Issue 9: SLN Naturist Profiles No.5 : Mtendere

All Mtendere photos taken at Tulip store

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Pookes: You’ve adopted an African appearance, specifically that of a Massai tribeswoman.

Mtendere: Yeah. I liked the look, which isn’t truly represented in the photos. The full look has African tribal clothing…a spear…headdress…short hair…the lot! I’m keen on cultural diversity. I think it’s something we need more of in Second Life, both in terms of avatar appearance and the sims they inhabit.

P: And yet you’re not an African Massai tribeswoman

M: (laughs) I doubt many of us are what we say we are in SL. I’m a black American woman, so the look kind of fits. I joined SL at the same time I was doing some genealogy research and from what I discovered, the two fitted together pretty well…the African tribeswoman and discovery of my RL roots, which may -I’m not absolutely certain- actually have Massai roots. I’ve certainly got the height to say that I might have Massai blood (laughs)

P: You say the look isn’t representative of your entire SL.

M: No. It’s certainly softened and westernised a bit for not only these photos but everyday SL. There’s not enough Africa in SL for me to indulge that fantasy element of it on a daily basis, so I do have to run a more westernised look, in terms of hair, clothes, and the places I visit.

P: Are you a naturist?

M: Not in the real world and not in Second Life either. It’s not realistic to call me a naturist. What I do have is a relaxed attitude to nudity in Second Life because I’d like to roleplay it in terms of, well, a need for less clothing (laughs).

P: Communal tribal nudity.

M: Hmmm….well…maybe not tribal in a way. That implies ‘black’ to me…the uncultured black man or woman. We still have tribes in the Amazon where clothes haven’t imposed themselves too much. In Africa, that former innocence to nudity has been somewhat lost. And that’s sad that the white man has imposed his values on the rest of the world and cultural diversity is under threat. While I’m not naturist, I would certainly embrace nudity in a ‘commune’ sense in SL. And if I discovered I was actually part of ‘x’ tribe in Africa, from centuries ago, and they live out in the wilds and conduct themselves naked in a part of their lives, I’d have no problem in being naked in that context.


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