Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Disturbing Behavior

So Second Life to be honest is a scary place. I find it very interesting to wander around different online areas bumping into avatars here and there, but it is a strange concept to imagine that as I walk. I am running into other people, from all around the globe, who have invested so much time into this world. They manage stores, sell things and actually do business on line. It is so odd to me that people actually spend so much time on this thing.

Another disturbing aspect of SL, is the fact that I have only encountered one, short and overweight avatar, while all the rest are tall, slender and "attractive." There is such an emphasis on looking good in the real world, that everyone looks good in SL. Also, there are so many random places that I visited, especially the sponsored teleport places that sell "perfect" body types, and even have realistic looking attachments for certain body parts. I cannot believe how the appeal of a perfect body has literally manifested itself in SL.

And then I read how real world problems have invaded into SL. For instance gambling, a very real worl problem that affects countless people and families has found its way onto SL. Online gambling has always existed, but Sl has brought it to a whole new level.

Then there is violence in SL, and terrorism... This is ironic to me, people strive for physical perfection during their "second time around" then why do they not strive for utopia as well. They only want to look good, but not live in a perfect world. Why is there an SL Liberation Army?! Are you not already liberated by being being able to do whatever you want, and fly wherever you want, and look however you want?

Yet, every cloud has a silver lining. No matter how many man made flaws have corrupted the already disturbing world that is SL, there is still hope. There have been charity events, and money raised to help actual human people. That is amazing to me and hopefully more events like these will take place in the future. Hopefully humanities goodness will shine through in this online world and not the darkness. Perhaps soon we will even see more human looking avatars that do not look so "perfect." I feel like John Lennon, "imagining" a perfect world, but somehow, imagining a perfect second world does not seem quite as powerful.


Caroline said...

I haven't figured out how to wander around SL yet, but I am both disturbed and not surprised that most avatars have "perfect bodies." This certainly brings into question what constitutes a perfect body: shape, color, size, etc... And who has decided that these are perfect body types; is it the media, or an unconscious biological conception, or a cultural ideal? I'm tempted to say that it's a cultural ideal, as I have visited other cultures in which "over wieghtness" is attractive, or where very pale skin is preferred over tan skin. Have you found the "perfect body" avatars to be similar, or different according to where the "owner" is from?

Eli said...

I honestly have not checked where people are from, plus most people don't really say. But I agree with you that it is a cultural thing, however, I would like to add that the cultural aspect of it is reflected in the media, or rather the media generates certain aspects of our culture. Thus, our "perfect body" is indeed a cultural phenomenon, yet this is spurred on by the media, by these "beautiful" actors and actresses and by ads in magazines that are so airbrushed and far removed from reality that they no longer represent real human beings. So i believe it is two fold, and certainly a very big social problem.