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Friday, May 30, 2008


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Gillian Waldman

*sigh* It's not about avatar size...it's about what the group advocates.

Alexander Basiat

As follow-on to this, I've been recently helping a friend get started in SL and she (very rightly to my mind) wanted an avatar that more accurately reflected her RL figure. I think she felt a kind of dysphoria looking at someone who was tiny and thin. So, I helped her find a fat avatar.

Well, this caused a lot of problems for her. Most clothing in SL is designed for thin, "I'm dying for a sandwich" bodies. Most hair is too. When she was wearing some of the bits from ETD, for example, she had hair coming through her breasts, poking through like needles - not a good look for anyone. And of course most skins look distended and strange because they are designed for a tiny female body.

Luckily she has got the SL bug bad enough now that she's going to continue to stick in there. She had help from a clothing salesperson to adjust a prim skirt she purchased (it still doesn't look 100% correct, but much better than it did). And she's getting by with t-shirts and jeans. And she survives by projecting the attitude of "Screw you if you have a problem with my body." Not the friendliest aura, but that's what she's left with.

I know that in RL fat women can wear some very, very sexy clothing. But there's no such thing as a Holy Clothing (google the name) - style tunic or summer dress in SL. There's nothing that accepts a fat girl's figure and makes it look damn good.

Don't get me started. Everything - hair, skin, shapes, clothes, even animations are all built around the "skinny girl default."

If ever a world hated fat chicks, this world does even more so than the real world does - and that's saying something. So it doesn't surprise me that anorexics flock to SL as if they were issuing free purgatives with every membership.

joshooah lovenkraft

I find the whole topic of body image with respect to how one's avatar appears in SL to be quite fascinating. In fact, my friend marissa racecourse, realistic shape/skin designer and blogger, http://marissaracecourse.com/, will be soon publishing her findings from a small study she conducted with avatars' experiences and the implications of wearing a "fatvatar" over the course of 12 days in a virtual world. The findings are fascinating so anyone with an interest on this subject matter should keep an out in her blog.


I've had the same experiences Alexander. I don't consider my avatar to be plus size, let alone fat, but apparently many of the content creators in SL must.

Many women will even tell you they have a "skirt shape" which essentially means shape where the sliders for butt has been taken right down, even the hips in some cases.

I have to edit skirts so much it's not worth the effort. Boots are almost impossible to fit on my calves. So many fabulous pants and shirts look terrible once the texture is stretched over my shape. Even animations and poses can cause my hands to be imbedded in my body.

I did finally find some nice model poses that work for me, in a box called "chubby poses". I love them but everytime I use them the name is right there to remind me.

At least once a week I seriously consider making myself smaller. Then I realize if I don't let peer pressure get to me in RL then I'm certainly not going to let it get to me in SL. I'll just continue to be the token fat girl in my circle of friends LOL.

Laetizia Coronet

Odd... some weeks ago I wrote this and here we are with the opposite.

We live in a crazy world. If you look here (click on Portfolio, then on any of the small pictures) you can see that our fashion ideals are fake, photoshopped fantasies and that yes, sometimes the photoshop artists makes arms FATTER. Because our dear celebs have gotten too damn thin.

Laetizia Coronet

ok sorry, second link should be http://www.iwanexstudio.com/

Caliah Lyon

I think concerned female players should encourage and endorse physical fitness and athleticism as a healthy alternative to crash dieting and starvation. Promoting size acceptance is good, but condemning women with this affliction will do nothing for their already-wrecked self esteem and sense of well-being. Compassion is key to approaching anyone with an eating disorder, whether they're pro-ana or not. Anorexia occurs far more commonly than people think - in fact it is a common affliction in cancer patients - and it is not as simple as wanting to look like a supermodel. Pro-ana sites are prolific on the Net, it's no surprise that it would enter SL in some form; dealing with them is a tricky thing. Again I urge anyone in dealing with a pro-ana person who actually has the disorder not to judge and condemn them, but to try and understand the complexity and nature of their affliction with tolerance and compassion - and by all means, in advocating size acceptance, do so for women of all shapes and sizes, not merely plus size.

"Anorexia – as all eating disorders – is a complex disease. There's not one single, simple cause, although new research has revealed that anorexia and bulimia are inherited conditions – one needs to have a genetic predisposition for them.

"But that doesn't mean that everybody who has that gene does have, or will develop, an eating disorder," says Kirstin Lyon, a marriage and family therapist in Carmel Valley who is also a certified eating disorder specialist.

So-called environmental factors can also trigger, and worsen, the disease: our society's obsession with thinness, puberty, dieting, going away to college, a traumatic world event or a more personal one, like a breakup.

"There are usually about 10 other reasons why people get eating disorders," Lyon says, "and they all come together: control issues, perfection issues, also addiction. When all these things come together, it forms this way of coping. It's not about the food." "

You know what I'd like to see more of in SL? Lean, athletic female avatars with a bit of muscle.

Botgirl Questi

At least Second Life is an adult world. I posted a while back on a somewhat troubling talk by the Chief Barbie Officer on marketing barbiegirls.com to kids: http://botgirl.blogspot.com/2008/04/barbier-tech-team-opens-vw-conference.html

Princess Ivory

How thin is too thin? I made my own avatar shape. I made her look the way I liked. And then I sent her out into the SL world. And I find that most prim skirts and prim hair are too big, and I am constantly having to edit everything I buy. So, do I alter my avatar, or do I alter the clothing?

Am I too thin? I have a distorted sense of body image (was down to a size 3 in high school, and under 100 lbs). I am heavier now, but I hate it. Went too far in the other extreme (I think. To everyone else, I probably look healthy).

So if I find the happy medium for my RL body, will I adjust my SL body accordingly? Is she really a mirror of how I see myself on the inside?

Princess Ivory

Valentina Kendal

Thanks to Tenshi, NWN and others (also covered on PBS Frontline (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/kidsonline/) for covering this important issue. Of course it is everyone's personal choice how they look in SL - simply having a thin AV is not the issue. However, encouraging a mental health disorder strikes me as tremendously irresponsible, in RL or a virtual world (where even our non-human AVs are all thin). For another response, check out Dot Lane's blog - http://dotlane.blogspot.com/

Extropia DaSilva

'these are not photos of real models, but virtual world avatars'.

Given software tools like photoshop and the ability to airbrush and whatever other methods of manipulation the likes of Vogue use to give their cover stars artificial perfection, one has to wonder about the extent to which images in fashion and style magazines are 'real' at all.

Amara Parmelee

It's strange that people make such a fuss over things like this. I visited that group and from the looks of it, the group promotes those that are naturally just THIN. They do exist in RL, you know. Women and men who, despite what they eat and how much they eat, still appear thin or near skeletal. Shame on people for throwing mud like this on such a group.

My avatar's not thin by SL standards. I made my own shape. No prim dress fits me from the start, and I had to work had looking for a skin that worked with my shape and at the same time, looked like my RL self. Boots are a nightmare. And I won't even get stated on mesh skirts and dresses.

I wanted the avatar to look that way, not to please some culture or gain acceptance from people. We have the ability to edit the clothes we wear(in some cases) because designers know not all shapes are standard in SL. When I create furniture, it's made for a tall, thick AV, not a small thin one. I do shrink things down for smaller AVs, but I know I can't please everyone.

It is not this group or any SL related groups' job to promote certain ways of life, or change their views because some people have an issue with it. If a group of thin SL girls want a group for themselves and others like them, who are we to judge?! If you don't like the group, close the web broswer and move on...

Joshooah Lovenkraft


Two Worlds

Actually I think this raises a pretty important point about promoting image in Second Life--why IS it that there are no old people, no overweight people, no avatars like that? Only gorgeous tanned blonde adonises and buxom bombshells.

I think a sign that the virtual world is starting to mature will be the point at which the majority of people choose an image to represent themselves OTHER than the generic supermodel-type looks. There are furries and other humanoid types, but I mean a humanoid avatar of some other build or age or whatever.

I dunno...as for me I found the avatar on the left a lot more attractive. No fun in Second Life for those of us who appreciate the more rubenesque female figure...

Johnny Alton

This is the worse sort of press. it's a VIRTUAL world. We are talking about sliders on a screen that change the shape of a cartoon. Hey I prefer the Jessica Rabbit look and find lots of females in SL have that shape. I also see super slim girls and girls with most enormous 'assets'.

Virtual worlds for many are an escape / time out from the mundane in RL. Hell she might have cellulite in RL and a glass eye but why should we be limited by our RL physicality?!?

In SL, I am 7 foot tall (and that is about the norm) have a six pack and dapper hair. In RL, I am 5 foot 8 starting to grey and have a tendency to drink too much beer.

I am in SL to create and enjoy my virtual landscape, not be CONFINED by things in RL I might not be fully happy with (or even care about).

Pressure? If somebody is so pressurized by a cartoon image, they should go and watch the Simpsons and feel more comfortable there. Homer is a great role model.

Come on guys, and Tenshi you friend with the eating disorder? How would a group even know that, so the over dramatic "shock" is a bit overdone.

Yawn, guess it was a slow news week. Perhaps you can report on the content theft issue that sounds like a more interesting ISSUE.

A Sufferer

Actually, "Thinspo" is the shortened form of "thinspiration" which is basically looking at pictures of skinny girls/cancer victims/those with eating disorders to try and trigger yourself to be thinner. PLEASE get your facts right.

I have struggled with my personal hell of an eating disorder for 10 years. Mock me if you like, tell me I'm too thin, that I look terrible... in the end it doesn't matter because I have a mental DISORDER. I don't look at thinspo, and I despise pro-ana. Please don't look at the surface of this monster and think you know. You don't. Maybe that's rude but when I see things like this:

"We live in a crazy world. If you look here (click on Portfolio, then on any of the small pictures) you can see that our fashion ideals are fake, photoshopped fantasies and that yes, sometimes the photoshop artists makes arms FATTER. Because our dear celebs have gotten too damn thin."
... needless to say I get VERY angry. I didn't do this because of celebrities... I'm not literally killing myself over some crack head actress who actually can't act. I didn't even care about that stuff when this happened. I was molested, was emotionally abused and told from a young age that I am a fat cow, I have self harmed since the age of 6... you can call those factors, or you can do some research and discover that there is a hereditary link between alcoholic fathers and daughters who develop Bulimia. If you've done all that, if you know all that... then judge away... but don't expect my malnourished brain with extremely poor coping mechanisms to react kindly. If I could kill this beast, this monster I would gladly do it. If I could wake up and be NORMAL, just like every other 20-something I would. It doesn't work that way...
Here's the reality of my RL body:
-Yellow, sallow skin
-Bags under my eyes so bad I look beat up
-Bruises from simply sitting in one position too long
-Skin hanging off of my in rather disturbing ways
-Higher proportion of body fat due to the nature of self starvation and binging and purging cycles
-Excess body hair called lanugo
-Hair falling out on my head
-Blisters and scabs in my mouth and on my lips from stomach acid
-Bleeding and scarred hands from shoving my fingers down my throat
-Teeth rotting out of my mouth from said stomach acid
-5'6" 105 lbs and looking younger than my age in size but older due to the stress on my body

Golly Gee--- Who WOULDNT want to look like that?
Wanna know my SL girl?

-Short and to most deathly thin
-rosy and healthy looking skin
-pearly whites

Is it no wonder I would want something that represents my ideal? Women on SL run around with large perky breasts and round butts with curvy hips. To them perfection I am sure. To me... far from it. I have a distorted mind, a distorted body image... I can't just turn that off.

You don't like it... that's great you don't have too, but remember you don't know who my avatar is and before you comment rudely to me, remember that I am a very sick woman... and that I never once have attacked someone's SL avatar because they deemed it to be their own "perfection". To the few of you who posted intelligent responses I applaud you, it is a comfort to know that there are kind people who not only show concern... but seem to understand as well. Thank you.

Tru3 Destiny

I have noticed the tiny avatars walking around SL but Ive also noticed that black female avatars rarely have the skinny look. Culturally we dont aspire to be skinny and I guess its filtered through to SL, We has the usual problems with the prim skirts but that wont make me change my avatar, Id rather wear jeans over curves than shrink to look like everybody else.


thinspo doesn't mean thin positive, it means thin inspiration...


great photos

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