Instagram is home to many bizarre and exciting communities. From cosplayers and makeup artists to foodies and big strong guys with big strong muscles, you can find practically anything you want on the social network. However, with every community comes that influencer economy of the most popular members hocking junk and saying “hey, guys” at the start of every video. Luckily, the latter may not be a problem for long. The future of social media marketing has been laid out by Input magazine writer Jessica Lucas, who has done a deep dive into the world of sex doll influencers. (To clarify, that doesn’t mean human sex-doll enthusiasts, but rather influencers that happen to be sex dolls.)
Though its follower count may be paltry compared to the nightmare world of David Dobrik and Jake Paul, a couple of thousand followers for Celestina, one of the most popular sex dolls on Instagram, is nothing to scoff at. For followers of the sex doll fandom, this may be nothing new. As the article details, the community grew out of The Doll Forum website, which launched some 20 years ago. The site, which boasts more than 70,000 members, inspired a wave of photography that carried over to Instagram and even an ezine called “CoverDoll.” Today, a host of sex doll influencer managers (that is to say, their human owners) post for their sex dolls in character. Apologies if finding out these inanimate dolls designed for sex aren’t autonomously posting ruins the illusion, but the alternative is much more terrifying. The horror of a sentient sex doll is a little too much to bear for Thursday.
Lucas’ work doesn’t belittle its subject, though. The author takes a fascinating, clear-eyed look at the artistry and labor of photographing these dolls and cultivating a fanbase for rubber women that weren’t exactly designed for content output—or output of any kind (they’re more of an input thing). As Lucas describes it:
Using a combination of creative photography, in-character social media posts, and, more recently, deepfake videos, these doll photographers are working to make the synthetic women in their lives as close to organic as possible. Their goal is to give their dolls depth and personality, so they can show other community members, and the wider world, how the dolls appear through their eyes. If the owners can make some money off the pursuit, that’s all the better.