What Truly Lies Behind the Avatar’s Face?

Nav writes in Scrawled in Wax about a question that frequently exercises sociologists and psychologists studying us in Second Life, and has probably puzzled a number of plain Residents, too. With the ability to become anyone and anything you can imagine when you live on the Grid, just what is it that motivates a person to design an avatar as they do? Not only do most people on the Grid exhibit a mind-blowing (and truly unreal) sexual gorgeousness, but you can also be a girl when you’re a boy, a boy when you’re a girl (apparently less often), a vampire, a half-cat, foxes and dogs and trolls and hobbits and elves and dragons and…. Well, you obviously know what I mean.

Nav’s main point: it’s entirely likely that there’s something more than simple roleplay in many cases. There must be a reason why a person chooses to cover themselves in scales, or festoon their electronic bodies with pendulous (ahem) equipment, or whatever. On the surface, the argument seems rather Freudian; but that doesn’t disqualify it from being valid and worthy of consideration.

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