Wednesday, December 21, 2011

in the half-light, I'll see you in time

There's been more than a few stories on Kotaku recently concerning sexism--some good, some baffling--but this one caused a double-strength arched eyebrow. Mainly because I can't really say there's much difference between a skin-tight organic-metal "armor" bikini on the upper concept art, and then end result of the metal-and-chain bust piece with the bikini-attached-to-silk-strip thong, on the "actual" game shot. (Barring that the color blends are better in the concept art, than in the game costume, at least.)

Then came SL's latest scandal, which is puzzling to say the least. (Though it hasn't been without its up side, to be fair.) I'm still not entirely sure why people are attacking Miss Ohmai: she made a pixel tribute to a vintage fur stole, something that has just not been seen in this form for years, if not decades; so how did she "kill" anything?

(That's a serious question--for all my [former] investment in SL, I never lost sight of the fact that it is a virtual world. And the people that do, tend to scare me.)

Even separating out the tribute from its virtual roots, and placing it firmly as an actual created object in the real world (which it's just not, people, come on now)...something like this is about as close as you're going to get, these days, for new items. And vintage items--like this offering on eBay--are precisely that, vintage. Vintage means--for those who care about such things--that the animal died a long, long time ago, and at this point was not even slain by people one might run into, even were one living in the heart of a fur district. Vintage means the item now exists, but can be relined with new satin, or subtly altered to enhance its natural beauty--the original incident which brought it into being is now long past.

More to the point, animals die. Animals, like people, die all the time. And there are rarely quiet, peaceful, dignified deaths for animals, passing away surrounded by the support of their loved ones, at greatly advanced ages. This is because nature is as harsh as it is beautiful, brutality and shining light combined, and death, injury, illness and trauma are facts of life.

Really, if you stop to think about it, they're facts of our lives too, because we are as much of nature as the fox, the ermine, the rabbit, the bear--for all that we distance ourselves from that fact.

If you haven't gathered this by now, I'm not a member of PETA. I'm for wearing fur. I'm for wearing leather. (Hells, there was a poet some years back who wanted, after his death, his last published volume to be a limited edition of fifty, bound in his own skin. I have no compunctions about that, either.) I do not think it is base and unworthy animal cruelty to use all of the animals slain--meat, bone, marrow, fur, skin, claws--and I am for rational uses of resources.

Do I disagree with animal farms solely to harvest fur and toss the rest of the animal aside? Yes. But I think that's a wasteful practice in general. By all means, keep rabbits for their fur, but for their meat, too. And I'm also against feeding chickens ground-up chicken, because they're not omnivores; I'm against keeping food animals penned in small spaces in general, and fed massive doses of antibiotics to keep them productive, because what enters the meat then enters us, on later consumption. (And no, I'm not a vegetarian either.)

The point behind all of this, though, is that this is not a real, physical item. Let me repeat that again, because it's vaguely important: THIS IS AN ENTIRELY IMAGINARY RECREATION OF A VINTAGE ITEM. IT IS DESIGNED TO LOOK LIKE FAUX FUR. SO NO ANIMALS DIED TO MAKE THIS...EVER...AT ANY TIME.

Of course, some people are really, really dim, and will keep complaining to her anyway. My advice? Support the hell out of her designs to spite them.

And this may be the weirdest thing I've seen this year.

On that note, I'm off to celebrate the Longest Night with family, so we're killing City of Heroes' Winter Lord as a group! To battle!


Edward Pearse said...

The stole beat up really proves that some people in SL need to switch off and step outside past the mailbox more often.

As for your armour link, may I present an equal opportunity image.

I'll send you the brain bleach later.

Emilly Orr said...

My brain...

Okay, I didn't believe it was possible to make completely pointless armor where men are involved. I take it all back.

As far as the stole goes, I wrote Miss Ohmai, because at the time, it was not for sale at the Collabor88 site, and offered full sympathies for receiving resident ire. She thanked me, sent me a set of all three colors gratis and fixed the vendor.

I'm still wearing the black stole. At least until winter departs, I think I'm contrary enough to wear one version or other as a signattachment.

Christine McAllister Pearse said...

Oooh....I really need to get one of those stoles and a matching muff with the tails on it. Totally historically accurate and while I'm sorry many pixels died in it's creation, my being warm in a pixellated snow storm is far more important than that poor, pixellated animal's virtual life. Good grief!

I agree with Edward, if you're going to get offended over that, it's time to log out and get some RL air.

On a RL aside, I happen to have a vintage fur muff, from the 1940's/50's. It's awesome, it's my handbag for the entire month of December and I've had hundreds of compliments on it. To my view, it's recycling.

*goes off to find the creator of the stoles to add to her wardrobe*

Emilly Orr said...

Ignoring for the moment the fact that I couldn't afford a contemporary fur coat to save my life right now, it's less that I have ethical problems with the cruelty of treatment (because really: it's rather hypocritical to rave and scream about mistreated animals when women are being beaten to death worldwide and prisoners are still being tortured; if all animal life is precious, then we should count too), as much as I have problems with the cuts of most modern furs.

But something like this I'd adore having. And for many years (until the lining wore out, and one of my cats dragged the remains from the sewing room to the floor, killing it exuberantly!) I possessed something cut very similarly to this, which was purchased by my aunt in San Francisco in 1942.

I have no problem with "upcycling", though I still think there are issues with the word itself: relining old furs, wearing them to commemorate the era, finding that dust-covered hat containing an entire bird's wing that graced some socialite's head in 1898...There are no problems in my mind with such practices. Don't want to wear fur? Don't wear any. Simple.

And this? This is virtual start to finish. In fact--and I know because I have it, and I have examined all three varieties in the package--the mesh for this sculpt isn't even based on a real fox in dimensions--the head is larger, the paws are less defined, the tail is less a brush and more just an extension...and I'm not saying that detracts from it, I'm saying Miss Ohmai went out of her way, clearly, to differentiate between this (virtual) piece and any potential other (virtual) furs.

Still puzzling why she received so much approbation from people who truly should have known better.