Bel mentioned noticing the attitude (which I've seen myself on DoA) that somehow "old people" can't possibly understand or enjoy BJDs. And the corollary attitude that, if said "old people" do get interested in BJDs, there must be something wrong with them: either they're "trying too hard" to pretend they're young, or they're weirdo freaks and possibly pedophiles.
Manifesto of a Middle-Aged BJD Owner Who Once Was Young, and Remembers It Well:
I'm dumbfounded by the arrogance and ignorance of the young'uns--and I use the term loosely, since a fair amount of the spouting seems to come from people in their early 20s rather than teenagers--who have decided that "BJDs belong to US, and nobody old could POSSIBLY UNDERSTAND, so old people need to go away and LEAVE US ALONE."
Um, who imagined and created the dolls in the first place? Not 15-year-olds. Or even 22-year-olds.
Mrs. Shigeta was certainly not a young'un when Mr. Shigeta decided to make a doll that would get her and women like her into the customization hobby.
Stepping back from BJDs and considering doll collection in the broader sense, who decided that preserving and recording the history of dolls was a worthwhile thing to do? Back when that happened in Europe, a coupla centuries ago, it certainly wasn't kids. Kids don't have the disposable income or, generally speaking, the drive toward long-term research and preservation.
And, well, let's talk about the Japanese ningyo. Made only for kids, understandable only by kids? Don't make me laugh.
I know that more sympathetic observers (and it wouldn't take much to be more sympathetic than I am on this subject) will explain away the arrogance by saying that it's a natural part of growing up. There's a universal psychological need among young people, at a certain stage of development, to fence off adults from special areas of knowledge in order to feel a sense of mastery and independence. SEKRIT CLUB HOUSE! KEEP OUT! THIS MEANS YOU!
But I don't buy it, and I don't buy it for what I fully realize are nothing more than anecdotal reasons. This is my LJ, dammit, and I can draw conclusions from any anecdotes I want to.
See, the longer I live, the luckier I think I was to grow up as the only child of relatively older parents (Mom and Dad were both past 35 when I was born). Given the choice, as a kid I always hung out with the grownups, because their stories were so much more interesting and they knew a lot of odd stuff that kids didn't know. I never took up a hobby (well, except for the regrettable crush on the Bay City Rollers that lasted about a week and a half and was mostly my friend Ellen's fault) where there weren't plenty of grownups interested too, from music to ceramics to stamp collecting. So, you know, I never saw any reason to think that grownups shouldn't be interested in cool things. Just the opposite, really--I was always a little surprised when I didn't find that mixing of ages in some hobby that caught my attention. Usually, I found that I got bored pretty fast if a hobby truly only appealed to people my age (cf. the Bay City Rollers).
To bring this back to dolls: from the time I was old enough to check out books from the library, I read and reread and rereread every book about dolls that I could find. What fascinated me, besides the dolls themselves, was the obvious fact that grownups could and did travel all over the world to learn so much about them. This seemed perfectly reasonable to me, because, you know, dolls ARE interesting, and why wouldn't grownups think so, too?
Here, again, I owe my parents a lot, because the words "aren't you too old to play with dolls?" never once crossed either Mom's or Dad's lips. In fact, they kept buying me dolls even after I really didn't want to play any more--which I'm grateful for now, because my Sasha baby is one of those late gifts, and how happy am I to have him? Yup.
So, yeah. Executive summary: I have a lot of trouble wrapping my mind around the "YOU SHOULD GET OUT OF OUR HOBBY, NASTY WEIRD OLD PEOPLE!" crap.
And yes, dear honeyedbiscuit, you too are part of my anecdotal evidence. ;-)