So I read a blog on “ageplay” in SL and how the blog writer is creeped out by it. I think first I need to clarify what the blogger meant by ageplay and what I mean by it.
To the author of the blog, “ageplay” meant any adult pretending to be a child (as in, having a child avatar) in any capacity at all, sexual or otherwise.
To me, and to LL, “ageplay” means pretending to be a child (again, having a child avatar) for sexual purposes. That does NOT include being an adult and having an adult avatar who wears pigtails and a school uniform. It means the whole “want some candy little girl?” thing being played out.
A commenter suggested that a child avatar saying in chat that some “bad people” took her to a “bad place” where they were doing “bad stuff” must mean that the avatar’s person was in fact fishing for such things, because if they’d been really disturbed they’d have broken character and said so. But as I mention in this blog post, when you’re using a child avatar you’re always in that mindset. Had it been Petal who had been lured to a disturbing situation, I probably would have broken character at the time to say, “You guys are sick. I’m ARing you right now.” I still would probably put it in the out-of-character double parentheses. And then, talking to someone about it later, I would probably have said something similar: that some creepy people showed me this place where there was gross stuff going on so I told on them.
I know a lot of people don’t get the idea of having a child avatar on SL. There are things that other people do on SL that I don’t get either. Chief among them, the appeal of wanting to “own” people (or be owned by someone). I can appreciate the level of trust it takes in the heat of the moment to surrender control and let someone else be in charge for once. But day-to-day, being led on a leash? I think not. But, just because it’s not for me, doesn’t mean I think other people are less than people for doing it. I don’t like it, and being near it squicks me out, so I tend to leave when I see it. But it’s something that I just personally don’t get, and it’s something that’s going to be around SL a lot so I may as well get used to seeing it from time to time.
I kind of had to chuckle at the commenter saying she failed to comprehend the appeal of RPing at all in SL. I’m going to reference another of my blog posts, which states–and I still strongly believe today–that everyone in SL is RPing, at least to some degree. You’re suspending disbelief and imagining things that aren’t tangible outside of this virtual medium. You’re flying, teleporting, going underwater, living in a house unlike your RL one, probably looking unlike your RL self, with a name that isn’t exactly identical to your RL name. If your avatar looks, acts, dresses, lives, and does every single thing exactly like your RL self, I must ask, what are you even doing on SL at all? If you’re contacting friends, can you not do that with Skype or Twitter or email? If you’re promoting your creative works, can’t you just do that with a blog or a regular website? There’s something else in SL, something deeper, that enables you to contact your friends, but imagine you’re doing so in a really great club. It enables you to share your music, but imagine you’re doing so on stage as if those people are right in front of you. If you’re imagining, if you’re putting on face or showing a facet of your personality that is in any way more like what you want than what is, you’re playing a role.
The only difference is that some of us have a more richly detailed role that we choose to play than others. I for one am here to do whatever I wish to do, and to be whomever I wish to be. I think a whopping majority of SLers would agree with and share that sentiment. Some of us wish to be elves. Some of us wish to be doormats on leashes. Some of us wish to be antrhopomorphic animals in the style of Disney or Looney Tunes. Some of us wish to be our usual adult human selves, only with more money and more power. Some of us wish to be our usual adult human selves, only on a tropical island. Some of us wish to be kids. You don’t have to “get” other people’s wishes. I know I don’t get everyone’s. But please get that it is what they wish, and they’re no less worthy of human decency and respect than you are.
I just recently heard that LL allows child avatars on Zindra, the new Adult continent, provided they are really age-verified adults and they don’t participate in sexual ageplay. In theory, it seems sound, but I think in practice it’s a slippery slope. Hell, I think damn near everything related to this whole “adult exodus” bullshit is–well, bullshit. LL is trying to clearly define in a very short period of time what the US Supreme Court still hasn’t been able to in all its history: that X is dirty, Y is indecent, and Z is OK. It’s trying to spell out under what circumstances nudity and sexuality are “bad” and who can and should be exposed to it and when. The whole thing is an exercise in futility in my opinion. They should stick to fixing the lag.