Opinion

I guess one could say we girls are spoilt for choice when it comes to clothing, shoes, hairstyles, jewellery, and all sorts of accessories and trinkets in Second Life. Well, compared to what the guys have to make do with, I guess it’s true. There’s a wild variety of styles, mostly derived from Real Life (RL) fashion, available for us, and about three months’ worth of average Jane salaries is more than enough to stock a female avatar’s inventory to the hilt with hairstyles, clothes, shoes, lingerie, and so on.

However, it’s when you start looking at what is actually available that the wares on offer by SL vendors and content creators that you realise your options aren’t as many as you’d have liked. Today, I’ll talk about jewellery, and ankle and foot jewellery in particular.

In recent years, I avoided wearing jewellery in SL. It’s not because I don’t like jewellery; I love it. In fact, when I go for a boho kind of look in RL, I wear a fair number of rings on my fingers and toes, and I also have a few piercings in RL. The problem is… Well, there’s no polite way of putting it: The vast majority of SL jewellery designers offer pretty crappy stuff, and they even price it ridiculously. Even these days, we see necklaces, bracelets, collars, rings made of tortured prims, which drive up your complexity through the roof and, with their full bright textures and bling, make you look like you escaped from the worst visual nightmares that 2006-era Second Life had to offer.

Some designers have managed to graduate to the geometrically wasteful lagmonsters that are called sculpts – and they’re pretty determined to stay there for eternity. Also, the jewels are loaded with all sorts of scripts; especially wedding and engagement rings, which have various rather pointless and stupid scripts to locate your significant other(s) on the map – as if you haven’t already given them map rights already – , activate or deactivate full bright and bling, make obnoxious sounds etc. And don’t even get me started on the complete lack of elegant, understated, engagement and wedding rings in SL, but that’s another story.

Mesh jewels are rather rare in SL. Rigged, fitted mesh jewels for mesh bodies like the ones that are currently popular (Belleza, Maitreya, Slink, The Mesh Project, etc) are few and far between, so users of these bodies are essentially penalised. And the ones that are available aren’t always the best you can find. I’ve seen a certain creator whose fitted mesh intimate jewellery doesn’t really have any texturing to speak of, and still uses default shininess.

The situation is even more pathetic with ankle and foot jewellery. Good luck finding ankle and toe rings that are mesh, fitted, and elegant. Most of what’s available is sculpted and, even if it’s mesh, it’s merely positioned rather than fitted. Not to mention the “barefoot sandal” bandwagon that’s everyone jumped on; yes, I like barefoot sandals myself, I have a few pairs in RL too, but I want to find nice, realistic-looking anklets and toe rings in SL that don’t try to make me look like a third-rate knock-off of a Bollywood star and don’t look like an idiot’s first attempt at goth styling. And many anklets are designed to sit so high above your ankle that you wonder if they were glued there, because no amount of friction could counteract gravity in RL.

So, here’s what I hope to see w.r.t. SL jewellery:

  1. Mesh. And by mesh, I mean properly designed in a real 3D graphics application, not prims that were converted to mesh with Mesh Studio or something like that.
  2. Fitted. Yes, go out and acquire the dev kits for the most popular bodies. Then learn how to rig the jewellery for them. In fact, when it comes to anklets and rings (finger and toe rings) in particular, here’s a strategy you can follow. You can provide a package that will include:
    1. All of the rings of the pack, fitted to the hand or foot;
    2. Each individual ring of the pack, fitted to the hand or foot;
    3. A box with individual, non-fitted rings, for those who still use the “classic” avatar.
  3. Realistically-sized textures. People, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you don’t need 1024×1024 textures for diamonds and gems. In RL, gems are really small things and there’s no way in hell you can justify using such high-resolution textures for them. No, you’re not giving us “quality” by splashing such textures on gems whose diameter is a paltry 2mm. You just make our avatars ridiculously laggy and you also make yourselves look like idiots. Always remember the RL size of what you’re trying to depict.
  4. Use materials. The default shininess has become obsolete now.
  5. No full bright, or bling. Period. These things weren’t cool even in 2006, what makes you think they’ll become cool now?
  6. Meaningful scripting. We don’t want green spam from your jewellery. We don’t want our jewellery to announce we belong to xXTonyaMorriganXx Resident, we don’t want mapping scripts; if we really think xXTonyaMorriganXx Resident or .:xXXXSugarDaddyPimpXXXx:. Resident means anything to us, we’ll give them map rights and they’ll be able to spot us through the viewer, there’s no need for you to add extraneous lag with such stupid scripts. Likewise, we don’t need scripts that’ll make the ring or other jewel light up or announce anything to anyone if other avatars of our household are in the region. Just give us a colour/texture-changing HUD and a resizer that supports resizing per individual axis, and we’re happy campers.
  7. Quit trying to imitate the blingiest, flashiest, bulkiest crap you see on TV. Harry Winston’s stuff is only for showoffs, and it’s overrated. Give us elegance. In fact, if you want, I can point you to numerous gorgeous RL designs that you can draw inspiration from.
  8. Let’s go back to rigging: Be prepared to provide fitted and Bento-fitted versions of your jewellery; three months after the Bento-capable release of Firestorm is launched is a good time to launch Bento-capable jewels and update earlier designs.
  9. Quit jumping on bandwagons.
  10. If you’re going to design intimate jewellery (i.e. body piercings), then it must be mesh and fitted.

OK, that’s it for today. See you again later!

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NOTICE: The article below deals with adult and fetish-related topics and fantasies. If you are offended by such topics or are not a legal adult in your jurisdiction, I suggest you leave this instant.

In a previous post, which was inspired from and based on Inara Pey’s post of the same title, I negotiated what makes a good Dominant: the one that’s called “the loving Dominant”. One would think this topic has been covered to death, but it seems the misconceptions are a veritable Lernaean Hydra, and I’m sure shoddy depictions of the D/s scene by such films as The Secretary and such books as Fifty Shades of Grey and Histoire d’O have played a significant role to this.

I won’t hide: I’ve come to the point where I actively avoid the D/s and fetish scene in Second Life, even though I have adopted a very kinky look as my main, even though I define myself as a submissive. Why’s that? Because I’ve found out I have too little in common with the vast majority of the people populating that scene. Typically, the erotic roleplay is shallow and vapid; far too many submissives only want some instant gratification without any emotional connection to the other party / parties involved; and, finally, far too many “Dominants” are actually poseurs full of contempt for submissives, using their “Dominant” identity as an excuse to hurt others.

The audacious and aggressive tone with which I, a submissive, write this post might shock Dominants who read this post, but I do think we all need a rude awakening, because there are simply far too many domineering poseurs. Any halfwit out there can dress the part, adopt an authoritative-sounding title, hang a bull whip from their belt, wave a crop like a feather duster and start barking orders left right and centre, trying to out-dominate other Dominants, demand “respect” and bully submissives into deferring to them simply because they identify themselves as a “Dominant”. That doesn’t make them a Dominant. Not by a long shot.

Time to clarify a few things.

  • You are only a Dominant within the relationship between you and the submissives who have agreed to submit to you;
  • A submissive who is not your submissive has no obligation whatsoever to defer to you;
  • If you act in a condescending, insulting, humiliating, hurtful, spiteful manner to any submissive (including yours), you don’t deserve to be called a Dominant; instead, you are a domineering poseur; a wannabe; a mockery of a Dominant.

Real Dominants exhibit self-control; they respect, understand, and nurture their submissives. They don’t demand respect; they inspire and earn it with their consideration, kindness, empathy, sympathy, tenderness, warmth, and love. Domineering poseurs demand respect simply because they identify themselves as “Dominants”, lack any kind of self-discipline and self-control, and, in the name of their “authority”, they insult, humiliate and hurt submissives (and not only submissives…).

And make no mistake: If you’re involved with a person like that, they’ll hurt you when they get a chance, because that’s how they roll; they enjoy mistreating others, so be aware that you’re next – the question isn’t if your turn to be hurt by them will come. It’s when. Such poseurs need to be removed from the D/s scene like the cancer growth they are, because they only exist to hurt others. The wheat needs to be separated from the chaff.

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See also:

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NOTICE: The article below deals with adult and fetish-related topics and fantasies and contains NSFW imagery. If you are offended by such topics or are not a legal adult, I suggest you leave this instant.

Snapshot_018-1

Way back in March, I read an interesting post by Antony Fairport, which largely echoes my views on RLV restrictions. There’s a tendency among designers of RLV gear (collars, gags, blindfolds, etc.) to include as many different restriction types in their attachments as possible; even functions that their RL equivalents could not possibly provide.

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I’ll be blunt: The majority of the media coverage of Second Life has been sub-par for far too long. It’s been a combination of an overhyping and dismissal as a “failed project” rollercoaster, and gossipy sensationalism focusing on the virtual world’s sexual aspect in a scandal-mongering manner. Another problem with much of the coverage SL has seen in its eleven years of existence is the attitude of many journalists / pundits: they don’t let facts get in the way of their story.

Marlon McDonald

Marlon McDonald, prolific contributor for Moviepilot.com, wrote yet another scandal-mongering article on sex in Second Life.

One would probably expect something better after all these years. But, sadly, cut-throat clickbait competition for notoriety and / or ad-generated revenue makes the gossipy, sensationalist, scandal-mongering, stereotype-milking approach every bit as attractive for web-based outlets and columnists as it’s ever been for their “old media” counterparts. So, I’m not surprised to see the same old stories get regurgitated ad nauseam by pundits new and “established”. A recent example of such a pundit is Mr. Marlon McDonald, prolific contributor to Moviepilot.com. In his quest for page views and notoriety which will get him featured on the website’s homepage in his chosen category, he wrote yet another article in which he presented Second Life as little more than a cesspool of debauchery, pornography, virtual prostitution etc. Inara Pey proceeded to write a very nice rebuttal to Mr. McDonald’s article, and I highly recommend that you share it with others. She also blogged about her rebuttal here.

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Let’s dwell on this post’s title a little. If I choose to believe that X is Y’s alt, then there’s nothing that will change my mind. How many times have we encountered situations where we’ve been accused of being someone else’s alt? How many times have we introduced friends to others, only to see our friends be wrongly accused of being our alts and be given a terrible time – with all the consequences that follow from this? I’m sure you’ve all been in situations like this. And, sadly, there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it.

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