Saturday, October 27, 2007

My virtual appearence in Second Life

I have had a number of very rude comments from my dear friends about my Second Life appearance. To be honest, my SL appearance isn't too dissimilar from my 'real' identity. I made a deliberate decision not to develop a 'sexy' persona because I have a major problem with women being depicted as young and nubile, with incredibly big breasts in computer games etc. I mean, have you seen the latest incarnation of the game hostess in 'Buzz' - not only does she have big breasts, but her dress is see-through - and this is supposed to be a family game!! So, I decided to be a good feminist and resist the huge temptation to reinvent myself as a gorgeous young thing.

What has surprised me has been the comments from my girl friends. One said I looked like an egg cup. The other said she couldn't understand why I would resist the opportunity to develop a whole new persona and lets face it, my SL bum is huge (a bit like my real one, I'm afraid)! Now this has surprised me, coming from a load of dedicated feminists! So, I am wrestling with this moral dilemma - do I stay with my fat SL self and stay true to my principles or do I undergo a metamorphosis into a irresistible hot chick?!? The third answer could be: shut up, no one gives two hoots! What do you think?

11 comments:

Carolyn McIntosh said...

go on be the babe you really know you are. Your real life is nothing like your SL figure.

Sandra said...

I agree - you can be whatever you wish to be! In real life or SL! Perhaps you start in SL and before you know it it's really you in RL! Either way I'd love you!
I admire you that you went on SL. I'm still nervous about knowing where my naked avatar is or isn't!!!!

Linda Robertson said...

If I wasn't worried about tackling 2nd life before I am now! I have in fact signed up but so far have not ventured into this arena. Next task. Why would you want to be yourself if you could be someone who is a crazy dream - size seems the least of the issues!

Sarah Stewart said...

I know, Linda, thats what 'the girls' say!

Leigh Blackall said...

"hot chicks" in SL AND RL are embarrassing! It depresses me to see the absence of creative imagination almost everywhere I look. And I loath any reminder of my own weakness on this front.

I hope you'll continue to resist (is this really something you are resisting? :( and model something creative.

Perhaps build something grotesque. That's what I tried to do. Why not be a man? WHat an opportunity for you feminista! See a world through male eyes. Build something Alien. Build something bewildering, but please don't build a stereotyped beauty myth hot chick.

Actually I like your avatar's shape AND costume as it is now. Leave it the way it is and spend your time exploring everything else instead.

Who cares what you look like, care for what you can see.

Sarah Stewart said...

I really like that, Leigh-you've articulated exactly how I feel - I actually want to be different, so will work on it. To be honest, haven't gelled with SL, even after a tour of some IBM sites. I'm sure I just need practice.

catkins_in_nz said...

One of the interesting things that I have observed is the way in which people's avatars change as they begin to find their own identity in Second Life - and also how facially the avatar they create is often a recognisable version of themselves. There's have been a number of conversations on the SL Educators listserve about what is an 'appropriate' avatar form to use for teaching and even what are appropriate clothes to wear! I think it is important most of all to feel comfortable with your avatar - for all the people who have never met you in real life your avatar is you and that is how they think of you. Aaron Griffiths and I first met in SL and even now I think of him as Isa rather than Aaron - in fact the first time we met in RL we both had confused moments of calling each other by our SL names!!
My avatar doesn't look like me at all - at least so I thought - until one day one of my students commented on that - "Aaah" she said "but it looks like the essence of you"......Im sure there's at least one PhD in here!!!

Sarah Stewart said...

Hi Catkins, I am sure you are right about the theoretical underpinnings of this discussion - I find it all very fascinating and would love to look at it more closely - one day, maybe...!?

catkins_in_nz said...

Sorry Sarah I should have said too that catkins_in_nz is the blogger name for Clare Atkins aka Arwenna Stardust!! It all gets so confusing sometimes!!

Cheryl said...

I too find this all interesting and found this link. http://chronicle.com/media/audio/v53/i49/boellstorff/

You may know it. "...in SL you get to know people from the outside in" he says.

For me the hot chick thing is as scary in SL as it is in RL but it's scarier to be recognisable as a noob because the skin is not right or the hair is odd. It's weird I find. I agree with Leigh - let's just get on with looking and exploring but.....that old social conformity is very strong, is it not?

Pleased to find others feeling slightly unnerved too.

Sarah Stewart said...

Thank you for your comment, Cheryl. It is a fascinating subject and no doubt someone somewhere is doing a PhD on it. It is some months since I wrote this post and I have decided to stick with my 'hobbit' appearance but I acknowledge what you say is true about social pressures.