I do not make, sell, or traffic in bootleg/recast dolls or any other product.

I do not provide information on where or how to buy them.

Any recast information on this blog is for information purposes only, for identifying recast products on the second hand market.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Repost: Some updates and New Thoughts on Recasts

NOTE: Doing some minor grammatical and subject edits, blogger on my mobile ate this post. If you want to know more or have questions about this post, do let me know. 
To preface this, my change of heart began several months ago. I wasn't prepared to deal with my feelings on it, but after some drama happened I couldn't ignore it anymore.

I still do not believe that recasts are illegal to buy or own for personal use. I did believe that we were at risk of harassment and other issues for running the Underground, and I simply was not prepared for nor willing to deal with that. [Edit for November 2014] With the Haven shut down, I'm very glad I left it when I did. The owner of that group and I had a falling out, and she said some quite hateful things about me to other people and accusatory things to me in the past. So to me? No loss there, and karma is a bitch I guess. I had nothing to do with its closing. I've got too much drama on my plate already to worry about causing some for others. [end edit note]

Most importantly, however, I've had a change of heart regarding recasts. I'm sure the anti-crowd will take this as a success or a victory, but it is not due to the crazy, inflammatory, hateful behavior of the extremists that affected my views. It was not due to bans or blocks. It was, in part, due to an article I had written early last year and recently found again. It was an article about why you should purchase legits, and not recasts. I had decided not to post it at the time because I didn't want to offend a few close friends, and because I'd set myself up as solidly pro-recast, with no room for change. It didn't fit the mission of my blog. Additionally, the few calm, well-thought out anti-recast or neutral arguments finally started to make sense to me. I reevaluated my position, addressed my frustrations with the recast community, and changed my position. As someone with an open mind, or at least I like to think of myself as mostly this way, I am able to change my opinions as fact and information are made available to me.

Please read on.

When recasting was a small, underground thing, it wasn't impacting companies much. There were fewer dolls available as recasts, and most of them were either incredibly popular minifees like Chloe and Rheia, or old sold out Sooms and Volks. Then, more and more people discovered recasts and began to ask for dolls to be recast. Some of these dolls were artist dolls. Some of these dolls were basic editions still available from companies. Some of these were older limited editions. It also took a great deal of effort to go about buying a recast- you actually had to read. You had to put in effort.

When attitudes began to change and the entitlement grew, recasting began to spread. It's like people had no limits at all, no ethics at all. Granted, there is no such thing as universal ethics. There isn't. What I believe to be right and true won't necessarily be right for you, and that's OKAY. The change in atmosphere began to conflict with my own limits and my own ethics, and thus I began to realize that mine were changing. I used to say I didn't care one way or the other about artist dolls- they weren't my thing. So one was recast, eh, to each his or her own. I don't see it that way any more. Many of these dolls are sculpted by one person, using limited runs (because that's all they can afford, sometimes casting themselves in their own garages) to feed their families. My first limit was born: no recasts of artist dolls are ever okay ever. The Cuarto dragon recast literally made me sick to my stomach.

So.... what was an artist doll and what wasn't? While technically, no dolls are art (it has to be produced in very, very limited quantities according to copyright law, something like under 20 or something), they do have a more artistic vibe than standard off-the-shelf toys. I still haven't decided what exactly the limit there is, but I'll come to that in my own time. I did realize that the companies were going to start raising prices and trying to fight recasting of their product, and I believed they had every damn right to do so. I do believe they don't have the right to target and harass individual people, and I hope that the anti crowd focuses their efforts on the providers of these items, rather than harassing individual people if their "crusade" must continue. 

I didn't, and still don't, consider recasts theft. I don't quite consider them knock-offs though either. The Magic Time MSD girl body is clearly a knock off. It's inspired, right down to the damn measurements, with only a few changes, by the minifee body. The boy Magic Time 1/4 body is the same way- it's clearly a minifee boy knockoff without the hip cups. That's a knock off- and it's legal and allowed to be posted on DoA (I asked the mods). Recasts are still a bootleg product. They aren't products inspired by and incredibly similar to the original thing. They aren't always factory dolls, like some bootleg Blythes. They aren't modified enough to be considered original works, but they usually don't have company logos on them either. So I don't know what my opinion is on that yet.

Next, my frustration with the community grew. I empathized with certain people referring to the community as "cheap", because it was true. The majority seemed so focused on getting the best deal for everything, even discounted products or free shipping weren't enough. They needed it cheaper, with more free options. Quality clothing was too expensive. Comments like, "You're charging too much for that." became common place. "Can I get it on taobao?" became the first question anyone asked when I posted a nice outfit on the groups...they stopped reading. They wanted everything spelled out for them, handed to them with no effort on their own part. Or at least that's how it seemed.

I was sure it only seemed that bad, that I was just frustrated, and the few annoying things began to stand out and that's all I began to notice. On the other hand, I've talked with more than a few people and seen enough tumblrs and blogs and confessions complaining about it to know that it isn't all just me.

While most of the people in the groups were friendly and helpful and wonderful (and they're why I still enjoying posting and even writing this blog), it was the shoppers that began to ruin it for me. I saw a confession the other day that said, essentially, that no one even stops to complement the doll before immediate asking if it is available recast or not. They can't even let someone enjoy their own doll without demanding one for themselves. I empathize with this.

And so I began to understand why people were opposed to recasting. Now that so many people's reactions seem to be "I'll just wait for the recast" instead of "I'll start saving!" (I've got lots of screenshots of this happening) there really WILL be an impact on the companies, especially the smaller ones… especially artists. People are asking, begging almost, for recasts of small artist company works. It's like the concept of shrink in the retail world.

When the thought of a company dear to me getting recast made my heart sink, I knew I had to stop being hypocritical. I had to step away.When I admitted to myself that I'd be upset and mad to find my Juri 08 recast, or my Delf Soony recast, I realized how hypocritical I was. I was, even though I didn't want to admit it at the time, upset to find the Feeple 60 recast. Mine were so special to me, that it hurt a bit. I understood and empathized with those people who assuredly felt the same way any time they discovered a doll they loved was suddenly available recast. And I dunno. It's probably partly that I'm a doll -hipster. I like hunting for and acquiring rarer or harder to find dolls and related items. I like being a special snowflake. I admit it. I'm not proud of it.

I am not anti-recast-owner. I will NEVER hate on a recast owner. I will not report, bash, send hate mail, or whatever other mean things someone would consider doing to another in this damn hobby. I will NOT stop following you, talking to you, or being friends with you because you have bought or choose to continue buying recasts. I am not a bully. I don't force my personal beliefs on anyone. Everyone has their reasons, and it is not my place to judge you as a person over this single facet of your life. I am friends with people whose political and religious beliefs are diametrically opposed to my own, even abhorrent to me in rare cases, but I respect their right to believe as they wish so long as they treat me with respect. So believe me- your stance on recasts will never be a determining factor on whether or not I like you. ;) Chances are I'll like you just fine and treat you with respect and kindness until I am given a reason to behave otherwise. Just because I don't plan on buying any more recasts doesn't mean I hate the recast community or recast bjd owners, or hell, even the dolls themselves. I've met people I truly consider friends, who've helped me through this rough time in my life, and without recasts I wouldn't, simply wouldn't, have found these people.

I still own a couple recasts. For this reason, I remain non-hostile, pro-owner of all types. Pro-Owner should be a thing.

I will not compile hit lists against people who own or purchase recasts. I will not judge. I'm stepping back to enjoy my dolls again and take a breather from the drama.
 Thank you to everyone who reads my blog. Enjoy your hobby and your dolls in whatever way makes you feel happiest.