of this to be honest. Whether or not someone stores their bjd in a box when they aren't handling them is more just a difference in collecting style. There are also lots of owners who own dolls from a mix of price ranges, though it's important to remember that collecting dolls from only one or a very few companies or only LEs doesn't make someone a snob either. There are lots of ways to go about collecting and playing with abjds, and none are inherently better than another. People do tend to like to show off their dolls, but doll people tend to like looking at other people's dolls -- it's a hobby that involves a lot of sharing with other people, it's very social. The interactions I've had with people offline tend to be very friendly and fun -- nobody really cares what other people buy, they just like to hang out and see what other people do with their dolls.

      While there are hobby snobs in every hobby, they're really in the minority. There is a lot more concern over elitism and finger pointing and calling people elitists than there are real honest to god elitists. At this point it's probably the most misused word in the hobby. Sometimes it comes down to what people expect to see -- if they've built up in their own minds this fear that people will look down on them or that there is a lot of elitist behavior, then the tendency will be to interpret things that way.
       
    17. I know what you are talking about, and as I am in Colorado too - I may have been there! There are definitely some people in the doll community who act as if things are sort of status symbol, be it company, skill, knowledge etc. Since we cannot know what they are thinking there is no way to tell what they are really thinking! From many people I know personally I know for a fact that the elitism and snobbery does exist in the hobby, over many issues. I think on DOA they tend not to show up as much though, as that attitude is not welcome here, so they post elsewhere about it. I do not agree that it is just somebody assuming all the time. Though misunderstandings can happen of course.Another thing at meets is that sometimes people are shy and that could be misinterpreted as arrogance. I myself only talked to one or two people I did not know at the last meet. Bringing my total up to like 4 people out of the twenty or more.

      There is such a big doll community though, that you just do not have to talk or hang out with people that you do not feel are worth your time! Many of the people in the smaller doll communities dislike DOA, so they become a tight knit community that you have to make a place in, instead of just meeting cool people once in a while to hang out. I have not made a place in it for myself. It is tough to fit in and understand others in any community though. In my opinion I would prefer to meet a few fun cool people and hang out with them rather than try to make myself fit in when I don't.
       
    18. I never imagined that keeping your dolls in boxes would come off as snobby? I would have interpreted that lady's comment as a deep concern over sunlight and yellowing? I mean, if someone is really petrified of dust or light touching their doll who am I to turn around and call them a status snob? Some people are just really meticulous and super careful. If that provides them with peace of mind I am happy for them.

      Fullsets? Fullsets don't belong to a class. Can't people just buy what they like?
       
    19. Uh...what?:? Unless she was saying in a way such as "OMG, of COURSE I keep my dolls in their boxes!" and sneering at the thought of doing otherwise, it's just a personal preference and nothing else. I won't deny that there *are* people who try to use thier dolls to create social status or put people in different "classes" based on what dolls they own, but most of us just don't care. An individual's personal preference in collecting does not make them a snob or eliteist or what have you unless they *act* in a manner that conveys that attitude. The majority of the collectors in this hobby buy what they like regardless of where it's from (barring copies, of course), and don't seem too concerned with owning dolls purely as a way to show off money or status. Some people only buy Volks, some only buy Bobobie, some only buy LEs, and so on. Some like fullsets and some don't, it's all about an individual's preference, not them buying thingsthat they think will make them look better or raise some status that does not actually exist. Most of the so-called eliteism or snobbery I've seen is simply people misinterpreting things and taking other people's preferences personally.
       
    20. Another Coloradan in the mix; and I had the same reaction when I first went to a meetup. One person in particular had some VERY limited, high end, perfectly gorgeous dolls and just couldn't quite keep from mentioning it over and over. At that point in time I had the same reaction as the OP -- wondering whether my rather low-end sculpts weren't quite equal enough.

      However! having this year managed to snag a limited (although I don't know *how* limited), very expensive and perfectly gorgeous boy, I think I can now understand why she was just raving about her dolls the way she was. It was SUCH an amazingly angst-ridden, difficult (in comparison to just ordering a standard off-the-rack) and lengthy process to get him here that I just couldn't stop marvelling that I'd actually managed to land one of these boys! I think now that's what she was expressing -- because the doll in question was super-limited.

      The problem for someone new is that if you don't know what kind of odds are stacked against someone for getting one of the high-end critters, the excitement can come off as snobbery. Because you have nothing against which to measure it.

      In summary, I think there *are* a VERY, VERY few collectors who really do think themselves above others. I'm about 95% convinced now that the rest of what comes across as "elitism" is merely miscommunication and misinterpretation.

      ******************
      side point:
      I think the issue with fullsets is that they are inevitably more expensive than blank or nude dolls so no, really, lots of folks can't buy what they like. At least not when it's first available. Given that expense it's often either the wealthier collectors or sheer dumb luck to have funds available at that particular moment who get the fullsets -- it has the unintentioned result of dividing who gets what somewhat along socioeconomic classes. ... But not always.