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Emuna Zamani

Is Body-Shaming aThing in SL or Are Some Just Too Sensitive?

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I have a YouTube channel that is all about my virtual/gaming adventures. I have been working on series' when it comes to Second Life. Body-Shaming in SL is my most recent and in the comments under the video, most people seem to "get" where I am coming from but I have received some pretty angry emails. The emails are from people who seem to feel that if anyone gets upset over someone making fun of their avatar, they need to stop logging in because it is just a game. My personal opinion is that those leaving the angry emails have probably made fun of others and the topic struck a nerve because it may have caused them to see that poking fun at anyone because of their avatar is pretty crappy.

I really would like to know how those here on the forums feel about the topic. Is Body-Shaming a thing or are people being too sensitive?

Thanks in advance!

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Oh yes, it is most definitely a thing in some places or groups in sl. You will find people that will not rp with you let alone talk to you unless you have their preferred mesh body, shape, skin on for your avatar to look how they expect you to look in sl.

It is no different in Sl then it is in RL. for some it's even their kink or fetish to shame others or be shamed by others.

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Posted (edited)

It is very much a thing in sl. I've listened to people get cheap and nasty about other people's shapes in a way most would hesitate to do in real life. Maybe part of it has to do with the growing discomfort, even threat, we seem to feel when given evidence of how differently people think from us. In RL, when people are  "too" fat, thin, tall, short we can mostly acknowledge that a person cannot easily change how they look. But here in sl when we see those things, it's because we're choosing that body type from moment to moment; showing we differ from this person in how we think a body can look attractive or at least pleasantly interesting.

This seems to freak some people out.

In my mind, rl or sl, it speaks to a basic lack of self-acceptance. Whether it's a person not feeling it's okay to look in the mirror and be happy at what they see; or someone feeling it's not okay to like something apart from what the mass media peddles as 'hot' or 'attractive'. In my opinion, women seem more prone to the former and men to the latter. A lot of guys I know think they look "great"...which. Not really. But would hesitate to lay claim to liking something about a woman their buddies find unappealing. Whereas, very few women I know think they look great, but have no problem liking a 'teddy bear build' or hairy arms, regardless of whether Madison Avenue attempts to sell us hairless boy-men as the ideal.

Edited again to say. That being said about what behaviors I see most often among genders in RL. In SL, i've probably seen the most public and obnoxious shaming done by women to men.  Just sort of following the rl trend where some women choose to behave as if men have no feelings.

Edited by Musetta Fieschi
edited to add...and I don't mean RP
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1 hour ago, Drakonadrgora Darkfold said:

You will find people that will not rp with you let alone talk to you unless you have their preferred mesh body, shape, skin on for your avatar to look how they expect you to look in sl.

It is no different in Sl then it is in RL. for some it's even their kink or fetish to shame others or be shamed by others.

As many do the term RP should be used in the right way. Main part of sl residents don't do it. And in real RP is't quite important to be in character, a viking doesn't belong in a baroque court play, and a roman emporor not in a Furry combat, so yes... consequence is you will not be taken serious and kicked out.
In many settings in SL appearance is a main thing, if it's required, confirmate to it or stay away from that place.
Many situations taken as shaming are not, and is a attitude problem. I do what i want and i do it where i want to do it.. that's even as in RL not working.

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Posted (edited)

People who say body shaming in SL exist have lost touch with reality and are in my opinion on the same level as people, who say exclusion and dislike of furries is racism.

To explain a little further: The reason body shaming in RL is a thing, and pretty bad for the victim, is that our bodies are only to a degree the result of your free choice. And acting on that choice and seeing a result is often slow paced. Other aspects, like our genes or an illness, make it impossible to change certain aspects at all. Mocking someone because of their body, is essentially mocking someone for something they can't fully controll or escape.

Your avatar is NOT your body. Its an avatar. Confusing this, is the prime definition of losing touch with whats virtual and what is reality. Your avatar is 100% personal choice. If someone dislikes an avatars style, they dislike that persons taste in avatar design. Thats on the level of "eww, I wouldn't wear that dress, if given a milion dollar!". Is it nice? No. But its also not body shaming. Saying it is is taking the seriousness and impactfullness of the real life issue and throwing it out of the window, just so that someone can dwell in pity and stylize their own victimhood to a higher degress of claimed importance and seriousness.

Edited by Syo Emerald
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oh it exists.... while we do have a choice of our body it is still not ok... it might not be "unavoidable" cos we can alter our shapes every 2 minutes to cater to the person´s taste in front of us but it IS harassment and absolutely NOT ok. Cos people don´t go like "mh ok that´s not how I´d want my avatar to look" - they get really nasty. They try to make you feel just as bad as bodyshaming in RL no matter how much of a digital design project it is...

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I'm not entirely sure if "body shaming" is the correct term, given that we have almost complete control over our appearances here (unlike in real life, where many things are outside our control). But yeah, vitriolic abuse gets slung around based on the appearances people choose, for sure, and it's not pleasant. I've done my share of privately judging some of the more 'ridiculous'/caricature-like avatars, because some of the extremes can be pretty grotesquely hilarious; but I would never publicly mock someone in front of a crowd or to their face. It would be dishonest to lie to myself and pretend that everyone's avatars are beautiful and wonderful (they aren't, sorry/not sorry), but that doesn't justify going out of my way to ruin someone else's day or shove my own brand of aesthetics down their throat. Especially when they might view my avatar as "grotesquely hilarious" compared to their own preferences.

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There’s always the oversensitive that’d get defensive or offended by a “hi”, but that aside, yes, there’s body shaming. And profile shaming. And voice shaming. And grammar shaming. And noobishness shaming. And cultural shaming. And gender shaming. And...

Other than that, I don’t have a major problem with those who base their SL attitude in thinking it “just a game”... as long as they’re consistent with it when they find themselves on the business end. It no longer surprises me that the majority of them seem to make an exception at that point, and take things just as seriously as they advise others not to.

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However people look in SL, it is entirely their own choice, why should they care what someone else thinks of them?

I would think genuine body shaming is a problem when, for example, people are still using a system avi and perhaps can't afford to update, and they are attacked for it. 

Rest assured, when I meet you, I'll have an opinion on your body, positive or negative, and I assume you'd have an opinion about me. However unless it's positive, I won't say anything.

I regularly trash grossly hideous avatars to my friends, (yes my friends almost all look like me more or less) but  I would never comment directly to the person.

And honestly who hasn't sat in the mall in RL with a friend and critiqued people as they walk by?

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I don't understand why people give a damn. I switch often between mesh based avatars and classic avatars. I have several classic avatars that I maintain. I get the occasional comment for wearing them, as if it completely breaks peoples tiny tiny brains as to why I would want to wear one instead of spending 100% of my time wearing the latest mesh fad just for the acceptance of others. I mean a classic avatar can't look any worse than the super thick thighed water balloon ass breasts the size of small car airbag with a face painted like a victorian circus performer avatars can it?. Its mainly that crowd that seem to try and judge me for it but honestly....I care not. You play SL for you and you alone, if people have a issue with the way you look just strip your avatar naked, bend it over and tell them to kiss your virtual behind.

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3 hours ago, BilliJo Aldrin said:

And honestly who hasn't sat in the mall in RL with a friend and critiqued people as they walk by?

I critique people sitting in malls as I walk by.

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Thank you to everyone for their input. I read some views that I had not considered.

Maybe Body-Shaming isn't the correct term for a virtual world but we tend to bring real life terms into SL, right? Whatever the term should be, I feel that it happens and that is because of the intent of the person or people that are doing it. I am NOT innocent of having my own pet peeves when it comes to appearances in RL and SL but I tend to keep them to myself. I do not message a person or make fun of them within a group/public because that would mean that my intent is to shame them.

I think that one thing that we tend to forget is that people can be sensitive when it comes to their creativity. SL is a visual world where creativity can be expressed. Many of us show creativity through our avatars and when someone chooses to be unusually cruel, that is when the hurt feelings can arise.

The way that this conversation came about was through someone close to me calling me out on a video that I shared with him. I thought it was humorous and innocent fun but he pointed out that everyone in SL doesn't have the thick skin that I do and they take things like that to heart. This caused me to question if Body-Shaming was occurring in SL.

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3 hours ago, BilliJo Aldrin said:

And honestly who hasn't sat in the mall in RL with a friend and critiqued people as they walk by?

I honestly haven't. Why would I do such a thing?

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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, Bitsy Buccaneer said:

I honestly haven't. Why would I do such a thing?

On the rare occasion I find myself sitting in public with time to burn, I look for couples having conversations off in the distance and re-imagine what they're talking about, using their body language and facial expressions to drive the dialog. It's more fun to do when I'm with someone who'll play along, but I'm happy to go it alone.

Any desire to critique is quickly suppressed by passing a window. Reflection begets reflection.

All that said, I do judge appearance as we all do. It's part of our evolutionary in/out group and threat assessment. The trick is to keep that in check.

Edited by Madelaine McMasters
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Appearance shaming in SL is not the same as body shaming because we aren't talking about bodies, you can't body shame in SL. It's possible some of the people getting upset about your post are people who are making that distinction either because they don't agree with the equivalence or because they're jerks playing semantic games who don't think body shaming exists RL either.

Appearance shaming though is a thing, and rooted either in aesthetic disapproval or income shaming. Not everybody can afford a 5000L Catwa go to over their Belleza Freya, and not everyone wants to put that kind of money into a digital avatar. So are you poor? Or am I self conscious about how much money I've pumped into my avatar so I'll judge you for having a cheap one? Either way, I'm going to make fun of you. (this paragraph is presented generally, I don't have a catwa or belleza and don't have the bother to judge other avis)

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I wouldn't call it body shaming either but the constant conflict about avatar height alone should be enough to show that it exists in SL

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1 hour ago, Asylum Habilis said:

Appearance shaming in SL is not the same as body shaming because we aren't talking about bodies, you can't body shame in SL. It's possible some of the people getting upset about your post are people who are making that distinction either because they don't agree with the equivalence or because they're jerks playing semantic games who don't think body shaming exists RL either.

Appearance shaming though is a thing, and rooted either in aesthetic disapproval or income shaming. Not everybody can afford a 5000L Catwa go to over their Belleza Freya, and not everyone wants to put that kind of money into a digital avatar. So are you poor? Or am I self conscious about how much money I've pumped into my avatar so I'll judge you for having a cheap one? Either way, I'm going to make fun of you. (this paragraph is presented generally, I don't have a catwa or belleza and don't have the bother to judge other avis)

It's not the price that makes a beautiful avatar imho.

In SL (especially) expensive things are just that: expensive.

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2 hours ago, Asylum Habilis said:

Appearance shaming in SL is not the same as body shaming because we aren't talking about bodies, you can't body shame in SL. It's possible some of the people getting upset about your post are people who are making that distinction either because they don't agree with the equivalence or because they're jerks playing semantic games who don't think body shaming exists RL either.

Appearance shaming though is a thing, and rooted either in aesthetic disapproval or income shaming. Not everybody can afford a 5000L Catwa go to over their Belleza Freya, and not everyone wants to put that kind of money into a digital avatar. So are you poor? Or am I self conscious about how much money I've pumped into my avatar so I'll judge you for having a cheap one? Either way, I'm going to make fun of you. (this paragraph is presented generally, I don't have a catwa or belleza and don't have the bother to judge other avis)

I disagree. When we move the sliders back and forth, that is dealing with the body of the avatar. I also agree with appearance but body certainly comes into the conversation.

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Just now, Emuna Zamani said:

I disagree. When we move the sliders back and forth, that is dealing with the body of the avatar. I also agree with appearance but body certainly comes into the conversation.

...what? Sliders absolutely do not make it a body. Sliders are precisely what make it not a body. Avatars are not physical, and you can adjust their appearance to be different shapes but that does not make it a body. If you can change something instantly, it's not a body, it's an appearance. If I get told my lipstick makes me look like a kindergartner in real life, I can wipe it off or choose not to. It's not body shaming, it's appearance shaming. If I'm told my thighs are too fat or thin, I can't do anything about it and that's body shaming.  Everything on your avi can be changed in an instant. It's appearance shaming. Just because it's shaped like a body doesn't make it a body. If someone tells you your avi is fat, they're shaming the appearance of your avi and you can choose to change it or choose not to. If someone tells you you are fat, they're body shaming. 

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15 hours ago, Emuna Zamani said:

I have a YouTube channel that is all about my virtual/gaming adventures. I have been working on series' when it comes to Second Life. Body-Shaming in SL is my most recent and in the comments under the video, most people seem to "get" where I am coming from but I have received some pretty angry emails. The emails are from people who seem to feel that if anyone gets upset over someone making fun of their avatar, they need to stop logging in because it is just a game. My personal opinion is that those leaving the angry emails have probably made fun of others and the topic struck a nerve because it may have caused them to see that poking fun at anyone because of their avatar is pretty crappy.

I really would like to know how those here on the forums feel about the topic. Is Body-Shaming a thing or are people being too sensitive?

Thanks in advance!

Firstly, I've been pretty vocal in regards of people calling SL a game. It can be depending on what you get on for, theirs games within SL but SL over all isn't. As for shaming peoples avatars, I wouldn't necessarily call it body shaming, though it is disrespectful, because an avatar more or less is an extension of who you are. Maybe a better term for it is virtual slander but just because someones making fun of an avatar doesn't make it any less disrespectful or real. Just my opinion.

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It's traditional. Neal Stephenson had this figured out in 1992, when he described the Metaverse.

"Your avatar can look any way you want it to, up to the limitations of your equipment. If you're ugly, you can make your avatar beautiful. If you've just gotten out of bed, your avatar can still be wearing beautiful clothes and professionally applied makeup. You can look like a gorilla or a dragon or a giant talking ***** in the Metaverse. Spend five minutes walking down the Street and you will see all of these.

Hiro's avatar just looks like Hiro, with the difference that no matter what Hiro is wearing in Reality, his avatar always wears a black leather kimono. Most hacker types don't go in for garish avatars, because they know that it takes a lot more sophistication to render a realistic human face than a talking *****. Kind of the way people who really know clothing can appreciate the fine details that separate a cheap gray wool suit from an expensive hand-tailored gray wool suit.

... Most avatars nowadays are anatomically correct, and naked as a babe when they are first created, so in any case, you have to make yourself decent before you emerge onto the Street. ... If you are some peon who does not own a House, for example, a person who is coming in from a public terminal, then you materialize in a Port.

.... The couples coming off the monorail can't afford to have custom avatars made and don't know how to write their own. They have to buy off-the-shelf avatars. One of the girls has a pretty nice one. It would be considered quite the fashion statement among the K-Tel set. Looks like she has bought the Avatar Construction Set™ and put together her own, customized model out of miscellaneous parts. It might even look something like its owner. Her date doesn't look half bad himself.

The other girl is a Brandy. Her date is a Clint. Brandy and Clint are both popular, off-the-shelf models. When white trash high school girls are going on a date in the Metaverse, they invariably run down to the computer-games section of the local Wal-Mart and buy a copy of Brandy. The user can select three breast sizes: improbable, impossible, and ludicrous. Brandy has a limited repertoire of facial expressions: cute and pouty; cute and sultry; perky and interested; smiling and receptive; cute and spacy. Her eyelashes are half an inch long, and the software isso cheap that they are rendered as solid ebony chips. When a Brandy flutters her eyelashes, you can almost feel the breeze. Clint is just the male counterpart of Brandy. He is craggy and handsome and has an extremely limited range of facial expressions. Hiro wonders, idly, how these two couples got together. They are clearly from disparate social classes. Perhaps older and younger siblings. But then they come down the escalator and disappear nto the crowd and become part of the Street, where there are enough Clints and Brandys to found a new ethnic group."

(Neal Stephenson, "Snow Crash")

"The user can select three breast sizes: improbable, impossible, and ludicrous." - he got that one right.

 

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1 hour ago, Asylum Habilis said:

...what? Sliders absolutely do not make it a body. Sliders are precisely what make it not a body. Avatars are not physical, and you can adjust their appearance to be different shapes but that does not make it a body. If you can change something instantly, it's not a body, it's an appearance. If I get told my lipstick makes me look like a kindergartner in real life, I can wipe it off or choose not to. It's not body shaming, it's appearance shaming. If I'm told my thighs are too fat or thin, I can't do anything about it and that's body shaming.  Everything on your avi can be changed in an instant. It's appearance shaming. Just because it's shaped like a body doesn't make it a body. If someone tells you your avi is fat, they're shaming the appearance of your avi and you can choose to change it or choose not to. If someone tells you you are fat, they're body shaming. 

Perhaps yours does not say body. Mine does within Second Life.

Screen Shot 2019-01-01 at 4.35.53 PM.png

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Posted (edited)

Okay, I'm not sure where the confusion is coming from, but you body that can be body shamed? That's the one behind your keyboard. Your appearance, while SL refers to it as a "body" is still just an arrangement of pixels which you can adjust. There is no physical attribute you are adjusting, and by physical I mean that you can touch. Even though I call my avi's hand the hand, and it looks like a hand, and everyone has agreed to call it a hand, I can't reach into my monitor and hold my avi's hand. Her hand is not physical, it is a 3d picture of a hand. 

You cannot body shame a 3D picture of a body. Body shaming is for bodies, which cannot be changed with sliders. Appearance shaming (which is mean and a problem so I'm not saying it's not a problem just that it's not body shaming as there is no physical body) is for adjustable images (even if those images are called body for simplicity's sake) that can be changed instantaneously. 

n'cest pas une pipe; n'cest pas une body.

Edited by Asylum Habilis
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