Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Diversity, Part II

I also have had some thought about Diversity in SL®, and since they're celebrating said subject this week for the 5th birthday dealio, I will slide in another few words on the matter.

This train of thought initially started many weeks before the events going on now. I came across a post from Chestnut Rau wondering why do many think that the only way to be recognized and accepted is to be a human avatar?

I know there's many many other Avatar types out there (robots, demons, furries, elves, transgenders, etc) because in truth the sky -is- the limit in this virtual world. I am not attempting to exclude any other avatars by any means. If we are meant to truly celebrate how diverse we are in both RL and SL®, then we have to recognize the creativity of everyone (yus even the Blingtards and 'Oh Snap!' candidates).

Still, I decided to ask 5 folks with their own unique outlook on avatars to see what they think:

Beatrix Noel: A purple fairy with a style that's as diverse as SL® itself
Rosie B: One of our favorite plus-sized ladies
Kaedy: A vampire who's more than just goth clothing and curves
Mirari Cheney: A Neko who will scratch ya as soon as smootch ya
Pangtera Nakamura: The ultimate anti-human

I first asked each of them their true influences for creating a unique Avatar:

Mirari: Mir as she is was a off shoot from a lyv tyler avi. I made her tall which I'm not lol better endowed than i am. So she is ... a fantasy? but then isnt that what SL is supposed to be?

Rosie B: When I logged in for the very first time to meet up with my best friend, I wasn't aware that there were standards. So, when I got to the spot on orientation island and they told me to customize it, I just ... went with whatever I felt like doing. Which was making her on the short and round side. It wasn't until I got TP'd into a busy club and people started commenting about my shape that I realized I had done something out of the ordinary.

Pangtera: My natural curiosity in physically being something that I couldn't in real life. Everywhere i go i see humans, and everyone expects others to be human, and it makes the SL® experience limiting in my opinion. It seems many are afraid to try new things.

So it comes down to seeing beyond the limits of a normal 'human' (and yus -I- think Liv Tyler is beyond human, k?) However... just because you are a cat, or dragon, or alien... does that mean you're not sexy? Who decides what is sexy and what isn't? Vogue? Cosmo? Nah. What about Second Life® fashion blogs like Second Style Fashionista or Linden Lifestyles? Does it really matter?

Mirari: sadly... I do think people put too much into looks here as in rl. People take themselves too seriously here sometimes.

Kaedy: Well some [vampire Av's] are definitely over the top about it.

Pangtera: I personally never bought avatars to feel sexy, but if others think it's sexy or not sexy, it's fine. A lot of people doll themselves up for others, but I dress up for me and only me.

Beatrix: I have to be honest and say I don't see myself as being that unusual. Obviously I am but I'm just me, I have the same shape from when I was wearing regular skin.

With all that being said, then sexy is merely a state of mind... and in the end we're all people behind the screens portraying our own personification of ourselves through our vast imaginations.

Finally, is there any advice to offer for those who wish to step outside the box?

Beatrix: Go for it! or if you are worried try something out. There are plenty of low cost options plus this is SL® and nothing is permanent. When I first started wearing purple skin people asked me why, and I said, "It makes me happy!" and my friend were cool with that.

Kaedy: I guess go with whatever makes you comfortable. After all is a game and the sky is the limit, so be whatever you want to be. But also remember that there are real people behind these avatars. Some people can be so rude just because they can hide behind their keyboards. It ruins it for everyone.

Rosie B: One good thing about SL® is, it's not permanent. But if you're going to pick a nonstandard avatar, and you think you want to be in one nonstandard avie style, own it. Really love it. Make it a part of you, whether it's an avenue for personal growth, or just a hell of a lot of fun, or because you like how you look, have some reason to really make it your own. That'll make your experience as rewarding as it can be. In a world where you can be anything you want to be, there's no reason why you should be something you aren't totally in love with. SL is what you make of it, whether you're "standard," "nonstandard," classic, unique. Just adore yourself.

And so... enjoy diversity whether you're a purple lover, zombie, or a shining ball of light, there's bound to be other folks out there who will accept you for who you really are...


chestnut rau said...

Great post Guen! (and thanks for the linky too.) I still mostly live as my human avatar but I have a growing collection of other choices.

This blog inspired me to start my own and I am happy to see interesting and regular content on MG again. Best of luck to all of you (not so) Mean Girls.

Anonymous said...

Transgender as 'non-human'? Would there be a non-human 'gay' or perhaps 'Jewish' or 'Asian' avatar that was non-human as well?