Fat Shaming in Second Life, and the June and Jonathan Piggu Mesh Avatars

All my life, from childhood on, I have struggled with my weight. At the moment I am at my heaviest, and it does bother me a great deal. Losing weight is so hard; keeping it off is even harder! I need to haul my raggedy ass back to Weight Watchers…

I want to make this very clear: everybody has the right to choose the avatar that they feel best represents them! In no way do I want to tell people what to do with their own avatar appearance. You do what you want!

I do have two avatars who are fat like me; one uses the Piggu June female mesh avatar, and the other is the Piggu Jonathan male mesh avatar. I love trotting them out to events where everybody else looks like a fashion model who hasn’t eaten in a month 😉

In Second Life, there is a mesh avatar body and clothing store that is unashamedly up-front with its negative opinions about fat people (I’m not going to post a SLURL, although you can probably figure out the store from the photograph):

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According to this blogpost by Wagner James Au of the blog New World Notes, this was the site of a recent protest by people who were offended by this sales approach. I wish I knew about it at the time; I would have joined the protest!

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My avatar is wearing:

Mesh Head and Body, Glasses, T-shirt and Shoes: Piggu June mesh avatar (L$700 from the SL Marketplace)

Hair: Sakura hair from Argrace (free group gift)

Jeans: June’s denim jeans (L$100 from the SL Marketplace)

AO: (Almost) Still AO for Fat Girls by Voir (L$350 from the SL Marketplace)

TOTAL COST OF THIS AVATAR: L$1150


And here is my Jonathan avatar:

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He is wearing:

Mesh Head and Body, Glasses and Hair: Piggu Jonathan mesh avatar (L$700 from the SL Marketplace)

Shirt, Pants, Sneakers and Watch: Jonathan’s Techwear outfit (L$200 from the SL Marketplace)

AO: Fat Boy mini AO by Voir (L$300)

TOTAL COST OF THIS AVATAR: L$1200


If you wish to support the creator of the Piggu avatar system, here is her Patreon page, and a link to her store on the SL Marketplace. She also has a Facebook page.

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UPDATED! Editorial: Why I Want to Leave My Second Life Avatars to Other People When I Die

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Meeting the Angel (screen capture from Second Life of me and an alt; picture taken in 2007)

Don’t misunderstand me…I plan on living a long and healthy life and dying a very old man. But when I do pass on, I want to leave some of my Second Life avatars to other people in my will.

Over the past eleven years, my passionate hobby has been creating and outfitting SL avatars. I have created many avatars over the years, and it has been a creative and deeply satisfying endeavour:

Some avatars lasted only a couple of days before I deleted them; others have been with me since the very beginning of my adventures in Second Life. Witches and wizards and wolves, pirates and painters, sergeants and satyrs, barbarians and ballerinas, harlequins and hippies, gladiators and geishas… my hobby has given me endless hours of pleasure and escape. Some were exclusively for role-play purposes; others were just a means to live inside somebody else’s skin for an hour while strolling the grid. Others were created specifically to evoke reactions from passers-by. I could be whatever I wanted, and I was: an angel, a fairy, a goth girl, Elvis, Queen Elizabeth the First, Lady Gaga, Santa Claus, a supermodel, a hobo, a spaceman, a Na’vi from the movie Avatar, a medieval minstrel.

Here is a photo mosaic of all the avatars I had created during my first five years in Second Life. (I created this photo mosaic back in 2012, as a sort of ceremonial way to wean myself off SL and move on. Of course, that didn’t really happen! I took a long break and came back in 2016.) Many, if not most, of these avatars I have since deleted, but I have kept the rest of them.

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I understand that it is currently against the Linden Lab Terms of Service (TOS) to give your SL avatar to another person. I believe that we need to make an exception. I would take great pleasure from knowing that some of my Second Life avatars, on which I lovingly spent so much time and money, would live on after I die. It would be a kind of digital immortality.

Of course, I understand that Linden Lab does not want avatar accounts to become a commodity, something that is bought and sold on the marketplace. I was surprised to find that there are even some places online where people actually sell their old avatar accounts, especially those legacy accounts created with a proper first name and last name; this might even be one of the reasons why LL is bringing back avatar last names.

I would never want to sell one of my avatars; I find the very idea repugnant. But it would give me great pleasure to be able to freely give one of my avatars as a gift or a legacy to a friend or family member. And I want Linden Lab to explicitly allow this.

Second Life is soon turning 15 years old. I’m certain that this sort of thing has happened in the past. And I’m quite certain that some of the people driving an avatar in SL are not the original creators. As more of SL’s original userbase starts to die off, this will be a perfectly natural thing for some avid SL users to want to do.

And no, I don’t think it’s creepy at all. The people to whom I would leave my avatars would be free to do as they please with them, redesign them, or give them on in turn.

This is my heartfelt plea to Linden Lab: please allow this (if you don’t already), and update your Terms of Service accordingly. Thank you!

UPDATE 5:48 p.m.: Well, what do you know? Ask, and ye shall receive! Somebody just told me that Linden Lab already has a posted policy on exactly this topic on their user wiki:

How do I bequeath my Second Life account and its assets in the event of my real life death?

In your will, you must include the legal (real life) name of the person who you want to inherit your Second Life account and assets in the event of your death.

Pursuant to Section 4.1 of our Terms of Service:

You may not sell, transfer or assign your Account or its contractual rights, licenses and obligations, to any third party (including, for the avoidance of doubt, permitting another individual to access your Account) without the prior written consent of Linden Lab.

I need to notify Linden Lab of the real life death of a Resident; what documentation does Linden Lab need?

The Second Life support team requires the death certificate and may require other additional testamentary letters or orders, as may be required by law. Additional verification of any party’s identity, including the deceased, may also be required.

In general, the team requires:

  • Copy of the death certificate
  • Copy of the will
  • Copy of a government-issued ID sufficient to identify you
  • Testamentary letter or other appropriate order (as appropriate)

If I die in real life, can you let my Second Life friends know?

Maybe. Linden Lab can only act on instructions that are part of a legally-recognized document such as a valid will. You would have to specify in your will that you want this action performed (for example, notifying everyone in your friends list), and we would need a copy of the will and any other verifying documents we deem necessary.

You can read the whole page over on the Second Life wiki for more questions and answers. This page was last updated on February 12th, 2016, so the policy is up-to-date.

Well, I guess I better start drawing up that list of names and contact information for my will… thank you for alerting me, Oobleck Allagash of the Second Life Friends group on Facebook!

Second Life Steals, Deals and Freebies: Where to Get Both Versions of the New Free Male Mesh Avatar Head and Body by Altamura, Plus the Best Freebie Stores for Men!

Finding high-quality freebies for male avatars in Second Life can be a bit of a problem. There seems to be a LOT more freebies available for women than men. So today I am going to tell you about all the places I go visit when I am looking to outfit one of my male alts.

Did you know that Altamura has just announced that they are giving away two versions of their Max full Bento mesh avatar body and head package for FREE? (Actually, you’ll need L$1 to pay the vendor, and then the vendor automatically returns your Linden dollar.) This is a fully functional, fully adjustable, fully featured Bento mesh avatar body and head with a full set of alpha selections (but please note that you cannot hide the head using the included HUD, in order to wear another mesh avatar head with this body). Also, while you can turn the hairbase on or off using the HUD, each Max body only comes in the one skin tone. You cannot use Omega appliers with these freebie male bodies.

To pick up the darker skin tone version of Max, go to Ajuda SL Brasil. At the landing point, look for this large blue sign:

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When you click it, it will teleport you to the third floor of their large Freebies store, where you can pay the identical blue sign L$1 to buy a copy of your Max mesh avatar body and head package. (You will get your Linden refunded.) There are also many more freebies for men on this floor, of varying quality (some are mesh, some are older system clothing), so go and shop around!

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To get the lighter skin tone of Max, you need to go to another freebie spot, called the UniHispana Crea Community Gateway. This place can be a little confusing to navigate, so use the included SLURLs to find what you are looking for. The Max package is available here (again, just pay the blue sign L$1 and it will refund you):

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But the small selection of freebies for men (including the mesh dress suit and dress shoes my avatar is wearing) is located in another place on the same sim:

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Another great place for men’s freebies is the venerable Free Dove. They have a selection of high-quality men’s clothing and shoes, and a few hairstyles for men as well, located against the back wall from the entrance:

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Finally, there are some nice freebies by designer Giz Seorn (some unavailable anywhere else) that can be found at the New Resident Island freebie village:

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Note that many of the vendors at New Resident Island are restricted to avatars under a certain age in days, but the Giz Seorn freebies are available to anybody regardless of age.

So, there you have it! Only a few stops and you have not only a good-looking mesh avatar head and body, but also hair, shoes, and good-quality clothing galore! Here is a shot of my male alt, wearing the lighter-toned Max head and body, with free Chris hair from the Free Dove, and wearing the suit and shoes I got from the UniHispana freebie store:

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I forgot to mention that the Bento male animation override is also FREE, available from Tuty’s. So everything this avatar is wearing from head to toe, including the AO, is FREE!

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UPDATED: Earning Money Creating Custom Avatars in VRChat: An Interview with Ghoster

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Although VRChat does not (yet) have an in-game economy, there are many people who are already earning hundreds, even thousands, of dollars by designing and creating custom user avatars for the platform.

Here’s a recent episode of the Endgame talk show, where the topic of discussion was how people are making money by creating and selling 3D avatar models for VRChat. I find it interesting that many of the various other ideas for earning money within VRChat that were being thrown about are very similar to what people do for money in older, established virtual worlds like Second Life (e.g. tour guide, performer, etc.)

There is another very recent interview with Ghoster, the operator of the VRC Traders group (one of the most popular venues for avatar buyers and sellers), on the popular Gunters Universe show in VRChat. I can’t embed that video here, but you can watch it on Twitch at this URL: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/250896991

After watching these videos, I interviewed Ghoster, and asked him some questions about VRC Traders. Here is a transcript of that interview.


Can you tell me when and how you got started in the business of creating avatars in VRChat?

I believe it started back in September, I was looking to have a model of a DND character I was playing as, made for me so I could wear it during the DND session. That’s when I realized it’s really hard to find a VRChat user who is good at modeling and rigging and not already busy. So after thinking it over, I contacted a coder for a custom bot and possible website host. And that’s how VRC Traders got started.

What kind of technical/computer background do you have? How did you get attracted to social VR and virtual worlds?

I work as a CNC setup/operator and that requires me to know a bit of basic coding. I’ve also been an avid gamer for many years and have been working on worlds and Avatars for about a year. As for social VR, well, gaming is fun but I have always been interested in what other peoples ideas and thoughts are like, and when I saw all these clashing, yet causally talking, personalities in one space, I was blown away.

What experience have you had in previous virtual worlds (e.g. Second Life) before you started with VRChat? Are you active in other social VR spaces/virtual worlds?

So a good friend of mine, who goes by the name of JTravelin, showed me VRChat shortly after its Steam release. But before that, I was in AltspaceVR (maybe eve Rec Room). I’m still active in Altspace as a cameraman for a few shows still to this day. When I was heavily active in Altspace the one thing I liked about it was performance and how a simple color was all that identified you and you would meet people that are disabled, and you would know, self-conscious, and more importantly from different regions. This led to a kind of unspoken understanding or be respectful and have a good time in VR especially for those with the Rift or Vive since the upfront cost was big.

When did you decide to set up VRC Traders and the Discord server? What kind of work have you had to do to organize and promote VRC Traders? 

I belive it was early September that I had plans to set it up and by the end of that same month I went public. Rather recently though, I have been on two talk shows along with word of mouth promotions, spreading VRC Traders (VRCT) around as a viable option to make money in virtual spaces. Before that, though, it was a word of mouth in VRChat to spread it and as VRChat grew, so did VRCT. Being a Discord server on the main VRChat Discord helped a lot in these times, along with some of the dev team referring people to the server. There are plans to advertise in VRChat more, but I can’t tell you about those.

What different types of work/expertise do you offer to consumers (e.g. animators)?

Well as avatars are the main focus, everything avatars. And I mean literally anything you can think of or need done, the commissioners of the server are able to make it happen. In addition to anything and everything avatar related, there are sections for 2D artists, world creation and fixing, shader technicians (people who create custom shaders) and, soon to come, audio engineers (people who work on various elements of sound mixing, making and setting up).

How does a new VRChat user actually request a commission?

To many people’s dismay, the server has a 10 minute explore period, where new users are supposed to take a look around and see how the server is organized. VRCT has a guide channel near the top where people can find out a standardized way to post commissions so others can easily read and understand the commission. While we don’t enforce any said rules on what to post, we do prefer a new user to place as much info as they can, so interested commissioners can contact them directly to get the work done.

How do you deal with the intellectual property issues that arise when a user wants an avatar that belongs to a company (e.g. Disney)? Are there any avatar commissions that VRC Traders declines as a matter of policy?

Well, that’s a hard question to answer, since I don’t think VRChat has determined its view on the matter. All I can say is, the only commissions we don’t allow are NSFW models, and for obvious reasons. I recommend that people make commissions for original character models or large edits to existing models, but like I said, it a very hard question to answer since it’s the internet. (These are my opinions and may not be representative of the VRC Traders server or VRChat in the future.)

Where do you see this industry going in the future? Where do you see VRC Traders in a year from now?

As far as the industry of 3D avatars and world creation goes, I see this type of business becoming a viable marketplace and job for many users. In the talkshow Endgame, I said that 10-15 years ago, game asset creators took years of practice with highly expensive tools on computers about as advanced as the computers of today, and it was a highly restrictive field because of that. But with better PC components that are faster and more powerful, alongside cheaper or even free modeling software, 3D modeling has gone from a highly skilled restricted class of people to now a more accessible [job] but still very difficult. Not only that, but as more games, especially sandbox style games, come into the community, you want to have something you can call yours and no one else’s. [This] will only grow as more and more people turn to the internet and gaming to relax and have fun. For VRC Traders, I would love to see direct integration with the VRChat service, where you can go in-game on to the server and request something. Not only that, I hope in that time to make VRC Traders not only a service server, but a great sub community within VRChat with various events and tournaments happening or being sponsored by the server.


If you are interested in VRC Traders, you can join their Discord server.

UPDATE April 28th: Obligatory link back to the VRChat Events website (because I promised them I would do it if I cross-posted over on their Discord server, and I forgot!): www.vrchatevents.com