Living dolls have become a huge subculture and they have recently had its own special of TLC’s My Strange Addiction and British documentary, “Secrets Of The Living Dolls,”. These people spend thousands of dollars on hair; make up, clothes and even plastic surgery to look like Barbie, Ken and other types of dolls. But there is no official definition of the living doll fashion, nor a specific name. Living dolls, human babies, real Barbies are all titles of this subculture. Also there are many different kinds of living dolls.
32 year-old Justin Jedlica is known as “The Human Ken Doll”. Justin has transformed himself into a living Ken Doll through 140 plus surgeries costing him over $100,000. Justin has gained recognition on my TV shows, such as The Doctors, My Strange Addiction, and a 2012 20/20 special called “Extreme Plastic Surgery.” He had his first surgery 15 years ago when he was only 18 years old. Just some of the surgeries he has had include five rhinoplasties, a cranial brow bone shape and augmentations to his cheeks, lips, buttocks and chin. He also has had peck, arm and abs implants made of silicone.
Justin says he can ‘treat myself as if I were my own sculpture, my own artwork.’ Luckily, he has avoided any complications thus far, but it is very likely that implants will deteriorate as the years go on and his body tissue breaks down. Justin said that he did not want to be a real life Ken Doll at first but after a few surgeries he decided that that’s what he wanted to be. Just has caught the attention of so many people that he now has his own website http://justinjedlica.com where fans can find out about his surgeries, contact him for consulting about implants, and see all of his press. Justin’s Internet home pages says
“Everyone knows about Barbie’s plastic companion, Ken. Well, Justin Jedlica is The Human Ken Doll! The media has dubbed him with this title because he boasts over one hundred cosmetic procedures! His unique looks, outgoing personality and list of extreme surgeries have been a source of controversy around the world. This self-professed “artist” and “pioneer of the modifiable male aesthetic” has no intention of stopping his surgical alterations. Join him in his exploration of just how far one man will go on this journey to modify the human form and learn how he can help you on your personal journey, just as he has helped countless others in their own quest for aesthetic fulfillment.”
What would a Living Ken doll be with would a Living Barbie doll? Well we don’t need to worry about that because there is a living Barbie Doll. Valeria Lukyanova has developed a huge following and has been named the real life Barbie doll. She is an Ukrainian model who physically resembles a Barbie doll. She has a massive YouTube following and also has a Vice documentary called Space Barbie. Take a look at Valeria for your self.
Unlike the real life Ken doll Lukyanova claims that the only plastic surgery she has had is a breast augmentation, although it looks like she has had much more don’t you think? And when asked how she feels about people calling her the real life Barbie she says “Look, to me the Barbie doll looks perfect; it was created as a human idol. When I adopted her image, it felt very positive, at first—I constantly heard compliments from everybody around me. But then I got a lot of insulting comments questioning my intellect. That was painful and bad for my reputation, since I’m a spiritual teacher for many people.” Also since she is so thin people have asked how she maintains her body she says that she works out a lot and after she works out she does not eat for two hours she only consumes liquids. But the key to staying thin “the amounts of food I have—they are very small.” Sounds like an easy diet to follow right?
Another real life doll that has gotten lots of media is Venus, a fifteen-year-old British girl. Venus is a different type of real life doll, she wants be the perfect baby doll. She has Porcelain pale skin, big blue eyes and a perfect little mouth. When seeing pictures of Venus many people think they are looking a life-size china doll. Venus has thousands of followers on her YouTube channel and even more followers on her social networking pages. On YouTube she post videos of how to look like her by showing people where she get her clothes and posting tutorials on how she does her hair and make up. Venus also has a different name for her doll persona; she goes by ‘VenusAngelic’.
Venus’s mom has no problem with her daughter being a life-size doll and sees no problem with this fad. She says “Venus is an innocent girl. She doesn’t drink, she doesn’t smoke, she’s not even remotely interested in boys. She works hard at her studies“. She says that her daughter just wants to look pretty. I guess that this “pretty” she speaks of is all left up to ones perception. I would call it more of a disturbing look rather than pretty look.
Venus’s living doll persona does not just end at the way she looks. She actually acts just like she believes a doll would. Her voice sounds like “Tinkerbelle on helium.” And as she speaks she bats her eyes multiple times. She also dresses like a baby doll would at all time. You will never see Venus in sweatpants or a tee shirt. She only shops at high-end stores like Topshop. She also wears blue colored contacts, dies her hair and eyebrows bleach blonde, and uses makeup to lighten her skin. Aren’t dolls supposed to natural, Venus doesn’t sound to natural to me?
I wanted to know where this trend of becoming living dolls came from, and why it is a growing phenomenon. According to subculturesafari.com “As early as 2010 it was reported that an increasing amount of Japanese women were aspiring to look like dolls, embracing femininity and obliterating sexuality altogether”. Many young girls say that they love make up and that it allows them the ability completely change how they look. Theses dolls spend up to there hours applying make up and doing their hair in the morning. A poll of 13,000 Taiwan girls showed that more than half of they began surfing the Internet before they were seven years old. Scholars believe this is a big part of why people want to be living dolls because they see images of perfect woman on the Internet effect their own self image. But why does seeing images of perfect people on the Internet make them want to be living dolls?
I find this whole subculture truly bizarre and somewhat disturbing. In todays world everyone focuses image and how to improve that. I get that many young girls see beautiful models and want to be as skinny as them and look like them. But, I have never heard of teens and even adults looking at dolls like Barbie and Ken and wanting to look exactly like them that they would go through extensive plastic surgery. I wonder are theses people still obsessed with dolls from their childhood? That’s the only reason I could come up with for them becoming living dolls. I discussed this a group of my friends and one other reason we came up with was that they have never been confortable in their own skin that they want to look like someone who has always been though of as perfect, like Barbie and Ken. This is a subculture that I still don’t understand and I find bizarre. I hope that people come to realize that if they have imperfections is okay and if they want to change their imperfection that’s fine too. But, I hope that people realize they need to be individuals and shouldn’t transform themselves to look identical to dolls.