Tuesday, May 15, 2012

take me away to a better place, far from anyone

How Toy Story 2 almost didn't happen. (AKA, thank the universe for backups!)

[11:39] Beer Battered Chicken [Ixxxxxxxx Cxxxxxxx]: [11:38] Second Life: Chicken Fettucini (Ixxxxxxxx Cxxxxxxx) is now known as Beer Battered Chicken.

I have no words.

And I'll just, uh, leave this here.

So, back on the doll thing--and I think I'm expanding things slightly. Instead of just going over goth and Lolita retailers on the grid (and if that's what you want, you can check out this entry for RL stores for Loli fashions, or this entry for in-world options), I'm trying to narrow in on dollplay as an entire concept.

So, when we're talking about gothic or Lolita fashions, and talking about dolls, we need to define our terms.

Never let me lose the marvel
of your statue-like eyes, or the accent
the solitary rose of your breath
places on my cheek at night.

I am afraid of being, on this shore,
a branchless trunk, and what I most regret
is having no flower, pulp, or clay
for the worm of my despair.

If you are my hidden treasure,
if you are my cross, my dampened pain,
if I am a dog, and you alone my master,

never let me lose what I have gained,
and adorn the branches of your river
with leaves of my estranged Autumn.

~Federico García Lorca, "Sonnet of the Sweet Complaint"

(from the dolly album; photographer Marianne Williams [halfasecond])

So what is it about dolls that fascinates us so? So far, it seems like there are two strong, divergent strands of thought: dollification (objectification) and collection (indulgent domination). The threads do interweave, and they also touch on some other areas, but those are the two main concepts involved. In this entry, we're going to concentrate on:

Dollification. From the profile of a user named "Rubbamaster" on Rubberpals:
Are you willing to surrender completely to the control of another, knowing they will keep you safe from harm?

Do you wish to be encapsulated in skin-tight latex, transformed into a rubber covered doll, fantastically re-shaped into a parody of humanity, your shape, movement and bodily functions controlled for life?

Once you see yourself in the full length mirror, totally depersonalised, a gleaming black doll with mirrored eyes, the reflection copying every movement you make, no human features visible, as you realise that the image is your true form, will you sink so far into your new persona that you will not want to return to the 'real' world?
Put simply, depersonalization.

There are many reasons why one may want to be treated as an object (in positive or negative ways); it could be a stress release for that person, or they may simply understand no other form of being dominated but complete subjugation. While this is far easier to understand in the rubber or latex communities, it also has a place (albeit with several different varieties) in the doll communities. To wit: the Broken Doll.

(from the dolly album; part of Neil Creek's "Broken Doll Celina" series. All Rights Reserved.)

On the grid it's pretty easy to be a broken plaything just for fun. But for those engaging in this for reasons of depersonalization or objectification, there are several different ways to go. By far the largest group in this category are those interested in reconstruction: for instance, building a partner from the ground up, or altering someone with the end goal of utter transformation.

While, again, this is easier to understand in stronger fetish communities, in terms of dollplay it's important to be able to ask questions, and to receive honest answers. Much of this can verge on--or stroll right into--extreme edge-play, and as such must be given weight and importance by all partners.

Some questions which might be good to ask:
  • Was the doll broken before being found?
  • Was the doll broken under a partner's control (past or present)?
  • Is it a goal for the doll to start out broken and then "heal", however that works out in terms of joint play?
  • Is it a goal for the doll to start off slightly broken, and move into a more extreme broken state?
  • Is the doll capable of tears?
  • Can the doll bleed, or bruise?
  • Is it a breaking of the exterior shell, or interior mind, or both?
That last one's pretty much vital; the answer to that can change all the other questions.

(from the dolly album; part of Neil Creek's "Broken Doll Celina" series. All Rights Reserved.)

Some Broken Dolls are crazy; they don't get better, or they only get worse. All of them show signs of damage somewhere--everything from bits of shattered porcelain down to exposed gears in one direction, and scars, wounds, and bruises in the other. In this sense Second Life is pretty much ideal--want porcelain cracks on your skin? There are both tattoo layers and actual skins for that. Want to move like a broken doll? There's a couple makers who offer "doll" or "robot" AOs (I'd heartily recommend Creative Insanity; they do fantastic AO sets for virtually any RP setting).

Broken Dolls are abandoned toys; they can be bitter, they can be needy, they can yearn to be better than they are, they can shrink away from any contact. "Broken" is not chosen as a term lightly; most of the personalities behind the broken dolls on the grid are fairly fractured themselves. I'm not saying roleplay = therapy; but I am saying that who we choose to roleplay expresses very deep things about who we are as minds behind the screen.

There can be audible whirring of gears, or gasps of pain when tender parts are touched. They can be mute, they can talk, though what they say may not always make sense. They can be mindless, or reactive; sobbing or dazed or drugged; locked inside their broken shells, or trying to repair themselves by what they find nearby.

In fact, the "beauty" (if I can say that) of the Broken Doll is that they're so very adaptable. Steampunk setting? No problem. Futuristic? We have that covered. Puppet show? Sure. Ballerina, punk princess, Edwardian destroyed doll...it all works. (And don't take my use of pronouns to indicate there can't be male Broken Dolls; there can, absolutely, I just have more experience with their female counterparts.) Anything from bandaged patients to circus performers to doll amputations to women sewn into place--there are some very dark experiences waiting for those who want to be broken, to be sure, though there can be joys as well. It all depends on what form of play you want.

Next up: Doll collectors. And then I'll do what I can to run down stores.

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