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Scylla Rhiadra

The UnQueering of Second Life

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Darrius Gothly wrote:

Hmm .. yes indeed, you do spin up the thinking gears Scylla.

I'm a pretty liberal guy myself, not really giving much concern to what specific form of plumbing one wears in RL. Like you (at least what I think you are like) .. I am more concerned with the person's intentions and basic honesty.

I have for a long time been able to "spot" guys pretending to be gals. However, that's the surface description; I'm not really able to identify a person's RL plumbing by sensing or intuiting somehow. But what I AM able to do is detect deception for malicious or basically morally wrong reasons with a pretty high degree of reliability. Truth of the matter is, I don't care TO spot someone's RL plumbing either because it's of no import. But I certainly do find myself willing to identify and help unmask those that use the "blurring" of their own reality for hurtful reasons.

As to the issue of "voice verified" and other such methods to guarantee that RL gender matches SL gender .. I have no problem with them. My reason is quite simple. I am liberal enough to accept any gender preference someone might desire for their "SL Self", thus I am just as willing to accept their preference to be selective about their partner too. It's not a decision I can make for them because it is their own choice for their own reasons.

Yes, some really do demand such services because they harbor a hatred for people they feel are "different", but for those that do not hate or hold unfair judgements against others and only wish to protect their own right to choose correctly, such "verification" services can be very important.

(For example, I wouldn't be angry or spew hateful words if I found out a "lady" I'd just enjoyed some intimacy with was actually a guy, but it would certainly spoil the memory and the pleasure of that shared time. Thus, wishing to preserve the specialness of the memory, I might be one to take extra steps just to be sure it wasn't at risk from the start.)

What's at the core here is the freedom to choose. And that means freedom to choose to "queer" and freedom to choose methods that guarantee against that same eventuality. When trying to set moral limits, to say "it's not right to discriminate or hate based on ..." we must also be mindful that it's not right to hate or discriminate against those that simply choose to be less open-minded than ourselves.

 

I agree very much about what you have to say about "choice."  And that includes the choice of some to care about the RL plumbing, as you put it.  What is not so cool, of course, is the tendency among some such to wish to impose such preferences on everyone else because the "queer" SL leaves them feeling uncomfortable, uncertain, or vulnerable.

As an example, based on something that actually happened to me:  I am pretty boringly "straight," so, I have no wish, personally, to experiment with lesbianism.  I am not (much) attracted to other women, and if I knew for a fact that a person representing a man was actually a RL woman, it would make a difference to me:  I would not be sexually interested.  On the other hand, if a "male" with whom I had been involved suddenly turned out to be a RL female, I would not freak out (and, in fact, didn't), because the experience I'd had with them would have been as "authentically" heterosexual as any relationship with a RL male.  I would no longer find them sexually appealing -- but that would not invalidate what had gone on before.  Nor would I feel "betrayed":  this is, after all, Second Life, not some RL dating service.  Accept the premises of the "game," or don't play it.

As for dishonesty -- there is a distinction to be made between someone who is consciously dishonest with an eye to gaining advantage or hurting someone, and someone whose "dishonesty" is nothing more than taking advantage of SL's potential for self-exploration.  The latter is not "dishonest" at all, in my view:  it is using SL for what it is best at.

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Ceka Cianci    1,046

 


Ossian wrote:

 

Ceka Cianci wrote:

but when you open an account with second life..you use RL data..this is why avatars can have profiles on facebook..unless they lied about the rl information..

 

 

Facebook gives your RL data away -- to whatever extent you allow, or to whatever extent they trick you.

In fact, the way it's implemented now, if you want to use Facebook Comments, you have to
lower
your

privacy, or only your friends will see your comments.

I'm not blaming Facebook... they aren't making the trend.  I'm only saying that it will be unfortunate

if SL follows that trend.

 

quoting you again since this part wasn't there before hehehe..

Myself i don't think LL is gonna force anyone to expose themselves..they won't be a face book..i think they will be an extention of it  or facebook will be an extention..an option to use..

not something everyone will have to use..

I don't think LL is really that stupid..they don't want to trade one crowd for another..they just want more options so they can have both..

just like media on a prim is an option ..voice is an option and bulding or shopping..anything really..

it's just another thing that a user can toss into their hat ..i think the only ones that will make it a bad thing are the ones that will use it to validate someone because they may not have a face book..just like some of those asshats that use voice to try to validate someone..

it will be nice for those that want to use it..i just hope they don't go around being asshats with it to those that don't like it..

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Darkie Minotaur wrote:

I follow you notions in many aspects - just not in that the move towards social networks (a very neccessary one, in my opinion if LL want to survive) will necessarily mean that SL and RL idendities will have to become the same.

There is, I think, a limited number of resaons to use SL, to be a member ... One of the main motivations is to (at least to a certain degree) slip into an at least slightly different role. If LL fail to see that or decide to ignore that, SL is dead (even more than it is now). There is, however, no necessary connection to moving SL closer to social networks. It's an offer that - I don't doubt - quite a few people happily make use of - for an SL identity that is close to their RL identity - or an identity which they clearly mark as a virtual identity that differs from their RL identity. And finally, for those who like to play a bit more with identities, they have several virtual identities in SL and e.g. facebook. This wasn't the main track of your thoughts, but just one thing I wanted to state about SL and social networks.

I think that much of the argument of those people seemingly  wanting to tighten the connection of SL and RL identities are in most cases linked to very specific interests - I don't think I have to go into that
;)
Apart from that, their vitual identity is a virtual identity just like most here - why else come to SL? (this is a rhetorical question
;)
)

To force SL users to tighten the connection between RL ans SL identities would certainly have negative effect - not the positive one that the opening to and closer link to social networks should have. I'm not saying that LL could be tempted to think they should tighten the connection - but what USP would remain then? What I'm saying is: Social networks do by no means mean that there has to be a tighter connection between the different identities.

As far as the your arguments in favour of the freedom of keeping identities apart and play with them, I totally agree - as I have with the zillion other postings that have been written that argue in the same direction.

 

Thanks for the response!

I actually don't have anything in particular against social networking, although, personally, I don't much enjoy it.  My avatar, "Scylla," has a Facebook account (still!), but I don't have one for my RL "self."  I use FB, interestingly, to connect with RL -- with real life feminist organizations and such, and with a few people who have left SL, but with whom I wish to retain contact.

At issue isn't really the use of social networking, per se;  it's the grafting on to SL of some of the underlying assumptions and preconditions of social networking that's the problem. It's quite possible to use Facebook (as I do) while retaining the distance between RL and SL -- at least until FB decides to crack down on avatar accounts again.  The same of course is true of Twitter, or Plurk, or any number of other platforms.  But there is a movement afoot, espoused in places like New World Notes, and implicit elsewhere in slighting references to "manginas," or the outing of alts and RL identities, to apply the essential premises of social networking to SL in a way that could, potentially, transform SL radically.

It is a shame that Avatars United was never developed and ultimately scrapped:  there was some potential there to harness the power of social networking while retaining the more inclusive values of SL.

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Ceka Cianci    1,046

 


Ossian wrote:

 

Ceka Cianci wrote:

 it will be nice for those that want to use it..i just hope they don't go around being asshats with it to those that don't like it..

I agree with that.

 

 

here is  the way i see it with facebook..tons of my friends and family all have it.. i don't for a good reason..everyone else has it LOL

i have a home phone i have my cell phone and about 30 other ways someone can constantly contact me..

they can text me ..they can get me on yahoo or msn or aim or email me to cell..the list goes on and on..

there is one place they don't contact me..here LOL

the one place in just about my whole living day that nobody can walk up to me that i know and buug the crap out of me..heck i'm on here and on my cell roght now with my sister talking about her morning..i just got off work and am tired..i come into sl to get away from all that..

i miss the days when people sat at the same table and talked to each other rather than on their cells looking at their facebook or texting someone else..

if other people want every moment of the day to where someone can be up their ass every moment of the day ..i say let them..but myself..i don't need that much attention LOL

i want one place that i can get away from the gabbers  lol

ETA..forgot to add my point..hehehe here it is..

If that bugs someone that wants me to be on facebook and needs that to validate me..they can kiss my unvalidated ass all the way to the whiners booth..

ok that was it lol

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I agree woth you that there is a potential danger - which - and I don't claim to be right here - would undermine the very reason that SL exists - at least a major part of it - what I called in marketing jargon USP. I fear FB will on a regular basis clean out all openly only avatar based accounts. They want advertising dollars - avas aren't really good for targeted advertising - and that where the big ad dollar is.

As for me, I do it the other way round - I have a RL FB account (though I hardly use it) with no ties to my SL account.

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Ian Undercroft wrote:

I enjoyed reading your "thesis", Scylla, and found doing so thought-provoking.

The freedom of expression, to be whoever or whatever we want to be, is an important and valuable feature of SL. However, that freedom should be exercised in a responsible manner. The feelings of other people must be respected. Only, if and so long as they do not hurt others,  should people should be free to express themselves sexually in whatever way they see fit. Nothing will ever change my view that it is morally wrong to engage in intimate discussion or behaviour with another through the medium of SL in circumstances where you know, or reasonably believe, that that other person would be distressed or disgusted if he/she knew the truth concerning your RL sexual identity.

 

 

Thanks Ian.  Let me describe, as I see it, the kind of dynamic that I think should be at work here to respect the perspectives of people on both sides of the divide.

Imagine a relationship, at first casual or merely "friendly," develops into something more serious.

Avatar "A" is, for whatever reason, insecure about the thought that Avatar "B" may not be what he or she represents as in SL.

Avatar "B" doesn't much care about Avatar "A"'s identity, but wants, for whatever reason, to safeguard his or her own.

Avatar "A" should approach Avatar "B" with something like this:  "I am interested in possibly pursuing a deeper relationship with you, but knowing more about your RL identity is, for me, a necessary precondition.  Can we find some way of "confirming" that you are in RL who you seem to be in SL?"

This, it seems to, is a request well within the rights of Avatar "A".

Avatar "B," however, feels that, on balance, he would prefer to retain that distance between SL and RL, and choses to exercise his or her rights to refuse the request:  "I'm sorry, but I don't feel that I want to do that."

Avatar "A" now has a choice, and it is in one sense at least, a reasonably informed one:  he or she can continue to develop the relationship, knowing that he or she may never know more about Avatar "B," and aware that Avatar "B" may not be what he or she represents as in SL.

OR, Avatar "A" may now decide that Avatar "B"'s unwillingness to disclose constitutes a violation of his or her notions of what should be involved in a deeper relationship, and so chooses to walk away.

This story doesn't end particularly happily;  either the relationship ends, Avatar "B" discloses RL information that makes him or her uncomfortable, or Avatar "A" settles for a relationship that leaves him or her feeling insecure and uncomfortable.

But at least the rights of all have been respected.  Should Avatar "B" pretend to "disclose," but is still in fact not being honest about his or her RL biological sex, then we have a case of consciously hurtful and abusive behaviour.


Ian Undercroft wrote:

I find it a shame that in modern, liberal, western societies there still exists (i) the perceived need on the part of some to adhere to old-fashioned and out-dated stereotypes, and (ii) the need of the others, in order  to avoid actual or perceived prejudice, to hide aspects of their sexuality.

Amen.  One of the things that I think SL is doing is forcing people to confront such prejudices.  In fact, this is the whole burden of my thesis.

 

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Wilhiam, I'm sure Google Translate has probably made a mish-mash of your post for me, but I wanted to respond to one point that I think you were making:  that the anxiety that I detect among (for want of a better word) some augmentationists is simply a fact of real life, and must be acknowledged.

I would agree, generally, that it is, currently, a fact of RL.  But that does not mean that it need continue, endlessly and forever, to be so.  There have been great revolutions in thought before:  humans at one time believed themselves to be literally at the centre of the universe, instead of relatively insignificant specks on a slightly larger speck orbitting a sun that is a immeasurably small player among the billions and billions of other suns.

One of the reasons I value SL, and wrote this OP, is because I think it is a tool, albeit a limited one, to begin challenging accepted views on identity, sexuality, and gender.  Similar challenges are occurring elsewhere in RL and online all the time:  the cumulative impact may, one day, be an understanding that our reductive and restrictive definitions of sexuality and gender do end up in the wastebasket of history.

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Scylla Rhiadra wrote:

 As for dishonesty -- there is a distinction to be made between someone who is consciously dishonest with an eye to gaining advantage or hurting someone, and someone whose "dishonesty" is nothing more than taking advantage of SL's potential for self-exploration.  The latter is not "dishonest" at all, in my view:  it is using SL for what it is best at.

 

Moved to replying - FINALLY - after the odd quick check of the forums, which made me turn tail and run.

Interesting topic. However, rather than focus what I agree upon your long but well-written contribution, I'm going to pick up a point I don't agree with.

Honesty isn't the issue. If it were, our avatars would look exactly like we do and every time we told fibs we'd get zapped by electric shocks. The whole point of SL is to be able to utterly disguise and reinvent ouselves. I think whatever people do in here is fair game - gender, age, appearance bending....it's all good. If it weren't, we should all be hanging in real life cafés and bars and not in here.

The ENTIRE mechanism of SL promotes and encourages "dishonesty" - by which we mean invention, creativity, fantasy. SL and all who sail in her are intrinsically "dishonest"...but the truth of the matter is, some want to cling to sensation that SOMEHOW the reality they're been served up by their virtual luvver-boy or girl actually is The Truth. And that's why people still get their knickers in a twist over "fake" women, etc. Fake schmake, says I. It's all fake in here. All of it. And thank God.

The fact is - nobody - absolutely nobody - has the self-awareness necessary to present themselves exactly how they are. Most haven't the foggiest idea. The rest don't have the linguistic skills to do so. So, even if we were somehow obliged to be "honest", what got across to the other person still would be far from the impression they'd get observing you in real-life.

One final point. Making legitimate use of SL to expand your creatvity and to explore your gender and the one Nature didn't give you necessarily affects other people. Unless you stand in a skybox on your own all day. Almost any interaction in which one presents themselves as a gender not biologically theirs means taking some sort of advantage - if it's sexual, then more so, but even just plain friendly interaction still means "duping" the other. There's no moral high-ground to take, in my opinion. There's no distinction which makes it "okay". It remains what you are terming "dishonest". But, frankly, I wouldn't have it any other way. That is the beauty of SL. I simply play, have fun and.....believe NOBODY.

 

 

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Ishtara Rothschild wrote:


Wilhiam Hydraconis wrote:

Sexuele ongeremdheid zonder beperking der geslachten ongeacht identiteit is een niet vol te houden utopie. 

 

Only if your sexual interest in the other person extends beyond Second Life and into RL.

If the RL identity of people is a huge concern for you, SL is either not the right environment for you to be sexually active in, or you have to go to great lengths in an attempt to "verify" the professed gender (as well as age, weight, general attractivity, health situation, relationship status, financial situation etc. pp.) of every potential SL partner.

 

I agree pretty much entirely.  It's one reason I am, personally, deeply suspicious of dating agencies in Second Life, because I suspect (although I'll cheerfully concede that I may be wrong) that they cater primarily to those seeking an RL connection. 

While there is nothing necessarily "wrong" with this, SL is simply not the best place to do it:  if it's an RL connection you want, you'd be best to look somewhere where RL is up front and center.  To rely on a platform that is, in many ways, about identity experimentation, and that insists in its ToS upon the sanctity of pseudonymity, is just asking for fail.

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Carole Franizzi wrote:

 

Scylla Rhiadra wrote:

 As for dishonesty -- there is a distinction to be made between someone who is consciously dishonest with an eye to gaining advantage or hurting someone, and someone whose "dishonesty" is nothing more than taking advantage of SL's potential for self-exploration.  The latter is not "dishonest" at all, in my view:  it is using SL for what it is best at.

 

Moved to replying - FINALLY - after the odd quick check of the forums, which made me turn tail and run.

Interesting topic. However, rather than focus what I agree upon your long but well-written contribution, I'm going to pick up a point I don't agree with.

Honesty isn't the issue. If it were, our avatars would look exactly like we do and every time we told fibs we'd get zapped by electric shocks. The whole point of SL is to be able to utterly disguise and reinvent ouselves. I think whatever people do in here is fair game - gender, age, appearance bending....it's all good. If it weren't, we should all be hanging in real life cafés and bars and not in here.

The ENTIRE mechanism of SL promotes and encourages "dishonesty" - by which we mean invention, creativity, fantasy. SL and all who sail in her are intrinsically "dishonest"...but the truth of the matter is, some want to cling to sensation that SOMEHOW the reality they're been served up by their virtual luvver-boy or girl actually is The Truth. And that's why people still get their knickers in a twist over "fake" women, etc. Fake schmake, says I. It's all fake in here. All of it. And thank God.

The fact is - nobody - absolutely nobody - has the self-awareness necessary to present themselves exactly how they are. Most haven't the foggiest idea. The rest don't have the linguistic skills to do so. So, even if we were somehow obliged to be "honest", what got across to the other person still would be far from the impression they'd get observing you in real-life.

One final point. Making legitimate use of SL to expand your creatvity and to explore your gender and the one Nature didn't give you necessarily affects other people. Unless you stand in a skybox on your own all day. Almost any interaction in which one presents themselves as a gender not biologically theirs means taking some sort of advantage - if it's sexual, then more so, but even just plain friendly interaction still means "duping" the other. There's no moral high-ground to take, in my opinion. There's no distinction which makes it "okay". It remains what you are terming "dishonest". But, frankly, I wouldn't have it any other way. That is the beauty of SL. I simply play, have fun and.....believe NOBODY.

 

 

 

Hi Carole!  I'll second what Venus says:  welcome back, even if only briefly.

I don't think we are really very much at odds in our views.  I guess that I would insist upon some kind of distinction between someone using SL to express their creativity, etc., and someone employing those same mechanisms "creatively" to consciously hurt or dupe someone.  That said, please don't ask me to define the line separating these two things:  the distinction is undoubtedly extremely fuzzy, and debatable.

Your post makes an important point, implicitly at least: the very notion of "dishonesty" becomes somewhat meaningless in a virtual world built upon what might be termed deception.  I might go further, and tentatively suggest that to some degree the same is true of RL, where, as you note, we frequently don't know ourselves well enough to know if we are being "honest." 

And honest to what?  Accepting and understanding our own complexity means also acknowledging that our essential "self" is difficult to define.  I, personally, am by turns generous, sympathetic, bitchy, engaged, complacent, busy, lazy, etc., etc., etc.  I am all of these things:  I can't with any real confidence pick and choose from among them which I think is the "essential me."

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Ishtara Rothschild wrote:

While I mostly agree with your post (except for the idea that gender-specific behaviour is largely or completely learned or culturally imprinted, which is probably only half true), I also see an increasing acceptance of gender bending in online environments since communication technology, such as voice chat, and social networking more or less force people to out themselves.

 

This is a really interesting point.  While a system that compels, or at least strongly encourages the "outing" of RL gender might well discourage gender-bending explorations among many, it has the potential also to "bring it out of the closet," and make it, ultimately, more acceptable.

Part of the difficulty there might be our expectations about why people gender bend.  There are still many who believe (somewhat illogically, when one thinks about it) that gender-benders are more likely to be "gay."  Even a more enlightened understanding of the concept is liable to conclude that someone who gender bends in SL is at least leaning towards being in some sense transgendered.  I think that there would be a lot more likelihood of people be willing to reveal their own gender-bending if they didn't feel that it might lead to this kind of misidentification, especially if they themselves harbour, or detect in others, a tendency to view these things negatively.

The other element working against an openness about gender experimentation is that someone who is open about their biological sex when representing a different gender is not going to be treated as that represented gender:  interactions with others "in the know" will always be flavoured by the awareness of RL sex.  Part of the point of representing as a different gender would, of course, be lost in the process.

 

As to your point about the importance of inherited or genetic gender characteristics, I don't think I'd deny that these exist.  I think that there probably are some "essential" biologically- and genetically-produced identity traits related to biological sexuality.  But I also don't believe that these need to be soveraign:  they can be suppressed or overcome by social conditioning or free will, as I think many such traits already are.  Arguably, for instance, humans are, genetically, natural "killers," and yet most of us probably go through life feeling at least a little squeamish about dead mice because of the way our culture has developed and conditioned us.

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Darrius Gothly    383

As amazingly involved and thoughtful as all the comments and replies are on this thread (and not to cheapen the very valuable honest exposition contained therein) .. the BEST part of this thread is how absolutely frantic Pep has become trying to shout down and undermine everyone. I think we've finally found a way to make him get honestly "invested" in the Forums again. High-fives Scylla!!

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Mags Indigo    2

But there is honest dishonesty and erm... the other one...

No one can ever be totally honest, but to go out of one's way to dupe, manipulate and decieve... that's not 'creating a fantasy' (which would in effect need each one of us to say - my fantasy world stop trying to make RL of it) that's being at the least 'dishonest'.

I believe everybody - but not about everything :smileywink:

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If Second Life becomes Facebook,  I would leave.  It is the freedom to do whatever I want here,  without fear that my employer or the like will be able to scrutinize my personal life that I enjoy. 

In my opinion,  Facebook has become a marketing machine - spam!  I am tempted to delete my account,  if not for a few old friends there, that I do like to keep in touch with (the easy way). 

I have zero problems with whatever persona people choose to present in SL.  It is the personality behind the avatar that holds my interest,  not their plumbing ...  LOL

Voice can be deceiving,  since I knew a male avatar who was a dj (and spoke with a low voice),  and later came out and said he was a female ... of which,  I was never quite sure.  I personally liked his/her persona better as a female - since he/she was a *bleep* as a male,  but seemed more pleasant being a female - which was more fun to interact with.

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there could be a third outcome, Avatar "B" could be roleplaying a 'RL' typist of certain characteristics that is roleplaying a SL character. Avatar "B" could make a 'RL' facebook account, and create a whole identity based on the 'RL' character.

if avatar "B" gives 'RL' data to avatar "A" (the augmentionist) they are going to be satisfied with the relationship.

what avatar "B" may be doing is using resources to do what SL allows us to do, creating a whole liberating or experimental identity, and go to a deeper level by creating a 'SL' character. or it could be forced to create a 'RL' character as a defense mechanism to protect its RL identity.

if an immersionist is roleplaying a 'RL' typist, to protect its RL identity, is it being dishonest? some people may think it is, because they are expecting the truth of a character, but the rl typist is being honest because its answering the question that avatar "A" wanted, to know about who is controlling the SL avatar.

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Dogboat Taurog wrote:

then there can be no trust.

Exactly :) Welcome to Second Life. Or perhaps: Welcome to the internet.

 

And coming to think of it, RL is not much different either. Imagine yourself on a blind date with a woman you've never met before. She's exploiting an optical illusion that makes her appear thinner by wearing a vertically striped dress. She also wears high heeled shoes, which make her legs appear longer, as well as a padded push-up bra.

But that is not all. Her blond hair is fake, she's actually a brunette. Her long fingernails, which make her fingers appear longer and more feminine, are glued-on acrylic extensions. And her beautiful green eyes are the product of tinted contact lenses, which also hide the fact that she's near-sighted. Her naturally bushy eyebrows are meticulously plucked, her lady moustache is waxed off and so is her leg hair.

In addition to accentuating her lips and eyes with makeup, which makes her face appear a lot more feminine than it naturally does, she also hides her acne scars under a layer of concealer and setting powder. And her smile? It wouldn't look quite as gorgeous if it wasn't for those perfectly white high-end ceramic crowns, which she had put in after she quit smoking 30 cigarettes a day.

 

I could go on, but I think I got my point across by now :) Unless you're dealing with a homeless person who lives under a bridge and lacks the necessary tools to wrap her- or himself in an attractive cocoon, you rarely ever get to see the true expression of someone's DNA, which is what you're looking for when searching for a mate. You'd have to be married to a person for several years in order to begin to understand who they actually are, and how much they've fooled you in the early days of your relationship.

As Carole said, nobody has the self-awareness to present themselves exactly the way they are. Even in RL, nobody would want to do that. We all mask our natural body odours with more pleasant smells, partially remove our body hair or facial hair, wrap ourselves in flattering clothes that hide most of our physical flaws, and probably suck our belly in when we visit the beach. SL merely gives people an additional layer of masquerade, deception and self-invention, and of course people make use of these unique new possibilities. 

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Scylla, that was very well put together. It is a very important subject to me, and quite obviously to a whole lot of other people. I have said before (most recently last night in this very section) that the thing I most treasure about Second Life is its contribution to tolerance of the different. That's not why I came here, but it is a huge part of the reason I stay.

Without meaning to sound dramatic I have to say that any attempt to 'tone down' or smooth over the complete openness of Second Life as it now exists would be a form of intolerance.

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Carole Franizzi wrote:

...

Honesty isn't the issue. If it were, our avatars would look exactly like we do and every time we told fibs we'd get zapped by electric shocks. The whole point of SL is to be able to utterly disguise and reinvent ouselves. I think whatever people do in here is fair game - gender, age, appearance bending....it's all good. If it weren't, we should all be hanging in real life cafés and bars and not in here.

The ENTIRE mechanism of SL promotes and encourages "dishonesty" - by which we mean invention, creativity, fantasy. SL and all who sail in her are intrinsically "dishonest"...but the truth of the matter is, some want to cling to sensation that SOMEHOW the reality they're been served up by their virtual luvver-boy or girl actually is The Truth. And that's why people still get their knickers in a twist over "fake" women, etc. Fake schmake, says I. It's all fake in here. All of it. And thank God.

The fact is - nobody - absolutely nobody - has the self-awareness necessary to present themselves exactly how they are. Most haven't the foggiest idea. The rest don't have the linguistic skills to do so. So, even if we were somehow obliged to be "honest", what got across to the other person still would be far from the impression they'd get observing you in real-life.

One final point. Making legitimate use of SL to expand your creatvity and to explore your gender and the one Nature didn't give you necessarily affects other people. Unless you stand in a skybox on your own all day. Almost any interaction in which one presents themselves as a gender not biologically theirs means taking some sort of advantage - if it's sexual, then more so, but even just plain friendly interaction still means "duping" the other. There's no moral high-ground to take, in my opinion. There's no distinction which makes it "okay". It remains what you are terming "dishonest". But, frankly, I wouldn't have it any other way. That is the beauty of SL. I simply play, have fun and.....believe NOBODY. 

 

Signed. That perfectly sums it up.

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