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"That is not what I meant, at all": How to Connect Respectfully


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10 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

I wonder . . . are there people who use different AOs for different contexts? I don't.

The problem I see with using different AOs for different contexts would be that no one else would know, unless they were someone you hung out with all the time, in which case you probably wouldn't need to switch AOs to indicate a different context.  On the other hand, I could see someone switching to an AO with sexier movements as part of personal immersion for some situations.     

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1 hour ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

And, as I've said above, some of this is necessarily contextual. The rules are going to be a little different at a moderate-rated dance club than they are at an adult one, and they are going to be very different at the Crack Den. 

Before I launch into anything, and I do love to launch into things head-first, let me say that I absolutely agree with you about everything needing to be consensual at all times. 

In regards to clothing, though, the chances are are I'm going to dress the same way in a moderate-rated dance club, an adult one, and the Crack Den. Chances are it's going to show some boob, probably even a nip or two. It's likely going to be very short and without panties and my bits are going to be easily viewed.

(For the sake of this discussion, let's remove the Crack Den since it is an RP region with established rules and expectations that must be agreed upon before engaging.)

So... what does my clothing say I'm looking for? Do I get approached differently in each of those three places? What category would you put my clothing in? Sexy, sexual, or slu*ty? Does it mean that since I'm dressed in a fairly explicit manner that I should be expected to be treated like a sl*t?

I don't buy it. Clothing should have nothing, absolutely nothing, with how a man treats a woman, or, to remove the genders, how any human being treats another human being. 

Instead of putting caveats on anything, why aren't we all just preaching respect? 

It doesn't matter what I'm wearing, or what I may not be wearing, or where I am. I expect to be treated with respect, and anyone who doesn't won't get far with me. I wear spankers, and hair-pullers, and they are public. I get that some people hit one by accident, but anyone that I don't know that hits one intentionally is likely going to regret it by the time I'm done schooling them on how to behave in public. 

Even if I am out in a place looking to get laid, wearing the skimpiest clothing I have, in the very darkest corners of the dirtiest places of SL, no one has free rein on my body.

Unless I verbalize a "yes", I am off limits. 

So again, I ask why clothing has to have any bearing on this discussion about what not to say when one approaches another in SL? Maybe if only to say it doesn't matter how he or she is dressed, and location only matters if it's an RP region with rules and pre-defined expectations, or are people still going to fall back on "she shouldn't have worn that dress"?

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35 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

Huh. It would never have occurred to me to do that, but it makes perfect sense.

I have created sets for different "moods" and very much use them to help convey that mood.

The reason I do it is because I see others' AOs and even though I know it is just an AO, I cannot stop treating it as their chosen body language; they chose that AO with those animations, knowing well the impression it gives. And even though many people wear one AO and rarely, if ever, actually change it, I cannot escape the impression I get when I see it and, let's face it, some of those AO's are ... *very* suggestive.

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2 hours ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

YES. Exactly.

And you've also highlighted another contextual thing: the difference between RL and SL. I have several outfits that would, without question, be considered "provocative" and "revealing" in RL, but that in SL . . . well, they just look like pretty standard club wear. Outfits like that don't actually mean the same thing here that they do in RL . . . but there are some who seem not to get that, and assume that, because I have a plunging neckline, I must therefore be ripe for a pickup.

Plunging necklines are the norm in SL, it can be very difficult to find clothing without them. I wear things in SL that I would be afraid to wear in RL.  But in SL a woman doesn't have to dress with the necessity of warding off physical assaults in mind.

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2 hours ago, Beth Macbain said:

It doesn't matter what I'm wearing, or what I may not be wearing, or where I am. I expect to be treated with respect, and anyone who doesn't won't get far with me. I wear spankers, and hair-pullers, and they are public. I get that some people hit one by accident, but anyone that I don't know that hits one intentionally is likely going to regret it by the time I'm done schooling them on how to behave in public. 

Even if I am out in a place looking to get laid, wearing the skimpiest clothing I have, in the very darkest corners of the dirtiest places of SL, no one has free rein on my body.

Unless I verbalize a "yes", I am off limits. 

Beth, this is literally exactly what I am saying. This is why the very first "Take-away" I list is "respect," and the second is "consent." And I think I use those words with reference to almost literally each of the categories I list, including "Sl*tty."

This is what I say under "Respect"; I explicitly apply it to all cases:

Quote

ALWAYS begin with respect. Regardless of how YOU think someone is dressed, or what you imagine that their expectations are, begin by respecting boundaries, and the right of that person to determine for themselves how they want to interact with you.

And this is what I say as the "General Rule of Thumb" for the "Sl*tty" look:

Quote

YOU do not get to define who is or is not a "sl*t," or even who looks like one: that is their choice and their determination. And, as always, respect and consent are vital from the outset.

I don't see how this is in any way different from what you say above.

What I do say is this: people use clothing to communicate identity, mood, and sometimes intention; I don't think that's contentious. How they use that clothing is up to them to determine. So, you and I wearing exactly the same outfit at the same club might well be trying to communicate two very different sets of intentions.

And, inevitably, clothing is going to be "read" idiosyncratically and subjectively by those around us: some men may look at me and think I'm looking for a hookup, and they may look at you, wearing the same thing, and decide that you are aren't. They might well be wrong -- would certainly be wrong in my case -- if that was their reading of our clothing.

And that, again, is why respect and consent are the essential first elements of any exchange we might have with others, regardless of what we are wearing, what we are trying to communicate, or what our intentions are. This is why I say, with reference to the "sl*tty" look, that they should "NOT assume that everyone dressed provocatively falls into this category."

What we wear never locks us into one particular identity, behaviour, or intention, and we are always the final arbiters on the actual meaning of what we choose to put on. What is more, even intending to dress as a "sl*t" does not mean that we surrender a right to respect and consent.

That is, literally, the entire point of the OP.

Edited by Scylla Rhiadra
Slight clarification
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2 hours ago, moirakathleen said:

The problem I see with using different AOs for different contexts would be that no one else would know, unless they were someone you hung out with all the time, in which case you probably wouldn't need to switch AOs to indicate a different context.

Yes, I suppose because the contrast between different AOs would be important to establish a particular mood or intention.

Probably AOs work mostly at a subliminal level, because they are so standardized, and, frankly so much alike. I use a Vista Bento AO; there must be 10s of thousands of women avatars using exactly the same AO. We can't all be using it to communicate the same thing all the time.

2 hours ago, moirakathleen said:

On the other hand, I could see someone switching to an AO with sexier movements as part of personal immersion for some situations.

This makes good sense. But it would probably be expensive . . .

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1 hour ago, Alyona Su said:

The reason I do it is because I see others' AOs and even though I know it is just an AO, I cannot stop treating it as their chosen body language; they chose that AO with those animations, knowing well the impression it gives. And even though many people wear one AO and rarely, if ever, actually change it, I cannot escape the impression I get when I see it and, let's face it, some of those AO's are ... *very* suggestive.

Right, this!

This is what I meant in my response above when I said that AO's probably mostly work subliminally. We know that they are standardized, that people probably wear the same one all the time, and that they are only somewhat under the control of the avatar's typist.

But that doesn't mean that they don't, at some level, make a difference in terms of how people are reading us.

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1 hour ago, kali Wylder said:

Plunging necklines are the norm in SL, it can be very difficult to find clothing without them. I wear things in SL that I would be afraid to wear in RL.  But in SL a woman doesn't have to dress with the necessity of warding off physical assaults in mind.

Yes! Again, because SL is hypersexualized: "sexy" is the baseline here.

My *cough* sister Laskya blogged on this subject in 2014: one of the points I she makes there is that it actually requires conscious effort and work not to be "sexy" and attractive in SL.

And, as proof of concept . . . I actually have spent a fair amount of time finding applier tees and camisoles to wear under some things for when I don't want my décolletage to be over-prominent. Similarly, I made finding jackets that I could layer over some particularly skimpy dresses a priority.

I don't feel the need to de-sexualize my avatar all the time . . . but I do like having that choice.

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Humans put too much emphasis on clothing. 

Sure, even in our "caveman" days we found a way to embellish our protective coverings. It was kind of necessary to identify your protective coverings from everyone else's easily and quickly.

When you get down to it, all clothing is for is protection from the weather and the sun... and the prying eyes of men. o.O

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A lot of people use clothing as an expression of themselves though as well..Many people wouldn't be spending a fortune on clothes otherwise..

Some want to send a message with their clothes and appearance..

The important thing is to have common respect for each other until someone messes it up.. Sometimes that can happen the moment a person opens their mouth hehehehe

 

 

Edited by Ceka Cianci
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9 minutes ago, Selene Gregoire said:

When you get down to it, all clothing is for is protection from the weather and the sun...

This is truth. And also truth: the best outfit you have is the one you are born with, everything else is a lie. ~snickers~

Edited by Alyona Su
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2 minutes ago, Ceka Cianci said:

A lot of people use clothing as an expression of themselves though as well..Many people wouldn't be spending a fortune on clothes otherwise..

Some want to send a message with their clothes and appearance..

Exactly, Ceka. This is utterly undeniable: clothing has for literally millennia been used to signify social status and wealth, gender, social function, context, and intention. We wouldn't have a kazillion dollar fashion industry were this not so. And it may be particularly true, in some ways, of SL because there are so few other clues to identity.

The key is not to assume that you are perfect interpreter and/or arbiter of what someone else's clothing means. And so . . .

5 minutes ago, Ceka Cianci said:

The important thing is to have common respect for each other until someone messes it up.

As you say. Exactly.

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3 minutes ago, Alyona Su said:

the best outfit you have is the one you are born with, everything else is a lie.

True enough. But, take that argument far enough, and you devalue pretty much everything else our culture has produced too, including art and literature, particular kinds of language, social structures, celebrations.

The best meal you can eat is one that keeps you alive and healthy. But I kinda like it to taste nice, too!

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2 hours ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

Beth, this is literally exactly what I am saying. This is why the very first "Take-away" I list is "respect," and the second is "consent." And I think I use those words with reference to almost literally each of the categories I list, including "Sl*tty."

That is, literally, the entire point of the OP.

I believe that what you intended your first take-away to be respect, but since you categorized different looks first, respect wasn't my first take-away.

Why even categorize different looks if the key take-away is supposed to be respect, especially when one of those looks is "slu*ty"? I know there is a small subset of women who enjoy being called that word, but those are far from the majority, and certainly shouldn't be assumed. I dress provocatively, sexily, erotically... none of those words have a generally negative connotation. Slu*ty does. 

If we want to talk about how people should approach other people, the conversation shouldn't categorize how people are dressed, in my opinion, unless you're making the argument that different styles of dressing should influence how we approach people, but I think you're trying to say the opposite of that. People are people, period. Treat them with respect, period. Judge if you want... we all do whether we admit it or not... but that shouldn't affect how people approach each other. It should be respectfully or nothing, period. 

Perhaps you don't find the word offensive, and that's okay, too. I know there are a lot of words that others find offensive that I'm completely okay with. I think my point, and clearly we both like to use A LOT of words to get to our points (I love words... words are awesome!) is that if a woman (or man) wants to call herself slu*ty, that's fine, but don't call other women that and expect to not get any push back. 

Perhaps I'm hyper-touchy on this subject because it's something that I am very passionate about fighting - the sl*t-shaming of sex positive women. It's a remnant of patriarchy (and here's where the men stop reading... lol) and one that I often see used as a tactic by women to tear down other women. I won't go into my usual long-winded diatribe about why I think that is, but it's part of my life's mission to fight against it. 

Can we open up the discussion to look at the "why" of how certain people, and let's just be honest - it's almost always men - approach women with the most insulting, inappropriate, trite, imbecilic opening lines imaginable? I don't think it's possible to change the way people approach other people until we know what the reasoning is in their head when they open their mouths. What thought process, if any, goes into thinking it's ever okay to approach anyone with the opening line of "U wnt fk?" If we can figure that out, we might be onto something.

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4 minutes ago, Beth Macbain said:

something that I am very passionate about fighting - the sl*t-shaming of sex positive women. It's a remnant of patriarchy (and here's where the men stop reading... lol) and one that I often see used as a tactic by women to tear down other women.

/me applauds you both for fighting the good fight.  I am still wanting a world where it's ok for women to be sexual and respected and for those terms to not be mutually exclusive.

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6 hours ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

These are really excellent points! Especially about the AOs, which are generally pretty "sexy," and are a sort of stand-in for body language and intonation.

I wonder . . . are there people who use different AOs for different contexts? I don't.

Maybe that's why I never get hit on LOL My AO moves as little as possible because those jerky, spasmy AO's drive me up a wall, I never thought about how an AO can transmit your intent to someone...go figure. But it does make a lot of sense, now that I think about it

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Ok stop the topic now and rename it please.  This topic isn't how do I connect its how do I get that cute person into bed

It completely ignores the fact that around 90 percent of the time people are looking to connect not particularly as lovers.

I will use myself as an example here, now I do like to take wholesome young ladies to bed as often as I can but even I have limits, 95% of my female friends I have never slept with, nor ever tried to sleep with. Did I connect with them yes. Why did I connect with them? They seemed interesting but didnt mean I planned to drag them into bed. Some i met in world and we just chatted, some I met in forums and I hope she doesnt mind me saying but littleme and I have always got on we have gone to galleries and discussed but I think she would admit I never once tried to sleep with her.

My current young lady and I met in a night club and it was only a week later we decided we were more than friends.

Connecting != sex stop confusing the two and rename the thread how do I sleep with that bit of rough I just met

 

Edited by KanryDrago
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24 minutes ago, KanryDrago said:

Ok stop the topic now and rename it please.  This topic isn't how do I connect its how do I get that cute person into bed

Kanry, it's explicitly NOT about sex.

I am completely uninterested in sex and romance and relationships in SL -- BUT I am still continually finding it assumed, in part because of what I might be wearing, that I am. If anything, this topic is about why you shouldn't assume that you're going to be able to get that "cute person" (you're talking about me, right?) into bed.

The whole point of all of those admonitions about boundaries, consent, making sure that you really understand what the other person intends or wants, is to underline the fact that people may not be signaling desire or availability, and that clothing can mean lots of things other than sex.

Edited by Scylla Rhiadra
Added last sentence for clarification
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1 hour ago, Beth Macbain said:

If we want to talk about how people should approach other people, the conversation shouldn't categorize how people are dressed, in my opinion, unless you're making the argument that different styles of dressing should influence how we approach people, but I think you're trying to say the opposite of that. People are people, period. Treat them with respect, period. Judge if you want... we all do whether we admit it or not... but that shouldn't affect how people approach each other. It should be respectfully or nothing, period. 

Well, I begin by discussing clothing because, like it or not, it is one of the primary sign systems we use to communicate with, or read each other. I just think that's undeniable: yes, we dress to please ourselves, but we also wear clothing -- at work, at school, in a dance club, in an expensive restaurant, in church, whatever -- to establish our identity, and tell things about each other. And, equally, we all "read" clothing. The under-dressed party-goer, the flamboyantly attired bank teller, the goth at the family reunion: these all represent visual cues that we read to understand a bit more about whom we are looking at.

Protesting that clothes are misleading or irrelevant is a bit like deciding that we shouldn't bother with words, because they so often misrepresent the reality for which they stand. Of course they do. And that's the point: that's why it is so vitally important to learn how to read, and how NOT to read, what someone wears. We aren't going to dispense with the language of clothing; all of the admonitions not to read anything into my personal choice of what I wear aren't going to stop people, even if only at a subconscious level, from doing so. And, I might add, they aren't going to stop me (or probably anyone else) from choosing clothes with the intention of making some kind of statement about myself.

So, given that reality -- that clothing is inevitably and irremediably one of the languages that we use to communicate with and "understand" each other -- the best solution is not to naively pretend that they don't matter, because they clearly, in a very practical and real way, do. The best solution is instead to educate ourselves and others about how to read and communicate through clothing properly.

So that's why I've focused on clothing, in order to make the point, finally, that they are NOT absolute or unambiguous signs of identity and intention, but that one should read them critically, and carefully, and recognize that they are, ultimately, JUST fallible, subjective signs.

In other words, I'm trying to demystify clothing, and to wean us away from our over-reliance upon our interpretation of them. We're not going to stop communicating through our looks, so let's at least make sure that we are clear about exactly how much, and more importantly, how little, they actually tell us.

1 hour ago, Beth Macbain said:

Perhaps you don't find the word offensive, and that's okay, too. I know there are a lot of words that others find offensive that I'm completely okay with. I think my point, and clearly we both like to use A LOT of words to get to our points (I love words... words are awesome!) is that if a woman (or man) wants to call herself slu*ty, that's fine, but don't call other women that and expect to not get any push back.

Well, it's not really a question of what I find offensive or not. The issue, again, is that this is a conclusion to which men too often jump on the basis of, well, not much. My main point in talking about the "sl*tty" look, is that 1) the mere fact that one is wearing skimpy or sexually alluring clothing does not make one a "sl*t," and 2) that the only person who gets to determine if one is a "sl*t" is oneself. So, my focus there is really upon not projecting that identity onto women merely because of your interpretation of how they dress.

There is a more modern, pro-sex understanding of the word that is seeking to re-appropriate it, and make it a marker of sexual freedom rather than social stigma. So, increasingly, we do find women refer to themselves, sometimes ironically and sometimes not, as "sl*ts." Where I live, there is an annual "Sl*t March," that is a feminist protest against sl*t-shaming, and assumptions by our police and legal system particularly. I'm not sure if this rehabilitation of the term will work or not . . . but the principle is actually a good one.

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1 hour ago, Beth Macbain said:

Can we open up the discussion to look at the "why" of how certain people, and let's just be honest - it's almost always men - approach women with the most insulting, inappropriate, trite, imbecilic opening lines imaginable? I don't think it's possible to change the way people approach other people until we know what the reasoning is in their head when they open their mouths. What thought process, if any, goes into thinking it's ever okay to approach anyone with the opening line of "U wnt fk?" If we can figure that out, we might be onto something.

Oh, forgot to address this!

Ok, our NEXT project!

One step at a time, we'll solve all of these problems, right? 😏

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Allow me to present Exhibit A... lol. He speaks of having non-sexual connections, yet only sees the conversation at hand as being about sex.

Kanry, it's about not assuming that what a person is wearing is any indication of their willingness or desire to have sex. 

A person can look like your ideal fap material, and have absolutely no interest in sex, or romance, or anything other than just standing there being a person. 

Scylla, I wonder if it's equal parts assuming you're looking for those things, and hoping you're looking for those things because it's what they're looking for. Hoping is fine, assuming isn't, and regardless, how one approaches someone still shouldn't be so different, and it's absolutely NOT the way a lot of people (men) approach people (women) in SL.

I place blame for this in a few different areas. Sadly, though, the very people who need to be reading this are the very ones who absolutely won't be reading it, and if they do, will only mock it. 

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1 minute ago, Beth Macbain said:

Scylla, I wonder if it's equal parts assuming you're looking for those things, and hoping you're looking for those things because it's what they're looking for. Hoping is fine, assuming isn't

Good point: there is undoubtedly a lot of wishful thinking involved in how some people read clothing. And yes, it's making that leap from "I hope she means this," to "this is what she means" that is the problem.

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