If you haven’t yet heard of the Rubber Dollers, prepare to be amazed. This subculture takes on that name because they enjoy dressing up as women. But not like normal women – no, these guys enjoy dressing up like female dolls. They use suits made of rubber to cover their natural features and pretend to be living dolls.
Most people who practice in this subculture are men, though it’s not as simple as being able to call it a fetish, as we’re about to explore. They are also known as maskers or female maskers, again simply a straightforward description of what they like to do. A documentary called Secrets of the Living Dolls came to the screen a couple of years ago, and since then, interest in the Rubber Dollers has exploded.
A lot of people are looking to understand this culture, while others are simply freaked out by it. Either way, as you can imagine, there are a lot of weird facts involved in what they do and why they do it. While for some it may seem like a legitimate and harmless way to spend their own private time, others find it odd, scary, and even offensive. Then there are those who say that, just like drag and cross-dressing, female masking is the latest in a line of dress-up fetishes that will one day be more normalized.
We have gathered together the essential facts about female maskers so you can judge for yourselves. Here are the weirdest things you never realized you wanted to know about Rubber Dollers.
15 They Aren’t Transgender
One of the most interesting things you may find is that female maskers aren’t transgender in any way. Many of them aren’t gay, nor do they feel as though they were born in the wrong body. They don’t even see themselves as cross-dressers or drag queens. Instead, they say that they just dress up as a doll for fun. They aren’t trying to portray their real selves or satisfy a fetish – instead, it’s more about disguising themselves and transforming into something new. Some men have said that the reason they choose to wear a female doll suit – rather than a male one – is because they themselves are male, thus making this the biggest possible transformation from their real selves into a doll. This is really interesting because most cultures which feature dressing up are all about becoming more attractive or releasing the inner self-image to the world. Rubber Dollers are fully aware that they are neither female nor dolls and don’t wish to become either.
14 The Costume Has ALL The Body Parts
As well as the obvious facial mask, a lot of Rubber Dollers like to upgrade to a more complete set for their costume. What that means to say is that they have a full set of the female body parts which they might be missing themselves. A fake breastplate is often included with the masks, to provide the wearer with cleavage or simply a believable female chest under clothes. They often aren’t so believable when seen without coverage, however. Some female maskers then go a little bit further. That’s right, they also demand accuracy between their legs as well. What this means is that there is a latex factory out there which faithfully pours rubber into a mould of the female genitalia to create the bottom part of the suit for this subculture. It’s not exactly the most accurate look in the world, as there is no intention for the suit to be functional in any way.
13 There’s No Movement In The Face
It has to be said, it’s always going to be creepy to look at a face which doesn’t seem like a real human, yet is worn by a real human. The worst part of it? The fact that there’s no movement in the face. The masks are designed with solid lips, and often with solid eyes as well so that you can’t even see them blink. Imagine that, and now imagine that person talking to you. Without blinking or moving their lips. It’s the creepiest thing ever, and there’s not really any way around it. If the masks had moving parts, then they wouldn’t resemble dolls anymore. It will still give you solid chills to watch videos of the Rubber Dollers talking to the camera with a perfectly still, emotionless face. How can you tell what they’re thinking? If they’re lying to you? It just makes you shudder to see.
12 They Don’t Look Real (And Aren't Supposed To?)
One of the weirdest things about the female masks is the fact that they don’t look real at all – not even close. It’s very obvious that the masks are made of rubber, and the facial features often don’t look anything near realistic. The eyebrows tend to be very stylized, just lines drawn onto the face, while the eyes can be the creepiest of all. Some are fake doll eyes, while others are holes for the wearer’s eyes to look through. Both options are equally horrifying. If you knew nothing about Rubber Dollers and you came across one in a dark alley, and then caught a full glimpse of their face, you would probably run screaming for the hills. The only reason you wouldn’t would be is if you were paralyzed with fear. There’s nothing realistic about the body parts, either, with the chest plates often looking very odd indeed when uncovered.
11 They Aren’t Accepted By Other Marginalized Groups
Weirdly, though female maskers are part of a smaller fetish or group and therefore might be accepted by others, they don’t seem to be. In fact, crossdressers and transgender people seem to look down on them with the same amount of scorn that vanilla heterosexuals do. “It does strike me odd though that people who practice some of the most socially unacceptable behaviors can also be the most prejudiced,” said T-Vyrus, a dedicated Rubber Doller who is now the editor of masking magazine Hot Girls. “Among cross-dressers, shemales, trannies and the like, there is often the thought that masking isn't real, that it's a put-on, a surrogate, a farce. The thought that if a person were truly serious, they wouldn't hide behind a mask.” It is an interesting point to make, though it’s clear that in this scenario, the mask is the whole point of the practice they undertake.
10 It Originated In The 1930s
So, when do you think female masking became a recognized thing? Well, the truth is, many people still don’t know about it today. Certainly, in psychiatric terms it is not something that has been studied or understood, even by fetish specialists. That’s why it may shock you to learn that Rubber Dollers have been around, at least in private, since the 1930s. That’s the earliest they can be traced back according to one self-proclaimed expert. “I've got a fetish book from the 1940s and '50s of people doing female masking back then, so by no means did we invent anything,” says the man, identified simply as Kerry. “Our grandparents were doing this.” While they may have been featured in magazines, Rubber Dollers have certainly always been on the outskirts of society, and never a mainstream group. Kerry actually became a female masker himself in his teens, and ended up making masks to sell to others – now a successful business.
9 Some Have Multiple Aliases
One of the things about those who are transgender or crossdressers is that they often have an alias that they use to refer to their ‘other’ or true self. Men will come up with feminine names to portray their new identity, and vice versa. With the Rubber Dollers, things aren’t quite so straightforward. Take the example of Chris, who agreed to be photographed for a Rubber Doller project. He has 10 aliases, six of which are female and four of which are male. A few of them include Romy von Dornfelder, Cecilia McArthur, and Nicole van Diesten. To be clear, each of these identities is Chris wearing different female masks. He does not suffer from dissociative identity disorder, and does not believe these are real people inside of him, but rather considers them different aspects of his personality. It’s very odd to find someone who has not just one alias for themselves, but several.
8 They Add Makeup And Hair
Talking of painting nails, another odd thing is the fact that they have to add makeup and hair to their masks once they are wearing them. The masks come bald, which makes them all the creepier when you see them lying around on the side when not worn. Each female masker must then add a wig, and style their hair as they prefer. Next they will add makeup onto the face of their mask, something else which Jon enjoys with his daughters. The makeup can be washed off later, so it’s a great way to express themselves depending on their current mood. The dolls do often come with paint on them, however, which is another aspect which only adds to how unrealistic they look. There’s nothing like painted-on Barbie doll lips to make a face look unnatural, and the doll masks actually look better when they have real makeup on top.
7 They Congregate On Masking Sites
There are whole sites dedicated to female masking, and this is where you will find them spending most of their free time. These communities are places for them to talk about dressing up, discuss where to find the masks and other items, and share photographs of themselves in their masks. They are a relatively safe place for them to discuss their feelings and their attraction to the idea of being a female doll. Doll’s Pride is one of the biggest sites out there, and it has more than 10,000 active members, so this is by no means a small niche. That’s not counting all the people who have never found the site, who use a different site, or are simply not active anymore because they prefer keeping their preferences private. All in all, it adds up, and there’s no wonder that it’s becoming such a lucrative business niche for mask makers.
6 They Wear Sleeves Or A Bodysuit
One of the other weird things about this subculture is that while the masks only cover the face and certain parts of the body, those who enjoy it often want to cover their whole body. This has led to some followers using a bodysuit or sleeves on their arms and legs to produce a more feminine effect. The sleeves are of course hairless and this means that they look more like a plastic doll. For some reason, it’s actually creepier to see someone wearing a mask and also wearing full-arm gloves. It’s probably something to do with the fact that you realize none of their DNA would get onto you if they attacked you. Or the realization that you can’t see a single part of their real body to identify them by. As many of the female maskers are men, it’s odd to think that their whole body is underneath a suit – thus making their female selves actually larger than they are.
5 The Masks Are Expensive To Buy
It can be very expensive to be a Rubber Doller. There are very few companies that make the masks – while any old Halloween mask could pass for a starter, once they decide to get the chest plate as well, the price goes up hugely. Because of the exclusivity, there’s not much hope of getting one on a budget. The suit can run between $5-600 easily, with more customization or features always ramping the price up further. That’s before you even get into the fact that the female maskers then need to buy wigs, female clothing and shoes, and makeup. In short, it’s not the kind of hobby that a poor man could get into. Most maskers will have more than one mask, either to change their look regularly or to be able to dress up on consecutive nights while one of their masks is waiting to be washed. After all, it’s not hygienic to wear something that close to your skin again and again without washing it.
4 They Don’t Do Anything While Dressed Up
Joel was a British man who was interviewed for the documentary about female maskers, and he was asked what he got up to when he was dressed up. Is there a certain action that Rubber Dollers usually complete when they are dressed as dolls? Do they further the fantasy in any way? According to Joel, they don’t. “The conundrum is people ask: 'What do you do when you get dressed up?' And the answer is: not much,” he said. “Sometimes I just take photos to put up on masking websites, other times it just happens to be who I want to be that day.” So, there you have it. It’s almost a boring conclusion – after all, you’d have to imagine that people who dress up in such an extreme fashion would like to do even freakier things once they are ready. But it’s just not the case, at least as far as they will admit.
3 It’s Done Behind Closed Doors
When you think about it, it’s really creepy that a lot of this is done behind closed doors, without anyone the wiser. Most female maskers would never admit their interest to the people that they work with. In fact, there are many who admit that they have never even told their family members about their habit. Despite the fact that they invest a lot of time and money into it, they still keep it a total secret from everyone except those who share their passion. Many of the people who have agreed to appear in documentaries are doing so because they have finally found people who accept and love them no matter what they do, and so they finally feel comfortable to broadcast it to the world. It’s unsettling to think that they do something they would never admit – almost as if they themselves feel that it is a wrong thing to do.
2 It Has Destroyed Relationships
In the case of at least one Rubber Doller, putting on the mask of a female doll has cost a marriage. Others say that their hobby can prevent them from making relationships, but Jon admits that he lost one thanks to his penchant for dressing up. His then-wife broke up with him after he came out as a rubber doller, but he was lucky enough to find another woman later on who was supportive of the hobby and wanted to become his second wife. “This does affect my relationships because I make my priorities and sometimes other people are not happy about my choices,” Jon said. He’s a father of six from Minneapolis, and now indulges himself with his family by painting his daughters’ nails and letting them paint his. He finds it is a way to bond with his girls, although it had already cost him a wife.
1 The Community Is Growing
One thing is for sure, and that is that Rubber Dollers are no longer alone. The connectivity that the internet provides has allowed many people to get in touch with others who share their interest, as well as making it possible to buy custom masks and explore the subject more deeply. The attention which has been shown to the subculture also means that more people are hearing about it for the first time. Put together, this has led to an increase in female maskers, with many people trying it for themselves and even becoming real converts. This means that there could be a Rubber Doller lurking somewhere amongst the people that you know – at work, in your circle of friends, or even in your own family. You would never know about it unless they choose to tell you themselves. Or then there’s the horrifying scenario in which you could accidentally stumble in on them dressed in a female mask when you aren’t expecting it!
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