Any women that are men?

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Recently, I did a First Life interview with a feminist. She spoke about how the female sex is held in low esteem, how femininity today is only skin deep, something you meet in fashion ads and pornography, while young women and girls struggle with what being female actually means. Because all around, it’s being masculine that gets you up and forward, so women has to cross over to the men’s part of the field if they are to be counted with. She said we needed a higher appreciation of true femininity.

This is a big debate, and I’m not gonna wind myself into it now. I just want to explore how this applies to Second Life.

I’ve often wondered why the said fact that a certain amount of the women in SL are men gets so much attention. What puzzles me isn’t really that some change their sex in SL. I sometimes wish I had a male avatar myself, or a neutral name like AlphaBeta or Kim, so I could change back and forth between male and female shapes. What puzzles me, is that no-one writes about women being men in Second Life. And here is what my interview with the feminist got me thinking about.

It’s a fact that men, even here in the feminist paradise that is Scandinavia (don’t quote me on that), have access to more privileges than women. They make more money, they have more power, they are more often consulted as experts, they are not being judged by the way they look in the same way that women do, et cetera. Given all these facts: Would it be strange if some women used SL as a mean to feel what it’s like to be a man? And maybe thinking it will be easier to succeed in business if they have a serious looking male avatar in a suit?

Then there’s also the female crossdressers. I have two FL friends who at parties can show up in suits (although not a tie – yet). They’re both loud, hard drinking and smoking. One of them has been in a serious relationship with another woman – the other has not admitted to anything else than kissing women. I’ve tried to picture them creating an SL account. My guess is they would at least be very tempted to choose a male avatar and name.

So, after hearing a lot about men who are women, it would be interesting to hear about women that are men. I would be very glad if you left an anonymous comment explaining why you’re a woman that has chosen to be a man in Second Life. It would also be interesting if you contacted me in-world for an interview so I could make an article on it, but I know that may be asking for too much.

Mustache and beard are freebies from The Odditorium of Caledon Eyre.

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~ by theresecarfagno on January 17, 2008.

8 Responses to “Any women that are men?”

  1. I’ll be interested to see if you get comments. Meanwhile, here is a theory that is mine, which will either be borne out or demolished by contrary evidence. My theory that is mine says that in SL, it’s women who run things, quite opposite of how it still is in RL (you’ve disillusioned me about Scandinavia :) ). So if a woman in RL wants to use SL to know what it’s like to be in the dominant role, she creates…a female avatar! Heck, even guys don’t want to be guys in SL. Why would women want that? Even if you’re not into “shop till you drop,” SL is still more interesting for females. As we both know from our mutual friend, guys are regularly dissed in SL, even nice ones. It’s a thankless role.

    So now I wait and see. :)

  2. yes, this is an interesting topic and I tend to agree with what Veronique has said. I’ve spent some time with my male ALT, Theo, and as I always say, he’s a sweet chap but the experience was dull.

  3. Caterin, I find what you said about your male alt quite interesting. I don’t have a male alt, but thought about it, and then I figured that there’s not much point, because there are really no barriers in SL to do whatever you want to do, and I think it might have to do with the fact that a lot of what you can do in SL (making friends, go to clubs and listen to music, explore, create stuff, etc…) is fairly non gender specific (apart from SL’s sex industry, I suppose, which is not something I’m qualified to talk about!). There are really no entrenched male bastions of anything in SL who have all the fun and that you’d like to join so that you can have some fun too, but, oh, you can’t, cos you’re the wrong gender… Just my 2 Lindens.
    Sorry, Therese, are we hijacking your post? :-)
    I hope you do get some replies to your question. It IS an interesting topic.

  4. Ha ha, not at all Serenpidity. The more comments, the better – I love what you’ve all written. Debating is fun, and you give me new perspectives.

  5. I agree with Véronique: SL is as close a matriarchical society as one can imagine.

  6. Speaking as a RL male with SL alts of both genders, and speculating on the motivations of other men (with whom I identify to varying degrees), I suspect a number of possibilities for the disparity:
    – Men (OK boys, maybe) are more interested in “sneaking into the ladies’ room” whereas the opposite has less appeal to women, partly due to the reputed heavier reliance of males on the visual. This might also mean it’s more fun for boys to play with girl dolls in this setting, and while our avis do embody us to a degree, they are also externalities like dolls.
    – Men relish the opportunity for more appearance options denied them in RL. Womens’ clothes are more interesting. And no one to catch you cross-dressing.
    – Maybe not so much in SL, but many computer-centric environments tend to be full of the stereotypical dateless male geek. Appearing to be a woman gets more perks from that crowd.
    – The comment on power disparities being less prominent in SL is interesting; I would add that few if any cultural or other disadvantages of being a woman apply in SL. Male avis aren’t more physically powerful, for example, and thus pose no physical threat, even to an immersionist. So being a woman gives all the goods and none of the bads.

    The foregoing are not exhaustively thought through so please no flames. :-)

    What’s really interesting is looking at the way people perform whatever gender they’re enacting in SL. As a female avi I have been privy to conversations among other (presumed) women in which they crack up over the big-haired, big-boobed avis that “are so obviously guys.”

    Great post!
    (JS Saltwater in SL)

  7. I have about 25 alts, some men, some women, some animals, some children, some nekos, some furries, some mythical creatures, and some robots. In real life I’m an older woman (well past the age of 50) and I’m married to a man in RL. I’m an old timer in SL, going back to 2006 when I first joined. I have seen and done so many things in SL. I wanted to experience everything. I’ve role played in the Wild West, medieval, Gor, vampire, Victorian, etc. I’ve been a stripper and an escort, and I’ve been a Gorean kajira and a BDSM Master, Mistress, submissive and slave. I’ve tried lots of kinky sex in SL. I’ve owned land. I’ve owned a couple of nightclubs; I’ve been king of a Bloodlines vampire clan. I have and still do lots of sports in SL, skiing, scuba, motorcycles, racing cars, flying planes, surfing, simboarding, skydiving, horseback riding, jetskiing, windsurfing, ice skating, bowling, etc.

    What I have to say is of all the things I’ve done in SL, the most enjoyable for me is being a human male in SL. Why? For one, I can go to night clubs and not have two dozen men hit on me. I hate being hit on. I also feel less threatened when I’m out exploring or doing sports. I’ve ran into problems as a female in SL with men wanting to “collar” me and getting pretty belligerent when I refuse them. That doesn’t happen when I’m a man in SL.

    I also have found that being a man in SL; I have more intelligent, stimulating conversations. Women tend to be better conversationalist than men and as a man; I get to talk to more women. Being a lesbian in SL, I found I tended to be interacting with real life men who pretended to be a lesbian in SL. That was no fun because they tended to just want sex and lacked the ability to have an interesting conversation.

    As a man in SL I find having sex with men more satisfying. Yes, I can tell when they are real women. There are certain clues. Women sexual are more expressive than men and that is more satisfying for me. Also most women in SL have better looking avatars than the men do. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a noob looking avatar, pulled up his profile to find out he’s been in SL for five years. Many men in SL just don’t care about their appearance. They would rather spend their Lindens on “toys” such as boats, airplanes, cars, motorcycles, etc. So they run around SL with fugly freebie skins, fugly freebie clothes and fugly freebie hair and shoes. Sadly, a lot of men also have no clue how to wear stuff and I find many men have their hair on backwards or their scalp is poking through or the don’t know to wear the alpha layer for their shoes or they still have on some prim parts from a previous outfit so that it looks like they are wearing two different outfits at the same time. Women tend to spend lots more time and money on their appearance and some women in SL are absolutely stunning! I’d much rather make love with a beautiful woman than a fugly noob looking man.

    In real life I’m a very independent, strong woman. I hate people telling me what to do. Basically, I don’t take orders well. In SL I found it to be much more to my liking being a domineering male Master or Dom than a female submissive or slave. Being a female Mistress was OK, but being with submissive men was a turn off to me and again, the whole lesbian thing usually it turned out that the lesbian was a man in RL so stimulating communication tended to be lacking. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a man hater. But it is a proven fact that men and women are “wired” differently. Their brains function differently and usually the centers of the brain that control speech and communication are stronger in women.
    I have had wonderful, very fulfilling partnerships with women in SL when I was a man. One partnership I had lasted a year. Currently in one of my male alts I’m in a partnership that has lasted for over two years.

    Do I tell the women I’m with that I’m a woman in real life? Hell no! I tried that a couple of times and it didn’t go well. I have found that straight real life women in SL do not accept a real life woman as a man in SL very well. So even though people dislike dishonesty, the only way to have a true “male experience” and be accepted as a “real man” in SL, is to not reveal that one is a woman in real life.

    How do I get away with it? Well, for one, I never exchange real life pictures. I also use a voice changer when I do voice.

    Do I feel guilty for deceiving the women I am with? No. I probably should, but I don’t. The reason…it’s because when someone enters SL, they go in knowing full well that SL is a fantasy world and therefore it is allowable that anyone can be anything they want. So real life women ought to know that whoever they are interacting my not necessarily be who they say they are in real life and just accept someone for what they are in SL.
    So there you have it. One real life woman’s take on why she prefers being a man in Second Life.

  8. I need to correct a typo in my post from Fake Man on October 11, 2013 at 5:53 p.m.

    I wrote: “…As a man in SL I find having sex with men more satisfying.”

    It should read: As a man in SL I find having sex with WOMEN more satisfying.”

    Nothing against gay men in SL, but when I tried it, it just didn’t appeal to me.

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