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Thursday, July 08, 2010

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Will

"I think the visual aspect of Second Life somehow tricks the brain into taking our past experiences and cultural expectations and placing these experiences and expectations onto others within Second Life... "

Definitely. So much is hidden in our interactions with others - all they see is our av, and the carefully thought out responses that we give in chat. No body language, no pheremones or other chemical clues, no eye contact or lack of, just an attractive cartoon having a clever conversation....

ikilobo

nice post..
thx for share

Vesper Kling

Interesting indeed, to read this story. I am in almost the same situation. I created a male ava cause I felt hunted by men in SL partly. And partly for fun.

My female ava (Alessia Kranfel) is quite like me in RL but i wanted to try something new. I didnt feel comfy with her...and i was bored :)

But the difference is everyone knows I am a female irl. I have a RL mixed SL pic in the profile (see link)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kranfel/4738527968/

But many people have difficulties to handle it. Some love him but some really hate him. Mostly men hate him (yes he is gorgeous ;) (se pic in link or the tag "Vesper" in the blog to the left, for more pics)
http://kranfel.blogspot.com/2010/05/wooooooow-you-are-yummy.html

Some men says he looks like a thug or a criminal who abuses women (true! :) What do u think?

For me this has become sort of a theme in my blog. (Sorry a lot of blogposts is in swedish but google translator can be used...haha :). I try to sort out why and how people react on avis that are falling out of the ordinary.

Thats because the avi never was very important for me but i have come to an understanding that for a lot of people the looks of the avi is of huge importance. More important than the inside or the person behind it...

That freaks ME out! =O

Melissa Yeuxdoux

Perhaps, Will, but remember the words of another Will: "Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments...." What place exemplifies that better than SL?

Sioban McMahon

Are women moving the male avvies toward a look they find attractive or are we really turning them into our old Ken dolls that we loved as little girls? Or both? That last thought is a bit scary. lol

Vesper Kling

Hahaa Sioban, my male, Vesper, is far from Ken ;) (I never played with dolls or Barbies as a child).

I made him look what i think is attractive, but also a bit extreme, to shake people a bit maybee...

The personality is the key to success, looks comes second, in both worlds :)

soror nishi

Sorry...and she learned what exactly?

Still waiting for some insight.... that she is gullible and some people lie is not much of a revelation.

Vesper Kling

I think she learned the same as me. People see more to the avi, how it looks than the person behind. Thats why SL (and the internet) can be a dangerous place.

As Will put it: "No body language, no pheremones or other chemical clues, no eye contact or lack of, just an attractive cartoon having a clever conversation...."

Thats something to learn... try to see behind the avi.

spyvspyaeon

Interesting to see Rebecca learned about its weaknesses. I personally had a female avatar for almost two years. I also say I´ve learned a lot (positive and negative things of course). But what I found most interesting and relevant is that although he had never used the voice (say at the outset that Naima Aya, former avatar) has an inventory that envy, made me (without mentioning a certain position status and "wealth") the simple fact that trying to understand what living on the skin of the opposite sex and see all the differences that stand out (and some of equalities too).

ps: the major problem of a GUY wear a female avatar (sexy, because this was a great asset) had to go through life to give a BIG NO to those niggaz dudes (that tried to look for a pixel girlfriend lol). In my case as well when got back to male avatar, I've met a real female avatar and atm we are on an engagement (RL) and for all experience I had, I am happy with the results of this adventure. BTW even when I were a female, my fiancee knew who I am.

CyFishy Traveler

I 'passed' for male in my very early online interactions (back in the days of twigs, rocks and 300-baud modems) when I got tired of constantly being hit on under a female name.

In my first ventures in male form in SL, I did try to figure out how a guy was supposed to act. Then I quit forcing it and just carried on being who I was, and the only thing I really changed was the pronouns I used when emoting.

Vivienne

I can only approve Rebecca´s experience. I quit playing male completely a loong time ago, cause it was WAY too weird.

Remington Soup

I wonder if gender-swapping in SL is related to going drag in RL... I suspect that the urge to go drag can be met by changing your avatar, but there are probably also many who would gender-hop in SL, that would never go drag in RL. Does SL liberate them, or is it a different paradigm altogether?

Also, going drag in RL is 'usually' unconvincing, purely a fun gesture (as in watching Rocky Horror...), but as Rebecca shows, an SL gender-swap is actual, to the extent that SL gender is primarily defined by how one chooses to appear... I'm into Butler's theories of the social construction of gender. I wonder what we can learn from SL...

Galena Qi

Anyone else notice that her male avatar is a dead ringer for Ben Stiller in Zoolander? No wonder she was getting unwanted attention - she made him "ridiculously good-looking"!

Vesper Kling

Well Remington maybee not so complicated... going drag in rl hahha lol

no sorry, a lot of us is just dead tired of mens behaviour in SL. Being a female in sl can be hell. Why dont u try it? ;)

Melponeme_k

My male av is a Ken. I wish I had enough funds to deck him out as much as I do my main.

Matthew Perreault

This seems appropriate:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-11gOqgq-Bk

Us

I don't get it... sorry. Where is the analysis in this experiment?

My thought is that if you think it is so horrible being haunted by men in here.... why then put all the effort in looking as good as possible... and why creating one of those horrible men your self? There is some strange logic in that.

If you want to be left alone just use a noob ava or make a normal rl looking one with spots and uneven teeth and stripy hair with a non sexy AO.

If you think everybody just focus on the shell and not the inner you, maybe you should try to expose that inner you by doing things interesting people do.

You have a better chance of meeting people that are not that shallow in those circumstances? Dance places are maybe not the best spots for that.... ;o)
Us

Gwyneth Llewelyn

Mmmh I'm also disappointed in the overall "insights" that Rebecca learned... something more in the lines of understanding that "gender is a socially-conditioned role based on your appearance" would be a far more interesting thing to learn ;)

Gwyneth Llewelyn

Mmmh I'm also disappointed in the overall "insights" that Rebecca learned... something more in the lines of understanding that "gender is a socially-conditioned role based on your appearance" would be a far more interesting thing to learn ;)

Gwyneth Llewelyn

Mmmh I'm also disappointed in the overall "insights" that Rebecca learned... something more in the lines of understanding that "gender is a socially-conditioned role based on your appearance" would be a far more interesting thing to learn ;)

Vesper Kling

I agre Gwyneth about "something more in the lines of understanding that "gender is a socially-conditioned role based on your appearance" would be a far more interesting thing to learn"

Thats what i have learned when i shapeshift from female to male. What i say interprets differently depending on what avi I am wearing at the moment.

Im going to write more about that soon i think. At the moment the debate between men and women continues in my blog:
http://kranfel.blogspot.com/2010/07/oh-my-i-am-bimbo.html

Nexii Malthus

Going on the lines of Us, go for a non-human avatar.

I myself set my avatar based on my motivations and desires, my personality and inner being.
With a touch of comedy as well, but the way I made my eyes to come alive and through my rather plastic body to show something deeper.

Bubblesort Triskaidekaphobia

It's too bad she focused on male-female interactions when she was male. I think it would have been much more interesting if she focused on interacting with other male avatars.

There's a difference between being male in day to day life and being a male on the prowl in a club, too drunk to do anything but spout cheap lines that women fall for every time (women fall for the cheap lines because they care more about looks than words in those situations, IMHO).

Maybe the "frat boy" mentality is the only aspect of maleness that she was interested in learning about, and that's fine, nothing wrong with that at all. I'm just saying there are other directions this could have gone.

Extropia DaSilva

>"gender is a socially-conditioned role based on your appearance"<

There is this case involving identical twin boys called David and Brian Roemer. When they were infants, both boys were circumsised but, unfortunately, the operation went wrong for one boy and his penis had to be removed. It was suggested that the parents raised that boy as a girl.

A psychologist realized that this was an ideal opportunity to test whether 'nuture' is more important than 'nature' when it comes to gender. After all, here were two identical twin boys, one of whome would be raised as a girl. By the time the 'girl' had reached puberty, the psychologist was citing this case as evidence proving his theory of gender neutrality: We are made into boys (or girls) as a result of social learning.

Actually, this was not the case. It was later revealed that David was never comfortable with being a girl. From an early age 'she' was very tomboyish and by 15 had corrective surgery in order to live life in the gender role he had always felt most comfortable with. Recordings of the sessions between David and the psychologist revealed that the latter forced David into identifying himself as female, even though he had no desire to do so. The psychologist's determination to prove gender neutrality correct very much clouded his judgement and appraisal of the facts.

This case does not prove that nuture plays no role at all in determining gender. However, a baby born with XX chromosomes rather than XY needs only a slightly 'girlish' upbringing in order to become feminine. Conversely, a baby born with XY chromosomes would need extraordinarily contrived circumstances in order for him to think he was female. A slight tendency toward a boyish upbringing would bring out his naturally boyish behaviour.

And yes, I know there are some people who very much reject the gender they were born with, but these rarities hardly disprove the general observation that only a little bit of gender-orientated upbringing is required to bring out the girl in a girl.

Pussycat Catnap

"Hahaa Sioban, my male, Vesper, is far from Ken ;) (I never played with dolls or Barbies as a child).

I made him look what i think is attractive, but also a bit extreme, to shake people a bit maybee... "

- See to me he just latin, which then makes me question why you find that ethnic look scary. But then a lifetime of being someone who looks latina (despite actually being Chinese / Native American) and getting hassled by people (Anglos, Asians, and Northern-Euros) who presumed I was doing something criminal kind of just makes me realize that they look at us and see monster, even if at the same time deciding that's attractive to them...

And then they find us racist when we say we don't trust them anymore... O.o

Sorry for that tangent - but I just don't see scary in him, and feel people who do might want to question what gave them those assumptions.

Pussycat Catnap

Extropia DaSilva: They made a Law & Order episode based around the story of those twins:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0629670/
In the TV show though, the twins murder the psychologist in the end.

Vesper Kling

Catnapkitty, no way josé! its not the colour of the skin. Its the barbwire i meant was a bit "extreme" =)

And for communicating with heterosexual men in SL, they seldom talks to other men. A lot of people i know says the same thing... and its my experience 2.

Arcadia Codesmith

Gender is complex.

Biological sex may be (mostly) binary, but gender isn't. Some cultures recognize three or more genders. Many cultures have gender roles markedly different than our own, and even our own definition of gender has changed drastically over time.

Picking your friends' brains for thier preconceptions of the opposite sex and then acting out those preconceptions may teach you a great deal about stereotypes, but won't tell you much about gender.

For extra credit, try spending an extended amount of time as the opposite sex (someplace other than pickup joints), just being yourself. See where you encounter pushback or friction for doing what comes naturally to you rather than following the script for your perceived gender.

And yeah, people will TOTALLY freak sometimes. Mix the cultural baggage of the myth of binary gender with a strong social strain of homophobia and a total popular misunderstanding of the independance of gender and orientation, and you've got otherwise reasonable individuals who will go into orbit if they think your RL chromosomes don't match your SL presentation (regardless of whether it's true).

Vesper Kling

Sorry Catnapkitty! I dont mean the colour of the skin of course! I meant the barbet wire and that kind of stuff i give him instead of nice clothes :)

Of course, coloured skin is often more attractive than scary white :P

I dont either think he is "scary", he has a kind look in his eyes :)

Hugs

Karen Palen

Until the SL "morality police" got all upset about it, I liked to emulate my RL 5 YO granddaughter who loves to talk "techie talk" to the older kids! She really gets a charge out of telling older kids how to make things really work.

Yeh well I am a *TAD* biased here :-)

The point is that you RL persona need NOT reflect who you are in a virtual world! DUH!

The whole point of virtual worlds is to try on new faces and try out new ways of interacting. DUH!!!

Too bad so many people can't tell the difference between fantasy and reality. :-(

Extropia DaSilva

>Picking your friends' brains for thier preconceptions of the opposite sex and then acting out those preconceptions may teach you a great deal about stereotypes, but won't tell you much about gender.<

Speaking of gender stereotypes, here is a revealing experiment..

People were asked to interact with a group of infants. When asked about the children's behaviour, people attributed typically girlish behaviour to the girls; boyish behaviour to the boys.

But, here is the twist: The researchers had cross-dressed the babies, so what the volunteers assumed were girls were in fact boys and vice versa.

This suggests that behavioural differences between the sexes might be (largely) in the eye of the beholder.

Extropia DaSilva

>Too bad so many people can't tell the difference between fantasy and reality<

Reality ( or what we experience and label as 'reality') is itself a fantasy. The evidence that this is the case (mostly from neuroscience) is overwhelming.

Hamlet Au

But if reality is a fantasy, how can scientific evidence even exist?

Extropia DaSilva

>But if reality is a fantasy, how can scientific evidence even exist?<

The mind is not in direct contact with reality. There is no light, or sound, or smell, or touch inside your head. Instead, what happens is our senses gather information from whatever is 'out there' and the mind constructs a model of reality out of that information. This model is continually tested against reality to see if it makes useful predictions about how the world works.

Now, clearly, having a catastrophically wrong model is bad for your survival. You would probably not survive long enough to spread your genes if your model failed to predict how reality behaves. But, then again, it need not be perfect. How you perceive reality and how it actually IS need not be perfectly matched- the model just needs to be good enough for you to make sense of your environmental niche. Yes, it is a fantasy but so long as it is a plausible one, that is good enough for all practical purpose.

Similarly, philosophers of science tell us that the best science can ever do is construct a plausible fiction, a coherent story of what reality is like; models that makes useful predictions not contradicted by reality itself (at least not to the level tested so far). We can fine-tune the scientific models and achieve finer and finer levels of understanding, but it still remains a plausible fantasy; a fictional account of something 'out there' which we shall never know directly.

BTW, technology has given us instruments that allow us to observe phenomenon far beyond the levels our senses can naturally tap into. Our brains are evolved to make sense of a very narrow portion of reality. That is one reason why quantum physics is such an afront to common sense: Our minds are just not evolved to intuitively grasp reality at these levels.

Hamlet Au

"We can fine-tune the scientific models and achieve finer and finer levels of understanding, but it still remains a plausible fantasy; a fictional account of something 'out there' which we shall never know directly."

But that statement necessarily applies to itself. And therefore, even if it's true, the theory that reality is only a plausible fantasy is itself only a plausible fantasy. Which sets us back to square one.

"BTW, technology has given us instruments that allow us to observe phenomenon far beyond the levels our senses can naturally tap into."

But even then, our basic empirical senses do the final processing of data, i.e. looking at the instrument readout, listening to the instruments beeps and boops, etc. So these instruments only enhance our basic empirical acquisition.

Extropia DaSilva

>But even then, our basic empirical senses do the final processing of data, i.e. looking at the instrument readout, listening to the instruments beeps and boops, etc. So these instruments only enhance our basic empirical acquisition.<

Right. As Robert Geraci wrote in 'Appocalyptic AI', 'few scientists would deny the presence of 'real' things out there, coming into contact with 'real' human beings. However, the identification of those 'real' things does not come through unproblematic, direct access to the 'real' but, rather, comes through a constant series of social meditations (observations, experiments, publications, presentations, social networks, etc).

Sometimes postmodernism is portrayed as a philosophical position that reality just is a social construct, but I think it should be interpreted more as a combination of perceptions of things 'out there' and knowledge constructed through social practices and the cabalities of the mind to (as Kant put it) bring forth phenomena created as much by the mind as by whatever it is that is ‘out there’. Postmodernism placed the emphasis on the interpretations of the real. That is what we have access to. We are (at least) one step removed from the real.

Ener Hax

funny how you referred to her twice in your post as "a lovely young woman"

i wonder if you had written about the opposite if you would have said "a lovely young man"?

it is hard to escape gender, even when we try . . .

maybe we can all be human first because it is a shame that we tend to judge first on genitals . . .

Hamlet Au

Good point, Ener. But if this was about a dude who was good looking, I would probably note that too. To me this story is also a contrast to the stereotype that SLers are weird ugly naked dudes in their parents' basement, so that's a feature worth pointing out.

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