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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Lots and Lots of Lesbians

Have you ever wondered why there are so many lesbians in Second Life?

I'm quite sure that many of them are NOT lesbian in Real Life.  I'm not...at most, I am bi-curious.  But in SL, I just celebrated my third anniversary of partnership to two loving, lovely women.  It turns out that in Second Life, I prefer the company of women.

I find this affects my ability to be even-handed as a mentor, too.  I find it very easy to greet and talk to women, but I'm much more reticent and guarded when it comes to talking to men.

I think the answer to this may be found in a post that my friend Glorf Bulmer made on her blog the other day:  All Too Typical  In this post, she bemoans the fact that a great many men in SL are, to put it kindly, boors.  If you are a man in SL, you are almost automatically assumed (by women) to be on the make, interested in only one thing, and probably not very skilled at going about getting it.  Men don't talk, they act.  (Yes, yes, I know...this is generalizing shamelessly.  I apologize to all the kind, thoughtful, and articulate males out there.  You know who you are, and so do I...and I treasure each of you!)

But the thing is, there is a grain of truth in that generalization.  And as Glorf points out, the articulate person has a great advantage in Second Life.  Women, on average, tend to be more articulate than men.  In other words, we talk.  We gab, chatter, chat, and discuss.  Our endless blathering bores men to tears.

Most of all, our emotions are stirred by words more often than our male counterparts.  We are less visual, more verbal.  This is one reason why so many women like romance novels.

Second Life is a woman's world.  Unlike real life, the sex ratio in SL is skewed toward women, about 60/40.  Interestingly, the Real Life gender ratio of SL's population is NOT skewed...it's about 50/50.  This means, of course, that there are a lot of Real Life males who use female avatars in SL.  Some of these are actually transgendered people, but others have simply realized that we women have the edge in SL.  As a woman, it's easier to make friends, to find clothes and accessories, and to be accepted in general.  In SL, male avatars do not enjoy any strength advantage.  Women have no fear of men in SL.

And so we have lesbians.  Lots of lesbians.  Because the sensitive, the articulate, the thoughtful people prefer the company of others like themselves, and those people often are women...or become women in SL.

I saw this very graphically the other day.  I noticed a nice young man, a newbie, staring at some freebie clothes.  He was positioned midway between a display of men's clothing, and women's wear.  I offered to show him how to get and wear the freebies, and asked him what outfit he liked.  He pointed and said, "The black mini dress."  I laughed and told him we'd have to do a bit of a makeover first.  By the time we finished, he had become a very cute young girl.  And when she discovers cyber-sex, I bet she'll be a lesbian.

8 comments:

  1. A very good example of how SL can be used to push the edges of the envelope!

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  2. I used to be surprised by the large numbers of straight women in SL who were in the lesbian scene and working hard to avoid men.

    "All Too Typical In this post, she bemoans the fact that a great many men in SL are, to put it kindly, boors"

    SL also seems to attract the worst kinds of men...

    This is a place where a domineering scene like Gor can be seen as normal and well adjusted. Where it seems an unusual proportion of the men come to escape into a world where the women STFU and take it. And another set of them come in to be the women who STFU and get it. And it seems that boorish women often take on male avatars to play this out as well.

    I was recently passing through a shop somewhere and noted that as soon as I hit their 'mature line' of products - everything was about punishing slaves, all of whom were depicted as female. This is not the sort of statement that would surprise anyone with any experience in SL.

    But it should.

    Wander through any place that has a theme related to being 'sans outfits' - and its either 'naturists' (who have their own issues against non-human AVs), or dis-empowerment venues about humiliation.

    Half the conversations I've had with male avatars in SL have been with short abrupt words, to-the-pointed-ness dialog, and usually telling me what I have to be doing to meet their demand.

    The other half have been with somebody's partner, often RL partner, who also "plays SL" - and I often look at those with the same pity one can feel for the 'girlfriend player' they meet in something Warcraft... there to figure out why the SO likes this weird game and to keep the SO happy, but not really into it (though I know of some exceptions).

    In fact I've even met exceptions to the 'boorish Gorean guy' - very eloquent guys who into Gor... and who can't seem to manage to stay free of drama there. The sort who I feel have ended up there from lack of other 'mature fantasy' options.

    So that's a long way of saying I'm not surprised anymore by the amazingly high number of straight women who land in SLs lesbian scene.

    To be fair, in RL, a good half of the lesbians I've met (and I grew up in a lesbian household for part of my youth) have been rather boorish types...

    But the "gender roles" in SL are in some communities more strongly typed than in RL. It seems like boorish folks, male or female, end up on male AVs, and 'fems' - male or female, end up on female AVs.

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    1. Thank you for your insightful comment, Pussycat! Your last paragraph in particular sums up my thesis very nicely.

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  3. /me reads this again just to be sure...sighs deeply, turns away.

    T.S.Elliot

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  4. To be sure that I had really read both your and Pussycat Catnaps words, that I'm not just defensive and over-interpreting.

    I would like to say, in hope of dredging up something anything constructive, that Second Life is OUR creation. If (when) there are people whose behaviors offend and repulse, react appropriately. We are on our own in here. Nervous laugh and stiff smile don't translate through the monitor glass. We need to have standards, and manners, and…good taste. And common sense.

    Also the courage to articulately object when people behave inappropriately.

    Primarily every one of us needs insight and judgment. We have to think about who and what we're creating and furthering in our own characters, what it is we're saying and doing and to whom, what places we go to and what we give attention to.

    Because unlike pages and pages of words postures and behaviors are potent and fluent and direct, and others reply to us with their own each as best they know how.

    Yes I am Elliot in SL but I am not created male so I can unleash some inner Minotaur and go ripping and snorting through crowds of helpless Nekos. You will not find me in Gor, never, not even to place an order for really awesome campsite furniture. When I *blush* it doesn't mean "Hubba-hubba baby, meet me behind the library," it means I'm embarrassed and I can't speak at the moment and likely I'm about to turn and leave if you'd all just stop looking at me.

    People are individuals, two genders, six races, eighty-seven countries, fourteen religions, none of these systems are adequate to contain us or define any given human. Specific problem behaviors should and can be addressed, I believe this.

    Thank you for opening the discussion, this is important.

    ~tse

    T.S.Elliot
    New Toulouse

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  5. And thank YOU for your spot on commentary! Well said, sir. (But then, what would one expect of T.S. Elliot? :)

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  6. In SL as in RL I accept people as what they arem and not as what I want them to be. Thank you Lindal for this!

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