Sunday, 28 November 2010

Is This Turning You On? is an exhibit by Scylla Rhiadra

Is This Turning You On? is an exhibit by Scylla Rhiadra which takes a much needed look at the extent of "fantasy" violence against women in Second Life. Cybersex is pretty much everywhere in Second Life. But anyone who has spent anytime in the Second Life community can tall you about the extent to which sexual bondage plays a major role in Second Life.

My own assessment of the level of violence play against women

Bondage in Second Life has fascinated me since I started this exploration and I have written a number of posts on the subject. I think the acts of hard core animated or enacted visual violence are pretty much on the extreme side of the spectrum, and most domination play in Second Life is entirely verbal and not really any domination at all. Actually what has struck me so much is how much just ordinary "cybersex" is branded as bondage in Second Life, and scenes beyond kneeling or the occasional whipping are very rare. So I have tended not to see bondage play as a feminist issue as much as an identity issue relating to the medium of Second Life and virtual reality. That is not to say I don't think there are issues of women's rights involved, there certainly are, it is only that I have looked at why so much empty "playing" of bondage takes place around communications that in themselves are more mainstream. That is how Second Life promotes bondage identity branded on fairly normal sexuality.

I would also probably argue that the exihibit gives a more radical view of the bondage scene thent he more banal day to day play that really takes place. Second Life bondage is probably more like sex games played between couples than anything shown in the Gor novels.

Still one can not escape the reality of violence direct at women in Second Life imagined spaces

I have seen a few things in the Gor world that disturbed me. A few years ago I saw a group of people who had hacked animations to kill women and "killed" a woman standing next to me. It was a pretty twisted animation, but it didn't even result in her being TPed home, as with weapons. I have seen some bound women wearing scares, and seen place selling wounds and cuts for women.

Though it is my impression that the actual day to day activity of bondage in Second Life is not as radical as shown in this exhibit, one can not escape the reality that in Second Life female avatars are generally shown in the submissive role. Female slave play like Gor or Story of O is extremely common in-World. To be honest I have a pretty shallow overall view of a wide range of SL culture. I go to a lot of places but it has been a long time since I have even gotten involved in any community. I am not sure what is happening in locations located so high that only a direct LM will get you there. This is the Second Life version of an unlisted number and when you are in-world you see masses of people in such private groups. I could easily image thousands of players are taking bondage beyond some kneeling and IMing to some very disturbing stuff.

Second Life culture generally does not tolerate anything that can in any way be taken as child play, but violence against women is actaully just so everyday it is almost invisible.

Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
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