Discrimination in Second Life Based on Avatar Appearance: Don’t Be a Meshist!


Don’t judge a book by its cover (Photo by Donald Teel on Unsplash).

Is there discrimination in Second Life based on your avatar appearance? You bet. Last October an avatar was banned from a popular music club, seemingly solely based on his appearance.

Yesterday, somebody made a post to the official Second Life community forums bringing up the topic:

People asking for friend but only if you are mesh. This maybe not full racist to you, but just  sub the word mesh to an ethnicity or religion.

One person replied:

Well, mesh isn’t a race, but I understand where you’re going with it. Those people tend to state that they’ve put a lot into their avie and don’t want to look at a sub par one (in their opinion)…I usually just scroll on by if it’s just the mesh thing mentioned. I can’t get butthurt over every stupid thing people write. If someone is that picky about what sort of pixels they want to associate with, that’s on them. There’s too many real issues in the world to worry about, why create more?

And someone had the idea:

Let’s just call it meshism and meshists. It’s a brand new discrimination!

You might be surprised to know that there are actually some places in Second Life that explicitly ask their users to use a mesh avatar. For example, this note appears in the rules notecard of the popular FMD club, which describes itself on its Flickr group page as “Second Life’s sexiest club and lounge”:

No noobish looking avatars. It’s 2017. Get mesh. FMD Staff determines your appearance and if you feel we’re being too harsh, take it up with someone who gives a fuck.

Now, I have been to FMD many times, and I don’t think I have ever encountered a classic SL system avatar there. Everybody has a mesh avatar head and body, and many obviously have spent a lot of time and money pulling together their look. I don’t really know if they do toss you out if you don’t have a mesh avatar, but it’s a bit intimidating.

And the thread in the community forums made me realize that perhaps I, too, am becoming a bit of a meshist. When I visit Frank’s Place, one of my favourite things to do is to right-click/inspect what the other avatars nearby are wearing. (That’s how I find some really great items to buy for myself.)

But I now notice that I am beginning to critique—in my head, not verbally—some rather dated-looking classic avatars. (“2007 called. They want their avatar back.”)

And it’s not fair. Many people who use Second Life can’t afford to shell out forty bucks to get a full-blown mesh avatar head and body, plus associated shoes, hair and clothes. Catwa Bento heads cost L$5,000 or US$20.00. The popular Maitreya Lara mesh body sets you back L$2,750, which works out to about US$11.00. (Honestly, Onyx LeShelle must be taking home money by the wheelbarrow from her Maitreya Lara mesh body sales! Maitreya must have seventy percent of the female mesh avatar body market. And as a result, everybody designs for them. It’s a bit of a vicious circle.)

Avatar fashions change over time. I still vividly remember the pre-mesh days, system clothing and flexiprim ballgowns. In fact, I sometimes pull them out and wear them to Frank’s. Stuff that Nicky Ree made a decade ago still holds up very well today:

Vanity Fair in Red Satin Shine Gown by Nicky Ree 5 Jan 2018_001.png

(All I did here was upgrade to a Bento mesh head—Catwa Kimberly, ka-ching! there’s twenty bucks right there!—and Bento Slink hands.)

What I’m saying here (and what I need to keep reminding myself, as well) is to try not to judge other people by the quality of their avatar. Don’t become a meshist!


Linden Lab Announces a Mainland Price Decrease in Second Life

In a surprise move today, Linden Lab announced that they’ve reduced Mainland land costs by 10%. Here’s a before-and-after comparison chart of the changes (here’s the source if you are having trouble reading the fine print):

Pricing and Allotment Comparison 14 Mar 2018

Another big announcement is that they are doubling the amount of free land that Premium members get, from 512 to 1,024 square metres. So that’s actually a benefit that may entice some people to upgrade to a Premium account. Maybe. (I’ve always thought that Linden Lab doesn’t give nearly enough perks to Premium members. 60 groups instead of 42? Big whoop-dee-do. As an SL fashionista, I need at least 100!)

It’s no secret that Linden Lab is sitting on top of lots and lots of unused/abandoned Mainland, so maybe this is a way for them to sweeten the deal somewhat, in order to encourage more land ownership. I’m rather skeptical that this move will work, but we’ll see. People who were fed up with the high land prices in Second Life either downsized long ago, or packed up and moved to one of the Opensim-based virtual worlds.


Second Life Steals and Deals: Get a Full Bento Altamura Mesh Avatar Head and Body for Only L$300 at the 2018 Skin Fair

Are you still wandering around Second Life in an old system avatar? Wishing that the more aesthetically pleasing mesh avatar heads and bodies weren’t quite so expensive? Well, have I found a deal for you!

Altamura is offering the Valentina model, a fully-featured, fully-adjustable, Bento mesh avatar head and body package, for only L$300 during the annual Skin Fair! The skin comes with five different built-in skin tones. In these pictures, my alt is wearing the darkest skin tone:

Altamura Valentina 1 11 Mar 2018_001Altamura Valentina 2 11 Mar 2018_001Altamura Valentina 3 11 Mar 2018_001Altamura Valentina 4 11 Mar 2018_001Altamura Valentina 5 11 Mar 2018_001

To get this deal, you must:

The body comes with a number of HUDs. The body HUD has complete alpha, skin and layers controls. The head HUD allows you to change or remove any of the many makeup options. There’s a second makeup applier which allows you to easily change your eyebrows and hairbase to white, blonde, red, blonde and black. There’s also a separate nails HUD for controlling the shape and colour of your nails. There’s an extra animation override just for the Bento hands so you can use it with your older, non-Bento AOs (a nice touch!). And finally there’s a facial expression HUD. You get the whole package!

If you wish, you can alpha out the head using the body HUD and remove all the makeup using the head HUD, and then use your own head with it. (I have tried this body with an Akeruka Bento mesh head and it works perfectly.) You can also purchase an Altamura Omega installer/relay so you can use any Omega products (skins, makeups, tattoos, etc.) with it.

Even better, everything that my alt is wearing in these photos is FREE! The dress and earrings are 7Seas fishing prizes from Sn@tch (all you need is a fishing rod and some patience). The hair is called Evolve, and is a free Gimme Gacha group gift from Analog Dog at the Imaginarium event going on right now! It comes in a full fatpack of colours. And the black high heels are a freebie from Marquesse, available at the excellent freebie store at Ajuda SL Brasil. They come in a pack with four basic colours: white, red, black, and nude. The Altamura bodies have Slink-compatible feet in three heights (flat, mid and high). I have also found that clothing created for Maitreya Lara mesh bodies fits the Altamura mesh bodies well. And of course, you’ve got full alpha control with this body!

And, if you don’t even have the L$300 to spare on an Altamura Valentina head and body, you can pick up a free version at Ajuda SL Brasil! The free version is fully adjustable, but only comes in one skin tone and one makeup version. Look for the big red sign across from some gift boxes lying on the floor of the freebie store at Ajuda SL Brasil.

This special Altamura offer ends when the Skin Fair does, on March 25th, so hurry!


Second Life Pick of the Day: Der Keller in 1920s Berlin

I don’t blog about Second Life very often, but today I am making an exception. Vanity Fair paid a visit to Der Keller, a seedy bar in the basement of a building located in the ever-popular 1920s Berlin Project sim (here’s their blog). Proprietress Frau Jo Yardley tends bar, as usual, serving drinks to whoever comes in the door. Radio Desmuke is playing 1920s music.

Der Keller 1920s Berlin 4_001.png
Frau Jo Yardley

Der Keller 1920s Berlin_001.png

Der Keller 1920s Berlin 2_001.png

Der Keller 1920s Berlin 5_001.png

As you can see, all of us are dressed in period 1920s costume (it’s required). Vanity is having a coffee instead of a beer:

Der Keller 1920s Berlin 3_001.png
Vanity Fair in Der Keller

Vanity is wearing:

  • A beige floral casual day dress by Eloise Baker
  • Brown Betty ballet flats by FATEstep (not seen)
  • Meadow hair by Magika
  • Kimberly Catwa head and lipstick
  • Maitreya Lara body and nails
  • Daria skin by The Skinnery
  • and my favourite forest green Darcey eyes by Suicidal Unborn

I’ll leave you with a nostalgic machinima of the 1920s Berlin Project, by Pepa Cometa, set to a song by Marlene Dietrich, Ich hab’ noch einen Koffer in Berlin:

Auf wiedersehen!