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Those eyes...are we obsessed with beauty?

Sep 14, 2008

    1. God, I want to be new age in a good way! I want to value each person I meet based on who they are and what they've learned. Who am I, to be overthrown by a beautiful face? So why do we love these beauties so much? How do we make that work, with everything we know about loving what's within, about forgiveness and the open mind? My daughter's doll looks like she could cheerfully raise her resin middle fnger at the world! Why shouldn't she? She's the prettiest thing there is. But I don't value people for their looks...or do I, after all? Help me out of this one.
    2. I'm not sure what the actual debate question is here... People are different from dolls. In a person, you should try to value what's within. But in a doll, there is no "what's within". There is no "inner beauty", because it's an inanimate object. It's just an inanimate object that happens to resemble a person.

      Just because one can appreciate a beautiful piece of art doesn't mean they can't also appreciate the inner beauty of real people.

      So... yeah. I'm not really sure what the debate is, here.
    3. The debate is - how do we reconcile our love of pure beauty (usually young beauty) with what we know to be to be true - society abuses youth, beauty can become a playing card, those who have no (socially relavant) beauty may be reviled - with all we want from the resin doll? Who are we? The tormented few, who know how exclusion feels, or the generous accepted, who extend to anyone the merit badge of belonging (where were they, when I was young)?
    4. I don't think there's a need to reconcile the two. I appreciate the beauty I find in other people, in animals, in nature, in art, in everything else, which includes dolls. In real life I might think, 'he's gorgeous but not really a nice person on the inside,' but with dolls I can appreciate their flawlessness without worrying about such things.
    5. If you see a beautiful painting or dress that you can afford, don't you buy it?

      If a doll is ugly, it is ugly. There is no need for guilt over not finding 'inner beauty'. It has none.

      I was one of the 'excluded' all through school so I find it very difficult to ascribe any true emotion in a doll. I do not feel bad for loving their beauty anymore than I would a fine vase or chandelier. it is what they are made for, no one would buy an ugly doll. Unless they have an odd love for the grotesque. But I am glad(for personal reasons) that certain grotesque dolls are not allowed on the forums.
    6. Beauty is only a word and its inner meaning will be different for all the people you'll ask about it.
      It's a concept, it's changing ...

    7. A doll is not going to feel left out if I don't like it because it's ugly. A doll also doesn't have any features other than looks to attract me -- it's not like I'm going to buy a doll for its glowing personality or brilliant sense of humor, I'm going to buy it because I like how it looks.

      I don't see that there's anything to debate here, since, uhh, dolls aren't people. My choices and opinions regarding dolls don't impact my interactions with people, in particular.
    8. I like a lot of doll sculpts that people think are ugly. I'd love to see more older dolls, more realistic dolls, more dolls that don't look like some youthful beautiful ideal. There's beauty in young beautiful people, there's beauty in old experienced wise people, and hopefully some day BJDs or this vaunted "Asian aesthetic" or whatever will encompass all of it. So even if we could equate dolls and people, your first post doesn't really apply to me.

      I have noticed that there are some collectors who are obsessed with just having or creating tons of pretty-pretty boys and/or girls, and this thread is a good reminder that people's attitudes about dolls don't necessarily carry over to their attitudes about real live people, because otherwise I would get a little creeped out by how some people just need to have everything cookie-cutter "pretty".
    9. If I see something that has a great deal of care, craftsmanship, and attention to detail put into it I generally appreciate it. If those qualities also apply to my own personal aesthetic tastes then I see something as beautiful and if it's something made by hand then to me it's art.

      Also, as others have said, I don't associate my doll preferences with my real-life interactions. Dolls and people aren't the same to me at all.
    10. I think that even for dolls, the cliche "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" remains true. Each person here has a different aesthetic preference. Some of us love certain sculpts that others hate, and vice-versa.

      Example: I have very little love for Volks because I think most of them have a "generic" doe-eyed anime face.
    11. The only way I can really think to compare a doll's "inner beauty" is to compare it to their personality/character... Question is still a bit confusing...
    12. The only inner beauty in a doll is the one its owner projects into it. So no, it's not selfish to look for beauty in our art form- the only inner beauty in a piece of sculpture is the intent. I can't go after a particular sculpt because it's a sparkling conversationalist or donates to charity or doesn't stare at strangers-- but I can note that it has a smirk I like, or a well shaped jaw, or has 'cute' childlike proportions. Things I can see, I can categorise whether I like them or not, or whether I'm ambivalent.

      I'm not typically chosen to be one of these 'included' ones I hear tell of, but my doll is an art object. If the character is imperfect, it's reflected through its actions, in its personality, or on the canvas of the doll itself. It doesn't come with these imperfections from the start- it's a blank canvas. And how can I fault a piece of white drawing paper for being 'generically pretty' or 'generically blank'? I'll certainly draw on other things, other texures and colours and weights and materials, but maybe what I'm craving right now is a sheet of printer paper to mark up as I please.
    13. It reminds me that a few months ago I bought for a very fair price a doll that had stains all along the legs. It's pretty ugly :) it's maybe some clothes or shoes that did it to the poor girl, but still even if i knew it, I baught the doll cause for me she was exactly the carachter I wanted her to be... and because she's really not perfect, she is very special to me, she have her own personnality... i'm not crazy saying that, but i'm the 6th owner of the girl which means she is a little old and... used, but i love her because she is that.

      She is the most beautiful girl i could ever had and it's only a Obitsu 60cm with stained vinyl on legs.

    14. The perception of 'beauty' is subjective. Each person has their own idea of what is beautiful. While some sculpts are more popular than others, not everyone will agree that they are beautiful. It's perfectly fine to like/dislike a sculpt on face value as dolls are dolls. They don't have a personality. They're literally hollow inside, there is no 'inner beauty'. The backstory someone creates for a doll can enhance them as a whole, but in the end dolls are just dolls, and it's ok if you don't appreciate them as a person, because...they are not people! You aren't going to hurt the doll's feelings by calling it names or throwing it against the wall. It's an inanimate object. It doesn't have beliefs or dreams.
      It doesn't make a person shallow to enjoy the aesthetics of a doll simply because it's pleasing to the eye.
    15. I think this is more "discussion" than "debate", but I just wanted to say that beauty isn't everything, even in a doll. To me a blandly beautiful doll is kind of boring. One expects a doll to be beautiful, in fact an ugly doll is kind of an anathema, like what's the point? It's not like they have "inner beauty" like people. That being said (jeez I hate that catchphrase but what did we say before it I can't recall), some people find 'character' in even a homely doll's appearance. However, it's all projection, obviously a doll is an empty shell.

      I've read some studies of peoples' perceptions of beauty and it's usually about facial proportions and symmetry, with a dash of neoteny thrown in, and the anthropologists/sociologists/psychologists can even diagram these things out point by point. It's apparently cross-cultural spanning humankind, so it's not just you who appreciates a 'pretty' face. Everyone does.

    16. I'm not sure if I've understood the OP, but what I hear, here, is concern about fetishizing beauty. It's not necessarily guilt about whether dolls specifically have inner beauty, but what we are about when we celebrate all that exterior beauty in a doll.

      I'll go out on a limb and say beauty in dolls is not just aesthetic "prettiness," but carries a lot of symbolic freight. In dolly-land, beauty has meaning, and gets used as an index for qualities we value. Manly force gets represented in those strong eyebrows. Sensitivity comes through in a tender mouth, or a certain "look" the faceup artist gives the eyes.

      I think we use the doll, which is "all surface," to signal the deep things we love and value in human beings. In this sense, the painted doll-face becomes a trompe l'oeil, "revealing" a soul.

      (Dude. Whut?)
    17. This is kind of an interesting side point. We are genetically engineered to be attracted to a pretty face... it has to do with passing on stronger genes. A strongly asymmetrical face is interpreted by our brains as having "undesirable" genes. We are attracted to features like large eyes because children have large eyes and it triggers a "cute, protective" effect. We studied that in one of my college courses, but it's been a while. =P
    18. I think green_judy makes a lot of sense. It's not merely a question of whether a doll is "pretty" or not, it's all about the ability of the viewer to find in a sculpt aspects that, in their mind, connect to something they're looking for (whatever the reason). So what I as a collector look for in dolls is different from what another collector looks for not simply because I "like" a certain sculpt or style of sculpt better than another, but because the things I'm looking for in the sculpts are different. This doesn't mean either of us is "buying into" some kind of stereotype of beauty - we're simply responding to what appeals to us, as individuals, in a given context.

      I think this is also part of why we see so many collectors who choose dolls of the same sculpt doing very different things with them - different people are identifying the aspects of the dolls with different desired qualities, and so the end results end up being, naturally different. If I'm looking for a hard-bitten soldier, I might choose Abadon, because I can see something in the shape of his eyes, his jaw, his lips, that can be bitter, scarred, tired, aged not by years but by experience. And another collector might choose Abadon because they can see someone regal, tender, protective, someone who cares deeply for their lover, someone who would go through hell to guard the person they care about. We're looking at the same sculpt, but we're responding to a different base, as far as what we want in a doll, and so despite settling on the same sculpt we see totally different possibilities.
    19. Well said. I think that, to some extent, people are drawn to a particular doll by, not the pure aesthetics of the sculpt, but rather what they see in its character. We are most attracted to the inanimate objects that symbolize, even if only to ourselves, what we most desire in life. By the same token, things that symbolize that which we fear or despise are considered ugly.

      I dislike Hound, because I know what it means to go hungry. I adore Iplehouse's Iris because of the gentleness and peace I see in her face. Does this mean either sculpt is better or worse than the other? No, because what I see in them has nothing to do with the doll itself and everything to do with my perceptions.
    20. Well you can't really find the "inner beauty" in dolls that you can find in people, can you? Unless you are to buy an ugly doll and give it a shining personality. People do that too.

      But just like a rug, a lamp, a table, these are all judged by looks. People often mix up the doll world and real life. Your thoughts about things in the real world don't always translate to the doll/hobby world. Put simply, you're allowed to examine a doll like a piece of furniture and find the aesthetic characteristics that you like in it. Beauty or not. In the real world that is called 'shallow'.