August 04, 2012

Playing with (Human) Dolls - Dollification

by Jade Melisande

"Will you let me dress you up and play with you?" she asked. It was a question that no one had ever asked me before, but which started my exploration into the world of human dolls, a fetish known as "dollification." Playing with dolls isn't just Ken and Barbie anymore.

What is dollification?

Dollification is the act of, or fantasy of, turning oneself or someone else, physically and/or mentally, into a "living doll." That would be a strict definition of the term (which Dictionary.com doesn't recognize, by the way). But the reality of what that looks like is as different as the "dollers" and "dollies" themselves.

The doller is the person "creating" the doll, or dollie. The dollie is the person being turned into a living doll. Methods can include everything from dressing the human doll a certain way, requiring certain types of behavior, such as not speaking, maintaining a doll-like pose or learning to have as blank and empty an expression as possible, to more extreme methods such as hypnosis techniques to convince the person that he or she actually is a living doll (for the time that they are hypnotized), and even to permanent methods, such as body modifications.

Clothing and costuming is an important aspect of dollification, since so much of the fetish involves the visual image of the doll. The types of clothing and dolls fall into broad categories: frilly, Alice in Wonderland types, rag-dolls, rubber dolls, Barbie dolls, Lolita-style dolls and bondage dolls, as well as robot dolls and wind-ups, to name a few. Some like a more life-like look, while others prefer a plasticized, porcelain or rubberized look. Hair and make-up are also key to achieving the desired doll-like appearance.

Who does dollification?

As you may have guessed, dollers and dollies are as varied as the types of dolls they like to create. The friend that introduced me to it is a professional woman, a wife and mother in her 40's, who gets most of her dollification fix online, through Second Life, a Sims-like game that has a surprisingly large contingent of dollers and dollies. Another acquaintance is a male executive, a cross-dresser in his late 50's. Yet another is a college student in her 20's whose boyfriend is into rubber dolls. Many, like me, find that it appeals to them via their interest in BDSM. Others, though, have no interest in "typical" BDSM activities. Although I found most of the people I spoke with before writing this piece through Fetlife.com (a BDSM website), I discovered that many of them do not consider their interest in dollification directly connected to BDSM.

"It is a separate fetish entirely," one said. "Many of us are on Fetlife, but have no connection to, or desire for, BDSM activites." Dollers and dollies are everywhere, and are into it for a hundred different reasons.

Why dollification?

Many people get into it because of their interest in BDSM, specifically the aspects of control: controlling and shaping another to their own specifications, or being controlled, modified and shaped by someone else. For me, the ideas of dollification, mind-control and hypnosis are all closely linked. I love the idea of being present in body but having no control over what happens to that body. I like the idea of being made into someone else's ideal, the living personification of their fantasies and desires. My interest is definitely sexual and objectifying. (I like to think of my version of a dollie as a sex doll. Think a less-human version of the character Pris from Blade Runner.)

Others do not have a BDSM or sexual component at all, however, and in fact being a dollie is the opposite of being a sexual being. You're a doll, a toy, and while toys get played with, you don't have sex with them. For them it may be about being an object and controlled, but almost in a sterile way. For still others it is about being able to let the world fall away and not have to be present mentally. And for others it is a way to indulge their fetish for wearing certain types of clothing or materials.

For most of us, though, the underlying theme in dollification seems to be "transformation." Transforming oneself or someone else into something else.

I haven't yet gotten to indulge in my curiosity about becoming a human doll, so I don't know how far I will go with it. But I am looking forward to the exploration.