Saturday, May 2, 2015

Role Play Prejudice Much?

Someone raised a provocative topic over on Facebook today.    I found it good timing as I've been running around the Fantasy Faire a lot lately and ironically had just posted a pic using my av Kara, together with my MAlt (male alt) MitchL.  Both are in fantasy attire in the Fantasy Fair sims.  While I was not actually role playing with them for the most part, they were running around the sims together checking things out and taking pics. 

The Facebook post started with someone indicating they've been chastised for role playing alternative types of avatars.  I couldn't help but respond with a long opinion as I love to enjoy a wide variety of things in SL myself. Along the same lines (sort of) I've been wanting to again blog about all the "good" things about SL besides just sex and griefing that seems to get a ton of media attention because the Relay for Life fundraising is absolutely phenomenal in SL. Plus there is a lot of RL education, music, art, social connection for those with disabilities, etc opportunities going on, but I digress. 

I'd post the direct link to the Facebook thread but can't seem to get the FB Surl to the exact spot.   It's actually in the Second Life group though today so you might find it and all the many comments here:

Anyway.. back to the post.. it starts with the origination of the post by Nick Morgan saying:

Nick:  "To all the people giving me a hard time I am getting tired of it
I am adult I can't rp a kid I am accused or being a pedophile I assure I am not
I am male and I can't rp female I get accused of being gay I am not
I am white and I can't rp black I get accused of being racist I am not
can't roleplay an animal I get accused or being weird
what do you roleplay yourself where's the fun in that I thought second life was about pretending
get an imagination" (sic)

Most of the many responses encouraged the author to play who and how he (he's identified himself as a RL male so I'll go with that) wants to play and not let others dictate how he plays.  There were a few jokes about furrys etc, but for the most part the responses were positive. I've always believed the SL population in general is pretty accepting really.  I've for the most part only seen real prejudices against child avs and a little about some abusive type behaviors rather than "lifestyles" in general.  I have however heard jokes cracked about a variety of alternative looks or behaviors such as overly wide derrieres, some of the animal avatar behavior including milking/cows, etc, animal sex, etc. But for the most part from what I've seen anyway some people might look twice but generally go on about their own merry way leaving people to play who and how they want recognizing this is SL and not first life.  Some things are actually against TOS and might be considered illegal as well especially if an avatar is in SL underage.  I am also aware there has been age play so that ruins it for those who just like to play with a childlike heart and body.  I lived in a wonderful huge family community in SL for a while and I have to say the many many families there were wonderful people and the children were very cute and added a great deal to the community in a variety of ways. Again I digress... so anyway .. back to my response.. here it is:

me: "Pfft.. I play all that and more, and I'm all adult female in RL. For the most part I don't care what anyone thinks about my SL.. my SL is about fun. But I stay primarily a female woman in SL and when I am anything other than adult female I don't have sex, I don't misbehave towards others, I don't lead people on, or misrepresent who I really am to friends etc. I have had no problems whatsoever with my friends or strangers in SL when I am having my alternate fun. I identify only with my female av and the others are like dolls, for fun, etc and they are very fun to dress up, style, take pics of, and yes, get a little goofy role playing differently. That's part of the beauty of SL, we can be what we want and all the uniqueness makes it more interesting. I doubt anyone looks like their av RL. But I'm always upfront to my friends that the alternate is me so there is no confusion. This is because we form real friendships and connections in SL and a small bit of that is trust the person you are close to is who they say they are. I do get that some people think some alternative types of avs are odd because they can be misused in SL. That's just my opinion though. As Izzy said another idea that works for some is not to tell anyone. I used to feel like if someone does get close to me and has an appearance that is vastly different or even misrepresents their RL, then I simply do NOT want to find out later and I don't want my friends or others to know either as I will feel deceived and played. Some people RP but really "play" like real life while others are in constant RP so don't "get" how this might feel bad or like a person is being deceived. We would like others to play how we do but of course everyone plays their own way. If I am not close to someone I don't care but if I am close, even if they don't look or act remotely close to what they would in RL, to an extent I'd still like to be aware of that if I have formed a real bond. It doesn't mean I would give them a hard time though. Plus there are rules about age play, just saying, so with that I get why ppl would be upset. I think it depends what people are doing with their alternative forms. This would make a good blog topic."

And so now I'm blogging it. 

The next post down Tess Stanley-Hannah/Ivey Deschanel in SL (yes I got her permission to quote her) said: "I have 2 words for that and excuse the french but FUCK them. SL is one place where you can experience your dreams and fantasies without being judged. Most of the people I know, some of them now SL "big wigs" spent their first years of SL on a pole or RPing everything under the sun from furries to demons to kids to multi appendaged stocking fetish,horse milkers. I guarantee you everyone who has something negative to say has a LOT of closet skeletons themselves and simply find bigoted pleasure in being the SL morality police. Find like minds who understand and care about you and mute or block the rest. THEY DON'T MATTER -hugs-"     

 I think that sums things up nicely!

There are a whole lot of things to consider in this including how people "play" vs "roleplay" etc.  Of course many people insist on voicing at least once to get a sense of the person they are engaging with, so that says a lot of people DO care to an extent who they are playing with.

Others posts on the thread say things like: It's your SL, live it to the fullest, don't be bothered with haters, have fun, enjoy, be who you want, etc.    Personally I wish I had thought through a better post but in review I guess what I said for the most part covers my opinion on the subject.  Obviously this is a subject many are passionate about based on the large number of responses.  One person even said they role play as a human, but not saying what they are in real life.  hahah.. I'll end on that note and with my picture of me and MitchL my alt. : )


  1. Pssst.... I am not an elf in real life even though in sl, an elf is what I resonate the most with. Love your post. I personally cannot play someone who has a personality different from mine, I find that a bit of a drawback, but hey, this is a lack on my part. I can roleplay all kinds of races or species, imaginary or real. However in OOC, I am who I am, as much as I can be. I agree with you, SL is a place to explore... people, mind, imagination, situations, and to have fun of whatever kind works for you...My own rule is to do so in respect of the other. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Your post is really thought-provoking, Kara - and I wish FB hadn't started cracking down on profiles named for SL avies, as I'd really like to sign up a new account and participate in the discussion. But to add to your comments here, this part of your post really stood out to me:

    "I don't lead people on, or misrepresent who I really am to friends ..."

    That, I think, it's the key when it comes to striking a balance between roleplaying whomever/whatever you wish to be in SL, while being genuine to yourself and others. If we see someone playing a toddler in SL, or a dragon, or a tiny faerie, we know by common sense that they're being immersive and opting to play a certain role - but the lines get blurred when a RL female plays as male in SL, or vice-versa. Maybe that's made people paranoid, but unless someone is going the extra length to use fake pictures and falsified information to lure someone into an out-of-SL relationship, I say that kind of roleplaying is still valid. When we start limiting people to obvious roles or trying to take away the full immersion that many SL members love so much, we lose a lot of what's special about this metaverse of ours.

  3. This is the best post I have read all day!

  4. Not everyone is experimenting, but that does go on, and that is the wonderful thing about SL. You can experiment.

    I have felt this over and over that my avatars (yes, I have a couple of them) begin to have a life of their own as they interact with other avatars. Pretty soon I let the situations dictate how my avatar responds rather than my first life self. It's fascinating what happens. I always refer back to something the late Rheta Shan put in her profile: Reality is not about truth or physics. It’s about crafting a story so persuasive it will be taken at face value. Second Life is all about storytelling and some people just aren't very good at it.