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I was trying to post this as a comment on Zagzagael's LJ . . .
. . . but it didn't work. So, E., this is a parallel reflection to your post--I've been thinking about the same things you have been, but I always wind up going in this direction:

I am so totally with you: there is major change in the air. Dolls are leaving my house at a pretty fast clip (for me), but I'm also snatching up dolls at an even faster rate; there are BJDs coming up for sale that I NEVER expected to see, and unfortunately there's no way to test-drive a BJD (especially a rare one) except to buy it. I agree with captnwhitebread about the dragon-hoarding trap!

Part of me does want to get back to the happy days when I only had Pen and Claudine, and when every day was an exciting hunt to see what few, elusive things might be available on eBay or Y!J. (Oh, Poshdolls, how I miss you!) Now, there's just so much stuff everywhere--I think that's a kind of mental burden, even though of course I also think it's wonderful to have so much choice. But I'm not sure whether my feeling of suffocation is really because of the flood of new *things* on the market. Instead, I think the problem is that I find the flood of uninformed (many of them, to my mind, willfully, obstreperously, and insistently uninformed) people into the hobby overwhelming and offputting.

It isn't that I value a small hobby more than a larger one--I love fashion dolls, for heaven's sake!--but that the joy of learning new things seemed to be integral to BJDs when I first discovered them. Those "new things" included everything from maintenance and customization to the gleeful ferreting out and sharing of news and ordering information. There was a wonderful energy and excitement in the discoveries, and most people in the hobby seemed to be ready to embrace the new, the untried, and the uncertain not just because these are beautiful dolls, but also because it gave them a chance to learn something. It was that attitude that attracted me in the first place, as much as the dolls themselves.

Now, for many of the people who are making their presence felt so strongly on DoA (and Resinality and probably elsewhere, though I'm not elsewhere myself), there doesn't seem to be much patience, curiosity (except of a strange, inward-directed, self-absorbed kind), willingness to encounter and try to understand new cultures and ways of thinking, or flexibility of mind. I hear a belligerence in the tone of many first and second posts on DoA that baffles me; what is it that's attracting people with this habit of mind--such dogmatic aggressiveness about stating their opinions before they even know anything to pronounce on--to BJD ownership, which I thought required some experimentation, patience, and flexibility? And how did a hobby that began in the love of shared discovery get bogged down in so much repetitive, strident, navel-gazing ignorance?

Even the complaints on DoA (and the apologies) about "wall of text" posts seem symptomatic to me. God forbid that people should think and write in a nuanced, non-sound-bite way--or try to retain and apply information over time.

I thought better of this hobby. And my disappointment and discouragement are affecting the way I enjoy my dolls. I am so lucky to be old enough, and comfortable enough in the world, to be able to indulge my pleasures; I have the luxury of being able to bring dolls home (within reason) if I want them, without feeling that I'm risking my financial security. (Not that I don't joke about that!) But without a lively, stimulating, well-informed, curious, and joyful online community to share this pleasure with, it will be pretty lonely over here with just me and the dolls.

(And before anyone asks, because it would be reasonable to ask this: yes, LJ is wonderful. But as much as I love LJ, it doesn't have as much capacity for real-time conversation as a discussion forum or even a Yahoogroup.)

I want the BJD hobby to be huge. I want there to be room for every kind of pleasure in BJDs, from the glass-case-display kind to the "gimme a Sharpie and let me start scrawling a faceup!" kind. But I want it to be pleasure, not combat. And, yes, I want the experimental, customization-based origins of BJDs to be understood, and the intimately handmade, artist-driven nature of BJD manufacture respected, even by people who only want a beautiful display doll.

I'm sure I'm not thinking clearly about this; there's too much emotional stuff tangled up in my attempts to reason through what I really believe. But I do feel that participating in the online dimension of the BJD hobby is problematic for me now, where it was once an unalloyed pleasure. And this troubles me, because without online sharing with congenial people . . . well, I already said that.

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A good, strong comment, C, and much food for thought here - as the comments on my post were; I'm getting closer to putting my finger pretty much on the spot that is most troublesome. It's a combination of cosmopsis - being frozen by TOO MANY choices - and the flooding of both the market and the hobby itself. Product and people.

One thing we must be cautious of is longing for "beginner's energy". Beginner's energy is without question, for most people, the energy that drives the flower through the stalk (paraphrasing) and once the flower is open and bloomed and begins to whither....that energy shifts into something else. It is a heady, exciting time - the brain is an open door through which it beckons experience and people, things and ideas of things. One of the "tricks" of living a fulfilling life is learning to take the crude oil of beginner's energy and cracking it into the almost see-through energy-producing petrol that keeps the maching moving forward.

THAT is far easier when one moves with a group out of one phase and into another - I fear that part of the issue in this still quite young hobby is that we aren't getting the opportunity to move forward cohesively. We're getting stuck in a place that is beginning - for many of us established collectors - to feel, well, bad.

So, that's something we could give each other as a community - growth.

The other, insidious and expensive fright, is the saturation of the marketplace with product, product, product. It's overwhelming and like depression era mothers who learned to bake a meatloaf with bread instead of hamburger....we've trained our minds to hoard and make do and we now feel as though we've been given some magical key into a place where the ingredients of our hobby our plentiful. It's ironically problematic. And in some ways, makes the hobby....dare I say it, cheap?

I'm sprinkling my two cents here and yon - I'm at work, so I get interrupted every fourth word.

There's a commercial on TV about a woman who wants to buy plane tickets online, but is so petrified that the price will drop after she clicks "buy" that she can't buy at all. That deer-in-headlights paralysis has started to happen to me with dolls. Companies aren't helping: it seems like these days, a shit-ton more limiteds are being released one after the other, whereas before, we'd wait for months and marvel at the next standards released.

(And then things I'd thought were long-term standards like Bernard up and vanish, goddammit.)

Fear of regret, fear of aftermarket prices, fear of not being able to sell an unwanted doll at the purchase price, it's all adding up and it's bugging me. And the fact that I get BUGGED by something so consumerist and stupid bugs me MORE.

I like your comments about "beginner's energy," and they relate to what I was thinking last night about graduating from DoA's Dollie School, heh. I do miss it, but I also feel a shift in my doll appreciation - a shift that actually made me physically reel a bit a couple weeks ago. Something fell into place, something fell away, and now I'm excited all over again, even though I've got no idea what's changed.

I think all of us are feeling it. I get caught up in the purchasing and then think - what have I done?
I am so torn, I would love an SD16, but she is so $$ - thats if I am lucky and win her - While the new fees are cute I love my Yos and they are the same size... I digress.
The fact that there are some many out there now means I can wait and snap one up later BUT this requires patience on my part .... sometimes I notice while I wait the desire fades.
I am trying to thnk of all the dolls that I have NEVER regretted buying, those I waited and bought and still love.
That would be my Unoa, my Sugar Lea, Ksy and 4 Sisters - going to look in doll room to make sure I didnt leave anyone out .... how could I forget about Anais or Liz???
Perhaps my comment is more revealing than I thought? Damn I wasnt prepared for real self reflection.

just to giggle a tidge at lolly, there, LOL... hey LIZ! Bandit!

poor lolly. forced unknowingly into a moment of self-reflection.


I think you're issues are slightly different than what Zag was saying, however, I totally get what you are saying, Cynthia. I've always seen this BJD place as a fandom, which many people don't... and in all fandoms, there are nuances to that. Growth spurts and people within that who just don't get it.

The internet changes the dynamic, so I think for some, it gets overwhelming both ways. Either you can get your fill of the good stuff (information on new dolls, products, photography, tips, fun, YEAY! etc) or bad (whiny n00bs, stupid people, dolls being stolen, DRAMU, online fighting, etc).

I think finding a balance is a good thing (tm). I TRY to pull myself out of a lot of the "bad" but I do feel like I am not as active on DOA as I probably should be perhaps. But then again, I am not a mod, so whatever, right? I find the fun things and peel away the good.

If you are happy with the dolls and sell the ones that you don't bond with... that's perfectly fine. It's all trying to balance your mindspace however. I always find that the most challenging however.

Yeah I used to like it better when collecting bjd's was an activity for renegades with patience.

Well said. I sort of miss the days when i had my first Choa, and there was no DoA. There was a page or so of dollfie stuff on ebay but most was barbie sized. Not even the english Luts site was open back then! Sometimes i think i should just stop looking at DoA give up most of my dolls and only keep one or two and concentrate on those to see if i can get back that happy feeling i had for this hobby in the beginning.
i feel like it comes and goes, right now i am playing with my new little Yo and just got a Goth Tyler from the convention this past weekend so doll stuff is fun again :)

The description of individuals who are "willfully, obstreperously, and insistently uninformed" cracked me up. I have students like that -- (not many, thank God, but a few) and I think it makes my tolerance for the whiney entitled kids very low.
I was never involved with fashion dolls, but I heard that the market became flooded with product and that a lot of collectors became disenchanted (I actually just typed "a lot of enchanters became discollected" which sounds more interesting). With bjds I don't imagine it has ever been possible to collect the whole set, but I see a similar thing happening among some of my flist. I wasn't part of the hobby back in the days of meagre pickings, but I can totally understand what you mean by that. If a vast amount of stuff is readily available but expensive, then putting together a doll becomes less of a project and more a process of simple expenditure.
What I like about the hobby is the potential for creativity (customizing, photography), the aesthetic interest and beauty, and the people here on lj (thank you Cynthia for introducing me to this community).

Me to re: cracked up, and then YOU cracked me up with "a lot of enchanters became discollected." I love that line to death. It sounds like a Connie Willis line.

Oh, my God, it does sound like a Connie Willis line!

One of my favorite experiences from my stint in Colorado was the time I took Connie Willis to lunch and we wound up having a conversation about the filming of The Dirty Dozen. She was in Grand Junction for the local writers' festival, and I took her to lunch to thank her for agreeing to speak to my classes (I was teaching Bellwether in my Comp II classes that semester, and to divagate, I would be much happier and saner if I would reread Bellwether every few months). I was too shy to try to force a continuing acquaintance after that, but damn, I've always regretted it.

So jealous. I knew I should have gone into English not History. It's not like I ever get to take Peter Abelard to lunch (he would be an unbearably arrogant bastard anyway).

With some of the bad (to fairly horrible) experiences I've had during my tenure in the BJD hobby I think I've learned to develop blinders. I don't post much, comment less, and just try to maintain my happy.

Sorta like Dory in Nemo, "Just keep painting...just keep painting..."

I was thinking about something along the same lines the other night - DoA feels like Dollie School, and I graduated a while ago. Whenever I do try to browse around DoA, all I see are questions that have been answered time and again for YEARS, complaints with the same status, like the hit parade here:

45/60+ = U suck if you're squicked
seam lines omg
dollie penises give me agita how bout U
Why limited? Wah!
Why rerelease a limited? Wah!
Volks won't let me bring my doll, assholes
Meetup at the food court YAY, followed by meet pics of dolls dressed in socks straddling each other's faces


Seems like SO long ago that hot-glue sueding was the innovative replacement for pliver.

Anyway, what I miss about the doll community is that I used to learn something every visit to DoA. I'd gather tips, hell, I had a notebook full of printouts and guides and tutorials when Elsie arrived.

I'm not creative or wild enough to start carving away on dolls in order to improve their mechanics myself, but when I saw a good Suwarrico tutorial a couple years ago I had a lot of fun doing that myself.

I'm rambling here. I keep making little efforts to start talking more at Resinality - if all of us did (all the people I liked, that is, heh) it could be a lot of fun.

But those "willfully, obstreperously, and insistently uninformed" newbies who are bitching about the hobby and the experienced hobbyists with their 4th post are driving me INSANE.

Your characterization of the comments killed me, especially:
"Meetup at the food court YAY, followed by meet pics of dolls dressed in socks straddling each other's faces" mwahahahah -- I'm feeling much less discollected after reading that.

Yeah but they're all true, sadly. And the spelling is usually worse.

Seconding georgedollie's comment -- to make your characterization of DoA truly accurate you must not use the correct form of "you're" (might I suggest "your" or the always useful lolcat "ur"?)

Edited at 2008-10-25 05:54 am (UTC)

and don't forget that she said "they're"... she SHOULD have used the also ever-present "there"

See I stopped reading DOA except for news and the odd gallery comment and I've found I don't get annoyed or stressed about my dolls. Not that I did much anyways, but you know, I block the idiots and let them swim in their own mire over there while I enjoy my dolly buds and dolls.

It is sad because DOA was fun with only the occasional asshole, but now the kidlets and assholes have overrun the place, so I've simply moved elsewhere so I don't have to look at them.

As for being spoilt for choice...
yeah it is overwhelming. Except I am disciplned with what I know I can handle and what I can spend. I've learned to enjoy people's photos rather than allow myself to be overcome with need for that doll. It must be working because I've only sold 1 before now and am selling the second now.

I know what I want from a doll, what size I can deal with and generally what look I want. If it fall outside that rage, I'm safe.

This is why I really do stay away from gen discussion and the shipping forums and stuff. The fact that they are, indeed, "willfully, obstreperously, and insistently uninformed" means that it's beating one's head against the wall to try to inform these people which just leads to more frustration. I tend to retreat - not post, not read LJ, etc. - when this happens. I don't want to be prickly online even though I feel that way, so, I just stay off rather than post.

The negativity that pops up - even when it is negativity on MY part, feeling frustrated by the lack of joy of learning - makes me not want to play. :^(

I DO remember being new. And when I look back on my posts, there were some dumb questions, to be sure, but for the most part I felt a lot of joy as I ferreted out answers for myself, looked at Aimee's FAQ, etc. I remember that almost queasy feeling in my stomach when a box came and I opened the lid. It would be nice to get that feeling back, somehow. But I don't know how, either.


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