In early September, Hybrid Ansar threw down the gauntlet by challenging webloggers to oversize their female and, it also turns out, their male shapes. As I mentioned in an earlier post (“Muscling in on Identity”), this meme and Botgirl’s post on changes of identity through time caused me to feel the impact of FL cultural messages — not only the messages themselves but also the mechanisms (traditional media, new media, the collective we, individuals, you, me) that – without even realizing it – may be shaping-reinforcing messages of desired identity. Afterall, none of us lives in a vacuum. With the explosion of media, how does an individual drill through the ever-increasing density of cultural messages? This meme — oversizing and styling our shapes (the meme says “not chunky”…I’m not sure what that means, so I took it to mean over-muscling) — really brought all these twinges and questions to the forefront for me.
It took a bit of fussing with the sliders. (To some degree, this was for me also about learning slider skills, because at their different levels, the overall sense of proportion didn’t always jive with what I expected.) I also wanted to create a confident style, one that worked identically on both shapes.
My height is at the 100 mark — which is probably as tall (if not taller) than Barbie (scaled from doll to human form). The same Barbie — the Mattel-branded “utlimate” in idealized physical identity — whose shape has not changed one iota in 50 years. (She’s also the original ADD poster child with her 700 careers.) Yet despite her idealized identity in all ways, it stikes me how very much more powerful we are…we have choice in all worlds. Too, in SL, we can hold our shapes constant like Barbie. But unlike Barbie, we also have the power to change our shapes radically on a whim. For this meme, I amped up pretty much all of the sliders, including the size of my head and hands. The only slider I didn’t touch were for the feet and only because shoes are made to fit a size 0, so they stayed a 0. With the trenchcoat, I didn’t adjust the collar or belt; you can see they’re not as prominent in the first two pictures as they are on the last two pictures.
I like that the collar and the belt also show the difference between the images. If I knew how to photoshop the pictures together, I would have done that to show the differences in height and shape along the same visual dimensions. But since photoshop is still a mystery tool to me, my learning how to do that will probably take some time.
So what does my oversized shape “say” to me? It confirms to me that presence — an easy, confident presence — is very powerful and sexy. In all shapes. Really, more than anything else, I think it has much more to do with how well we know and like ourselves through all the variables that make us uniquely us…and how well we deal with the time-driven “work in progress” of bringing out our best, in thoughts
and in physical manifestation, which includes actions. And which reminds me…I might have to try this meme on my work-in-progress male shape too.
Meanwhile, if Barbie could talk, she might actually be singing this with Gwen…