Monday, September 28, 2009

Doll Collector as Villain or Humanitarian?

A recent post on the DollyDaily blog laments the negative image of doll and action figure collectors on television shows [and in movies, my addition]. According to this stereotype, doll collectors are weird and dangerous nutjobs who either prize their plastic "idols" more than they do live people OR they seek to trap real humans into "doll" form for control.

Ooga booga ... BOO!

I'll take "weird" - my Mom disagrees, but she's a Mom. "Nutjob?" I'll argue that down to "creative" and "imaginative." Moving on ... "dangerous" ... meek little (cough, gasp) me? No way. Sure, I take dolls and figures off shelves and possibly deprive children of that doll or figure. Mostly though, I try to help people. I click on the Hunger Site daily. And there are lots of other collectors like me, who not only TRY to help people, they actually do help people.

Example: Rudi Teruel of R and D Dolls has found a way to help victims of the Filipino typhoon - please read more at his other blog

Example 2: Niel, a Filipino collector and dear contributor to Comments here at PhillyCollector, shares additional helpful information

Granted, they are two collectors, but there they are - helpful and concerned doll collectors. Concerned about living people. Because collecting dolls doesn't negate love and fondness for living people.


Niel Camhalla said...

I wouldn't exactly call myself humanitarian. I find it really hard to show kindness to people

who are narrow-minded!

I don't mind being called weird. I admit I could be weird. Haven't you heard? Weird is the new cool!


Leonaamon said...

You are so right!! Doll collecting is to different from any other collecting. It is art appreciation that spurs the collector. It is the complexity of or the simplicity of the doll-the art- that is at the heart of the doll collector. Dolls, like all other forms of art, chronicle a period in time. Human beings are the only animal on this planet that can reflect on the pass, live in the present and hope for a better future. You would assign buying a dress or shoe for your doll as being a sign of a sick mind but buying spinner rims for your car as normal? Hmmm…

Dolls are modeled after humans. It is hard for humans to see a face, human or doll and not assign a personality to them. This is part of our survival technique of know who was a friend and who was an enemy. Giving dolls personalities are just the vestiges of our survival abilities. It is no different than sports! How much money is spent on sports?

Most of the doll that are in most doll collections are: A. too expensive and/or dangerous to buy for a child or B. common enough that there are a vast number of dolls for the collector and children to have the doll. So… no we are not taking toys from children.

There are some extreme people in every aspect of society. There may be some doll collectors who value their dolls for than human contact but that can be said for everything including coins, stamps, food and politics. In everything, the problems that come with the extremes members are reflected on the group as a whole. It is not fare!

I think we all do are bit as a humanitarian. When holiday season rolls around and we are asked to pick the names of needy children off the tree to purchase a gift for, I pick 2 or 3. I will have fun purchasing the toy but the child gets the toy. I get the pleasure of know that someone's holiday was as special as mine were when I was a child.

D7ana said...

Thanks, Leonaamon, for sharing and for elaborating. Doll collecting is art appreciation. And many - if not most - dolls and action figures collected are NOT suitable for the children who would play with them due to small parts and fragile materials.

The negative stereotype could belong to any group. There are extreme people throughout the world; there are generous people throughout the world. Generosity is as much a part of the human condition as meanness and insanity.

... but meanness and insanity *sell* better, I suppose ;-D

Thanks again for your thoughtful comments. It's a joy to have you "visit."

D7ana said...

Re-read this post the next day and thought: embarrassing your readers, way to go. Dana. ;-P

I think humanitarian as being concerned with the general well-being of others outside my immediate circle. There are exceptions - rapists, pedophiles, and people who torture animals - these people I have low tolerance for. If I *know* that they do those heinous crimes. But in general, humanitarians wish the world well and hate to see/hear of disasters and/or harm done. Oh and they put forth some effort towards improving the world.

Last, yes, weird is definitely the new cool ;-)

M.J. said...

I don't think pointing out that a majority of people consider doll collectors weird is insulting in any way to us! It's the truth, Dana.

I keep the fact that I have 300-some dolls in a basement from most of the people in my life. Why? Because I don't want to be known as "that girl. you know. the one with the dolls."

Leonaamon is right that doll collectors are, essentially, like other collectors in that we amass a large amount of something. We just happened to pick something that is "creepy" according to some people. (The ones that think it is creepy likely are the ones who have nightmares about dolls coming alive and watching them sleep.)

I'm sure stamp and coin collectors have to deal with "nerd" labels just like we have to deal with "weirdo" ones.

I know I'm guilty of judging other collectors myself, too. It's easy to do. I saw a grown man flying a bunch of model planes the other day and snickered. A grown man? Flying toy planes? And then I remembered all those dolls in the basement...

D7ana said...

Hi, M.J.!

I suppose the doll collector-as-crazy-person in film is no worse than the artist-as-crazy or the Vietnam Vet-as-crazy. The vet thing always struck me as unfair.

Sometimes though, fiction will show even doll collectors - gasp! - as "decent" people. There is a mystery series by Deb Baker set in an Arizona doll collector community. If you enjoy American cozy mysteries, this could be a new series for you.