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Tuesday, September 30, 2008


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Raul Crimson

I think Iris is right, for some reason the guys take this kind of contest in a different way that girls, possibly because we (the guys i mean) use to be a bit less competitive about beauty than ladies.

You just need to see how many male clothing stores you can find in SL and how many female clothing stores. Works the same with skins, hair, ... as works the same RL too.

And, as Iris remarks, the social preasure over woman about beauty is way much than in men. Female beauty standards use to be far away from "natural" beauty (make-up, high heels, ...), male beauty standards use to be more natural.


Have you -seen- the SL fashion blogs lately? I mean I'm sure you have but seriously it’s a vicious world out there. While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, SL beauty when it comes to women is a whole different complex issue.

It also greatly varies depending on who you talk to and what "group" you look at. I hardly ever see women who look like me gracing the SL fashion feeds. I have grown to accept this fact. But when you judge beauty you affectively, for women most times, put a stamp of approval on a certain look. This can also be seen in real life because women try so hard to emulate that "perfect" look that will grace all the fashion magazines at the time.

Iris is right, if a contest is done for women it can not be about being the “hottest women in SL”. It has to be on something that can’t be visually judged.

Doubledown Tandino

Can I be a judge?

Even if there are no judges, I'd still like to be one.

dandellion Kimban

It is not gender inequity but different social roles that are in question here. What counts for guys iRL counts iSL too. One doesn't have to have model's measurements, nor to look like from magazine. Even beer belly can be compensated by charisma, attitude and creativity. Sure, some girls can do that too, but, let's admit it, in much fewer cases. What is expected from girls in both worlds is just right amount of flesh on right places and a skin that makes good shades. And while that can be (and actually is) significant in meatspace, it's almost valueless iSL. But still, we have so many model looking girls on the grid that look so empty and with nothing to support their beauty.

I agree with Iris that contest can cause a lot of drama. On the other side, it might be very good thing to organize. Beauty contests (in both worlds) are there to set some standards and to promote some ideas. If done right, this is an opportunity to promote different kind of female beauty, one that is not based just on position of sliders and a good skin, but on creative and clever use of them. It's up to you whether you'll take the risk.


Just for fun let's do some word substitution.

"Guys are different than girls"
New Yorkers are different than Californians
Blacks are different than whites
Christians are different than Jews

All women are not alike and to suggest we are is somewhat small minded. Not that a "hottest avatar" contest is the pinnacle of intellectual activity in the first place but I object to classifying the world in little pink and blue boxes. Its offensive.

Nexeus Fatale

Lets also drop a bit of the obvious, it seems that every other moment there's another "Ms. Awesome Female" content going on in Second Life. Guys rarely get any recognition in the Second Life virtual circles.

Gahum Riptide

For the guys, I really do think that most see the hottest male thing as more of a silly contest than a serious competition. One of the guys I nominated actually was little embarassed I put his name in, but he didn't put much emotion into it.

I can see where the competition and uglyness can come from. Your avatar is a personal thing, and many really do see it as themselves in a digital world. So to deem someone's avatar as the pinnacle of beauty means that many feel as though their work is not being validated.

It really helps to look at it as playing dress up rather than a personal affront if your avatar isn't chosen.

Princess Ivory

Oh, please, don't even go there. It will degenerate into a small-minded, back-biting beauty contest. SL is a microcosm of RL. And we all know what beauty pageants are like in RL. Remember Jon Benet Ramsey? Let's dress up our 4 year old to look like an adult prostitute, and call it beautiful, shall we?

And how about the answers we get from the contestants when asked what they hope to accomplish. "I want to achieve world peace." How many times do we have to hear that one? Come on girls, be original. But they already know that the original girl is too controversial. So they stick to the safe answer. Who could object to world peace, after all?

And whose bright idea was it to make them wear high heels with a swimsuit, for goodness sake? Do we see that at the beach? In all that sand? NO. I can guarantee you that the girl who dares to wear flip flops and a modest one piece will NOT ever win the contest. I don't care what it is called, or what the supposed criteria are for the judging. It's always a beauty contest. And they never change. Please don't bring that into SL.

Princess Ivory

CronoCloud Creeggan

You probably wouldn't want to do it, Hamlet. It would be very difficult to keep it from becoming a train wreck. Can you imagine trying to find judges that couldn't be accused by some clique that they're biased in some way or have too close of a connection to a contestant? Or there would be accusations of ballot stuffing or paying for nominations.

Just google the 12 Avatars contest to see what might happen. It might be intersting to try, especially if "If done right, this is an opportunity to promote different kind of female beauty, one that is not based just on position of sliders and a good skin, but on creative and clever use of them." as dandellion Kimban said.

Doreen Garrigus

Please, please, please don't run a beauty contest for seven-and-a-half foot tall puff-lipped Barbie Dolls with waists the size of their necks and arms that only extend down to their hip bones. It runs directly counter to the budding movement in SL for more reasonable bodies. Remember this?


Women face enough pressure with regard to appearance in the real world. Please don't apply any more with a huge highly-publicized virtual world competition(which will be a beauty contest no matter what you call it).

You said "beauty in SL is all a matter of artistic talent and [avatar] customization skills, so why [would it cause a] heated personal reaction?" You clearly do not understand.

You seem to assume that all women, always, would choose to be supermodel gorgeous if they had the means and that, in SL where appearance is chosen, the only reason a woman wouldn't be beautiful is if she lacked the ability. The assumption is misogynistic and repellent.

Do you really think that, given the very most artistic talent and top notch avatar customization skills, the best a woman could come up with is a "beautiful" avatar? Might she, instead, choose to create an interesting, unique, or even bizarre avatar?

Might choosing to make a conventionally beautiful (by SL standards) avatar even indicate a certain lack of creativity and individuality? Please understand that there is _no challenge_ to that. It is easy to do. Images to copy scream at us from every direction.

Much more difficult is to make an avatar instantly recognizable and distinct. Like Iris:


Or Rosie:


Or Orchid:


Or any number of other fascinating created people who wouldn't even rank in an SL beauty contest.

Jayden Emmons

I hate putting the world into pink and blue boxes, too, but the truth is that in this case saying "Guys are different than girls" is not just talking about the way that individuals process the world but about the way that society has different expectations of and talks differently about men and women.

Whether those differences should be there or not, they are something that I think should be taken into consideration in this case. "Beauty contests" for women come with a big set of pre-existing baggage that I don't think any male competition has an exact equivalent to. I think I have to add my voice to the "don't go there" group as far as a competition for female avatars goes, even though I really enjoyed last year's highlights for the guys and would theoretically enjoy a similar showcase for women.

Osprey Therian

I don't understand this drive to judge everything and create Top Ten lists. The entire concept has zero value.

dandellion Kimban

It's interesting how Doreen and I for completely same reasons (Do you really think that, given the very most artistic talent and top notch avatar customization skills, the best a woman could come up with is a "beautiful" avatar? Might she, instead, choose to create an interesting, unique, or even bizarre avatar?) are coming to the opposite result. :)

cyn vandeverre

Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander -- particularly when the gander has a female avatar and the goose has a male one, and nobody can tell anyway.

Sophrosyne Stenvaag

I agree with the cautionary advice so many good people have already provided, but here's a different thought:

Why not start with a contest for *judges*? Put out the question, "How would you choose the best female-gendered avatar?" Ask what they would consider best, what epitomizes the female for them, what fails and what succeeds.

Pick the five, say, most interesting, thoughtful, creative and divergent responses - or see if the responses cluster around a group of common notions of what's "best," most "beautiful" or "creative," and let that be your contest.

Or possibly even create a composite avatar synthesizing the judges' common and contradictory elements, and see what she looks like. Time Magazine did something similar for http://www.racialcompact.com/Time_Fall_1993.JPG>a 1993 cover on diversity in America - might there be a 2008 cover girl for diversity in SL generated the same way?

CeNedra Rivera

A few people have mentioned a Hottest Couples contest which could work, although it doesn't really have to be "Hot". It could have talent and question portions too, maybe like that Newlyweds TV show (yes I remember that show). This would eliminate the gender issue completely as couples could be any gender.

In any case I agree with the others that a SL's Hottest Female Avie contest would cause drama and hurt feelings. It's sad but true.

Monkey Flung

this is just sexism, pure and simple.

Paisley Beebe

I have to say Im soooo bored with everyone sporting the same Human barbie looks in SL, I find people that look "individual" and not sooo perfect much more interesting. To me it says "confident" "creative" and "real". I would love to see more interesting Shapes being sold on SL, I think it will be a sign of Second Lifes Maturity when more and more Shape makers start selling more interesting Human forms, and not just that! actually selling them!

Hamlet, I agree with Iris, I would be going for a competition where people are beautiful in an individual and unique way, not in a barbie doll way. With my own avatar, I bought a mod shape and then altered it to look as close to my real self as I could, without the bad hair days and bad skin days..:) at least its not a cookie cutter look I hope.

Now Im not saying you should look like your RL self at all!, that, is just what I feel comfortable with, but please stop with the barbie dolls, we know most of you barbies out there are in RL not even Ken Dolls but middle aged men...getting your kicks, it just boring thats all! be a dragon or a tiny or a bird or a Human with flaws!, if we all just look like blow up dolls, it becomes dull. Not eveyone is good with customising their shapes, so I would be challenging some of those shape makers to get a little daring and make some not perfect shapes every now and then..

The most ridiculous thing I ever heard was the previous Miss Ebony Competition, with Middle aged white men behind these lovely looking black women Avatars getting up in the top group, I just can't even get my head around that! it just made me mad! listen guys... black woman do not get a chance to have their own competition like that very often! and I can't speak for them, but really... You White Middle aged Guys! for goodness sake let a RL black woman have a chance at it and get lost!
Don't know why that bugged me so much but it did.
(White Middle Aged Aussie Woman in RL and SL and PROUD!!)

Iris Ophelia

I just want to briefly clarify some points.
First, in response to judging avatar beauty, I did say "most women". Not all. Clearly not everyone wants to be a conventional glamour girl, and thank heavens for that! Second Life would be much more unappealing if it was only those people! The most beautiful avatar I can imagine for myself, in fact, is not a human one at all.
Second, you can call it misogynistic or sexist, but men and women are raised and treated differently in every society I can think of. No, that doesn't mean it's right, and no that absolutely doesn't mean we should make those same judgments here, but that's how it is. More women will swoon over a ruggedly handsome man than men will swoon over a similarly grizzled woman. Even consider the widespread male distaste for the "horsefaced" Sarah Jessica Parker. Yes, that's terrible, but lets accept that as the reality. This should be the same for both sexes, but it's just not.
If anyone is going to call anyone else misogynistic or sexist, you can call me that for wanting to have an albeit superficial contest for the men but not for the women because I don't trust them enough not to make it a nuclear catfight.

Raul Crimson

Using words as sexism for this post is quite far from reality and possibly near to over-sensitivity.

Saying men and women are different and this difference is reinforced by the social roles is correct and a clear vision of reality.

dandellion Kimban

I don't want to tangent this into men/women differences but they are not only social. And it's not social roles that make two contests and ways we perceive beauty different.


I do agree a "hottest female avatar" contest could turn into an ugly display of emotion. Bearing in mind how many female avatars have male human drivers, gender is clearly more complex than it might appear on the surface in second life. That is why bringing old school stereotypes into the virtual world is disappointing to me personally.

Perhaps for the majority of people gender is binary. Either you are a boy or a girl. However, for intersexed and transgendered people gender is not so very simple. I think we should make an an effort to be sensitive to them in our choices.

HALEY Salomon

say no please , this is a great blog I would not like to see a sexest contest ,how about a contest for the best new outfit for Hamlett, kisses HALEY

Pyewacket Bellman

The answer is obvious. A beauty contest for female avs who are men in RL - and use voice. I bid for the machinima rights! Strangely enough, I've been working on a song for just that idea - so if anyone REALLY wants to get into it - let's have some fun!

Crap Mariner

I agree with HALEY.

(Continues working on white straitjacket design... muwahahahaha!)


I'd just like to say that us chicas have puh-lenty of venues/contests etc to show off our stuff.

So its nice to see the guys getting out there too.

While I don't think its all that complex, I feel ya Ophelia; cuz I know theres just too much drahmah with the ladeez

Don't know WHY. But it just is.

Interesting note: as hot as my avie is, whenever I switch over to "Bruce" Coral - my male avatar - he gets MUCH more attention ;)


How about:

"The 10 most unconventional, original female avatars"?

Let's explore and celebrate feminine creativity instead of the Barbie clones.

Let the Goths, the Vampires, the Cyberpunk Grrls, the Steampunk gentlewomen, the Nekos, the Elves, the Mermaids, the Angels, and yes even the Faeries and all the others, all have an equal opportunity to express their creativity.

Connie Sec

I think Iris is right to be cautious in the minefield of female "beauty".
Personally, I find SL Beauty contests rather passe and just an excuse for vendors to get their numbers up, and "supermodel" wannabes to trample over each other with drama and self promotion.
Of course, like 1st life, a lot of people want to be famous, for being famous and many see this as a shortcut to that rather dubious goal.

Dale Innis

I'm gender-neutral on the subject: I thought having a Hottest Male contest was a silly idea too. :)

How about "most interesting / imaginative / cool / original / breathtaking AV", without (gasp!) mentioning gender? Gender is *so* XXth Century...

Crap Mariner

A friend just handed me a one-line response to Paisley's comment:

"How many people competing in the Tiny Olympics are, in fact, tiny animals in RL?"

Paisley Beebe

@Crap ummm really? I think this is a little bit more sensitive and political than that. Using that argument why is age play not allowed in SL? we know they are not REAL kids. Sorry bit more of a grey area here.. you cannot compare Tiny's to Black women. Perhaps get an opinion from a RL Black woman about my comments as I have, they will no doubt be varied. It was common knowledge that some of the contestants were not RL black woman, it certainly an interesting debate perhaps for another forum.

Doreen Garrigus

The reason this is so controversial is that we are in the middle of a social sea-change. Gender roles are in flux. The old expectations are still in force but are out of sync with new realities.

Most women, at least in the United States, work outside the home, and our incomes are not optional. We are not working for mad money. We are working to support ourselves and our families, so it is in our best interest to be high achievers: to be aggressive, decisive, self-promoters. This is our reality.

But the old expectations rear their contradictory heads and undercut us. Women are still expected to be beautiful, available, and subordinate, never to strive or struggle. This is what it means to be feminine. Remember seventh grade when the other kids all made fun of the gawky girl with glasses? The kind of abuse heaped on a woman who violates those old expectations is stunning, different in expression but not extent from junior high name calling.

If we become the kind of people we need to be to achieve economically, we automatically defy those feminine expectations and leave ourselves open to disregard and contempt. The people who have particular trouble with women who aren't made in that feminine mold are largely older men---our teachers, our bosses, our doctors, judges and law makers. Well, really, almost everyone in a position of real power.

Most women grit their teeth and muscle through it. They achieve what they can and to hell with what other people think. But a beauty contest....well, a beauty contest kicks our feet right out from under us. It throws us back to seventh grade, where people called us names if we weren't pretty.

Crap Marinerq

@paisley - I'm a bit confused as to why you're bringing up ageplay. Um... you're comparing people taking on different skin colors or becoming small animals to ageplay?

Let's see... Depiction of a sexual act with a child is illegal under United States law, LL hosts its servers within the US, so ageplay is illegal.

Impersonating a kid in a non-sexual manner isn't. (Marianne McCann, KoffeeKid Smalls, Yuki Eliot, Ray Fargus, and the rest of the SL Kids fight hard to make sure that people learn the difference despite the ignorance in the press)

And just as impersonating a kid is not illegal, impersonating a black woman or a small animal isn't either.

Paisley Beebe

@ Crap I used that comparison because using your argument that we all know that Tinys arnt tinys in RL so its ok for non black women particularly white men in this case, to enter a beauty Competition here in SL representing Black women ie it doesn't matter how you present in SL and act...Im sorry if that confused you I hope that is cleared up now.

Yes we do know that Dragon avatars arn't real Dragons in RL too yes we all get that. The statement you passed on from a friend, ignores the more politically sensitive issues here. I don't see any of those issues in play with Tinys or Dragons, I do see them in age play and possibly with depiction of a Black woman by a White Male in an Ebony Beauty Competition.

Also Age play on SL is not just unacceptable because its illegal...Before there was a law about age play in SL Im guessing most people found the depiction of it in SL abhorrent.

It maybe ok for men to think that they can appear as a black woman in a Black Women only beauty pageant, but I again ask the question is it ok for the real women who entered the competition? Please address the debate here about the more politically sensitive issue, not to be trivialized with glib comments about Tinys.

As I cannot speak on behalf of Black women I suggest I leave the debate for them and the white men that portray them, I however support any oppressed minority having issue with misrepresentation when its a sensitive political issue as this one is.

If any of you are confused as to what Im referring to.. I suggest you educate yourselves about the history of Black women in the world, and what they have had to suffer and what they continue to suffer, as opposed to the history of Tinys I think you will agree there is a big difference here.

The reason that there is even a Miss Ebony Competition in RL or in SL is because of that suffering. If there was an all white Beauty competition there would be a total outcry. There is a Miss Ebony Competition because we all know that for the past few hundred years or more in the States Black women were called ugly by whites, and its a celebration of their Black beauty, check out how many black women there are in the miss USA pagent guys, they are still very much the minority, how many black women grace the fashion magazine covers in RL, we still have a long way to go before this can be put in the same bag as Tinys.

This issue is not just about your right to appear as you want in SL its about the issue of celebrating Black women as a man. Ask Black women if they want to be celebrated by a White man in a Beauty Competition before you start telling me Im narrow minded.

Over and out.

Dale Innis

Well, I think beauty contests are pretty silly in the first place :) but I don't really understand why Paisley thinks that black women in general would object to being celebrated by people who aren't black women in RL? Especially in the absence of anyone actually objecting on their own behalf, it seems kinda mean to go around calling people "the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen" when all they're doing is celebrating a group that they may not be a member of in RL? (And I *really* don't understand how the ageplay reference is relevant at all.)

When I first discovered how amazingly fun it is to be a girl in SL, I did have a sort of postmodern worry about male colonization of femaleness, if it might be a bad thing if being a woman was to be just another thing that men do. But every woman I've ever expressed this worry to has told me that I was being silly. :) So really, I don't think it's called for to ridicule people for wanting to experience, or enjoy, or honor, a group that they don't belong to in RL. If there's some actual reason for worry, we should examine and explore it in a spirit of exploration and co-operation, not by calling each other names..

alexx markova

I wouldnt bother making a hottest woman in sl contest simply because in the end the hottest woman in sl wont be chosen.

what you will get is the hottest "look at me" woman in sl.

The girls who participate in those contest only want to be seen and flock to these contest and will do anything to win just so they can brag about it to everyone they meet.

there is no way to find the hottest woman in sl simply because the truly beautiful woman are out with their friends, enjoying their second life.

so unless you go digging personally into flickr, shops, beautiful places and pretty much every single sim, you wont find her.

by doing such a contest all you will get is a lot of drama and a big headache.

For guys I think its much different. Guys dont care, its a lot more about the lolz and even the hottest guy competition is a lot more for the girls. i'm sure if you would ask the guys in the top 10 they dont care much, flattering yes but i doubt they give it a second thought but the girls will have a lot of fun choosing the cutest and promoting their favorite.

Setting a few things straight

This URL will set the record straight as to the conditions to enter and compete in the Miss SL Ebony Pageant 2008 http://missandmisterslebony2008.wordpress.com/2008/04/02/conditions-and-process-warning-the-application-process-ended-up-the-31st-march-2008/

If you don't like what the contest was about then complain to the organizers. Most likely they will tell you to pound sand since the pageant was for AVATARS, not RL humans.

Meara D

"If you don't like what the contest was about then complain to the organizers. Most likely they will tell you to pound sand since the pageant was for AVATARS, not RL humans."

I think that's pretty much the only rebuttal needed for Paisley's complaint. Well said.

Rosie Barthelmess

As a nonstandard female avatar, I'll say that I can't see how any kind of a female avatar "beauty" contest could end in anything but drama unless the participants were very carefully pre-selected to be non-dramatic.

It's probably just better that beauty in this case is left in the eye of the beholder.

Nexii Malthus

Being a non-human robotic plywood cube avatar, I have an eye for unique manifestations of personalities, all in all it really depends on how we define beauty here...
Beauty to me is more than Looks.

I also have to agree with Osprey Therian on this one, why bother with a list?

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