Monday, August 13, 2007

Kate is on the left, I'm the one in glasses on the right.

For a little while in Second Life I was changing my skins quite frequently, and avatars as well. I wasn't tied to one particular look, equipping appearance as often as I equipped outfits. Just yesterday I noticed something. I was making an effort to move "my" skin (Geisha skin with red lips) and "my" shape (default Haragyaru shape, vaguely Asian), into each outfit folder.

What does this mean? In one sense, it's as though I'm finding my own "identity" in Second Life. Hanging out with my friend Kate yesterday, she squinted at my avatar and said, "Hey, you kind of look like you." Meaning that somehow, I'd hit upon a look that identified me with my RL as well as OL selves.

I didn't intentionally pick a vaguely asian, curly-haired girl in glasses. Or maybe I did. The upshot is that I no longer "identify" with my darker-skinned avatars, or even my boy avatar.

In another sense, it's buckling to peer pressure. I've been hanging around one specific part of the online world of late -- Caledon -- which means that I'm becoming "known" in Caledonian culture as a certain person. This person is associated with a particular look, so much so that I find myself unwilling to wear short dresses around the sims (it's a Victorian 1800s simulation). I've danced at balls as a male avatar before, but now I feel unable to, simply because my online identity has become associated with a female me.

Thus does culture and gender infiltrate even the world of an MMORPG. At any rate, I still think I'm pretty.

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