Second Life: A Dream World?

February 17, 2009 § 3 Comments

For a research project for my Seminar class, I had to create a Second Life account. For those of you unfamiliar with Second Life, it’s a virtual world in which users’ avatars can fly, ski, dance, ride dinosaurs, etc. Second Life’s motto is “Your World. Your Imagination.” 

The first thing you do when creating a Second Life account is pick an avatar. There are about 12 initial avatars from which to pick, 6 women and 6 men. There are no transavatars, and all of the female avatars have that Barbie-esque hourglass figure that all us chicks are JUST DYING to have. You can edit the skin color, hair style, weight, height, etc. of you avatar, but only once you have arrived in your Community. Personally, I couldn’t even figure out how to do it once I arrived at my Australian beachside Community. But that’s just me. 

And so right away I was skeptical. Yeah you can change your appearance, but the website basically assumes that the ‘norm’ for female avatars will be the tiny waste/huge boobs look. 

My skepticism concerning Second Life only grew. As I wandered around the Australian island that I selected as my Community, I saw literally hundreds of virtual billboards. Because my project is largely about advertising in Second Life, I paused to look at them all. I was horrified to find that every single one featured a scantily-clad hourglassy woman.

I guess I’m just disappointed. Second Life bills itself as a utopian fantasy land where you can choose your looks, friends, setting, and everything else. But I would rather see equality than ride a unicorn.

§ 3 Responses to Second Life: A Dream World?

  • mirandanyc says:

    …all of the female avatars have that Barbie-esque hourglass figure that all us chicks are JUST DYING to have.

    Literally dying.

  • Fitz says:

    Welcome to the internet, where men are men, women are men, and children are FBI agents.

    Without knowing too much about second life, I know that most internet games have a much higher male population, and wouldn’t be too surprised if most ads are aimed at males

  • gingerlady says:

    But that doesn’t excuse sexism!
    As a lot of people noted on the Bridgestone ad posted by Miranda, just because an ad is aimed at a certain group doesn’t mean that they have to deprecate another. To paraphrase my own comment on that post: if a Southern company ran a terribly racist ad, would that be okay?

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