In a recent post I wrote about my costume dolls I referred to one of them as being more of a figure than a doll. To me a doll is something that you can play with which may or may not have moving joints but a figure cannot move and is intended for display only. But… a lot of dolls are really only intended for display, think of collectible Barbies in elaborate costumes, Ashton Drake dolls, celebrity dolls like Marilyn Monroe or Princess Diana and modern porcelain dolls or “reborn” baby dolls. None of those are toys for children so are they dolls, or are they figures? See what I mean?
I decided to look online for other views on the subject but what I found were a lot of articles comparing dolls with action figures. That’s another interesting question, is there a difference? Most of the answers I read said things like:
- Action Figures are for boys
- Action figures can be customised
- Action Figures have many points of articulation
- Action Figures have lots of accessories like weapons and vehicles
- Dolls are for girls
- Dolls have few points of articulation
- Dolls can’t be customised
- Dolls are made of soft material and stuffed
- Dolls have pink accessories
However this isn’t necessarily true either. Modern dolls, especially in the 1:6 scale, are being made with articulated joints. Fashion Royalty, Obitsu and even Barbie have articulated knees, elbows, wrists and sometimes ankles as well as waists. Does that make them action figures? Dolls like Obitsu are intended to be customised and I’m sure girls like doing that as much as boys. They may even like dolls with weapons instead of hair play accessories.
The best article I read and the one that comes closest to my own opinion said that there is no difference between a doll and an action figure but at the same time there are differences. You can read the article here. See what you think.
My take on it is that action figures and dolls are both toys. A doll can also be a figure if it is not intended for play as can an action figure. Some dolls are very similar to action figures in the way they are constructed.
It really doesn’t matter what you call them as long as you enjoy owning them.