There was enough mention of football (soccer) in our previous post on Brazil, the staff of SLN almost exclusively having become ‘football widows‘ for the next four weeks, so let’s leave that to one side and immerse ourselves in another side to the country – the Amazon itself and its tribes, culture and the danger man poses to…man.
We’ve previously said that true, genuine naturists will reflexively care for and look after their environment, tidying up on beaches, indulging in ‘growing’ processes, flowers and vegetables, in their gardens. Naturism, naturally, lends itself to outdoors, and naturists are fond of their flowers, of their gardens. So it’s only right that proper naturist outlets will focus on ‘green’ environmental policies. You almost certainly have a Green Party (link leads to the UK version, but other countries will have their own versions) involved in politics in your country, some making their presence felt more than in others. In the European parliament the European Green bloc hold 52 of 754 seats). That’s about 7% of the European Parliament, so a sizeable voting bloc.
Of course, then, our concerns will lie with the continuing deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.
This should concern us. Not only are we losing the natural habitats of so much flora and fauna -an area the size of Spain disappeared in the first decade of this century- but we’re losing the indigenous cultures who have lived there for centuries and more. Not everything (and those of us in SL will know this well!) has to be a westernised shopping mall experience. There should be room on this planet for people, music, culture that doesn’t follow a western template. Yet it’s that western mindset that threatens everyone else. We need that variety, both in the real world and in Second Life.
There are numerous tribes still living in ‘uncontactable’ circumstances in Brazil. Clearly we know they’re there, but they remain cut off from the modern world. The Zo’e, the Xingu, and the Tapirape are just some of the indigenous peoples of Brazil, each with their own unique cultures. We owe it to them, and ourselves, to ensure they, their languages and their way of live survives.
Cut off from ‘civilisation’ these tribes have their own laissez-faire attitude to clothing. Of course, in the humid atmosphere of the Amazon, clothes aren’t necessary and could be argued to be detrimental to health. Sweating and toiling in hot, humid conditions can’t be healthy, surely?
And so full or nearly full nudity is the norm. Loincloths, of sorts, feature in some tribes, and penis sheaths or koteka also feature with the males of other tribes, although this is a more popular item amongst the indigenous peoples of Papua New Guinea.
Male members of the Amondawa tribe
In females of the Yawalatipi tribe in Brazil, the women remove their pubic hair for hygiene purposes (as well as preventing infestations of lice or mites, apparently).
Women from the Yawalatipi, complete with elaborate headdresses.
Zo’e women don’t pluck their pubic hair. All are adorned with a wooden piercing through the bottom lip called a ‘poturu’.
They also wear a fur headband. You can see a documentary about the Zo’e here.
They shouldn’t, of course, live according to ‘our rules’. If their culture sees no ‘shame’ in nudity, why should we attempt to change that and ‘civilise’ them (a forthcoming post from Harry also examines the theory of the ‘savage native’ in historical photography).
We’re delighted, therefore, to see the Amazon feature -and prove to be immensely popular- in a trio of sims which you can find here, here and here (the third remains ‘under construction’, apparently but looks good as it is). And wow! How photogenic they look. You can get a sense of just how fabulous it all looks at their flickr site as well. And don’t forget their blog!
A full moon over the Amazon sim
The sims are a ‘no fly’ zone. Excellent! It allows one to walk around, taking in each and every small marvel that lurks around each corner. This truly is an amazing build, full of detail and thrills -both in terms of what you can see, and the ‘dangers’ that lurk in a dangerous jungle environment. Be careful out there!
Roleplay (RP) is possible within the environment, and it’s not something I’ve ever done, so I’m not sure how that ideally works, but I’m sure there are many of you out there who know the score on that matter. What I did note, however, is that there were some avatars roleplaying as natives within the environment, dressed to look the part. Can you believe how excited I am by this build? Really…if there’s one thing that’s going to take you away from the mall experience and into something wildly different, new and unique (in the current SL climate…I know there have been builds of this jungle type in the past) then this is the place for you. What particularly excites me about it is the way in which it broadens and deepens a unique SL cultural experience.
I spoke to two avatars who seemed equally excited by the build, both living within the Amazon sims as natives, to the extent that they’d abandoned their main avatars in order to create alts detailed down adopting, as best they could, Amazonian tribal names for these alts.
‘Tadeu’, the male, suggested that this was ‘surely the way SL was intended to be when it began’. I would agree with that statement. Someone with imagination and courage decides to follow a dream and build something life-like, unique, and for the sheer pleasure of doing so -you won’t find any ‘shopping’ in the Amazon sims (although it is linked to the Mama Allpa fertility add-on, and they have a presence on the edge of the jungle, but it’s not something you need to visit, such is the extent of the remainder of the sims).
Tadeu stands in a stream, complete with loincloth and tribal tattoos. ‘I even researched the hairstyles tribes wear’, he said, ‘to make this as accurate as possible’.
I mentioned the Tapirape tribe at the beginning of the article, and I noted that there’s an in world group referencing the Tapirape. ‘The Tapirapé tribe at the Amazon River aims to have a roleplay environment where both Carp and tribal roleplay are encouraged’, runs their mission statement. I had to look up what ‘Carp’ means, apparently it’s ‘capture and role-play’.
Enough of the chatter! I popped on a loincloth (yes, I’d picked up a bunch of Gorean freebies in the past which seemed to suit the encouragement to ‘dress for the part’ -although I never actually immersed myself in Gor) and headed on over to the Amazon a second time ‘in character’ or, at least, dressed for the part!
I spoke to Wild Sparrow, who runs the Amazon sims and she told me that ‘We have three regions running as the Amazon – Rio Grande, Glint and a new region just opened, Rio Tapajos. All three are linked and the river runs through them.
‘We do not “impose” any roleplay here – we provide simply a canvas that people can use for their own ideas and stories – some actively roleplay, others admire the scenery or follow the quests for prizes, and others enjoy the adult facilities that are also available here.
‘We have an active group of “natives” but also have roles for explorers, those “lost in the Amazon” and even “wildlife”‘.
Yes! I had noticed an avatar existing as a giant, and I mean giant, spider as I wandered through! :-O
I then spoke to Tadeu’s friend (they’re SL partners using their main avatars) Samampo. Once again, loin clothed, tattooed and hairstyles and named to immerse herself in the part.
‘Everything about it feels right’, she enthused. ‘The lush jungle, the capacity to role-play or not, the capacity to simply explore, it’s all here!’
Would they be role-playing? Like me, it’s not something they’ve previously done. ‘As long as it doesn’t descend into ‘white man rapes jungle savages’…which I think we all accept is some people’s understanding and need in role-play…if we can properly immerse ourselves in character, then I think we might well do so. It might create a better understanding of the trials and tribulations, from whatever quarter, faces the indigenous people whose live are in the Amazon in real life’. I can only add ‘Amen, Sister!’
Of course, this being SL Naturist, I can’t close without mentioning that there is a level of full or semi-nudity apparent in the Amazon, properly reflecting the state of undress found in the real version.
In conclusion, I’d add that it’s an immensely popular sim (or series of sims), for which I’m delighted too, as it clearly shows that with the right vision, the right fresh idea, it’s possible to create a winning sim.
I think we’ve already determined that we -SLN- will be returning to the Amazon shortly, with invitations having been sent out to both Harry & Diane to send us back photo-essays for a ‘picture special’ (note: the brief isn’t to necessarily focus on nudity…stepping outside the box here, we’re hoping to capture the Amazon in it jungle splendour.