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Another gender enforcement rant

I just tried signing up again for Second Life. The first time, quite a while back, I gave up early in the process because I couldn't find a "last name" that I liked among the offered choices. Today I got farther into the form, but I ended up not signing up, because the form required me to specify a gender.

Why the fuck does SL care about my gender identity???

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
sinboy
Aug. 5th, 2008 02:58 am (UTC)
So they can target ads at you?
firecat
Aug. 5th, 2008 03:26 am (UTC)
I can see why they would *want* my gender identity for that purpose, but if they *require* it, I don't sign up at all, which makes them unable to target any ads at me.
liveavatar
Aug. 5th, 2008 03:13 am (UTC)
Ask whumpdotcom that question; he works there.
firecat
Aug. 5th, 2008 03:25 am (UTC)
Thanks, I might do.
submarine_bells
Aug. 5th, 2008 03:16 am (UTC)
It's a starting point for building an avatar. You can change just about anything later on, including making the avatar look completely neuter (or nonhuman, or whatever), but you gotta start somewhere. Also, there are some built-in default animations (which can be overridden later) that vary by gender - walk, sit pose, that sort of thing. You can change the sex of your avatar any time you like, using the same tools that you use to modify its other physical attributes. So it's not immutable in any way, it's just a point to start from.

Edited at 2008-08-05 03:17 am (UTC)
firecat
Aug. 5th, 2008 03:23 am (UTC)
It asks me to choose an initial avatar from male-appearing or female-appearing models (several of which are quite androgynous), but it *also* requires me to click a button labeling me either male or female. I don't have a problem with the avatar choices. I do have a problem with the button.
submarine_bells
Aug. 5th, 2008 03:38 am (UTC)
Yeah, it'd be nice if the underlying engine could cope with "none of the above", but given that all of the default gender signifiers are mutable once you're actually in-world, I've not found it to be a real hassle in practice. And yes, I'm pretty obligatory-gender-enforcement-averse myself - initially when I signed up I was a bit concerned that I might wind up having to be more gendered in-world than I preferred. But once I started playing around with avatar options that are available, it became obvious to me pretty quickly that there's a lot of scope for gender-subversion with avatar-building. The fact that a binary m/f choice is coded into the world's OS is a bit irritating, but once one starts exploring what one can do with one's avatar, it doesn't really seem to limit one's options at all. Still, it'd probably be worthwhile to suggest a neuter basic option as a feature suggestion to Linden Labs, as a matter of principle. If someone hasn't already done that, I'll look into it.
firecat
Aug. 5th, 2008 04:46 pm (UTC)
That would be great...
nitoda
Aug. 5th, 2008 04:46 am (UTC)
They obviously *don't* care about gender identity, just about splitting the world into two neat boxes. Procrustian (sp?) tendencies. :-(
jenk
Aug. 5th, 2008 05:34 am (UTC)
Identification purposes? Dunno.
pir_anha
Aug. 5th, 2008 07:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Another gender enforcement rant
yeah, that's stopped me from signing up as well.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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