Friday, June 6, 2008

You Post One Nude Photo Of Yourself.....

I am a little taken aback by how much of a response there was to my post about body image and SL a few days ago. I suppose one shouldn't write when angry but I spent five minutes writing that post and suddenly felt much better. What I wasn't prepared for were the IMs and emails and comments I received. While almost all of them were supportive (thanks Cen and Chestnut) I actually received a few negative comments about my decision to show myself naked. You think blogging is all sweetness and light? There is a *reason* I moderate comments. Perhaps the worst was "If you were actually hot I might listen to you." The internet brings out the worst in people it seems, and one can say virtually anything without consequence, but one wonders exactly how immature someone has to be to say something like that and how petty one has to be to get a little transgressive thrill from anonymously posting an insult, and not a very good one at that.

I've read about the studies which look at the advancement opportunities for "pretty" and "ugly" women and the bias towards youth and looks is evident in our culture so I know that anonymous comment has more than a little truth to it. It certainly is replicated in SL: be sure to look at Marissa's post about her experiment with different size AVs.

This is all part of a larger pattern evident in our highly sexualized culture (and, sorry to everyone else from around the world, but I'm talking about the United States), a culture which wants women to be sexy and erotic yet pure and chaste while refusing to talk about birth control and sexual habits, a culture which treats women as second class sexual citizens when it isn't putting the pretty ones up on a pedestal to alternate between being worshipped and starring in erotic fantasies. You don't think pretty girls get listened to more? Ever noticed the female sideline reporters for sporting events? Who reads the evening news? Who the UN chooses to be spokespersons on various issues?

In many ways SL is sexually liberating, allowing us to try new things, play new roles, experiment with things we fantasize about in RL but which aren't practical (or even possible). But even as we transcend our RL limitations, we're still ultimately constrained by our human nature. That anonymous comment I received is the flipside internet equivalent of the subway rides I take with a guy trying to look down my shirt. As much as I want to say "Fuck you!", part of me is resigned to knowing that this is just the way it is going to be until I'm no longer 25, when gravity has taken its toll on my tits and ass, and no one says anything to me at all.


olivia connaught said...

awesome, thoughtful post dot. pity about the jackassery that spurred it.

have you heard of the model velvet d'amour? she just did a brilliant interview (part one, part two) with 5 Resolutions... a quote: "The current beauty standard is so inaccessible that the vast majority of Western society is displeased with their looks to the extent they reach to extreme measures to attempt to fit in, or feel better about themselves. There was a program I saw, I believe it was entitled The Swan or something like that, where each 'unattractive' contestant went through a process of having their teeth bleached white and having liposuction, and all of them across the board seemed to need breast implants. What is sad about this cookie cutter approach to beauty is that the individual is lost amongst the commonality. Each and every person has a beauty unique unto them. The more one comes to accept oneself, the better she/he is able to revel in her/his own unique beauty! When we start to address this in fashion, then we, as a society, can begin to feel better about ourselves and celebrate our perceived imperfections, versus eradicating them in attempts to adhere to the modern beauty standard, which seems more and more narrow, less and less accessible.

[P]eople's rejection of their looks drives capitalism. The more people do not accept themselves, the more potions, and lotions, and surgeries etc. they invest in so that they might have the power that is beauty."

Anonymous said...

/me is almost daily reminded about why she likes Dot so much

Anonymous said...

At some point in my life I came to realize that you'll never be happy with yourself if you don't love Who You Are, warts and all. Now even as I say that, it's not an easy goal, and flail I certainly do at times, but the fact is that if you accept and love yourself for who you are, even if you are more overweight than you'd like or your teeth are more yellow, what you find is that self love creates peace, and often you find that you will automatically treat yourself better (eat healthy, excercise). and most importantly, you will glow with that self love.

I've known plenty of people in my life who have "traditional" good looks but ooze self hate so much that it makes them truly ugly. Conversely I know people who have such confidence and strong personalities that any "imperfections" that society has deemd as "bad" are invisible to me.

And I've also noticed that some of the biggest "haters", those that make rude remarks about other people's bodies often are simply deflecting their own hate of their imperfections or percpetions of it onto others. I feel sorry for them because they don't realize that their way of thinking will never ever ever lead to happiness.