Saturday, September 21, 2013
Ruminations on Shape and Identity
I went to a "fashion competition" a couple of times. Some of it was pure curiosity; I got the note about it when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with myself. I've been to one fashion show before, and was struck by the uniform yet unrealistic avatars, and part of me wanted to see if the trend continued. Also, there's a part of me, probably deeply socialized, that feels in part I am not "good" or "worthy" if I'm not "attractive", and that the only way to be deemed attractive is to have strangers speak up on it.
That's a long way of saying that I briefly considered one of the free modeling courses they have in place.
My worry, and the more I watch "official" models and their agencies the more I'm convinced this is accurate, is that I would have to radically alter my shape in a way I found deeply unattractive in order for these strangers to find me attractive. I would have to lengthen my legs significantly, lower my muscle and body fat,
To spell it out - I'm not model material as I am.
Shape is a very personal thing in Second Life - even moreso than offline, since we have so much power over what we look like. Sub genres like the tall, thin supermodels, the widehipped uglycute girls, the enormous torsoed men, and all of the groups focused on oversized bodyparts of all sorts congregate around certain styles and polarize opinions of the people who don't fit into those groups. I find critiques of how people present themselves both fascinating and frustrating; fascinating because it says so much about both sides of the discussion, and frustrating because so much of the discussion boiled down to questioning the morals and personalities of people based solely on their appearance.
I'd love a more nuanced discussion of what people find attractive, why they think that, and what sorts of messages are they trying to express to the world. How we present ourselves and how we are received is a critical part of human interaction, and having a place where we have such minute control over how we present ourselves offers up such possibility for really examining the relationships between interior experience and our presentation of who we are.
My hair is a fantastic release from Red Mint, a store I met a long time ago but which I rediscovered through the hair faire. The wild styles work fantastically rigged while keeping the loose, free style. I styled it with a jewelry set from Sax Shepherd Designs with large gems in an ornate style; it's color change on touch, either two or three separate gems, which offers up a lot of possibilities. It comes with a head dress, two versions of the necklace, earrings, and two types of bracelets - and I'm using them all. My dress is an astonishing hunt prize from Soul, a store I found through one of the smaller hunts I took part in recently; I really adore it, as rainbow striped clothing is a rare thing and this texture is amazing. My purse is the cutest ever bag from Adore & Abhor. It comes in regular, chocolate coated, and strawberry coated - I'm showing chocolate coated here. The band is a bunch of different fortunes and is changeable on touch, which is really fun and some of them are really profound. Right now I have it saying: "Courage is not the absence of fear. It is doing what you must in spite of it." Finally, my amazing shoes - based around the SLink enhanced feet - are a new release from Lassitude & Ennui which are really unique and make excellent use of the seamless aspects of the feet. I love the delicate lacy detail, and the way it frames my toes and ankles.
( More pictures here. )
Skin: De La Soul, Candace Creamer
Hair: red (Mint), No.13'13
Ears: Illusions, Seelie Ears
Eyes: De La Soul, Rainbow
Eyeshadow: Adam n Eve, Sparkle Make up
Lipstick: Pink Fuel, Metallic Lipsticks
Eyelashes 1: SLink, Mesh Lashes
Eyelashes 2: Flugeln Brise, 05-A
Wings: Deviance, Sidhe Wings
Jewelry: Sax Shepherd Designs, Frills ~ Ione
Hands and Feet: SLink, Rigged Mesh Hands and Feet
Nails: Orc Inc, Rich Lights
Dress: Soul, Mesh Dress Rainbow
Purse: Adore & Abhor, Fortune Cookie Bag
Shoes: Lassitude & Ennui, Alisha
Pose: Adorkable Poses
Location: Serenity Gardens
Light Settings: Places, Bentham
Water Settings: Nacon's Lake Water
Photographed by Deoridhe Quandry
Post processing: Cropping, only