So what have the last couple of posts got to do with SL? Not a lot, at first glance.
But if we’re talking ‘media hypocrisy’ then there are some SL bloggers who display the same traits in the virtual world.
I’ve railed about this previously. Skins in shops with nipple pasties in place. Blogs that will suggest they’re ‘nudity free’ while displaying the raciest, sluttiest SL clothes going. I’ve no issue with SL bloggers making their blogs ‘PG’ if that’s what they wish, and pitching their work at a teenage audience. But, come on, everyone in SL…100% of its population…has at some time stripped their avatar down to its birthday suit, even the teenagers, because it’s self-evidently the very best way to tweak an avi’s shape. So…assuming that they’ve obtained a free skin somewhere on the grid, it will have nipples. And everyone will have seen them.
Why so coy, then, about having them displayed in SL skin stores?
Is the assumption that a RL teenage boy is going to get some kick, some thrill, from visiting an SL skin store to ogle a photograph (not even a moving avatar) set of cartoon boobs? Really? Ah…come on, now. Get real.
No need to necessarily protect RL teenage girls, because they can see ’em, know what they look like, in the bathroom or bedroom mirror every day. So it’s not as if nipple pasties are there to protect the female, teenage, SL player.
Moving onto the clothes…well, many will have some sort of see-through element. Fishnet tops…shorts cut so tight in the design that, from certain angles, a vulva will practically and sometimes literally be displayed. Despite this, bloggers will follow the ‘no nudity’ rule. This perplexes me.
A dressed up avatar can be made to look, quite readily, like some sort of slut, some kind of fantasy figure, like an intangible movie star as portrayed in the media, a media zooming on ‘nips slips’ and ‘up skirts’ to sell papers. We can readily dress an avatar to replicate a particular look and, indeed, some SL designers willingly design things to shadow what has been worn on the red carpets of the world. Fine. That’s a commercial decision, so if you can design and build, go for it!
(And, indeed, I can readily be moved to purchase something that looks chic and fashionable…despite spending most of my SL time nude, I do have to dress up and go out into the wider grid sometimes, and it’s nice to look smart and fashionable. I would almost certainly be moved to spend some linden dollars on a replication of the dress Rihanna recently wore, for example. Because it appeals to me. It appeals to my sense of her pushing the boundaries in RL as I could, theoretically do in SL. Because the attitudes displayed might almost exactly mirror each other.
But within the SL naturist community, where being naked is the norm, as it is in the RL naturist community, the body ceases to be remarkable. No one I know within that community spends time ogling another’s pixelated private parts. The focus is on the conversation we’re having. But I can guarantee you that most of us who’ve played SL for any length of time will have tp’ed somewhere in something ‘sexy’ or ‘glamorous’ to meet a barrage of off-colour comments about ‘tits’ (or t*ts, if we’re going to follow the real world’s recent conventions on how they report these two fascinating, hypnotic things).
In the real world, clothes are a veneer on which many people can objectify women. Look at that actress on the red carpet…you can pretty much see she’s been waxed! These are the attitudes displayed. Look at that new item from x, y or z SL store…you can clearly see her nips through it!
But they won’t feature nudity. Weird, huh?
The question is, does designing such clothes and then going to ridiculous, extraordinary lengths to hide some nipples help to perpetuate that ‘objectification’ process. Does real life attitudes then become reinforced in the pixelated world? I think it does.
Sometimes, SL isn’t so much an ‘alternate’ universe’ as one wherein the often illogical, screwed-up attitudes of the real world are merely reflected.
I’m not going to single out any particular new dress/top/shop/blogger/designer, obviously. So I’m not going to upload a photo of an outfit I think meets these criteria in case someone identifies it. That’s not fair.
Instead, let me just point out that attempting to maintain a ‘no nudity’ blog and then feature that sort of clothing is, frankly, silly and hypocritical.