Sunday, January 23, 2011

Nigra sum sed formosa? Virtual World Diversity

Nigra sum sed formosa. I am black but beautiful.  I am not religious, but I will borrow from the Song of Songs.Ok, I am no Madonna either, but I am black and beautiful and I want to be black and beautiful in the virtual world too.
I may  also be different from some avatars who like to change skins as often as they change clothes. I just want to have one skin and some makeup that goes nicely with it, just like in real life. Growing up in America during the civil rights era, skin color for me has always been a hot button issue. As an African American woman behind this avatar, I want my skin reflect some version of my real life skin.(The part without the cellulite.) In SL , I was unhappy with the way I looked for almost a year. I searched and searched and spent thousands to find  a skin  that would  look acceptable. I still wear that skin today when I visit. I may change that soon having discovered something closer to my real life self.
 I have been in Inworldz for 400 days, as of today and I am still waiting for my skin. (I have been promised, so my wait might not be much longer!) I want my  skin to be brown, not tanned, not bronze, but brown and well blended. It is not a flat brown, but rather  full of life brown. and I want it to look like I have African heritage. That isn't asking too much. Below are some of the skins I have tried on, some I have even worn for a while. 

 Join me as I look back at the skins I have tried in Inworldz......( I will spare you the Ruth look, I  see her all to often.)
[GJCR] Free Skin


Kind of  pretty, but way too pale. A far cry better than Ruth, but not at all me. Something I picked up on day one , December, 19th 2009.. I really didn't wear it for more than a day. She just wasn't me.




Interesting, but again too pale Also picked up in the very beginning.Dec '09 



Found in the freebie area April 2010, this skin allows new darker avatars to look fairly decent.  I didn't like the way she looked in my viewer. It is a bit green toned and the facial features were a bit European for my taste.




Out of desperation , I tried to make my own skin. This version failed. As you can see the blending in the stomach region is horrible and the whole tone leans to the greenish side. A rich brown is not a very easy color to blend . Lasted about a week or two.




In this failed version, I over corrected and the whole thing went orange. I don't know what happened with the lips. The stomach area got a bit better I think, but still not at all wearable for me.She looked like she could be related to the Joker.




 This one looked promising in the pictures, but  when tried on was not at all me either. And while the face was a pretty brown, the color from the neck down did not match for me. Overall, the detail and shading were OK, the color from the neck down  just wasn't right. Great work on the cleavage though!


 I heard about great skins and tried out the demos. This skin is definitely not me. It is almost blue/green, streaky and very  masculine looking.  Scared me. I tried to make it look good, but I  couldn't. Oh my!

  This one isn't green, but more to the red tone ..I found her to be very harsh and severe looking. Again, browns are very hard and blending is a real bear.


 For about half a year, I wore this skin, out of desperation..I spent days blending to get it looking passable.  Far from perfect, especially in the areas covered by the lingerie,it was the best that I could  do. I did develop a healthy respect for anyone who makes and sells high quality skins.




 My friend from SL, Osuntomi Melendez makes and sells skins under the name of Kikolife Digital Cosmetics After much daily begging in Skype, Tomi was kind enough to bring me a sample of one of her skins. While this skin is not exactly what I want, it is the most realistic tone and best looking in terms of  blending. She looks pretty! I  feel happy and like myself while wearing it. Eventually, Tomi  will bring her line of avatar skins and cosmetics to Inworldz so that we can all have a broader range of skin tones, including coices of ethnic ones. Tomi understands what I want, because she wants it too.  I want to look like an  avatar with  African heritage, not a brown colored European one.

I understand that  I am in the minority, both ethnically and in my way of thinking but it doesn't make me want  my skin any less. Put yourself in my shoes. Imagine that when you went shopping for a pale skin and all you could find was dark ethnic skins and pale skins you found unacceptable.. Sure ...some  might look nice , some even very pretty, but they are not what you want, and  lots of folks  tell you that  you should be happy because you have some choices.
You may not agree with me and that's OK. I took time to mention it because it is important to me  for the same reason that I make sure my daughter has some dolls to play with that look like her.  I'm sure there are others out there in virtual worlds who are not comfortable in the skin they are in and suffer in silence  because they have few choices. Granted this isn't important like global terrorism, homelessless, world hunger etc...It is just something that affects my enjoyment of the virtual experience. Perhaps,  if more people are aware of the issue , there could  be more real choices for everyone.
My search for a skin  has been a journey lasting 400 days in Inworldz, and I hope I reach my destination there soon. As for the other worlds that I visit, I am not holding my breath.

Shape: Bebe Mahogany
Lingerie: Bebe Mahogany
Hair: Myst by EMO-tions ( modified by Bebe Mahogany)
Unretouched Photos: Bebe Mahogany

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Spidey sense

I was thinking....  Recently I have been reading a lot of posts in group chats, asking or discussing whether a certain product/ x or y vendor or group is in Inworldz yet. After reading the discussion in one the  other day, I gave it some thought because something bothered me. I  now know what it is. I'm afraid... My fear is that InWorldz will become more like SL. Not that SL doesn't have things to offer.

It reminds me of when I lived in the Netherlands. I was a member of an large expat women' s group. A lot of the other Americans in the group who had  moved to NL brought everything with them and set up  house just like home  in larger than average sized Dutch houses. When visiting them it seemed to me that I could have been in any suburban US neighborhood. Their kids attended international schools,  where all classes were given in English, they themselves made little effort to learn  Dutch and they shopped for US goods or  had them imported monthly at obscene  markups. In our monthly gatherings, they spent a great deal of time talking and complaining  about how they missed x product/service etc, and about arranging English language play dates for their kids. I could understand that some folks were only stationed there for a year or so, and didn't want to disrupt the children' s education, educating them in English, especially if they were older. But most were there for the duration and  they had brought their  American  lifestyle bubble  with them and were living happily within  it.  That confused me. 

Why move to a new place full of promise and opportunity and make it just like home?  I taught myself survival level Dutch and found a college kid to tutor me, joined the library, took  a pottery class in Dutch (the language of clay is universal ) I shopped at the local stores and made attempts to get to know my neighbors. I wanted to learn as much about my new home as possible. It was clear that I did not fit with those women. I didn't last more than 1/2 a year. I eventually found an English language social group closer to home made up of folks who embraced  living in a new land and made an some effort to assimilate. They didn't abandon their culture,  just the opposite. Most were contributing members of the society and their homes were  a charming mix of cultures as were their families. I enjoyed being an active member of that group for over  4 years, before moving back to the US.
I don't want InWorldz to seem  a less expensive autonomous colony of SL. Speaking only for myself, I want InWorldz to become  InWorldz, A unique virtual experience in and of itself. Growing and developing on its own, with the creative talents of its active residents, not copied from  SL. I have Second Life  already, I can go there whenever I want to. I am still a resident, a non tier paying one, but still a resident. I want this InWorldz experience  to be different. My question is how to make to this happen?  IDK, maybe it is just me and my spidey sense...

I'm taking my time with Mooville, I don't know where I am going with it yet. I can tell you  that I am going to enjoy the journey

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Free can of whoop ass.

Here you  go folks, grab as many cans as you need!

Be careful, when you open a can of whoopass, point it away from your face. That shit burns.-Whiskey Day via Twitter