Friday, January 04, 2013

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Female Second Life Avatars Bare More Skin Even in Non-Sexual Roleplay Scenarios, Study Suggests

Ciaran Laval has a good follow-up post to that silly-ass ABC News story Iris ranted about yesterday, which breathlessly reported the non-news that female avatars bare more skin than male avatars. (Like, you know, in movies, TV shows, games, comics, etc. etc.) However, as Ciaran found (because he actually bothered to read it) the study the ABC report was based on is actually more interesting than ABC suggested (no surprise there). "One thing the researchers do seem to have discovered," Ciaran explains, "is that the preference of female avatars to show more skin is not necessarily related to sexualization of female avatars." For instance:

[The researchers] discovered that male avatars roleplaying Star Wars in Second Life were roughly revealing the same amount of skin as their counterparts in the movies, the same didn’t apply to female avatars in Second Life. Female avatars roleplaying Star Wars in Second Life reveal a lot more skin than their counterparts in the movies.

Read more analysis from Ciaran here. I strongly suspect most of this has to do with real life heterosexual males stripping down their female avatars to the bare essentials in an act that's both voyeuristic and narcisstic. In any case, the phenomenon definitely deserves more (and smarter) scrutiny.

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CronoCloud Creeggan

Hamlet wrote:I strongly suspect most of this has to do with real life heterosexual males stripping down their female avatars to the bare essentials in an act that's both voyeuristic and narcisstic.

########

I'm surprised you wrote that, Hamlet, considering that you know better than most how "female-centric" the "social culture" of SL is.

Most of us oldbies know that at social venues women are going to outnumber men, easy.

Also, contrary to the traditional "there are no women on the internet" stereotype, most female avatars in SL are ran by women in RL. Head to any voice enabled venue and you'll see.

The revealing fashions that are being worn are designed by women! NWN has showcased several designers that make stuffs that show skin who are female in RL, including the those two sisters from Croatia that own "Boudoir" (They've beend doing a LOT of burlesque inspired stuff recently)

And the reason why female avatars show a lot of skin is easy to figure out:

If one has a perfect model class body and no restrictions of style, comfort, temperature, and to an extent cost....why not dress like a Celebutante/model/media personality in skin baring little cocktail dresses.

I have shoes with 120mm equivalent heels, huge embellished gowns, fabulous hats, tiaras, all sorts of things that are impractical in RL even if one did have a model's body. In m many ways, SL is style and fashion in it's purest form. It's total choice with no restrictions.


Pussycat Catnap

"Also, contrary to the traditional "there are no women on the internet" stereotype, most female avatars in SL are ran by women in RL. Head to any voice enabled venue and you'll see."
*****
So um...

There are no men on the internet?

Its all just teenaged girls in their dad's basement playing 'macho dudes with big beefy muscles and giant guns'.

(Or maybe we -ALL- need to get over the assumptions - Not aimed at you CronoCloud, the quote just gave me a funny thought I'm running with.)

I somehow suspect that we took 100 random androgynous mannequins... hand monkeys grab 50 items from a men's clothing shop, and 50 from a women's... and dressed the mannequins in the results (after repairing the damage)...

And then looked it over... the 50 mannequin's in women's clothes when compared to the 50 in men's would reach the same results as the survey.

Cause that's just how clothes in the western world are. If you want balance on this issue, go to Tribal Pakistan near the Afghan border. They mandate strict fashion equality there from what I hear. ;)

Arcadia Codesmith

Stated another way, men in Second Life ornament themselves with more fabric and other materials than women.

Probably one of those hierarchical status things, or deep-seated insecurities requiring insulation from the environment (/snark).

Jeremiah Whitfield

such a non discussion, it's just very warm in virtual worlds. Besides that men in short pants look childish.

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