Why is there no term for our subculture?

Sep 26, 2011

    1. This is just something that I've been wondering about, and something I run into every time I try to explain to non-doll-people how those of us in the hobby relate to each other, and the culture of ABJD collectors...

      It's kind of strange when you think about it. Japanese manga/animation fans are called "otaku;" Star Trek enthusiasts are called "Trekkies;" fans of Dr. Who are called "Whovians"... heck, even fetishists have self-originating titles for their respective subcultures. But not us.

      It's not like we don't have common practices and traditions, and ways of looking at what we do and relating to each other--so why haven't we adopted a name for all that? Do you think it's a resistance to categorization in general by people who are already self-conscious about their differences from mainstream culture? Is it because of a lack of cohesion in the subculture? (i.e. one set vehemently disliking being associated with anime/yaoi/erotic photography and extremely offended when they're identified with other types of doll owners, yaoi/otaku people bristling at the extreme offense taken by others) <-- [that's my theory] Or is it just that nobody's thought of it? Or something else entirely?

      I don't know about the rest of you, but I propose that we be called "Dollers". Doll ownership can be a very active hobby--painting faceups, making clothes and accessories, staging photoshoots--I already call that "dolling" to people. Plus it's a homophone of that unit of currency we spend so much of. XD;
       
    2. I think collecting these dolls appeals to a very diverse group of people who would not necessarily like being lumped together under a catch-all term.
       
    3. And even if there was a term we'd still have to explain to non-doll people what it meant. So why bother using a term that I'll still have to explain anyway, when I can just do that from the get go.
       
    4. I call us doll people.
      But when something gets a term, it's usually because it's a group that has a lot in common. BJD collectors are very diverse and besides the dolls, we usually don't have that much in common, while subcultures usually dress in a similar way and have more than one thing in common, including a state of mind.
       
    5. Eh I usually go by the term Collectors. or even doll collectors sometimes. Yes Abdjd's are different from oh say a porcelain doll but they still are dolls/toys none the less. Essentially the only thing holding us together is that we like/collect dolls. Other than that we're al pretty diverse so you really couldn't call it a sub culture persay.
       
    6. I've often used the term 'doll people'. It's shorter than saying "other collectors of asian ball jointed dolls".

      Also I've totally never heard the term "whovians" but I get what your saying anyway ~_^

      I think that the hobby is still growing and maybe we just haven't reached the stage when people start trying to identify themselves as belonging to a unique group.

      The varying tastes of us as a group should not prohibit a catch-all term in the slightest.
      For instance, people have called me a Trekkie cuz I own a lot of Star Trek and I watch it on TV. However, I'm completely different from the Trekkie who teaches herself to speak Klingon and goes to conventions as Warf.

      Its the same for the varying opinions on "What is Steampunk?" and "What is Lolita?" Disagreement on this happens all the time, but people still associate themselves with the terms if they choose.

      I wouldn't mind having a more specific term to differentiate our group from people who, say, collect and customize Barbie or people who collect and refurbish Antique Dolls.

      I don't think that "Dollers" would accomplish this goal, and it would add an additional layer of confusion in conversation cuz then I'd have to spell it to people.
       
    7. Hmmm...I enjoy manga and Star Trek, but I don't think you could call me either an "otaku" or a "Trekkie." Those terms seem to imply a sort of obsessive passion that I just don't have. Same goes for the dolls--I like them a lot, but not so much that they define me. So I would call myself a "doll collector," but nothing beyond that!
       
    8. I agree that doll collectors are a very diverse group, but now that you mention it, I am surprised that there's not a specific term for it. Especially since abjd's began in Japan. They are very adept at giving niche subcultures or hobbies a name.
       
    9. I think you've pretty much got it there. Many of us (though by no means all) are already part of subcultures. Goths, punks, steampunks, otaku, SCA people, and various other groups are already given the side-eye by plenty of 'normal' people. Adding another label to that doesn't really help, especially when we're already being eyed a little harder for collecting creepy, expensive dolls and (sometimes) treating them like they're people.

      The cohesion issue is another part of it. There are a good number of doll people (which is what I call us, too) who don't want to be associated with 'those people', whatever their definitions of 'those people' are. The problem is, unlike other groups/hobbyists/subcultures, where 'those people' are generally a specific group with easily defined behaviour who give the rest of the group a bad name (creepy otaku girl/guy drooling over RL gay/lesbian couple at a con, I am looking at you. Annoying goth who insists that they are a for realz 300 year old vampire, I am looking at you, too. Elitist steampunk who insists that yours is the One True Way/Vision and everyone else is WRONG and STUPID and BAD, I am most certainly looking at you.), for us, 'those people' could be anyone. For that reason, people who collect these dolls are less likely to want to be known under one collective term, because who knows who 'those people' are to them?

      To clarify a bit, take the extreme, badly behaved yaoi/yuri fans within the otaku subculture, for example. Most people who are NOT that kind of person, especially if they happen to be a yaoi/yuri fan themself, are absolutely mortified to be associated with the idiot going around harassing a RL homosexual couple at a con and/or hitting people with yaoi/yuri paddles and trying to get cosplayers to make out for their amusement. For us, there's not so much that kind of "most of us are like this and this, and the ones that aren't are 'those people', who we don't want to be associated with." We're all very different to one another, so there's a much less cohesive group than in other fandoms and much more room for someone to find a large swathe of the group to be their personal definition of 'those people'. That makes it much more difficult to apply an overall label or group name to the fandom at large, as, like you said, there are plenty of people who vehemently dislike being associated with one group or another within the hobby, and plenty of 'those people' bristling at being the ones someone else doesn't want to associate with. It's far easier to not even try to come up with a name than to leave everyone giving everyone else the stink-eye and pouting because "OMG, I am NOT LIKE THEM, stop labeling meee! I am not one of those awful/creepy/weird Xs, can't you see that? *gets offended*"

      Another thing, before I forget: I don't know if I would call us a subculture, exactly. A fandom, yes, but I'm not sure about a subculture, as those tend to have specific ideals, interests, styles of dress and other things to which the group or most of the group subscribe. We don't have that, as doll collectors range far and wide in age, sex/gender, style of dress and many, many other things.

      TL;DR: Yes, I think it's because we're a less cohesive group than others and there are far too many little groups of people within the hobby who would bristle and complain at being lumped together under one term. (Especially not if that term is something like "Dollers". Eugh. I know *I* don't want to be called a "doller". "Doll people"/"doll collectors" is good enough for me. It describes what we are without being overly childish or cutesy, and further clarification can be made easily if someone outside the hobby wants to know what *kind* of dolls we collect.)
       
    10. "Dollers" sounds like some sickly-cutesy pun made up by that annoying guy in your office who makes up nicknames for everybody. We're doll collectors or doll people; call it like it is. I see no reason to give people an even smaller pigeonhole to shove me into than they already do.
       
    11. Last I heard, the term "doller" referred to people who wear those animegao/kigurumi cosplay costumes with character masks so they look like full-size anime toys walking around. (Google it and see. )
       
    12. *shrug* I really don't see the point of a term, nor of what seems to be an attempt to become 'internet famous' by coining one. We collect BJDs. Not everyone collects the same dolls or collects in the same way, so some catch-all moniker really won't suit.
       
    13. I agree wholeheartedly with JennyNemesis - we are, essentially, collectors. I don't think it gets any simpler than that. The thing that ties all of us BJD collectors together is that we love the same type of extremely customizable doll - in fact I would go so far as to say one of the reasons that the culture here is so diverse is because people like to customize their dolls to fit into whatever sub-culture they already associate themselves with - be it Lolita, Steampunk or even Trekkie. ^_~
       
    14. I collected all types of dolls before I found BJD and I must say unlike the other dolls I collected BJD are so much more. So I don't think of them as dolls as dolls indicates something to me that is collected for either value investment or something one plays with as a child. I do play with them, and I am careful with them due to the value I put into them and not just dollar amounts. So I prefer guardian. As I protect them, care for them and love them.
       
    15. *giggle* I hear that. Besides which, "dollers" sounds a lot like what we don't have a lot of left over, after we indulge our hobby! ;)

      Sorry, just had to do it :)
       
    16. The BJD community revolves around collecting specific objects, as opposed to otaku or Trekkies who follow media and may also collect things related to that media on the side. Most collector groups don't have any sort of specific name -- whether it's coins, stamps, model trains, etc. They're just called ____ collectors.

      Pretty simple to me.
       
    17. I call myself a 'doll person'. Just like a 'dog person' who likes and enjoys all breeds and types of dogs, I like and enjoy all types of dolls. BJD's are my favorite, but I also have a collection of antique composition dolls and porcelain dolls. So for me, the term works.

      Of course my family and friends call me a 'doll nut' but it's a term of endearment so I don't mind!
       
    18. Ok, this is great. Or at least great in our bizarre little home ;)

      I just shared part of this thread with my hubby. He made appropriate noises of amusement and said:

      "Resinates." :D

      *ba-dum!*
       
    19. Just a note for those amongst us who think that 'otaku' is a positive term: In Japanese culture an 'otaku' basically translates to what you imagine the stereotypical comicbook/computer nerd to be. It is not a good word! We have misappropriated it in much the same way that Japanese culture misappropriated the term 'Lolita.' (And if you don't believe me about this one, look up Vladimir Nobokov's book of the same name.)

      Does it really matter if we have a name or not at the end of the day? I'm a collector. I collect ABJD (Amongst other things) I don't really need a badge of pride for my hobby.

      Besides, as soon as there is a badge for the hobby, we'll get people going "Well, you don't have enough dolls to be a real BJD-er. So you're not." We've seen it happen in most subculture.
       
    20. I kinda see bjd collectors kinda like dog breeders... we all do the same things in just about all the same way but we all end up with different breeds of dolls based on what we wanted from the start.
      There really isn't a term for the dog breeding sub culture, so that's why I don't see us needing them.

      also you're looking at Doctor Who, Star Trek, we could even pull in my little pony and "bronies" now. These are all specific shows with specific themes.

      So where I think this idea of terms in our culture is the sub cultures of company collectors. I think of soom collectors and the term "Soomed"

      That's the only place that I can thank that I've seen it.


      that being said, I tend to just call everyone "doll(y) people"