Living Dolls: A Bizarre Subculture

It is very common, and somewhat expected, to believe that every girl has owned or played with a doll when they were young. When thinking of a doll, what comes to mind? Blonde hair, skinny, big breasts, small waist. The effect that dolls have had on people’s childhoods, especially girls is immense. The doll is at one point, the girls best friend. A simple doll made out of plastic has had the power to create an online phenomenon that has changed the physical lives of several people around the world. Looking as good as dolls do is something that was only imagined by certain women, but the imagination is very powerful, and people often act on their thoughts.

We are always told to have an open mind and a good imagination. Being able to imagine is a very powerful tool, as it allows us to mentally create a world, or an idea anyway we want. What we imagine as individuals is very rarely unique. People all around the world are constantly imaging and creating these ideas, and these ideas are often the same as the ones that other people are having. Imagination has led to the creation of several cultures, subcultures all around the world.


The obsession that people, especially children, have had with dolls cannot be denied. They are used as presents, often used for comfort, and lastly, they are collectible and sometimes very valuable. What makes these dolls so special? Their physical perfection. Most dolls that are made are often viewed as beautiful because of their physical attributes, whether it be their long hair or simply their physical appearance. To many people, a doll is the image of an ideal women. If I told you that certain people around the world want to look just like a doll, would you tell me I’m crazy?

Living Dolls

If you thought I was crazy, you would be horribly mistaken.‘Living Dolls” is a subculture. It is a group of people that share an obsession with perfection, and most importantly, with dolls. While this is only a certain group of people around the world, how is it possible that a subculture was formed from a doll obsession? What made the creation of this subculture possible was both technology and the internet. Through the internet, these people were able to find each other, which ultimately led to the creation of their subculture. This is the way many subcultures around the world are created, as many people around the world share the same views, beliefs, and obsessions. The internet has allowed these people to find each other.

The ultimate goal of becoming a living doll can be reached in two different ways: The first through plastic surgery, which seems to be the less popular route; and the secondly, by using masks and makeup, which is more understanding. While there are many people that use makeup and masks, the use of plastic is increasing although not many people choose to do it because long lasting effects. The use of plastic surgery has increased the subcultures popularity dramatically.

I would like to introduce you to Valeria Lukyanova, otherwise known as the ‘Human Barbie’. While she states she has only had plastic surgery once (breast implants) many think otherwise. Valeria is looked upon as an example by many women within this subculture. An example not only because of how perfectly she resembles a barbie doll, but because of the way she has affected the subcultures popularity. People have become aware of this subculture largely because of both her interviews and photo shoots.


Valeria recently took the internet by storm because of several photo shoots she agreed to take part in. Photo shoots as well as YouTube videos have allowed her to voice her opinion and her goals regarding this lifestyle she has chosen to partake in. Without YouTube she would not be this cultures icon, simply because this is a very specific obsession that people around the world share, but these people are not together. YouTube has allowed Valeria to upload her videos and pictures which has led to her rise in popularity; she  has one million ‘likes’ on Facebook. The amount of likes on Facebook that she has received serves as proof that she is indeed an icon, and very popular.

While Valeria serves as an icon for the women within this culture, Justin Jedlica, otherwise known as ‘Human Kenn Doll’ serves as an icon for men. Unlike Valeria, Justin has admitted to being operated over one hundred times.

“The 33-year-old Trump Tower resident has 12 implants in his torso that mimic shapely arm and chest muscles, 15 silicone injections in his buttocks and 11 in his face”

What’s the point? To look just like the Ken Doll.

The obsession to perfection that both Valeria and Justin share can be viewed two different ways; admirable or simply crazy. Admirable simply because their commitment level is immense, they know what they want and they will do whatever is necessary to achieve it. But crazy because, well, wanting to look exactly like a doll is absolutely crazy.

Although both Valeria and Justin are the extremes in this subculture, within the culture there are people who are not extremist when it comes to looking like the dolls, but they share the same interests. Looking like a doll, and feeling like a doll is the obsession that kick started this culture. The only way to look like a doll without reconstruction surgery is, as mentioned before, with makeup and masks. The use of makeup allows a person to temporarily change their appearance, making them look the way they want for a certain period of time. Being able to change their physical  appearance is something that the members of this subculture are attracted to, because in order to look like a doll, makeup, among other things, is necessary.article-2272066-174AFBE2000005DC-343_634x920.jpg

Secrets of the Living Dolls — Documentary

If changing your physical appearance to look like a doll isn’t strange enough, what is viewed as normal within the culture is men dressing as women, pretending to be a barbie doll. This fad took the internet by storm because many people wanted to know more about this culture, there were questions that people wanted to be answered; questions including: Why have they chosen to do this? How have they done it? All of these questions were answered by a documentary that was made called “Secrets of the Living Dolls”, which aired this year (2014). This documentary shed light on this culture, what they believe and how they carry themselves. The insight provided by this documentary has allowed the general public understand, or witness, the lives that these  people live and how  being a part of this subculture affects their lives. 


The documentary was able to made because of the rising interest within the general public regarding this subculture. YouTube, as well as social media devices including Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, allowed people around the world to view pictures and videos of the people in this subculture, and it raised interest.

While these people are undoubtedly extremist, their actions have opened the eyes of the public towards something different, something particularly unexpected. Although certain people may not agree with what these people believe in, or what their doing, people must be understanding of their interests and obsessions. The ‘Living Dolls’ subculture is one that has become more known because of the Internet, as well as social media devices. Although this is just one of thousands of subcultures around the world, it can now be understood that cultures like these do exist, you just have to look for them.


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