Hobby vs. Community: What’s the difference?

My two love birds, Sebastian (Bash) and Mei Mei. Sebastian is an authentic LUTS Senior Delf Loid and Mei is a recast (replica) Volks Lieselotte. Forbidden love, some would say.

If you’ve been in the reborn doll hobby or ball jointed doll hobby for awhile, I’m sure you have felt the shift in things lately. Everywhere on social media seems to be involved in an on-going debate over fake/real dolls. In the last week I’ve even lost a friendship over the fact that I owned (and shared online) recast ball jointed dolls. I’m honestly tired of the debate. I want to be happy and I’m protecting my sanity the best way I know how. I’ve officially decided that being a part of the doll hobby doesn’t mean I have to involved in the doll community.

The Doll Hobby

I’ve been an admirer and collector of dolls since childhood. I’ve discussed it before how I found my way to adore them so much, but I’ll quickly go over it once more for anyone who’s just stumbling across my blog and online content. I have severe asthma and growing up with this condition was not easy. The slightest of things could set it off and end in a trip to the ER for emergency care. Furry pets, teddy bears and even some plants were off limits for me. My main play-thing (other than art supplies!) was dolls. I played with handmade cloth dolls Cabbage Patch kids. As I got older Barbie was a staple in our household. I discovered reborn dolls when I was 19 years old while I was on Ebay looking for a 2nd hand American Girl doll (my dream doll at the time).

I learned about ball jointed dolls in 2015 when I visited my first Japanese entertainment/culture convention. I began purchasing this type of doll in 2018.

I began sharing doll content in 2014-2015 on YouTube and Instagram. I didn’t have any major plans for the channel, but just wanted to connect with others who enjoyed these specific dolls as I did. I quickly learned that the hobby was growing; especially amongst people of color like me. 🙂 It made me happy to share my love of doll collecting with others like me.

The Doll Community

It wasn’t until most recent years when things started to change for me and not be as enjoyable. The hobby of collecting dolls turned into an elitist contest between those who collected. Suddenly, it wasn’t enough to just enjoy your dolls, but you were favored more for owning certain kinds of dolls; like limited edition sculpts or sculpts from certain (highly sought after) doll companies. You were looked at differently for your choice in dolls (such as affordable Ashton Drake/Paradise Galleries, or more affordable BJD companies like MYOU and Bobobee) This is in both hobbies that I collect in. I’ve always told myself, sharing content was always about having fun and the moment it wasn’t fun for me would be the moment I draw back from it and stop. Sadly, I think that moment is drawing nearer the further along in 2022 that I get.

Sharing online used consist of warding off negativity from people OUTSIDE the hobby. People who didn’t understand why women would want to own these kinds of dolls. Now, the real negativity is from people who are actually supposed to understand and share in your interest- I’m not ok with this. It’s way too taxing to continue on that path and it really sucks the joy out of participating in the doll community.

For awhile I thought the only solution was to simply sell off my doll collections and close this huge chapter of my life. I was already making moves to focus more on my artwork and sharing that. I even have sold a few dolls from my collection since moving back into our home after the hurricane damage and recovery. It was in the midst of all this that I decided I don’t have to get rid of my dolls. If I’m not happy in this hobby it’s only because of the community aspect of it and how toxic it has become over the last few years. So what’s next?

What’s next for DollieLovex3

As I make the transition into focusing on my art content and craft, I plan to not put so much pressure on myself to be active with my doll accounts. Its kind of a strange situation to be in, since I recently was contacted by Pumpkin Doodle Babies for a sponsored marketing endeavor. I do plan to uphold my promise in promoting her business for one full year with the reborn toddler she plans to provide me, but as far as sharing more about my personal doll collection…I don’t know. I do enjoy my dolls more in private now since this shift and I want to see where it takes me or how it’ll benefit me.

The same goes for my ball jointed doll collections. Currently, I’ve only been active in recast friendly spaces on Facebook as well as only befriending other collectors who also own recasts. I don’t think I’ll let anything or anyone stop me from sharing photos online (like Instagram) because its a large part of how I enjoy my dolls, so I am sticking to it. As for managing this YouTube channel…we’ll see how the year turns out.

To anyone reading this, don’t let others pressure you into changing your ways of doing things that make you happy and are a healthy outlet for you. Everyone is responsible for theirselves and we are all adults. If they don’t like what you are doing, they are free to find other friends and so are you. 🙂

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