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Is it abuse to be a male in RL playing a female avatar in SL?


Deanna Moonwall
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Question

Abuse is defined by the action and not by the gender of the player or his/her avatar.  So the short answer to your question is none.

The longer answer is defined by the TOS.  It says if you feel you are being abused you should file an AR.

Is there a specific issue you are concerned with?

--Cinn

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Back in '07 LL posted some statistics about gender in SL and it was thought then that about 30% of the female avatars were actually men. Now I do not pretend to understand all the motivations behind this, but one comes immediately to mind.

In RL, in many countries, it is perfectly allright for a woman to dress as a man. Pants, T-Shirts, Business Suits, etc. Women can participate in activities that are considered male without any real negative impact as well. Of course, carried to extremes, they might be labled dykes or butch or something, but generally it's not considered to be socially unacceptable. So women may experience the world from a male point of view without much trouble.

Now turn this around, have a guy put on a cute skirt and hit the streets. He won't get a block without being harrassed. Yet here in SL a male can put on a female personna and, within the limits of SL, experience the world from a female point of view. Maybe if more did it, there would be less "Hey, would you have S*x with me" comments. (Though frankly I guess that is a silly thought. LOL)

________________________________

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Doc, I agree it might not be a bad experience for men to see what it's like to be a woman, even for a bit.

 

As for women in RL being treated like men just because we wear pants or "business suits"--think again!  I am treated as a woman, with all the good and bad that implies, no matter how I dress.  If you think I've experienced "life as a man" because I wore a pants suit...think again

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"And worth fixing. Thanks Unk."

...and undoubtedly anyone who's into uncle's cheap womanly goth skins and shapes with their Xcite in odd places will agree!  Personally i think my wife who's standing behind me is the better looking... pity the woman, she has me as a partner.

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No. It is not abuse. It is misrepresentation. Myself and several of my friends have cross gender avatars. It is ill considered to enter a romantic relationship without being honest, but it is not abuse. It is dishonest, but not abusive. People take romance WAAAYYYYYYY to seriously in Second Life. I have no problem with a cross gendered mate. How would I feel about someone who lied? The same as I would feel as if they had lied about something else, they are a liar. Not abuse, except of my trust and sensibility.


Not honorable, but not abuse.


Cynianne Hellershanks

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Deanna Moonwall wrote:

 

If there is a male in real life playing a female in second life, what actions by this female avatar could be considered abuse?

 

Starting troll threads like this one? I honestly can't think of anything else.

Seriously though (without having read any other response in this thread, I simply don't have the time today), I've found that the vast majority of SLesbians who worry about gender-bending men -- if not all of them -- are homophobic RL men themselves. Please remember to leave all homophobia and hypocrisy at the door when you enter SL, thank you.

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I kind of suspect that this kind of question (moderately vague, gender oriented) would get lost in the humor- and gender-based answers.

As (at least) one other person has suggested, your question in itself is gender-based, but it is best to refrain from considering the gender in any way whatsoever.  The TOS define what is considered abuse and it (IMHO) revolves around harassment and technological disruption quite a bit.  If you find this person doing (including, but limited to) those things as defined in the TOS, your question is answered.

Besides, if it was considered abuse to simply choose the gender opposite your own RL gender, it'd be ridiculously hard to enforce.

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Yichard Muni wrote:

 

However there are cases where you should be careful not to harm your play mate's feelings: if you engage into sex activities, or love activities (or some professional activities). Some don't really care about your RL gender, but the majority will feel deeply hurt or raped if they realize that you are not the gender they expected.

 

It's strange, but in my experience, the vast majority of sexual roleplayers in SL either don't care much about the RL gender of their partner, or they simply prefer to leave the question open, out of fear to destroy the illusion. I've only met a handful of people, all of them male (although most of them had a female avatar themselves), who were homophobic enough to feel bothered.

But then again, I've always had a "Yes, I do have one" bit in my profile in order to scare them off, so my experience might be skewed. Anyway... here is a bit of advice for people who seek an RL date / relationship instead of cybersex only: Don't have cybersex! Almost all SL women who engage in pixel humping are male in RL. If that bothers you, stick to those who only seek a flirt / friendship, they are more likely to be what you're looking for. But I also know from recent experience that there are a few exceptions to that rule of thumb.

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Ignoring the question of whether it's abuse - which opens up the very silly door to an "I'm afraid of cats and all these nekos are abusing me" AR category - I try to think of it in the same manner as transsexuals.  If you're a civilized person and if you encounter someone in RL who is clearly a man, but is dressed as a woman, and is introduced to you as "my friend Karen", then it's polite to refer to that person as "her".

Sure it might make you a little uncomfortable at first, but imagine the way she's felt all her life and how uncomfortable it must be for her every time she meets a new person and sees the "oh my God it's a man" look cross their face.

So if someone in SL wants to be a female avatar despite their XY status in RL, good for them.  As to why?  Who cares?  Personally I think it's because most mens clothing sucks, and since we spend 75% of our SL time staring at our butts, why not stare at a butt you like.

If not knowing bugs you then don't sleep with them.  In fact if not knowing bugs you you should probably not sleep with anyone since photos prove nothing, there's all sorts of software for altering one's voice to sound male or female over the computer, and if you demand a video show, anyone that isn't charging you US $1.95 a minute is going to tell you to stuff it.

About the only thing abusive in such situations is the number of times that it turns what could have been a pleasant frolic amongst the prims into a haranguing session to prove that the female avatar is being driven by a female pilot so to speak.

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The answer is..it depends.  Depnds on how far the representation goes and what actions are being taken based on it.  I know some ava's who say in their profile or otherwise tell--always ok.  But I know some others who have also represented themselves as the opposite gender in RL as well, even using a voice pitcher to attempt to complete the illusion and using someone else's photos.  Not cool.

Bottom line, we all have a basic right to chose who are sexual or otherwise intimate with.  For some people, the gender of the other ava is a deal maker/breaker.  Right or wrong, there it is. Some ppl can be hurt or even traumatize by a deep deception.  I've seen it happen--more than once.

Many ppl want to simply point to the TOS and give a quick and decisive "nope" as an answer.  No so fast please.  Avatar's rely on humans to exist--not considering bots.  Those humans have real feelings so, like it or not, there are some ethical obligations here (and perhaps some legal ones).

My two cents, I don't care about your kink--as long as you obtain consent honestly from one legally capable of giving it.  If you have that, have fun! 

For those of you for whom RL gender is a deal breaker, remember one of the cardinal rules of SL:

NO VOICE, NO CAM, NO CHANCE.

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Ishtara.Rothschild wrote:

 

Yichard Muni wrote:

 

However there are cases where you should be careful not to harm your play mate's feelings: if you engage into sex activities, or love activities (or some professional activities). Some don't really care about your RL gender, but the majority will feel deeply hurt or raped if they realize that you are not the gender they expected.

 

It's strange, but in my experience, the vast majority of sexual roleplayers in SL either don't care much about the RL gender of their partner, or they simply prefer to leave the question open, out of fear to destroy the illusion. I've only met a handful of people, all of them male (although most of them had a female avatar themselves), who were homophobic enough to feel bothered.

But then again, I've always had a "Yes, I do have one" bit in my profile in order to scare them off, so my experience might be skewed. Anyway... here is a bit of advice for people who seek an RL date / relationship instead of cybersex only: Don't have cybersex! Almost all SL women who engage in pixel humping are male in RL. If that bothers you, stick to those who only seek a flirt / friendship, they are more likely to be what you're looking for. But I also know from recent experience that there are a few exceptions to that rule of thumb.

 

this.

if they don't care i don't care, and i have avatars of both genders, each preferring their in world opposite.  i do my best to find out if they do care, and when they do, i respect it.  thats all i know how to do and i hope it's enough.

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I am a straight man in RL. (Well, I'd be allowed on Mt. Athos and in the men's room, anyhow.) I have a male avatar, who is straight (as far as I know), and a female avatar, who is bisexual. (I admit that it's more fun in SL being a woman than being a man because you get to try all sorts of clothes on and, well, do you-know-what while looking at yourself with an adult poseball. Besides, girl avatars just look prettier. LOL)  So far, I notice people being more generous with the woman than with the man, and I notice my female avatar gets called "hon" or "hun" a lot. Which is fine with me, as my female persona is female. As far as I know, I haven't the guts to "transgender" an avatar. Although I might one of those days.

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No more abusive than being an adult in RL and being a child in SL, being a human in RL and an animal in SL, being a priest in RL and a demon in SL. Abuse is about mistreatment, violence, harm. Who is being harmed when a male wears a female avatar? Now if they get involved in a serious relationship, and they don't tell their partner, then its deceitful and is, therefore, an abuse of the partner's trust.

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