Pages Navigation Menu

Virtual Personae: Part II (2011)

Virtual Personae: Part II (2011)

©2011 by Dallas Denny

Source: Dallas Denny. (2011, 4 April). Virtual Personae: Part II. TG Forum.






Virtual Personae, Part II (TG Forum Version)

Virtual Personae: Part I (This Website)

Virtual Personae: Part I (TG Forum Version

Slutty Female Avatars Are Rather the Norm in Second Life

Slutty Female Avatars Are Rather the Norm in Second Life
That”s Me, Hovering in the Background, Taking the Photo


Virtual Personae

Part II

By Dallas Denny


Hi. My name is Minnesota Springwater and I can fly. Not in an airplane. I mean I can really fly.

I’m young and thin and beautiful and fabulously dressed and rich.

I’m in love, have been for more than four years. My partner—I call her Sweetie to preserve her anonymity, as she is a double-naught spy—and I live in a renovated Chinese house of ill repute which floats a thousand feet above a tropical archipelago. Below are beaches, gardens, ruined temples, all sorts of sea and land creatures, an active volcano, and a train that attracts visitors from all over the world. Above us is our treatment facility for the many mentally malfunctioning mechanoids of the Metaverse—insane robots, if you will.

Sweetie and I amuse ourselves by shopping, going to concerts and art shows, exploring the many wonders of the world, visiting friends, watching movies together, building ridiculous objects, and wandering around the beautiful and dangerous paradise we made.

Such is our world.


My Avatar in Second Life

I’m talking about my second life in the virtual world of the same name.

In Linden Lab’s Second Life, I could do almost anything I can imagine—have a career as a fashion model (or run a model agency), walking the runway and wearing extravagant couture; be a sexual slave to a hairy barbarian in the horrible land of Gor; live as a 50-meter long dragon; race airplanes or giant snails or sailboats that react to the virtual wind; get myself tatted and gothed up and role play as a vampire; design and sell fancy shoes and turn my profits into dollars; earn a real graduate degree; join a clan of merfolk; open a store to sell my paintings and hope to be discovered by the critics; live in a Victorian society and practice exaggerated good manners while tight-laced; be a furry and yiff all my friends; work as a TV reporter or build a publishing empire; or hang around the new resident entry areas and join the rude twentysomethings making fun of one another in voice.

And I could be almost anything I can imagine—male or female, young or old, fat or thin, tall or shore, pretty or misshapen. If I was human, that is. I could also be nonhuman—an elf, a fairy, an elephant, a bumblebee, a flying book, a robot bandmaster, a walking, talking stalk of asparagus, a rock, a ghost.

I could be and do any of this.

And so could you.


One Must Work Hard to Create an Avatar That Looks Like a Crossdresser.
I Saw This Woman in a Mall and Had to Take a Photo

In Second Life the avatar, and not the human being controlling the avatar, is the reality. Although people can and often do choose to reveal facts about themselves—their race, their nationality, their age, their occupation, their sex—there’s no requirement to do so, and there’s minimum social pressure to disclose. That stripper on the pole may be a 47-year-old housewife from Des Moines, that studly hulk may be a 18-year-old living in his mother’s basement in Stuttgart, that well-put-together young lady may be, and probably is, someone’s grandfather in Taiwan. You’ll never know unless they choose to tell you, or unless you figure it out from conversational clues.

In the anonymous and often highly sexually charged world of Second Life, gender is of primary import. Most avatars are human, and almost all are decidedly male or female. Most, like me, are young and thin and beautiful and extravagantly dressed. It’s the avatarian norm.

I Call This Photo "When Elves Go Bad"

I Call This Photo “When Elves Go Bad”

But the sex of the avatar doesn’t necessarily correspond to the sex of the human typist. In fact, it often doesn’t. Many men, and more than a few women who would never think of themselves as or be considered by others to be transgendered have avatars of the opposite sex. Some of these avatars are mere foils, sexually stereotyped in every possible way. They’re big-breasted, big-butted, big-haired, scantily-clad animated female sex dolls—but some are played in all seriousness, to the extent of having homes, careers, friends, huge and expensive wardrobes, and in-world sexual relationships. It’s a curious phenomenon, and one, I think, that suggests that maybe there are a whole lot of people in the world with a need to scratch that itch.

For transgendered people, and especially for those inclined toward transsexualism, Second Life provides a marvelous opportunity to experience life (virtual though it may be) as a non-remarkable, non-clockable member of the target sex. It’s an experience denied to many in real life by circumstance, relational status, and secondary sex characteristics—but in Second Life you’re just another male or another female. It can be remarkably liberating. It can boost morale, increase confidence, and provide essential social experiences that can be translated to real life.

Second Life can also provide opportunity to live openly as a transgendered person. Some people note openly in their profiles or group tags that they are transgendered in real life—and some people who might or might not be transgendered in real life have avatars that are publicly labeled as transgendered. There are support groups for transpeople, and recently there was a memorial gathering for transgender victims of violence.

Because sexual relationships and partnering are common in Second Life, the discontinuity between actual and avatar sex can create tensions. Some men insist on hearing their partners’ voices (Second Life allows voice chat and private voice conversations) or seeing their partners on webcam. But remarkably, many just go with the flow. One of my Second Life friends, a 40-something-year-old with Asperger Syndrome, typified that; he didn’t mind that his female breast-fetishist partner was probably male in real life.

Gardens On Our Property in Second Life

Gardens On Our Property in Second Life

In Second Life, as in real-life, I’m female-bodied. In real life I’m out at every level (just Google my name!). Since Second Life provides for me an artistic outlet (I build and script interactive objects, landscape large spaces, and write several blogs) and a chance to spend time with my partner when we’re not physically together, I’ve seen no need to publicly identify myself as transgendered. I do when it’s relevant—I’ve disclosed to several friends, and I educate haters and the ignorant when necessary—but my personal choice is to just have a good time and not take transgender activism into virtual space. Someone needs to do it, certainly. I’m just busy doing other things.

If you’d like to try Second Life, just go to and download the client software. It costs nothing to have a full second life (although you can certainly spend money if you so choose!). It will take you a few days to get the hang of it, but by day three you should have the interface figured out. Then you, too, will be able to fly.