Today’s post will include a rant – sorry! It also has a series of odd photos, but that’s because I’m really awful at portraits and I thought the silhouettes would be easier to look at. :)
I was thinking about our virtual beings, their diversity and expressions of self. We can be tall, short, fat, skinny, feathered, scaled, or furred. We can be pink or grey or tattooed or whatever we damn well feel like. In the middle of this I was lucky enough to have a conversation with Eupa↑. One of things I love about him is his eclectic inventory of really cool avatars↑.
Before I do vent I’ll share some news he gave me, then I’ll explain the photos. A while back I told you that there are free avatars at Petrified↑. They are still available, but the project has moved into a new phase. Capcat Ragu↑ and Meilo Minotaur↑ are now inviting you to contribute your creations – you’ll find the necessary explanation and instructions here↑ or on their blog↑. All of the photos after the first one are of some of the avatars on offer now.
Back to my little tantrum. That top photo is of my everyday avatar – she is about 1.91 m tall (that’s 6’4″) and she’s pretty skinny. Apparently, on a “scientific, anatomical level” she is “distorted and wrong”. I’m not going to link to the source of those quotes – I’m not trying to diss the person (I actually like her), but I am going to disagree with the point she (and others) are making.
This is a much subtler campaign than the despised (on my part at least) fuginistas↑. There are a lot of the latter (of course, I think one is too many). It takes a lot of smug arrogance to set yourself up as an arbiter of what’s acceptable in a world which facilitates unlimited personal choices – however, proceeding to hold those you find below your standards up to public humiliation is evidence of an ugly soul. I’d rather people thought I had an ugly avatar.
The other campaign isn’t all that new. It worries about “realism”. It seems that female humanoid avatars should only be 1.7m tall (5’7″). When I read realism I actually hear “normal” or “average”, but it’s the jarring concern about reality in a virtual world that is totally bizarre. Each of the avatars in this post are different heights, shapes and skin tone. Not one of them would satisfy the group’s definition of “realistic”.
The height police used to base their campaign and argument for realism on the number of prims required to house (and sit) “oversized” avatars. With prim sizes expanded they’ve changed tactics. Now, we’re scaring newbies with our “disproportionate” bodies. Apparently all newcomers think they’re coming to a place where everything is like the real world – and nobody in the real world is anything but average.
I have to tell you that, although I spend considerable time with newbies, I’ve never had anybody say “ewwwww” and logoff. In fact, I’ve gotten a lot of compliments and people asking me how to achieve this look.
Yes, new avatars are by default very tall. I think that’s a good thing – it helps people realize they AREN’T IN REAL LIFE. But, for those who cling tightly to the idea that people on the grid should follow their rules, I suggest they set up their own group of islands or continents. Pattern yourself on Gor, make your own little corner of the virtual. Then, just like those clubs or sims that ban furries and tinies etc., you could ban anybody whose proportions don’t fit your world view. I’ll just consider myself unwelcome. :)