In an online world, people can ‘hide’ behind their technology and be who they want to be. Our appearance in Second Life may be a far cry from what we look like in real life, but it is this fantasy of the “perfect,” “attractive” appearance, as to why many transform their appearance in the digital world. Yee and Bailenson discuss the “notion of transforming our appearance permeates our culture” (271). I believe that our society is always trying ways to advance and grow by undergoing physical changes. In the offline world, more and more people are using plastic surgery to enhance, tighten, or change their features. People strive to achieve a younger, better version of themselves. This is not any different in the online world. In Second Life, people have the ability to change and manipulate every physical aspect about themselves. You can create the “perfect” version of yourself with just a click of a button. As Yee and Bailenson mention, “studies have shown that attractive individuals are perceived to possess a constellation of positive traits…” (276). It is no surprise that people who are considered traditionally “attractive” are favored over those considered less attractive. It is engrained in our brains from advertisements, commercials, movies, and ect. that attractive people are “superior” and something people should strive to become. Avatars in Second Life who are considered attractive probably get more attention. Girls who look appealing with the right skins are probably more favored. People want to conform and become someone who is considered desirable and attractive, probably to get others to approach them and befriend them. I think we all seek companionship in some form; in real life, and even in a digital one, people don’t want to feel isolated and undesirable. It is no surprise then when I was walking around Second Life, I didn’t find any overweight avatars. This “imperfection” is probably something that people don’t want in their utopian, or perfect world.
I’m not a huge video game person, but as a kid, I used to play with my older brother. One of my favorite games that we would play was “Mortal Kombat.” I remember that whenever we played the game, I always wanted to be the girl characters because they were so pretty and I wanted to be like them. It brought be into a fantasy even as a child; I aspired to be this “character.” My favorite character was Sonya Blade because she looked the most “human,” and was shaped like a Barbie doll. The character Sheeva, who didn’t make an appearance until MK3 had four arms, but the avatar still maintained a sexiness and desirable quality about her. I think that a game like MK, even with it’s “disfigured” characters, still made them look appealing and desirable to the human eye. The digital world seems like a place where one can escape and live more of a fantasy life then an actual life. People desire beautiful outward appearances in both the digital and real world. As Yee and Bailenson reading shows, the more physically attractive you are, it can “increase a person’s confidence and their degree of self disclosure within minutes” (287).