Thursday, 15 November 2012

How to Ask for It

Loud enough?
Our clothes are asking for it. Loudly. They actually demanded it. They pointed at our half-naked bodies, gestured obscenely at our chests, thrust forward our groins, practically pushed us onto your prim cocks. They shouted: WE WANT YOU TO HAVE SEX WITH US - RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We dare you
I think not.

As ever with this blog, I have written about this topic before. Here and here (sort of) and here and here. But here I am with another slightly different angle to dissect the topic and try to get the best look at what is really going on, here. 

Sian Pearl is a parthenoid (this is best explained by her blog). She has a very specific aesthetic, well-cultivated and, okay, whilst it isn't always to my taste, it is well thought-out and considered and carefully pieced together. But recently, her developed sense of self has taken a bit of a knock, and she has been considering dropping her image in favour of jeans and jumpers. Well...that's fine, if it's what she wants - only, it isn't what she wants. What Sian wants is...okay, I imagine, a little bit of a wow factor. She wants to be attractive, I'm sure. But she also wants to be taken seriously. And questioned. And interacted with - not just prepositioned. And, if you will forgive me for being crude, not just turned into a fetish object and/or masturbated over. That such happens is not beyond Sian's comprehension. She has known this since day one. But the onslaught has reached such a point that she feels uncomfortable. And that just...isn't on.

What's to be done?

As I have said...Sian knows that by dressing this way, she is allowing a handful of people to view her as a fetish object. To use her flickr stream as self-pleasuring material. If I was more popular on flickr, I might be concerned that some of Kitti's latest pictures might be used in the same way. There is an understanding that dressing this way attracts such attention. But does that mean Sian shouldn't dress this way? Does that mean that I continue to dress as I do, the same fate awaits me?  Don't we have any control whatsoever over how we are viewed beyond our attire, and what the image we make can be used for?

There is a fine line between curiosity and voyeurism...
To what extent does the way we choose to dress act as a statement of intent? Without question, there are people, both in Second Life and the real world, that dress a certain way to suggest a certain desire, and that is not always a sexy desire.  We dress smartly in an office to be taken seriously. We go to comedy shows in our jeans to show that we're ready not to be taken too seriously. There are a thousand examples.

But how do we negotiate that? How do we work that out? It must, surely, get confusing for people contending with these issues. But that does not make it okay to presume. It does not make it okay to take images that aren't yours and use them for purposes other than what was intended - especially not without permission.

How do you work out what someone's intention is? I'll get to that in a second.

Here is a statement of my intent. Don't get it? Click here.
What this shouldn't lead to is a sense of fear. We shouldn't be afraid of each other. We shouldn't be afraid of each other's intentions and guessing them wrong. But that comes, I think, with a little intelligence, and some respect.

Respect really is the bottom line here. Having respect for others - enough, at the least, to ask somebody what their intentions are if you are unsure. In many roleplay situations in SL, roleplayers are asked to check via the private IM system before they do...well, anything!...with another avatar. It takes a heartbeat to check with someone if it's okay to attempt to engage their avatar in conversation, to start a confrontation, or to solicit them for sex. And, I imagine, most avatars are capable of answering you pretty succinctly. And if you're still unsure? Steer clear. Don't do it. And this is the same for outside of rp situations.

It comes back to that age-old battleground of "She Asked For It". Only, she didn't. We all know this - or, at least, we all should. There is only one way to ask for it. And I'm going to tell you How It's Done.

Are you ready? Are you going to write this down?

You open your mouth, and you bloody well ask for it. What your clothes are "saying" has absolutely nothing to do with it. I reiterate - I ask for it with my own mouth, not my attire.

Thank you to Sian Pearl for posing with me.


  1. I will probably sound stupid saying this, but, when a guy says you "ask for it" by wearing some kind of clothes, I always want to knee him in the groin and say he "asked for it" with his behaviour.
    Do I make sense? I think I do.
    I know violence is not a solution, I am just speechless when I am reminded how so many people are just being animals. The feel provocated so easily, or they think peoples do thinks for/against them. "A girl is wearing a skirt, SHE WANTS ME, and if she says no, SHE IS A BITCH". Or "A guy looked at me. He is gay! Or he wants to fight!".
    I was more talking about real-life peoples, but this applies to Second Life too. It can even be worse in SL, since people don't really have to fear a knee in the groin. Give freedom of speech and action to the humans, and look at what they do with it...

  2. You make lots of sense! Thank you for your comment :)

    I know exactly how you feel, and it's infuriating. There is a kind of freedom to SL that, I think, allows people to do all kinds of things they would never dream of doing in real life. A combination, I guess, and anonymity and a lacking physicality - both meaning nothing can happen to their physical selves for their actions. But those actions could be creating mental pain or discomfort for other people. I imagine that mental pain and/or discomfort is ignored because the actions being carried out are against a non-physical body, which, as we have said, cannot be hurt because it isn't physical. But why do we assume that what happens in our heads, what we feel in our heads, is any less real or important than what happens to our bodies?

    Now, am I making sense?! Lol.

  3. You are making sense too!

    Sadly, Second Life is used a LOT by peoples who just come here to impose their fantasies on others. They do not actually care about you. Most of them will say the same exact things to many different avatars, and I am not just talking about the horny noob with the default look.
    When you think about it, it is scary to see how much peoples do not care about others. Immature behaviours are everywhere: content theft is ok, being a douche is fine since it's just a game, being mysogynistic is even called hot by a lot of users of both genders. And trying to discuss these topics with them will usually not end well, you will be ignored, or called names, since "it's just a gaaaame". Except that a guy who has to call women names, enslave them or abuse them in a videogame, eight hours a day, six days a week, for years, and does the same in voice chat on Skype, doesn't sound very healthy to me.

  4. ANd me too.

    And ditto with the whole thing about trying to talk about it. How DARE you curttail their freedom of speech, how DARE you try to prevent their fun.

    There's this real culture of selfishness among geeks generally. It's not just SL.


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