Distorted ideals of femininity?

The one thing I struggle with here, is the ideal that a lot of us cherish in Second Life and how this relates to my project. Especially since I am working on transforming into Gracie again. Of course wouldn’t the better route be for Gracie to transform into me, to become bigger? But wouldn’t that mean I would be accept myself the way I am? I can’t and I don’t.

I keep asking myself. Why do I want to be like Gracie? What does that mean? Is it physical? Is it pyschological? Am I looking for that balance again?

Is having a beautiful woman avatar in SL the same as airbrushing the images in advertisements? Why do we seek beauty like this? I don’t believe it is ALL due to society’s obsession with physical appearance some of it has to come from within doesn’t it?

I guess what I am saying is, I want to be beautiful. But what does that really mean? No matter what anyone says, I don’t feel beautiful. I am sorry I just don’t. But I’m working on it.  Hmmmmmmmm

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8 thoughts on “Distorted ideals of femininity?

  1. Hi again Gracie I feel your frustration. I recenrly had to get a new, thinner Phoenix made. Not just because I am slimming down finally. Also because, well, I caved. Sorta. I still held fast to the rigid realism that I cling to even in my thin avi, but the mental whammy has been intense. Do I take her off now? Am I lying? Ugh.

  2. yea, I struggle with this. Gracie is Gracie. She couldn’t be any other way. I can’t see her being bigger at all. she is happy as she is. Maybe that is what I am looking for, happiness? I do have another avatar based on my RL, but I don’t feel comfortable in her. How weird is that? Well I guess not that weird, considering I am not comfortable at all in my current body/skin in RL… sooooo I don’t know..ugh!!!

  3. It’s funny. When I started SL in 2007 I had just lost 50 lbs, but I was still only just below 200. So at 5’3″ in RL I was still far from skinny, but I was a lot happier and healthier. So when I made my av I just tried to make it look as much like me, in as much as I could with the meager skills I had.
    I soon noticed that I didn’t see many other plus-size avs, and after about 4 months of rarely having anyone talk to me I did purchase a “hootchie” av shape with big boobs & a tiny waist. And in fact I was wearing the hootchie shape for the first time when I met Strawberry at her store. At the time she was a vocal size acceptance advocate, and she convinced me to go back to my original Wendy shape. I realized I was changing my av shape for the wrong reasons, and haven’t modified her much since then.
    I’ve always said that WendyOfNeverland is a “greatest hits” version of RL me, plus-size and all. And when I was heavily into SL for a couple of years I did many things I’m proud of, and I had a lot of friends.
    As RL family situations change I’ve kinda drifted away from SL a bit, but the experiences I had and the friends I made in SL are very much a part of who I’ve become.

    • Oh yea Wendy, I remember this story when I first met you :)) I still remember you and Strawberry at my art gallery 😉 I was wondering if maybe I had started out as a plus size person in SL… I don’t know. I still am not comfortable in RL as plus size soooo. I don’t know. LOL

  4. Gracie, I’ve enjoyed reading this entire blog, especially because I’m also very interested in the whole idea of virtual identity. I think you are right when you say that if you make Gracie bigger, it means accepting that you are big – and as long as you don’t accept that, you still have a dream of something else – which Gracie represents. I don’t know if thin avatars is the same as airbrushed commercials – I remember reading somewhere (on your blog, I think) a study where they had found out that people having thin avatars were more likely to become thin so if one wants to be thin, maybe that’s the way to go because it changes your self image – you realize that you can be thin and then start working towards it in RL. I don’t know – it’s a discussion right now with many questions and not a lot of answers… But interesting!

  5. Thank you so much for your comment Stinalina!!! Yea, I have talked about the Stanford study before and a lot of my work is based on this. Wondering if my avatar would influence me in RL. I still wonder. Sometimes I am not so sure. Of course, I am going through things in RL that kind of hinder this idea. I think I’ve gained more weight lately, than lost it. LOL but that is what this whole process is about. I was really struggling with this whole idea recently. Questioning what I am doing. A friend told me, “You are doing great, you are working through a thought process. And you don’t have to have the answers or make them match up to anything. You are on this journey and that is totally ok. Who knows what path you will go down.” This is so true and I try to remember it as I get stuck.

  6. My avi has gotten progressively larger in the two years i have been frequenting SL. as a young woman i thought i was fat and ugly and blamed all misfortune in my life on this fact, even if i did not know i was giving that blame. as i grew older i grew to resemble the fat image my mind had made of the beautiful UNfat young woman i had been.. but i was so much happier. it finally occurred to me that the size of my body did not control how i felt about myself. Zola is not a skinny avi but she is not fat either, she is voluptuous i might say 🙂 as one of grandmotherly age, it pisses me off to see we are STILL surrounded by those images of skinny coat hangers of models.

    so, when i want to be the young a beautiful me, i go be zola. In rl i do not fit the media ideal, but i am a hell of a lot more interesting 🙂 to talk to than a magazine.

    another thought…if we are in a world where we can look ANY way we want to.. how is our perception of beauty going to change? how will our perception of what constitutes beauty be affected by playing around as gracie and zola, or a dragon or a drow?

  7. Zola, I’m not sure if our perception of beauty per se is going to change. Maybe our tolerance level is going to rise? But you have a point – if it’s true that it can help you loose weight by playing a thin avatar, what does it do to you to play a bunny all the time? Or a dragon?
    I must admit that I’ve been toying with the idea of taking a picture of Stinalina with me to the hair dresser’s next time and ask to have my hair cut like one of her favourite hairstyles… So it does influence us – and of course it does, I changed my whole avatar to make her resemble me more because I couldn’t connect otherwise. As I said earlier, lots of questions…

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