(The characters and their experiences mentioned in this paper are all from the documentary materials and belong to public resources. There is no infringement. Among them, Uncle Piling is a veteran doll lover, and his remarks in this article are all taken from the documentary he participated in the shooting.)
In the eyes of the general public, dolls are seen as a means of catharsis, and the consumers who buy them are misunderstood as perverts. But is the meaning of a anime sex doll really only about sex, full of filth? A documentary about dolls, Talk to It/Her, shows four extraordinary stories about living with dolls.
The first set opens the mysterious veil of the doll market, a whole set of processes that makes doll craft spread out to tell. But unlike mechanical operations, dolls wish to be given a soul. Each doll is customized by the customer, and even if you buy the same doll, it will be treated differently because of the color of the pupil or the size of the chest. Like people, dolls can be unique, only dolls are closer to perfection.
Dolls are of special significance to senior doll lovers.
Uncle Piling, a veteran doll lover, said frankly, “The meaning of the doll is that she let me find my meaning. “He even dreamed up a science fiction story in which his artificial intelligence version of a doll would be 3D-printed to recreate him and continue the story of fate when humans no longer exist. Asked what kind of feelings the sci-fi story projected, he replied: “I want to be with the doll forever.”
Uncle Piling’s love for a particular doll is pure. He would sort his dolls, and for his beloved, he would set her up, but never have sex. In his eyes, sex and love are two separate things. Sometimes he needs sex as a physical need, but more often he needs companionship, and he needs someone to fill the void in his mind. It was hard to have company, but luckily there were dolls.
“If you finally want to be with a girl of flesh and blood, you are choosing love, not being forced to,” a friend of Uncle pilling mentioned. Dolls may seal people off from the fictional world they live in, or they may re-empower people with the courage to take the initiative in their romantic relationships.
Children love to play with dolls, as does Qixi, a 36-year-old employee of a state-owned enterprise who goes by the online name Qixi. Not only that, he has lived with his wife of 10 years, his 8-year-old daughter, and his two small silicone dolls.
Dressing up dolls as big as his daughter is Qixi’s biggest hobby after work. Like uncle piling, the doll is also of great significance to Qixi. He had never combed his daughter’s hair, was willing to comb the doll’s hair for hours. Her daughter’s old clothes and hair ornaments were also used to decorate her beloved dolls; he is never afraid of the eyes of outsiders, taking the doll to the park to take pictures.
His wife confesses that he has not had sex with the doll. The relationship is simpler than might be thought, and can even be interpreted as giving the doll a slightly different opportunity to immerse himself in his own world.
“Silicone sex doll is my beloved wife who has passed away”
A 70-year-old man has created a replica of his wife to remember her. If the doll filled the empty psychology of the Uncle piling, and the young doll gave Qixi a passage to stay in his own world, it could be said that the doll with an aging face carried the significance of company and memories.
He dressed her up, dressed her more when it was cold, ate with her, and watched TV. He used to dance at home with his wife, but now he dances around the living room with his doll weighing more than dozens of kilograms. At the end of the clip, the 70-year-old holds the doll’s hand and imagines a more realistic version of life in the future, telling her: ‘I will make you more complete and authentic. Let’s wait for a better future.’
Some people might ask: Why did you buy the doll? The answer is now obvious. If you treat her only as an object of desire, she will not respond with emotion, but fortunately, people will engender emotion in her, so even if the doll does not speak, people will feel the company. Everyone has a way to deal with loneliness. Avoiding loneliness or confronting loneliness is a personal choice, and the doll is only one of them.