Yee and Bailenson mentioned how “in online environments, the avatar is not simply a uniform that is worn, the avatar is our entire self-representation” (p. 274). The way users try to make their avatars may be the image of the self-representation they want others to see. To further explain, these users want to create an avatar that would be judged by others who wouldn’t have harsh criticisms (hopefully). Of course, some may make their avatars look exactly like the way they do in real life, but there are others who have another idea of what their avatars should look like and how they should act in order to let others judge them accordingly. These users may begin too feel confident with the type of avatar they have decided to make of themselves. As a result, users start acting in different ways. For example, I had a friend who would dress up nicely (doll herself up –the makeup, shoes, clothes, etc.) on a regular basis. This made her feel confident and fabulous. On the days that she didn’t dress up with all those things, she seemed a bit more down and less confident. It’s that “Look Great, Feel Great” mentality that she had. Also, I have seen people on a show called “What Not To Wear” (This show is about people- particularly women, who don’t dress appropriate for their age. Then, the two hosts of the show gives these people $5,000 each to buy a whole new wardrobe in exchange of throwing out their entire wardrobe), and most of these women lacked a lot of confidence in the beginning of the show because their wardrobe wasn’t as “fashionable”. However, at the end of the show, these women were glowing with confidence once they got a fresh new wardrobe, started applying more makeup and going through the whole transformation process.
Therefore, the way we dress ourselves (usually to make ourselves attractive) ends up getting attention from others. We need to be aware that the way we create our avatars will determine the level of attention and judgments we would get from others. This is the reason why I created my avatar as a robot instead of a human. It seems to be that robots are becoming more acceptable in societies because they are seen in movies, shows, toys, etc. Therefore, I can disguise myself as an avatar that would probably (hopefully) not get as much attention/judgments from others.
Sometimes people pretend to be who they think other people want them to be (dressing/acting in certain ways). There are these standards that exist that gives people the stress/pressure to please others. The “expressions given and expressions given off” (p. 4) probably comes from people not being socially accepted. There are these expectations that people have, and once they don’t fit the standards, it becomes disappointing for the individual(s). Therefore, is it necessary to represent our self in such ways that may end up backfiring?
Image Source 1: http://www.coastalcc.org
Image Source 2: http://www.secondlifeupdate.com
Image Source 3: zhuzhu.devianart.com
Video Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AK2B5ffWR6g