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A recurring theme in Second Life: Vanity


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Actually, I think it's an interesting question. So there. One different angle from which to approach this might be that this isn't about "vanity," in the traditional sense. After all, our avatars

I’ll offer another take on that 🙂 SL has residents (like me) who gravitate here because RL injuries or illness make us appear “not normal” out there in the Real World.  Disabilities can be c

I built one in that style last year while remodeling my guest bathroom.

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42 minutes ago, Gopi Passiflora said:

... We Residents are obsessed with our looks and making ourselves even more beautiful...

Yes, but I don’t envy others’ obsessions, cos mine is already fantabulous.

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I wouldn’t say vanity, I’d say it was more fantasy and wish fulfillment. Much more broad and encompassing. It probably comes out as vanity many times because that’s the easiest way to express it. 

“Look at the pretty/sexy/strange avatar I made.”

”Look at me in my unique outfit (that everybody else has) aren’t I stylish?”

At the end of the day, it’s just people looking for a little validation in their lives. Validation can be addicting, that’s why social media works so well.

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1 hour ago, Gopi Passiflora said:

Maybe I'm being Captain Obvious here, but I think it's safe to conclude that a recurring theme of Second Life is vanity. We Residents are obsessed with our looks and making ourselves even more beautiful. We admire and envy others' looks as well.

Actually, I think it's an interesting question. So there.

One different angle from which to approach this might be that this isn't about "vanity," in the traditional sense. After all, our avatars are stand-ins for us, and usually don't really look much like we do in RL. And although there is an enormous amount of room for creativity in terms of how we put together our avatars, the reality is, especially these days when the market for avatar components and apparel is so dominated by a handful of "big" creators, that much of our "look" isn't really "ours" at all. For instance, I was, a while back, complimented on Flickr for my avatar's "divine" lips . . . and asked who "made" them. So, not a lot of personal gratification from that. (The truth, of course, is that they were "made" by the creators of my mesh head, skin, makeup applier, and, last but not least, myself, who created the shape.)

Another way to think of this then is that it isn't about "vanity" in the traditional sense, but rather about self-creation, identity, and self-expression. SL is, as its very name implies, all about creating a "new" version of oneself, and that's what most of us do here. To a great degree, what you are calling "vanity" is really an articulation of that: the urge to build new identities for ourselves. And one of the more obvious and easy ways to accomplish that is by individuating ourselves by our looks. So, when someone compliments me on my look, they aren't flattering my god-given person: they are expressing appreciation for the identity that I've constructed for myself.

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I think - hope - that most of us are aware that we don't look like our avatars in RL so I'm not sure vanity is appropriate here. I might have made my shape (with some help) but literally everything covering that shape was made by someone else so I don't think it's fair to take credit for it. Maybe for putting it all together in a certain way?

It's why I roll my eyes super hard when a dude tries to hit on me by complimenting my avatar. They're really just complimenting me on how much money I spent. I like it much better when they read my profile and compliment me based on the content of that.

Having said that, though, I do think that the way my avatar looks is a little boost to my self esteem in real life. When I've been online for a couple hours, seeing myself as Beth Macbain, when I log off, I still feel like her, if that makes sense. A little more confident, I might hold my head a little higher, little things like that.

But no, I don't think that's vanity. 

THIS is Vanity. 

 

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I don't know that I'd call it "vanity" (an inflated pride in oneself), but many of us do want to look good/great in SL.  Heck, just look at all the money we spend on bodies, skins, makeup, hair, clothing, etc... - that pretty much shows how much we care about our look here.

Personally, I think it is primarily because we can so easily affect our look in SL, whereas it is not as easy to do so in RL.  Even in RL, most of us want to be considered 'good looking'.  In SL, we can much more easily achieve whatever that definition is for us. 

By nature, most of us need validation in life, whether than be in RL or in SL, and that validation can take many forms.  A lot of SLers have Flickr accounts and a very large number of the pictures posted there are pictures of our avatars. And just look at how many posts are made each day in the various "look at me" threads here in the forums.

As an aside, while I do admire a variety of looks in SL, I'm not envious of any of them.  I'd actually come closer to being envious of someone in RL, where I might not be able to easily get a look that I like.

 

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3 hours ago, Gopi Passiflora said:

Maybe I'm being Captain Obvious here, but I think it's safe to conclude that a recurring theme of Second Life is vanity. We Residents are obsessed with our looks and making ourselves even more beautiful. We admire and envy others' looks as well.

I am unconvinced that it is all about vanity for most people. While there is always an element of wanting to look good for most people that can be inspired by many things other than self.

For example some want to look their best for their partner, some might want to look good as it enhances the immersion of rp to name but two.

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1 hour ago, KanryDrago said:

I am unconvinced that it is all about vanity for most people. While there is always an element of wanting to look good for most people that can be inspired by many things other than self.

For example some want to look their best for their partner, some might want to look good as it enhances the immersion of rp to name but two.

To expand on Kanry’s point, some people (I am in this group) treat their avatar as a sort of digital Barbie doll and enjoy dressing it up and taking pictures of it. It’s  why I’m not particularly attached to a single look and change my body parts at almost every login. It’s not vanity as much as recording the creative process. Like Scylla and others said up thread, it’s about self-expression, even if the parts of the whole are available for anyone and everyone to buy. Most people put their own spin on it. There are a lot of people in this category judging by Flickr and the many blogs out there. 

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4 hours ago, Pamela Galli said:

I think it’s creativity. Same with either avi or home decor. People want to make something beautiful and unique. They like their creativity to be recognized as well.  

Exactly! I don't build anything, but I do like to decorate homes and dress my dolly.

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5 hours ago, Pamela Galli said:

I think it’s creativity. Same with either avi or home decor. People want to make something beautiful and unique. They like their creativity to be recognized as well.  

It's certainly creativity for me. While its true that the products here are created by others, building an avatar does take further creativity. And taking that object into being the subject of photography is another step in the creative process.

It's this creativity which I love so much, and starting from the premise of making the perfect me in  SL, I've progressed into creating my ideal virtual sisters.

I never had a plan. I just find that each day I evolve here, with a certain amount of this world spilling into how I think in RL.

It's not vanity, but it's pride in my creations.

Edited by BelindaN
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2 hours ago, CoffeeDujour said:

Accusations of vanity are often just expressions of envy.

Accusations of envy are often just expressions of vanity. ;)

...dem darn circles :P

 

Edited by Fionalein
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Is this the equivalent of that one guy who shows up in makeup communities on Reddit to declare that women who prefer a natural look are much better and morally superior to women who are tricking men with cosmetics?

 

I feel like if I replied to this post the way I reply to those, I might get sanctioned by the Lindens.

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