Daeberethwen Arbenlow is one of Second Life's most popular fashion bloggers, and she recently noticed a curious but disturbing thing: Her fashion photos with darker skinned avatars consistently get much less Favorites on Flickr than her photo shoots with lighter skinned avatars. This recent spread, for instance, got nearly ninety favorites:
This one below, however, got nearly two hundred:
She started thinking about this contrast after a fellow avatar fashion blogger brought it up to her:
"[She] is a woman of color and she was telling me that it is really hard for women of color to get picked up as bloggers and that the darker her skin is in pictures, the less faves they get," Ms. Arbenlow remembers.
"I have to say, she showed me her feed, and she is right. Even the lovely shots of her in darker skin tones have less faves than her in light ones."
She's noticed this with other fashion bloggers, too. This spread by Katien Erin, for instance, has sixty-six Faves:
... while this one, also by Katien Erin, has 124:
Other avatar fashion bloggers share their opinions in this Plurk thread. With the images themselves roughly of equal visual quality and style, it's difficult to explain this as anything else than a noticeable if unrecognized racial bias evidencing itself even in avatars. And sad to say, this isn't a new realization, but one that's been noted for well over a decade.