I sometimes wonder why there is so much stigma about owning dolls – even pieces of art like BJDs. The subject comes up sometimes, usually it’s brought up by a new person in the hobby wondering aloud whether they should or shouldn’t tell family and friends about their new passion in life. I personally haven’t let my family know about my dolls yet. My parents-in-law know about them as they have seen them, but they both choose to ignore it. I think they simply don’t know what to say. My friends all know, since all my friends are people I’ve met through the hobby. My last non-doll-owning friend also knew about them, and while she didn’t want one for herself, she was okay with me telling her a little bit about something exciting every once in a while. Those friends who aren’t close (people I know from the university) don’t know. I simply don’t want to discuss it with them, because I know they’d be very likely to find it strange.
But why is there such a stigma? I’m sure we’ve all encountered it at some point or another, whether it’s with dolls or another hobby considered “childish”. Personally I like dolls, playing electronic games (Wii, 3DS, PlayStation, computer) and watching movies made for children (Beauty & The Beast, The Little Mermaid, etc.). All these things carry a stigma, at least in Denmark. I’m sick of pretending that I buy things for my nieces and nephew, but it’s just so much easier than having to endure the stares. Sometimes I’m brave and tell them that “no, I don’t need you to wrap it, it’s for me”, but it’s rare. Can I please get to color in a coloring book with my niece (and then alone when she leaves the table) without getting sarcastic comments from my annoying uncles? Can I please get to play my 3DS in peace while on the bus without people staring at me like I’m insane? Can I please give my husband the Lego house he wants for Christmas without my family giggling about it?
My dolls are the only thing that makes me stick up for myself. I will proudly walk through a crowd where I’m likely to meet someone I know, holding my friend’s absolutely gorgeous SD boy (my own are tinies, they get packed into my bag). I will sit with a group of friends and all our dolls on the table and happily answer all the silly questions from people passing us. I will display my girls in a cabinet in my office and be excited and proud.
But why the stigma? Likely because we’re supposed to lose our imagination when we grow up. Playing with dolls and Lego and watching Disney movies are absolutely fine when you’re little. So is pretending that you live in a world filled with fairies and princesses and glitter. Want to dress up as Princess Peach? Sure, we’ll buy a costume in a toy store! But the moment you cross that invisible line and people begin to expect you to be mature and reasonable, all these things are supposed to fade into the past. You’re supposed to accept your responsibility and channel all your dreams into your life – make your life better than your dreams. If you don’t succeed, it’s just bad luck, and you have to change your dreams accordingly. You have to keep going, have to keep acting as a person whose imagination only goes as far as to real-life things like getting a promotion, getting a new sofa, or seeing your child become older. Imagining fun things are for children – real life is the only thing adults get.
So in this home, we play with Lego (and admire Lego creations that light up), we play with dolls (okay, that’s mostly me), watch movies for children (okay, again mostly me), dream up worlds filled with fairies, princesses and glitter (my husband’s imaginary worlds have more lightsabers than glitter I believe) and dream of dressing up as a princess (either Belle or maybe Rosalina from Mario, possibly even Garnet from FFIX – but again that’s mostly me…). What is your home like?