Sunday, June 1, 2008

baby, someone is crazy, and it's you

Rai Fargis speaks out on the issue of SL children being banned from the 'celebration of diversity' this year. (Note of interest: his was the top post on a search I ran to test the efficiency of sl5b child as a search term--as he suggested in an earlier forum post.

Vint Falken's also gone the list method, and one of mine made the list. At this point, I figure why not? This is the fifth post on the topic, not that any of them will effect change of any kind--two days with nothing but "We feel your pain, we wish we had better news" from whichever token Linden who lost the draw for straws that day? Please.

Ann Launay at the SL Universe forums puts it quite succinctly: They're basically treating kid avs like a dirty little secret which, it seems to me, is only adding fuel to the fire. Indeed.

Serena adds, This starts here, with the child avs. Next thing they'll do is restrict either furries or transgendered from SL6B (next year). They will keep doing this until they have killed off all "socially abnormal" groups. I think that's potentially true, too.

So how do we fight back? Same way we fought back with the ageplay issue when it spilled into the doll community, I suppose. And the answer to that one is: we didn't. Most of us ducked our heads and stayed out of sight for a while, when all this happened the first go-round. (Well, unless you're me, in which case, you agree to pose semi-nude for a risque doll art exhibition that earns you three days of death threats from people who saw the image in an advance preview showing, because your fellow model was tall and male, and you were small and young-looking.)

Eh, I shouldn't say that. We may not have been as visible in those scary anything-that-looks-like-a-child-is-bad days, but there was solidarity. And there continues to be solidarity.

With any luck, Second Life's children will find their own solidarity through this. I truly hope they do. Because the last thing I want to see happening is SL kids deciding that they need to close their doors and not interact with the rest of the grid.

Ultimately, we are choosing to live in a world where who we are, and what we want, is both easier to represent and easier to attain, in a very real sense. And there are those, as there always will be those, who wish profoundly that who we are, and what we want, match what they want--which is to fit in, to be "normal", to be "just like everyone else".

The secret to diversity? No one is normal. Trust me on this. You, your sister, your neighbor, the fellow down the street who used to own the casino and now owns the bondage club, the people one sim over who pretend to be Twi'leks and Jedi, the people three sims over from them who pretend to be steampunk Victorians, the people three sims from them who have wings and pointed elf ears...NO ONE is normal. There is no normal.

And while you may sit there and say, hey, I don't chain women up, I don't have cat ears and fur, I'm not an adult pretending to be a child...again, trust me, who you are? Looks just as abnormal from the perspective of the Gorean with the leash, the neko in the plaid skirt, the fur in the ballgown, the child with the airship.

Diversity. The celebration of diversity. The honoring that we are all different on the surface, and the understanding of diversity's true meaning--that all of our differences matter not a whit, because we're all the same under the skin. We are one people, one family if you will, in this light--and it's up to us to understand that those differences are of value, they add distinction and interest, and with respect, and that understanding, there can be tolerance in abundance.

Just for the record? That is the lesson the folks at the Labs are profoundly missing in all of this. And I will admit to not a little puzzlement and astonishment that this lesson they're missing, this fight they are quietly waging against Second Life's assumed perversity, they're choosing to take to the doorsteps of those avatars who have done them no wrong--who, in fact, in years previous have campaigned vigorously for Second Life to be accepted, lauded, and embraced.

It's short-sighted to the point of myopia, in fact. And it does lead me to wonder: who's next on the chopping block this time?


Frau A. S. Lowey said...

"Als sie mich holten,
gab es keinen mehr, der protestieren konnte."

I plan to support the Children's Celebration, and hope that we can stop the panic reaction to the diverse cultures before it becomes ingrained.

Emilly Orr said...

I plan to at least attend, if not participate--mainly because, I decided to go out and grab a SLUrl to the locale for the childrens' build, and was quite soundly--and deliberately, I think--shunned.

Now, that I'd ported out to a build in progress in an adult shape? I take into account. And that the children of SL might be feeling the wee-est bit wary over mistreatment from people not children? I take that into account as well.

But I may be coming in one of my smaller forms, when I attend, just because I don't want to be ignored due to size. It starts a very bad precedent.

(Good quote, btw.)

Edward Pearse, Duke of Argylle said...

(Well, unless you're me, in which case, you agree to pose semi-nude for a risque doll art exhibition that earns you three days of death threats from people who saw the image in an advance preview showing, because your fellow model was tall and male, and you were small and young-looking.

I remember your posts on *what makes a child AV* but I don't remember the death threats. Gods some people are f$#@ing arseholes. Excuse the un-Edward-like language.

I'm happy for people to pretend to be what ever they want. I personally find Gor more distasteful than something like The Crack Den, but people's opinions vary. But if they're consenting adults it's none of my business. And yes there are underage children in Second Life. I don't care what laws you have there is no 100% method of preventing children from drinking or seeing porn or thousands of other things. Children being interested in sex is not new. I had my own stash of porn at 14 well before the internet. But of course the popularist hypocrisy of wanting to protect children still gets trotted out on a regular basis

I'm reminded of the quote from Joe Ancis: "The only normal people are the ones you don't know very well."

Big time.

Emilly Orr said...

Think Joe's quite right.

I didn't make a big deal of it at the time, it was somewhat freaky. To get to the point of death threats because an artist had taken my picture--I mean, that's just sheer lunacy. Art can be threatening, art can challenge, sure, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, to challenge preconceptions.

And, while I don't think there's a place for them on the adult grid, I do think there's a large difference between a fourteen to sixteen year old with natural curiosity, and a six year old who has no clue. I don't want to sleep with either one; and it's notable that Rep. Kirk didn't find one single instance of a child being sexually harmed on Second Life..but that's at the core of this debate, really.

By and large in nearly all ways that matter, Second Life does protect children. So why the hell is SL being targeted in the first place?

Tepic said...

Dear emilly,

I was sad to hear you had been ignored when visiting the build - so far I have not been there because it was not open when I last looked! I do know a lot of work is going on at the moment within the community, so I can only hope they were busy IMing and such.

As part of the kid AV community, I try never to ignore anyone I meet - after all, chatting with people is much of the fun of sl!

I will hopefully be around at both the official and kids Birthday builds, and will happily chat with everyone and anyone, and look forward to seeing you there :-)

Thanks to you all :-)

Emilly Orr said...


As I noted to Frau Lowey, I think half of it was, I showed up as an adult, not as a fellow child or even in a tiny form--and that this issue had landed in their laps and they were scrambling to come up with any reasonable solution to the problem.

Yes, I felt my comments were deliberately ignored. How'ver, I haven't noted it on the blog at large, save for these comments, and I don't intend to. Stress can cause a great deal of distraction, and when all plans go south, things--and comments--can and do fall by the wayside. I understand that.