Saturday, November 24, 2007
A Week in the SLife...
Inspiration comes in all forms. For me, part of this inspiration came from Orchid's previous post about people's reactions to her purple skin. The rest came through handful other people I've met in Second Life whom have decided to break through the usual Barbie Girl mold and wear a more "Real" shape.
So it got me thinking... what would it be like to walk around as a Plus Sized Avatar for a week? I created a shape, used the skin that looked the best with it, and started my week long trek through the virtual world we've all grown to love (and hate).
To start, I went with a couple of friends to 1 club I'd never been to before. The former was a strip club with the usual big boob lovelies shaking their oil lathered bodies and gliding up and down slick dance poles. The hostess didn't even acknowledge I had walked in, and the other patrons (mostly other female AVIs) left me alone. I left after about 15 minutes of watching these hourglass shapes gyrating around me.
The next day I had 2 DJ sets back-to-back. Beforehand I decided to do a little shopping at a couple of stores known for more sexy women's clothing: DE Designs and Nymphetamine. I admire both DoC and Paeoti's work VERY much. I've even met Paeoti before and expressed my admiration. They do designs that many other folks can only dream of. These designs are not for full-figured gals, though. ;-)
After some purchases, I went home to try on some designs. Now, if you think prim skirts are annoying on regular sized Avatars, try spending 35 minutes just to get one to look decent on a full-figured one. You can't wear Skirt layers at ALL, BTW. Your butt and hips stick out way too much. Shoes? Well since almost all women's shoes are a Size "0", you can't even choose a more realistic foot size. I also couldn't wear most of my necklaces and bracelets without seriously altering them. Hair also had to be fixed since my head was bigger, and many longer styles I have didn't look right hanging on my shoulders.
Many designers (and Linden Labs) by nature tend to make their outfits according to the size 2 to 8 gal. Is this wrong? No. It just makes things tougher if you want to look different.
To further test how this shape would effect my overall SL experience, I wore the shape to some of my DJ gigs and to sets by other DJs at the same places. Overall responses by my closer friends went something like this:
EP: looks real lol
EP: I think you are cuter
mC: lol you still look pretty hot tho :P
SD: I love ya no matter what *hugs*
Guen: It's called 'Do folks treat Guen different if she's fat'
LF: i would hope not
LF: same person
BUT, some others were a bit more blunt with their responses...
PK: guen...you uh...getting a start on the holidays?
PT: so Guen...is that the extreme anti-makeover?
PT: guess she's just retaining water
SB: come hither fatty
The biggest question was if this shape was going to effect my sets. Folks are there to HEAR the DJ instead of look, right? Surprisingly, my tips actually stayed about the same at Sanctuary Rock though I didn't receive nearly as many requests from folks. My tips at Valhalla's went down due the drop in the population of clubgoers.
I didn't think much about the reactions until on Friday I decided to show up in my normal shape to Sanctuary Rock. Tips went up, requests went up, and I even had 3 patrons comment in IMs to me that they loved how sexy my Avatar looked. I know they were meant as compliments, but after nearly a week of wandering around with the full-figured look I just couldn't get myself to appreciate them.
What this all boils down to, folks, that while we are given the option to create anything we wish in Second Life including how our Avatar looks... there is still a 'norm' that many folks expect. This norm generally involves shapes, sizes, and colors that many see in today's pop culture. When someone steps 'outside the box', often the first reactions from other folks are not the prettiest.
This does not mean you should go out and create the weirdest damn Avatar you can either. One must find a balance between being unique and being realistic. Mean Girls 'Oh Snap!' posts exist because someone took 'unique' to a whole new and frightening level. Even when I made my full-figured shape, I didn't move all my sliders to 100 just to make a point.
The main thing to remember is that in RL we can't just click 'Appearance' and tweak a few slider measurements. In fact I am keeping the shape to remind myself of that very fact. Besides why would everyone want to look and act like Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt? That would become an extremely bland world (SL or RL), wouldn't you say?
BTW, if you want to read more about a gal who's full-figured in both SL and RL, check out the Whole Lotta Rosie blog. Not to be confused with our Rosie, this beautiful lady also has a lot of spunk. ;-)