Skip to content
Aug 14 / adejesus

I finally try second life and fail to immerse myself

And, unsurprising, was unable to find an avatar that even represented a portion of myself. I realize that part of the appeal of second life is the ability to come as you aren’t, but I find it interesting that (apparently) *no one* wants to be Asian. Of course, this could be because I was using the basic, free account. Perhaps they have more diverse and inclusive avatars if you pay. Maybe they have *Asians* at a higher pay grade. Of course, I didn’t have to try and pick Asian. But they still didn’t even have my skin tone or anything close to it.

This, of course, doesn’t even begin to touch the gender thing. I wish I could say that I was surprised to find my gender entirely erased from the virtual world. I mean, my gender is erased in the *real* world. I could say more about this, but isn’t this enough?

I will say that this module is supposed to be about immersion and it uses, frequently, these virtual worlds as examples. Except, I don’t understand how a 3D virtual world supports immersion anymore than other social, text based, media? Is not one able to deploy several different tools to immerse themselves in a virtual but non-graphic world? I feel like this is what I do with blogs.

The problem with holding up these virtual worlds as the only or best examples of immersion is how they, at their very construction, have been built to exclude certain types of people. I can be cat but I can’t find a human representation of myself: this will always prevent me from immersing myself in this environment. How could it not?

But in the world of text, especially text written by other POC, I don’t find myself erased or excluded. Thus, I tend to immerse myself in those communities. If anything, these worlds are more *virtual* than something like Second Life. For it is only in the imaginations of the oppressed that communities outside of or safe from their oppressors exist. Since they definitely don’t exist in the off-line world.

Whereas, in Second Life, I am unable to be myself. Just like the real world. At least with the ‘virtual’ world it is because I’m not even a part of the world. For the real world, however, it is to preserve a false sense of safety. To keep my job. To, essentially, survive.


leave a comment
  1. Anita / Aug 21 2011

    When I first logged onto SL this morning and saw the selection of avatars, I thought: “oh.” Since having an avatar was the only way I could join this world, I went along with it. But I couldn’t help but feel self-conscious of the way my avatar looked and was wondering the whole time, as others passed me by, “Why dog? Why robot? Why do all women have enormous boobs?” Why don’t people choose to look ‘average’ here?

    I’m glad you brought up how it’s so much easier to immerse yourself in text-based media. I can immerse myself in a three page, run-on sentence describing Victorian England by Charles Dickens, but it was basically impossible to not constantly feel self-conscious of one’s surroundings in SL. I checked into Rachelville, one of the information spots described in our readings, and checked out after getting frustrated running into giant bunnies and other psychedelic toys that didn’t really add anything to the landscape except get in the way. This was someone else’s imagination and I wasn’t digging it, partly because of the way I had to participate.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. immersed in abstraction « librarianaut
Leave a Comment

Spam prevention powered by Akismet