I read many avatars’ blogs, and have many bookmarked. One is The Poultry Report, by Uccello Poultry.
Not only because she embraces nudity, but because her blog often offers sage advice on the ‘state of play’ with Linden Labs, and is worth reading for a heads up on LL’s development plans. And Uccello also is a strong supporter of equal rights for women vis a vis going topless, both in real life and in Second Life.
Her recent post (July 4th) pretty much sums up the situations in both worlds where she says, about the inworld situation, that…
In this picture, though, I’m breaking a Second Life law. I am in a G-rated region with my breasts exposed. This is a no-no for no good reason.
One day, when I have the time, I’m going to ask someone official at The Lab about this. Until then, I’m going to go topless wherever I wish to, risking whatever punishment is (not) merited.
It is called freedom.
Uccello also has a Flickr page, should you want to explore her SL photos and see just why SLN can identify strongly with her stances for ‘equal rights’ both in and out of SL. I won’t post any of her photos, they’re her copyright, but you can click the links above.
This has tied in with a conversation I’ve had this week in SL, with one avatar telling me how exasperating she found some of the conservative values in SL. ‘It’s like the freedoms fought for in the 60s and 70s by the counterculture and feminists have been simply waved goodbye! We enter this second world where realistically we should be inventing our own new set of morals, yet everyone comes into it with the baggage of real world morality. I can visit sims where war gaming and killing is part of it, I can visit sims that glamorise rape and cement some males’ attitudes, yet I can’t go topless at a sim because the same silly rules that apply in real life are routinely attached to Second Life. It’s crazy!’
I felt a challenge coming on…
Long-time readers of this blog will know I have a couple of ‘alts’, avatars I can break out for photography purposes whenever I need a model and there’s no friends online to help out. While Ella is intended to resemble me, to a great extent, my alts (one male, one female) look nothing like me (well, naturally the male alt doesn’t). I imaginatively named them ‘Adam’ and ‘Eve’ for the times when they do, exceptionally rarely, get let out of the box and other than some hair (and in Adam’s case, male genitalia), I’ve spent nothing on them. They’re last resort reserves, and have been since I made them up, roughly around the time I was planning SL Naturist. They can’t have been used more than a couple of dozen times over their five year lifespans, and ‘Eve’ is my go-to alt avatar with which to occasionally experiment with mesh avatars, should any freebie mesh stuff make an appearance. ‘Eve’ has little more than the clothes you see her standing up in. A couple of freebies, yes, but I wouldn’t roll her out to pick up many of the free items available on a weekly basis. However, Ella does pick up a lot of clothes, so I’m kind of aware where to go to pick things up.
Ella in her ‘Eve’ alt avatar guise.
Taking up the baton Uccello intimated at, I spent a couple of hours going around numerous reasonably populated sims, i.e. places offering free clothes, to see what the reaction might be to a topless female going shopping, and gauge reaction in SL. Sure, I could go totally nude, but the focus here is on top-free equality.
Ready to take your top off, Eve?
Great! Let’s proceed!
I have to admit I imagined I’d meet some resistance to a topless female. An hour later, no one had IMed me with a word of condemnation as to my semi unclothed state, despite me teleporting around numerous very popular SL sims. I’d picked up free skins, clothes, make up, tattoos, footwear as part of kitting Eve out. Tarried in front of lucky boards, midnight mania boards and lucky letter boards surrounded by others, headed to safe hubs which are always thronged.
And the reaction was zip, zilch, nada.
I dispensed with the denim skirt I’d been wearing and proceeded to go around many more sims fully nude, apart from boots and sunglasses (Hey, it was a sunny day!) Nope. Not a word of warning that I’d forgotten to dress or that my clothes hadn’t rezzed. It used to be that the grid was a little less stable and, even if wearing clothes on your own monitor, they didn’t show on others’ monitors and you would get a friendly IM from a stranger warning you of this.
So…how about my other ‘alt’, Adam?
Here he is, ready to set out on an adventure.
My expectation was that male genitalia might be seen as more offensive than a naked female and ‘frighten the horses’ (ha! See what I did there in relation to the photo above?) But no! Adam spent close to another hour this past week teleporting into popular spots and wandering fully nude. Only once was mention made of his state of undress, and that (see above) was a friendly notification that he’d forgotten to dress. No one threw him out of a sim or spent time remarking. That’s not to say that you couldn’t teleport into a location and immediately be confronted by some uptight, body phobic idiot, but it demonstrates to me that people -and it challenged my own expectations- no longer care about naked avatars in a way they once did. Yet there are avatars who have the capacity to escape their own limits and fail to do so. So many skin (skin!!!!!) stores still utilise photos with censorship it’s unreal. Blogs who refuse to incorporate nudity into photos when the situation would lend itself to nudity. Blogs who promote overtly sexual outfits, yet won’t use the rather more mundane naked body under any circumstances. However, it was great to discover that, in the main, nudity, almost anywhere in SL, is not worthy of comment by other avatars, busy getting on with their own lives rather than interfering in those of others. Perhaps it’s a lesson that needs to be projected back into real life, particularly by those who have Twitter accounts. Haven’t you anything better to do than find stuff to be offended about?