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Emuna Zamani

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

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1 hour ago, animats said:

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

 

(Neal Stephenson, "Snow Crash")

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

 

Someone recommended that book to me when I was fairly new, I loved it.

I disagree on breast size though, many of my gfs have breasts in a realistically normal size range. However those 3 sizes are quite common among others.

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   How you wish to appear in SL is a matter of taste. No one avatar will strike everyone's fancy, nor should it. How boring the world would be, if everyone only ate vanilla ice cream. Though with that comes the side effect that some people will find one's choices distasteful or weird. To be offended by someone not sharing one's opinion is so 2018 though (I hope) - but all the same, harassing people for not fulfilling one's ideals isn't nice. 

   Luckily we've got a very easy cure for such behavior. Just block them and move along. 

   Personally I don't much care what people look like. If I see an interesting avatar I might observe it for a few moments, if I see one that makes me giggle because of how funny it looks I might do the same - but I'm unlikely to interact with anyone based solely on their appearance. My avatar isn't tall enough to dwarf women in mile-high heels, and I've had complaints about that - 'I can't dance with you because you're too short!' - well, then don't; I'm sure you'll find a T-rex armed pinhead that's more to your taste.

   Besides, I'm not always all nice myself; I judge people pretty harshly sometimes. Middle-aged 'Murricans whose first and only language is English, yet communicate in this language with the eloquence of brain-dead chipmunks. People who put airy quotes all over their profiles to try to appear interesting ('Carpe Diem' hippies - Horace was an Epicurean (as in, ancient school of philosophy), for crying out loud). People who put 'BDSM test scores' in their picks. People who try to seem clever by putting 'Error: not found' in their profile RL tag (just leave it blank, or state that you don't wish to share that info). People who refer to themselves as a 'mean b*tch' to try to seem like cool kids. People who try to exert dominance through e-peen waving. Wannabe-paparazzis who creep on people to shoot their avatars without their knowledge and them drop them a Flickr link in their IMs to try to convince them to come over to their private studio to do a 'bikini model shoot'. People who prefer any Antiqua style to a proper Fraktur. People who bring their entire stable of latex knicker wearing submissives on a string when going to events. People who claim their products are 'materials enabled' when the specular maps are blank white textures. People who pull out books from bookshelves by putting their fingers at the top of the spine and pulling the poor things out like barbarians. People who don't use my preferred pronoun; 'his excellency'. People who bite their schnapps shots when feasting on pickled herring (blasphemers!). People who don't eat pickled herring to begin with (heretics!). People whose idea of 'saving the planet' is to deforest along the equator to cultivate soy beans, process them into tofu and ship it all over the globe. People who are sociable and happy all the time. People whose first thought when looking at a sliced sandwich isn't 'Oh, I could Pythagoras the Hey out of this'. People who cut the crust off their sandwiches. People who prepare and drink their tea wrong, neglecting the overwhelming scientific evidence of the thermodynamic and epicurean (as in, food and drink) benefits of milk. 

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Posted (edited)
21 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.

Hateful people don't ever get a nerve struck. They feel entitled to hate, and if you challenge them on it they get mad that you are trying oppress them or restrict 'free speech' or some other such nonsense.

If you've got 500 years of being able to slap and beat other people around holding you up, and now somebody is suddenly saying "cut that crap out"... yeah, you feel oppressed. But you aren't - you're just an entitled hateful snowflake.

Oh and 'in real life' I have never sat there and shamed people. Only a truly horrible person would even think to do that. I have on the other hand started up some violence with kids doing that to a disabled boy when I was a child. The somewhat second time I did that got me my best friend growing up.

 

Edited by Pussycat Catnap
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17 hours ago, Ren Toxx said:

 

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.

I have to save this quote ! So true !

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12 hours ago, Emuna Zamani said:

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.

So it was your male friend who made the comments ?  Any type of negative comments Ive received about my appearance or body was from a MAN .  Any type of shaming I've heard was from a man towards a woman.  Lately I hear women complaining about men wearing the full Aesthetic avatar and how it looks.  Honestly I feel like anyone who cries about things like this need to take a break from SL . Unlike RL , we can change things with a click .

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I liked you vlog! 

Yes it does exist. Arguing about semantics or whether SL is a game or not doesn’t make it any less so. It’s kind of jarring that it’s supposed to be a virtual world where you can be whatever you want. Yet physical differences come into play. Sometimes people do it to be nasty, sometimes I don’t think they’re aware they’re doing it, but at the end of the day it happens.

It happens on this forum sometimes when people start talking about their ideal. It’s a nice discussion to have, but people are going to be people and do things like that. It’s important to remember if it makes you happy, do it. If it’s that offensive, there’s always the derender button.

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What I have seen more frequently is people not wanting to rp or interact with others who use the original non mesh avatars. I haven't seen any push back against heavy avatars or racially diverse avatars or furies, but I have seen people not wanting to interact with the non mesh ones. I think that is mostly common when the person using the non mesh avatar has been around for quite a while. I've heard things like, "oh she's been here for 3 years and she still hasn't updated her avatar!"

I think SL to many is a pretty serious role play experience, and seeing someone using the cheapest possible avatar is a little off putting. I think its fair to say that the original avatars look pretty awful compared to their mesh counterparts so maybe people are reluctant to role play with people using the original avatars because they feel it ruins the experience.

That is just my two cents. I'm sure others probably have a different take on it.

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7 hours ago, Isis Owatatsumi said:

So it was your male friend who made the comments ?  Any type of negative comments Ive received about my appearance or body was from a MAN .  Any type of shaming I've heard was from a man towards a woman.  Lately I hear women complaining about men wearing the full Aesthetic avatar and how it looks.  Honestly I feel like anyone who cries about things like this need to take a break from SL . Unlike RL , we can change things with a click .

The comments were not made about me. I shared a video, with him that contained what I felt to be light-hearted humor regarding the avatars in Second Life. He pointed out that some people in Second Life can be sensitive when it comes to their avatars. That conversation is what caused me to explore if that was true or not.

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All this stuff about "it's not body shaming because it's not a body", doesn't that miss the real point? Some do their damnedest to evoke shame in others because of their physical appearance. Surely that is what's important here, the behaviour of shaming another person.

Choice is a red herring too. The SL forms of "body-shaming" might come down to "you've made stupid choices" but that's still shaming. That it impacts on the mental and emotional aspects of a person rather than the physical doesn't make it any less harmful or hurtful. And RL body shamers certainly use choice as a weapon - they'll go after what they assume to be the choices their targets' have made which led to weight gain or whatever is under attack.

I'm not buying this idea that about it can't be body shaming because we can change our avs thing at all.

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Its funny...all those people in here, saying that voicing dislike about a virtual avatar is the same as real life body shaming, would be 100% the same who would tell a furry (or otherwise non-human avatar, but usually its furries) to "suck it up", when their avatar choice gets them nasty comments and straight out exclusion. Also the same people would burn any furry on the stake in this forum, if they start another "racism against furries" post. (Not that I would agree with those posts either, but you can't pick your cherries. Its either all "choice" and not compareable to the seriousness of the real life issue or it isn't)

But of course, if its even potentially about their own avatar, then its 100% a serious issue, needs to be called body shaming and has absolutly no degree of difference to RL body shaming. And viewing it as such is total not questionable at all.

 

I'm not saying you need to be happy, when someone expresses their dislike about your avatar (if they do that to your face, they are rude, no need to discuss that). But is it too much to ask to calm down and not blow issue out of proportion?

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

I'm not buying this idea that about it can't be body shaming because we can change our avs thing at all.

Exactly. For many people in SL their avatar reflects their ideal self, or their idea of themself, or their true inner self, or any number of things similar to that. When one pours scorn onto their choices (because yes of course an avatar is a choice, whereas a real life body is - to some extents - not) one is ridiculing that inner self/ideal self/etc.

Maybe we should call it 'inner self shaming' or maybe 'derision of choice' instead, to avoid some of the snark that I'm seeing here.

ETA: Out of curiosity, what did we call it before the phrase 'body shaming' became a thing?

Edited by Skell Dagger
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33 minutes ago, Skell Dagger said:

 

Maybe we should call it 'inner self shaming' or maybe 'derision of choice' instead, to avoid some of the snark that I'm seeing here.

I think calling it body shaming is fine, it’s a thing that happens in SL that has a RL analog. In SL it takes on a broader meaning though, but the macro idea is there.

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2 minutes ago, janetosilio said:

I think calling it body shaming is fine, it’s a thing that happens in SL that has a RL analog. In SL it takes on a broader meaning though, but the macro idea is there.

 

1 hour ago, Bitsy Buccaneer said:

All this stuff about "it's not body shaming because it's not a body", doesn't that miss the real point? Some do their damnedest to evoke shame in others because of their physical appearance. Surely that is what's important here, the behaviour of shaming another person.

Couldn't disagree more. Watering down and broadening terms like body shaming is what leads to them losing their meaning. Words have meanings and have to be kept to their meanings, and not doing that is what leads to this idea that 'evil SJWs' are just 'sensitive' about everything. Broadening meanings eventually leads to no meaning at all.

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, Asylum Habilis said:

 

Couldn't disagree more. Watering down and broadening terms like body shaming is what leads to them losing their meaning. Words have meanings and have to be kept to their meanings, and not doing that is what leads to this idea that 'evil SJWs' are just 'sensitive' about everything. Broadening meanings eventually leads to no meaning at all.

I don’t think it’s watering anything down. It takes on a broader meaning because SL tends to do that to things. 

In real life the definition of body shaming is “the act or practice of humiliating someone by making mocking or critical comments about their body shape or size”. 

Thats certainly what we are talking about here, but in SL I would include furries and child avatars. So in that sense it does take on a broader meaning because anthropomorphic people don’t exist in real life, but the idea is the same still.

Edited by janetosilio
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Posted (edited)

It's not, but we're allowed to have different opinions.

I've explained it a couple times, but literally, being shamed for your choices and shamed for your body are two different things that are not the same at all. 

Edited by Asylum Habilis
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3 minutes ago, janetosilio said:

In real life the definition of body shaming is “the act or practice of humiliating someone by making mocking or critical comments about their body shape or size”. 

And the reason why that tends to be frowned upon in real life is because a person has no control over their height or shape, and only limited, long-term control over their size. It has roots in anti-discrimination terminology, which has always applied to things you are (skin colour, sexuality, etc) rather than things you choose to do. Stuff like a smoking habit or visible tattoos has always been open to criticism; even though they are a reflection of one's self in many ways, they are still seen as choices rather than the unchangeable core of one's being.

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1 hour ago, AyelaNewLife said:

And the reason why that tends to be frowned upon in real life is because a person has no control over their height or shape, and only limited, long-term control over their size. It has roots in anti-discrimination terminology, which has always applied to things you are (skin colour, sexuality, etc) rather than things you choose to do. Stuff like a smoking habit or visible tattoos has always been open to criticism; even though they are a reflection of one's self in many ways, they are still seen as choices rather than the unchangeable core of one's being.

The thing here is, as it has been mentioned before: a lot of people see an avatar as an extension of themselves. So in that sense it is the same. Whether you can change physically in  SL is irrelevant, as confusing that may be or mutable as your avatar is, people choose the way they look and some stay that way.

Thats why you have people that say, “I made this shape and that was ME.”, “I won’t get a mesh head because I can’t find one that looks like ME.” 

We’re talking about body shaming, the definition fits. It is what it is.

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Oh heck yeah, body shaming is a thing. The premise that it's just a game and you could change your avatar if you wanted to ... is ridiculous. In that case, why not (just as absurdly) require everyone "standard" looking to change their avatars to resemble the more exotic ones? Just as silly, but it makes the point. Just like real-life body shaming, it's all about enforcing conformity on SL. And just like real life, the people who love to body shame lack one morsel of information: Not everyone can or should conform. In real life, there are disorders like polycystic ovarian disorder that drastically affect a woman's proportions over her lifetime. Or diabetes. I'm sure there are many others. Sometimes in SL, we want our avatars to reflect us. Us as we really are. Us triumphantly unshamed and happy with whatever bodies we find ourselves in. So, body shaming in SL often can devastate the person behind the screen. It's their own bodies they live in 24/7 that body shamers insult. 

More disturbingly, body-shaming sometimes takes on racial overtones which is absolutely forbidden by the tos --and very rightly so. 

Not everyone wants to look just like everyone else, with a few salient permutations on the theme. You keep that body-shaming to yourself. 

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If most peoples avatars would be so "self-reflective" rather than "Oh, that looks cool/pretty", SL wouldn't be so influenced by trends. Remember when those "pony-rider" shapes with their frowny, angry faces were literally everywhere? You can't tell me people chose them, because that was a deeper reflection of their inner self or of their real life self. It was a fashion trend, just as other body trends before and after that.

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Hello straw man!

First off, the pony rider thing was based off a real life thing, called a thigh gap. Google it. And yes, the thigh gap in real life was a form of body shaming, because it is physically impossible for some women to have it. I won’t get into an anatomy lesson about it. 

So while that example might not have to do with the inner self, it does have to do with wish fulfillment. So yeah, you kinda made my point.

Then you have this forum where “pony rider” became some kind of in joke with very little consideration of the real life weight issues a lot of younger girls faced trying to achieve that look. And all it showed was the age of the average poster who did it and wasn’t aware of it.

 

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People not liking the look of your fantasy self is not body shaming just because it makes you feel bad. Lots of things make people feel bad, that doesn't make them all body shaming. That is my point. Just because something is bad and makes you feel bad doesn't make it body shaming. Not being body shaming doesn't mean it's fine and not a problem. Nails and grocery bags are both bad things to eat but that doesn't make them the same thing. 

Think about it this way. If the question posed had been "Do you feel like people in SL are shamed for avatars?" or "Do you feel like people in SL are being unnecessarily or aggressively treated because of the appearance of their avatars?" we'd be having a very different conversation, one that does not center over whether or not the wording is accurate.

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So just to take this back a step; I'm pretty sure we're all in agreement that being a {insert genitalia-based insult here} about someone's appearance is bad, regardless of what label you slap on that badness. That's not really being questioned here.

The reason for the hair-splitting over that term is that, more frequently now than in the past, body-shaming is being considered a form of discrimination, up there with racism or anything like that. I object, strongly, to the implication (intended or otherwise) that if I IM a friend with "lol wannabe Sking avatar alert", that it is somehow equivalent to an IM about someone's race or sexuality, the kind that the ToS rightly forbids me from posting here. It's not equivalent, it's apples and oranges. 

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That’s clearly what she meant. Some of you just chose to go the semantic route for whatever reason. People responded like that’s what she meant and some didn’t because...forum.

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Posted (edited)

Yes, there is some kind of body shaming in SL. And even I take part in it - but only when it comes to those caricature-like avatars. Like those invisible-pony-riding female avatars with aircraft carrier arses , mega boobs and a carp mouth - or these male avatars with extremely short arms, tiny heads, but muscles over muscles. And yes, I do ridicule them - although only in private.😈

Edited by ThorinII
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24 minutes ago, janetosilio said:

First off, the pony rider thing was based off a real life thing, called a thigh gap. Google it.

I know what a thigh gap is, but the connection to this particular shape in SL is very very thin. This shape included multiple attributes, which had nothing to do with the thight gap and the only the only common theme (a gap between the legs) is above and behond anything that would even be possible in RL. Not even plastic surgery could give you the gap those shapes had. Nobody wants to look like that in RL and nobody can. This shape is a made-up construct.

Which leads me to...

31 minutes ago, janetosilio said:

Then you have this forum where “pony rider” became some kind of in joke with very little consideration of the real life weight issues

Are you kidding me?! Do you even know how those shapes looked like? They didn't look like a real life teen starving to have their legs not touch each other. They got this nickname because they literally looked like their owners were constantly sitting on an invisible pony. It has absolutly zero connection to young girls with eating disorders.

36 minutes ago, janetosilio said:

So yeah, you kinda made my point.

No, I didn't. Not even in the slightest. That particular shape was a fashion trend in a virtual world. And its save to say the people who used it aren't all teenage girls trying to starve themselves in RL, because Social Media told them a thigh gap is the most important thing.

My point still stands: This shape appeared in fashion blogs and on vendors and people copied and brought it. There is absolutly nothing of higher individuality in that. They are an expression of taste. It came and it went away again. Just like everyone being a Neko or everyone being a tan giant with lots of bling jewlery...or all the other bigger and smaller trends SL avatars have seen.

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