SL is supposed to be a place of limitless potential. If you’re a programmer, you
might see it as an empty shell you can create your own game in. If you’re a
builder, you see it as a place where you can create your own world.
And if you’re a skinner? Your own canvas. A designer? Your own fashion line. In
other words, it’s whatever you want it to be. You just have to be determined
enough to carve out that world for yourself.
Today, I saw a knee-jerk post criticizing a group of designers that, honestly I
don’t know too well, but something about the entry pissed me off. I think it’s
because, not only is she insulting their work, but anyone who decides not to style
their avatar in the likeness that Second Life has come to embrace, or decides to
alter their products a bit to appeal to a larger market.
What this says to me, is that if you want to create a more artistic representation
of yourself within SL, you’re going to be shunned for it, mocked and made fun of.
Buy into a particular label that presents itself as artsy, and you might even be
called a wannabe, or if you’re the founder of that store, a snob.
Hey, lady? Fuck you.
Fuck you, and every other person who thinks it’s odd not to wear a skin that’s
realistic-looking, and instead goes for different aesthetic altogether. Fuck you,
for making somebody feel bad for refusing to make their avatar look like their
actual age–because guess what? Not everyone in the game is 35, and even if they
are, they don’t have to let their avatars reflect such a serious nature.
There is nothing wrong with designing an avatar to look like they’re a real person.
There are lots of great skins out there that can let you look like whatever you
want to be. Your world, your rules, right? Great. But, the problem comes when
you turn to the next person and down them for having different goals than you.
Last I checked, diversity is what made this game awesome, not everyone being clones
of one another.
What’s worse, is criticizing someone’s store for becoming large enough that they
have to allocate their aesthetic to serve the demands of their growing customer
base. If you know anything about economics and business management, you might
understand this is done to keep customer interest. My ads have gotten glossier
over time too, am I a snob as well? No. It’s business.
There’s nothing wrong with styling your products to show potential customers what
they can do with their personal pictures (since the majority of people who buy them
will also blog them, right?), and how what you’re selling can contribute to that
overall effect. It’s smart, not elitist. It’s creating an ambiance for your
store, not lying to your clients.
A month ago, I met a painter irl whose work had been submitted to an upscale art
gallery. I was told that her palette was kept “subtle” (bland) so that the
paintings she provided her art dealer with, could be matched more easily with
furniture, and thus easier to purchase. Brightly colored paintings, the art dealer
told me, are harder to match with decor, and people tend to stay away from it. So,
the painter has to strike a balance between what’s “safe” to buy, and what also has
that certain je n’est sais quoi.
When I looked up this woman online to find more of her work, I saw additional
paintings that were submitted to alternative galleries for show. They were the
opposite of what she had been selling, but allowed her not to be pigeonholed as
“that woman who paints pretty landscapes”. It was through her alternative work
that she came to be considered to paint a politician’s portrait, even though the
former was what paid her bills.
There are two sides to every brand or store: what you produce in order to make
money, and what you produce to show skill or express yourself. This is why you
find alts establishing various stores–they often have one owner, who’s just going
under another name so they can manage more than one type of business.
The next time you want to insult someone for being different or following good
business management rules, stop and think about all the work they put into it, and
how they might have had to break a few unspoken rules of about the game they play
to get there.
To be an artist, sure, we like admiration for it. To be an artist and a good
businessperson? That deserves respect.
Skin: Fashionably Dead (Morning Sun, Winter 1)
Dress: Peqe (The Prue)
Earrings: Yummy – Observation Earrings
Hair: Maitreya – Jordyn (Honey Blonde)
Lipstick: Mock – Luxe Lip Cream (Lotus)
Eyeliner: [ a.e.meth ] – Andromeda Eyeliner
Eyeshadow: Mock – Back to Basics (Olive)