Since we broke the story here in the US on WOW last December, about new documentary Secrets of the Living Dolls (Channel4.com)- the world of masking where men transform themselves into rubber dolls, the curiosity and controversy has exploded! So, we decided to follow up with a with director Nicholas Sweeney and producer Luke Malone to find out what exactly all the rave and rage is about.
Paisley Dalton: How come there were no questions posed about fetishes or sex? I think it’s an obvious one since most people associate latex dress up with the SM scene…especially in the straight community.
Nick Sweeney: There are a great many different motivations for why people become maskers, and sex is to an extent, but not in the obvious sense. None of the maskers spoke strongly of any real desire to have sex in their suits, and most of those that we came across identified as heterosexual with female partners. From the interviews, it was more about identity, appearance and “perfection”. In terms of fetish, many maskers actually commented that they felt ostracized by the fetish community.
PD: Is this truly a secret community or a handful of people possibly looking for attention?
NS: You only need to type “female masking” into Google, Youtube or Facebook and you’ll see that the community is vast, international and has existed for quite some time.
PD: How many guys did you interview?
NS: We interviewed about twenty different maskers – maybe more – as well as the family that manufacture the Femskins. But being a one off documentary, we had to make very tough choices about those whose stories best fit.
PD: What’s the feedback been?
Luke Malone: It has been overwhelmingly positive. Which is really important to us. Not to feed our egos or anything like that, it’s more that we didn’t want people to ridicule the maskers and have it seem like we set them up for a fall. They are interesting, nuanced people with different reasons for doing this and we wanted to capture their experience as best we could. The response from the broader public has mainly been one of curiosity, which means we did our job.
PD: Will there be a follow-up doc? It seems like there’s much more to this.
LM: The attention has been intense, in the best way possible. What shape any sort of follow-up will take, who knows?
Secrets of the Living Dolls has not yet officially been released in the States. But you can see most of the featured maskers and hear their stories on YouTube.