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An open letter to the body policing element of the BJD community
I just want to preface it by saying that none of this is intended as an attack on anyone, rather a critique of attitudes that need to be challenged and that in my opinion don’t belong in our community.
Every once in a while comments or confessions like this little gem crop up:
comments like this, or worse, usually bring out a range of reactions in me and countless others, from eye rolling to full on fury because why does someone else’s body even matter to you?
Hobbies and communities like the BJD one are fantastic for so many reasons not least because the very nature of them is that they’re largely online and about the sharing of ‘things’ as opposed to being primarily about the participant themselves. And that holds true regardless of which aspect of the hobby you fall into, whether you’re a straight up collector, customiser, seamstress, photographer… whatever, the focus is still on the dolls. For that reason I think that for many of us, we like to consider it a ‘safe space’. Meaning a space where we don’t feel judged for our looks, ethnicity, sexuality or health status, instead we all get to enjoy emoting over something we have in common. Or at least we shouldn’t feel judged.
Of course that safe space begins to cross over with the outside world once we get to the meet-up side of things and areas of the internet like youtube where we, the owner, take a more visible role. It’s these elements where we start to see people commenting on and bitching about other people’s appearance, which to me, is pretty damn counter to the spirit of a creative hobby that is at the end of the day about nerding out over big, expensive, plastic dolls.
It’s there too that our supposed safe space crosses over with the real world issues and societal bullshit we get thrown at us every day because there are a lot of those issues, especially ones related to body image, that don’t go away just because we’re going to a doll meet. When people complain about what someone wore to a meet for example I think they don’t realise that there are so many body issues some of us deal with that even getting to a meet in jeans and a hoodie is an achievement in and of itself, it’s nothing to do with being ‘too cheap for nice clothes’ it’s to do with comfort, be that literal or because someone has a hard enough time in social situations as it is that stressing over picking out an outfit or wearing something they’re not 100% comfortable in is just another layer of stress they can’t deal with. For me, I spent most of my teens and early 20’s hiding in baggy jeans and a hoodie or baggy shirt because I didn’t have the confidence in myself and and hated my own body so much that I tried to hide it instead of struggling to find clothing I could feel confident in. If you want people to dress a certain way to attend your meets perhaps you should propose a dress code or theme that everyone agrees too. If that’s not the case, it’s really not up to you to decide what is or isn’t appropriate dress for a public gathering.
And then of course there’s the old bean of bitching about and commenting on ‘how omg fat so many people in the hobby are’. There’s a fundamental thing here that the people who feel the need to make these observations and be snide about it are missing; not your body, not your problem and sure as hell not your place to judge.
In our society we’re bombarded with a supposed ideal that only a tiny fraction of people will ever fit into. All that’s bad enough without compounding it with us being judgmental shitheads to each other based on the shape of our fellow hobbyists body.
Going back to the initial question of why does someone else’s body even matter to you; at the end of the day the only body you have a say about is your own. If someone’s fat, do you think they don’t know that? That you telling them is some great revelation? You being nasty about it or trying to dictate what they do with their own body is not only a massive dick move and you really need to back the fuck off and look at exactly why you’re doing this shit.
There are countless reasons why a person might be fat, be that genetics, health or disability related or simply because (shocker) they happen to be fat but all of the reasons have one thing in common; it’s none of your damn business.
In relation to the hobby a person’s body shape, size or health concerns have a grand total of zero effect on their value as a person, artist or member of the BJD community. The only thing that is wrong with it is your attitude towards it and lack of respect for other human beings.
tl;dr: If it’s not your body, shut the fuck up and grow some empathy.