(Top to Bottom): Boy. Girl. Boy. Girl.Written 18 August, 2008
The Gender Blogs
IV. Getting a Glimpse of the Typist
Second Life lends itself to the construction of avatars that represent the owner’s ideal self. We need not be ugly, or old, or fat, or disabled (although we can construct our avatars to be all of those things). We can shape our bodies to maximize sex appeal and make avies sexually attractive to others— and most of us do.
But of course sexual attractiveness is a moveable feast—meaning that what constitutes a beautiful and sexy avatar body is a function of the beholder. Often, we build our avie selves to our own standard of sexual attraction, believing or hoping others will find us beautiful and desirable.
There are certainly a lot of beautiful avatars in Second Life— but many are so over the top that they’re sexual stereotypes—virtual Rambos and Bimbos—with overexaggerated body proportions, skimpy clothing, pumped-up hair, oiled skins, and do-me Animation Overriders.
In some of these avatars, I am certain, I can see through to the typist behind the screen.
Women can certainly fetishize their bodies—and lots do—but it’s darn near ubiquitous for men to sexualize womens’ bodies. When I see a female avatar who is too-too—hair too big, breasts and ass too big, legs too long, and wearing far too little in the way of clothing—and when almost no attention has been paid to personalizing the look or accessorizing or achieving some sort of coordinated appearance—when every element of the avatar is calculated to maximize sexual essence, and when the profile is filled with groups like “Cum On Me” and “Bukkaka Beauty” and reads something like “I will fuk anything that moves,” when the avie’s chat is overtly sexual in a way womens’ speech rarely is, I think: GUY!
And I’m almost certainly right.