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Why the "Animosity" From (Some) Non-Doll People? (Revised opening post)

Jan 15, 2011

    1. To start, I know a lot of people have come into this thread saying that they've never had to deal with any difficulties from non-doll people. I don't mean to say that everyone has had a negative encounter with someone not versed with the BJD hobby, but I know a good number of us have had something happen.

      It could be from your friends, it could be from your family, it could be from your co-workers. For a lot of us, someone has been critical about our choice of hobby. Many times, it's due to the price. Other times, it's due to the fact that the majority of us are "too old" to be "playing with" dolls. Some think that we have unlimited funds, and sometimes people think that we're crazy, old doll ladies (like the kind you see in horror movies).

      Sometimes the dislike comes from a deeper place that can't be helped, such as a phobia, but I believe much of the dislike stems from confusion towards something they don't really understand; somewhere down the line, they probably don't feel like sorting through all the information about who collectors tend to be, what we do with our dolls, and why the hobby is important to us, and decide that it's just a waste.

      So, why do you think the main reason people sometimes get annoyed with BJD hobbyists?

      Have you ever encountered someone who put down the BJD hobby for some reason?

      If you're one of those people who have had people eventually accept your hobby, how long did it take, and in your opinion, what made them come to terms with it?
    2. I've actually had this conversation with a "non-doll person."

      I think non-doll people simply don't understand or see the draw. Which is all well and good, until they learn how much this hobby actually costs. We can say that all hobbies are expensive until we're blue in the face, the fact of the matter is that non-doll people don't see why we spend upwards of $700 on a piece of plastic that doesn't do much more than sit on a shelf, or wherever we put it, and look pretty.

      Also, a lot of non-doll people see spending so much money on something that does so very little (in their eyes), when there are a lot of things that money could be spent on (differing from place to place, and country to country). I know in America/United States that there's a bit of a recession, so spending hundreds of dollars on dolls makes a lot of people wince, even if we actually have the money to do so, and not totally mess up our budgeting.

      Being that the people who oppose or disapprove of the hobby are often our friends and family, it's most likely just that they worry about us. They don't see the draw, they don't see why we spend so much on these dolls, and they don't want us making choices we may later regret with our money. In most markets, second-hand items cost much less than first-hand items, and often they don't expect much of a return if we should decided to sell our dolls.

      TL;DR - Most people think it's a waste of money, and that we shouldn't be spending so much when we get "so little" in return. ^^;
    3. I think it may have something to do with the fact that non-doll people mainly see dolls as children's toys and that also a lot of non-doll people are afraid of them. But there's also the money thing, like bewaretheshort1 mentioned.
    4. Perhaps they're jealous that we feel free to enjoy the things we like without worrying what other people will think. ;) In my experience, people who get nasty about anything are usually jealous. Well-adjusted people don't get worked up over harmless things.

      In the case of well-meaning people such as parents, I find they usually get used to the idea and even get attached to the dolls. My mom, who is against spending money, period, has gotten to the point where she calls my dolls her grandkids, even though I don't refer to them as my kids. :sweat I mean, they are pretty cute little buggers, and I guess she saw how much fun I have with them and figured they couldn't be that bad. She also doesn't know how much they cost. :lol:

      Of course, I'm selective about who I share my dolls with and I don't mention how much they cost unless I know I have a sympathetic listener. I haven't had too many problems so far. :)
    5. It's the money. Spending that much on something that doesn't DO anything is strange to most people. But jewelry doesn't DO anything either ;)
    6. I think it comes down to what are termed as socially acceptable practices. It is and always has been socially acceptable to spend large amounts on jewelry, precious metals and the like. It is not considered extravagance to spend large amounts on things such as this. To see someone with a $3,000.00 dollar Rolex, the response at the worst would be "must be nice to have that kind of money"
      But to spend something like $800.00 to $1000.00 on a doll, you must be nuts!

      Bottom line, most people just don't understand. Its a BJD thing!


    7. THIS. My husband is my main detractor and he gets why I love them so, but to him it is a piece of plastic. Every time I find a new doll I may want to consider purchasing I get the whole "HOW much for a piece of plastic that sits on a shelf?!?"

      So yeah...to non-doll people BJD=overpriced plastic doll.
    8. In my opinion (and from my experiences) people are just simply afraid of (or angry with) things that they don't understand. If you think about it though, it is a bit of a different (or weird, whichever way you want to put it XD) hobby that isn't particularly common. I think it's kind of funny though, as I'm used to this sort of 'attention' because of the type of clothing I like to wear (mostly black, a lot of elegant gothic-style clothes, etc.).
      I'm sure they probably see us doll collectors the same way that I see people who feel the need to spend gobs of money on a billion different pairs of shoes or purses that they use once and then just toss in a closet (I know someone personally who is like this... >_> ). Perhaps they see us as materialistic this way?
    9. I am convinced that non-doll people do not understand that what BJD's are, at least to me, art. That is the way I explain it to anyone, family, freinds, etc. about it. I think most people do get confused with the fine line of when dolls become something much more than the toys that we all grew up with.

      When questions arise; I share that artistic aspect of what BJD's are in this hobby. Sometimes, for those who show a real interest, I show some of the gallery photos of meets, etc. My Flickr account and most people come to understand and accept the notion of why there is such a cost involved with the hobby.
    10. It's a combination of the money and the fact that people generally view dolls as childish. There are, for example, people who collect vintage cars- cars they will never drive and (from the PoV of someone not in the hobby) only serve to sit on one's property and "look pretty." They spend far, far more than the average BJD enthusiast spends on their hobby, yet their hobby is more socially acceptable simply because cars are not considered as childish as dolls are.
    11. What all of the above commenters said, yes. And I have another thing to add, which is probably less common, but... I'm a single, adult, and rather, er, alternative-lifestyle person. My parents think that dolls are a way I found to sublimate my desire for a partner and kids. As if it's easier for me to invest in dolls, and now I won't be spending resources to get the real thing. Which, I don't have to tell you, is ridiculous. O_O;
    12. So, why do you think the main reason people get so annoyed with BJD hobbyists?
      A number of reasons - let me list them.

      1. They need to see people 'grow up.': You see this idea a lot, the whole "When are you going to stop drawing/gaming/writing/creating and get a real job? It comes from the misconception that a real job is a 9-5 in an office block working for the man. Western Culture is all too keen to give up our youth and imagination, and all the things that are deemed childish. It's a trend that is happening earlier and earlier, as well. The dream is settle down, get a job, get married, have 2.3 children...

      Imagination for these people is something that 'other people' do. It's really sad that we're expected to completely give up our youth once we reach a 'certain age'.

      2. People don't understand what makes them appealling: The old 'I can't see why you like it, so you liking it must be wrong.' This stems from the old highschool belief that what is 'popular' is what is 'good.' This also links closely to...

      3. People fear what they don't understand: We've seen it time and again in the human race - wars, anger, hatred, most of which stems from this concept. So many of the people encountered by the British Empire were exterminated based on the fact that they were different and had different ways of doing things.

      This plays out as well today. Two people walking down the street, one dressed 'normally', the other in goth gear. Which one do you think people are more likely to hurl insults at, or be suspicious of? People are afraid of things that are different.

      Also, if you're one of those people who have had people eventually accept your hobby, how long did it take, and in your opinion, what made them come to terms with it?

      Most of the people in my life just... accepted the hobby, after they saw how happy it made me. I'm lucky that I have people like that.
      • x 1
    13. People on the whole always fear that which they don't understand. The sad fact will always be that about 99% of the people you (general you) know do not and will not ever understand the fascination BJD's hold for their owners and lack the open minded nature to either live and let live, or learn. S'just the way it is and over time in the hobby, you learn who not to bother even introducing the idea to and who is likely to be accepting enough to shrug and tell you fair enough, you earnt the money, good luck to you. Sometimes you get really lucky and find someone who's willing to sit and listen to you, maybe learn and who knows, maybe even get one, but that is a rarity and that's probably a good thing tbh.

      Aside from the social convention others have mentioned of seeing anything resembling a toy as a childish pursuit, I think it basically boils down to the fact that it takes a creative mind to see the possibilities with a BJD and not everyone HAS that to spare let alone the ones who just see it as an excuse to bash you about your lifestyle choices! It's one of those marmite hobbies, there really isn't much of a middle ground to sit in for most people so you get an extreme reaction as a result that sadly is usually negative because the majority will shy from standing out from a crowd.

      Really, it's more about how you handle those people than their reactions because in the end, you have to be willing to stand up for your choices in things by refusing to bow to outside pressures. (I assume, as ever, that you pay for them yourself and have all your responsibilites taken care of BEFORE you spend the money on hobbies obviously.)

      TL: DR - People as groups are narrow minded idiots, you get used to it and in the end, stop expecting them to "come round", that way, when they do, it's a nice surprise!
    14. We have a habit of talking to them, acting like they're living, breathing creatures. That, in my experience, freaks people out. Not the money per se, not the fact that they're dolls, but our behavior towards them. (at least, that is the one thing I hear most often from non-doll people)

      Personally I've not encountered any animosity, but that is because I treat my dolls more like collector items than anything else. Most non-doll folks can understand that. They understand that these dolls are expensive, especially since they are of such high quality. And several times people were very interested in them after I made sure I was just a collector.
    15. We're too cool. People get jealous. ;)

      Honestly, I just think it's more of a lack of understanding, as others have said. I've not encountered any actual animosity. In fact, most of my public encounters have been positive. I will say that the public as a whole sees dolls and not just BJDs, as "creepy," especially when coupled with adult collectors!
    16. That's generally my experience as well.

      Sometimes also it helps to show what you're able to do with them. I had some guys do a full 180 at a convention where I worked at a table to sell prints. Looking at the dolls themselves, they were completely disturbed and said some pretty negative comments but when they looked at the photography my friend and I did, they told us we were doing an awesome job at making some real art out of the dolls. Was really nice.
    17. What animosity? In the 6+ years I've owned BJDs, I've never experienced anything remotely resembling animosity, or seen any aimed at other people. Without exception, the people I've encountered have been curious about my dolls, and (in many cases) aware that doll collecting and dollmaking are long-established and popular activities. The age range of those people runs from young children of 6 or 7 to elderly (70s-80s).

      But then--like Silk and Devil's Trill--I don't carry my dolls around in random public places unless I'm doing a photoshoot, talk to them or about them as if they were sentient beings, insert the topic of BJDs into unrelated conversations, or behave as if I thought I were more sensitive/interesting/artistic/cool than the rest of the world because I own BJDs. I also don't have a chip on my shoulder or a need to have everyone I meet validate or even know about my hobby. And so I don't interpret curiosity or even ignorance about these particular dolls as hostility.

      To those members whose husbands or other partners denigrate their hobby . . . wouldn't it be the same with any other costly collection, or even a cheap collection that your partner didn't happen to like? The power struggle going on in your relationship would play itself out in some way, no matter what. BJDs themselves aren't the root cause of the friction; substitute "rare books" or "Harleys" or even "Beanie Babies" for "BJDs," and the dynamic would be the same.
    18. I agree to what people have already said -- money is the main issue! some of my non-doll friends have seen my photos and seemed impressed, but once they've heard how much one costs, everyone is like: WHAT?! NO WAY!!
      I think this is quite normal anyway, because they're not into this hobby, and therefore they think BJDs are not worth the cost. Just like myself who is not into collecting animate figures or superhero comics (which some of my friends are) I would never understand why would they spend so much on their hobby...

      Secondly I would think it's the attitude or the way some of our BJD people act...
      I do sometimes get uncomfortable myself when people are too into the idea that dolls have their own personality and talks to them like they are really human... ^^;
      I have no objection to how people play with their BJDs, it's just my feeling...

      I haven't really had people saying bad things about me in this hobby, but whoever find it odd for me to pay so much, I use my photos to impress them and show that the are beautiful and worth my spendings :)
    19. Agreed. A lot of it is your own attitude towards the hobby. I don't go on and on about my dolls to everyone, but I've never been afraid or ashamed to talk about the hobby, I don't personally act like its not normal, I've even mentioned I make dolls and design clothes for collectable dolls in job interviews. I didn't experience any hostility.... just curiosity and interest. A few of my colleagues know about my collection, and when a big package shows up for me at work I do get asked 'is that a doll?' :whee:

      A couple of my friends were a little scathing in the beginning, but we are all pretty quirky and have odd interests and hobbies, so once they started to see what I was doing with my dolls, they accepted it. My best friend even made them some things for Christmas :)
    20. I haven't really faced much angst from friends or family about it, perhaps simply because I'm, well, odd. My friends are all generally caught up in their own hobbies and long ago embraced the 'to each their own' philosophy about it.

      My folks? That wasn't so easy, but they pretty much stopped trying to make me into what they wanted me to be in high school, because it was about a million miles off from who I was (and am). It took a shrink saying, "The only thing 'wrong' with her is that she isn't who you were at sixteen," to get them to start knocking it off, granted, but it did get them to start knocking it off. We got it all out of the way long before the dolls started to appear, otherwise I'm sure there would be some form of backlash, even though I started collecting in my mid-30s. Though I didn't catch it over dolls, I got a hefty dose over RPGs, since my mother is one of the folks who (still, to this day, over 20 years later) believes they are 'of the devil' and a sure path to the eternal pits of flaming brimstone. (She was actually OK with vampire RPGs and vampire LARPs, do not ask me why. Probably because there was no mention of random fantasy world gods. There are just some things the world ain't meant to understand, I suppose. ;) )

      Edit: Even my second cousins seem to adore them -- and they're not people I would have expected to appreciate the hobby at all. One of my second cousins looks eerily -- and I do mean 'a chill ran down my spine when I saw the first pics' levels of eerie here -- like Soom's Pangen. I showed him the pictures of the doll, and his eyes went wide, and his response? "Oh my god, I have to have one. It's like looking in a mirror, and everything went all Final Fantasy on me! That's so cool!"