A world of beauty and perfection is the place we live in our second part of our lives. With the introduction of HD skin, we saw a new era in Second Life. Every one with a human avatar walked the streets with a beautiful or a handsome face. Then came the mesh hands, feet and now we have the body and the head too. Even though the dressing games are for children as one would have thought a few years back, we adults take out time to beautify us. It is a candy for our eyes to look beautiful in virtual worlds.
A study done by Jong-Eun Roselyn Lee at Ohio State University, Discovery Magazine reports that there is a lack of avatar racial diversity in an MMORPG. With 56 study participants, Lee gathered, the study concluded that the back participants showed less willingness in the low diversity scenario and they created white avatars, as judged by objective raters.
Half identified as white and half identified as black, Lee sent them a fabricated magazine story titled, “Meet the Coolest Second Life Residents”. The 8 SL avatars in the story were either all white or were an equal mix of Hispanic, Asian, white and black. She then asked them
- to create and customize their avatars and
- then rate their willingness to reveal their real racial identity through the appearance of their virtual avatar.
The NWN ~ Racism Second Life to Video Games suggests that most people hide their true racial identity. I have found that most of the users including me do not try to give their true reality. Only few of our friends are aware of who we are. Lately, even I have started to share my nationality, India. Since, most of the data about real life are kept hidden, should one share ones racial identity through the color of avatar skin? The question now is would you like to judge a virtual avatar based on the racial identity in virtual life?
Another point that was put up by the same blog is that most Avatar skin makers do not have dark, Asian or Hispanic skin on sale. Do the creators withhold creating such skins due to controversial reasons or are they not demanded at all from the consumer or user side?
In fashion shows, most of the models are white skinned. But, we do see black skinned as well. Although, it is not a regular routine. For example the following pictures are of the most reputed models in Second Life.
Photograph Credits: Facebook Photos of Bea Serendipity
.Photograph Credits: Locula Madruga
Photograph Credits: Strawberry Singh
Looking at the above examples, we can easily rule out the point that fashion shows and fashion models avoid dark skin to avoid controversy. It has also been suggested that the apparel and accessories creators should make products which look good on black skin. This made me think that apparel and accessories can best be displayed on black or white mannequins. And this has been the trend since history not only for virtual life but also for real life. Hence, this point can also be ruled out.
You may like to read or refer to other links, who have also put the point forth of racial discrepancies in virtual world:
- Pixels and Policy
- NWN ~ New Second Life Skin Gets it Right
- NWN ~ The Skin You Are In
- Skin Color Still Matters
We will talk about this in the next part.
My Wardrobe Credits:
Skin & Shape ~ LAQ Glow
Outfit including shoes and necklace ~ Meli Imako ~ https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/MI-Rigged-Mesh-Womens-Leather-Jacket-Trend-Outfit-Outfit-Shoes-And-Necklace/6426454
Hair ~ No hair as promised to blog bald for 5 posts in support of MSABC’ fund raising event Cure for Pink.
Hands ~ Slink
Clutch ~ Jumo at the 24^2
Pose ~ Expressive Poses