Finding a place to settle was the hardest part - I ended up going to Locus, a place I'd been eyeing for a while. It's a gorgeous sim - I can't deny that - but the use of alpha made picture taking a little bit of a challenge! My wings are pure alpha, which means they tend to battle with alphas in the background, and since I don't do any post-processing there's no chance to fix it once the picture comes out of Second Life.
Pseudonyms, identity, and online behavior have been in my thoughts a lot recently. A lot of people maintain a difference between "real" and "fake" people - often characterizing the latter as cowardly or automatic trolls. Since early on in the internet, the claim that people could pretend to be other than what they were has been both a draw and a warning - the early comic of "On the Internet, no one knows you're a dog" always held the underlying insult toward appearance that "dog" implies.
But the Internet was never a bastion of be who you want - indeed, being white and male (and cis gender, and straight, and able bodied and minded) has long been considered the default. I can remember early on men taking an obviously female name and being shocked at the rapid and insulting response from others on the internet who saw obvious females as immediate prey. The website Fat, Ugly, or Slutty lists some examples of the experiences women have on the internet, and if you look only a little it won't take long to find similar experiences for anyone who deviates from the "norm".
On Second Life there are also norms which fall along gender lines - with an added bonus of assumptions about the "real" gender behind the avatar body as well as judgments on the avatar bodies themselves. A lot of the conversation is not over avatars in general, but rather over the bodies of female avatars - whether their presumed offline gender is male or female. Often the conversation extends beyond just the aesthetics of appearance to judgments about the woman (or man) beyond, though - including a not-so-recent post I made about the presumption that women who used the physics layer must have poor self esteem.
I've also been judged - as too childish, as too unattractive, and altering my appearance to appeal to men. I've judged other women - as too sexy, as badly proportioned, as cheap, as a prostitute or slut. We are raised to mention the appearance of girls and women first, to judge women by their appearance first, to use women's bodies and appearance as a shorthand for all sorts of social judgements.
There has to be a way to discuss aesthetics without descending into this trap, but right now I'm not sure how to.
( More pictures here. )
Skin: De La Soul, Charlie Harlot - Cream (with blond brows)
Ears: Illusion, Mystic Ear
Wings: Fancy Fairy, Azarelle Wings
Hair: Exile, Lady Versaille - Goldenrush
Dress: Cipher, Punk Lolita Mini-Dress - Lemon
Shoes: katat0nik, Kita Mary Jane Shoes - Candy Yellow
Light Settings: TOR, MIDDAY - Coral Reef
Photographed by Deoridhe Quandry
Post processing: Cropping only