Alternative blog title: At which point should ugliness be considered griefing?
I’ve often meant to start this blog thread, and I always thought better of it because it’s a touchy subject. But I recently saw a Gorean warrior avatar on our sim with male pattern baldness. Not that I consider this to be offensive, mind you. Please let me try to explain where I’m coming from.
I used to think of myself as a very tolerant person, and I have often said that people should be allowed to look however they like and roleplay anything they want in Gor SL as long as it is Gorean. But some time ago, I realized that my tolerance had limits when a delegation of goons on one of their “Second Life safaris” showed up on our sim. They didn’t actively grief anybody, they were merely wearing utterly ridiculous and/or disgusting avatars.
I banned them without a second thought. But when I reflected on my decision later on, I realized that I had basically ejected them for having ugly avatars. They didn’t do anything wrong other than having an extremely bad taste, according to my personal subjective taste anyway. I started wondering where I would draw the line (it was a frightening realization that there was such a line at all for me), and I had to ask myself: How ugly is too ugly in a world where nobody needs to be ugly?
Another fact is that we are all pretending to be somebody else in this world, since we can’t be physically present in SL. We can pretend to be anyone and anything. If we choose an appearance that is bound to disturb others on some level, isn’t that a form of griefing?
Of course I know that many SL residents are trying to portray themselves in SL. If they happen to be obese, bald or aged beyond the point that is considered physically attractive by most people, these traits become a part of their self-image, and some residents want to see them reflected in their avatar. I get that, and I also understand the need to be accepted despite having traits that are commonly considered to be unattractive.
If you think about this for a while, you’ll probably realize that lots of things are unpleasant to look at for the majority of people. Such as a greasy comb over hairstyle that barely covers a pallid bald head. Or a pot belly. Or hairy shoulders (on human avatars, not furries). I mean, how would you feel if somebody sold a skin with a bad rash? Or prim feet with a thick layer of yellow callous, hairy toes, long, brownish toenails, and a fungal infection? Is that still an accessory for immersionists or already a griefer tool? Discuss.