Thursday, June 7, 2007

Roleplay and that "other" kind of play

In an earlier rant, my tangent was the conversion of Fullton High School to Fullton University. Good ol' Fullton High. There I am (above), in my pretty formal, just before prom. The last night Fullton was a high school. The next morning, it was a university and I had aged two years. Overnight!

Was THAT ever a shock. A lot of stuff happens to a girl's body in two years. Alas, not that much outwardly changed for me, but my friend Jenny woke up with boobs the next day. Ah well, as an old friend once told me, more than a mouthful is a waste.

What, you might wonder, precipitated such a cataclysmic temporal shift? Did Kronos wake up on the wrong side of the bed and blast two years of time from existence? Did we plunge through a black hole into some strange warping of the space-time continuum? Was H.G. Welles involved? No. What happened was that two consenting adults had cybersex.

Stop the presses. Two consenting adults had cybersex?

Yes they did. But they did so with at least one of them wearing an avatar that looked like a child. And they did it with a German reporter looking on. And the German reporter wrote a little piece about that "other" kind of play .. a story that got picked up on the wire and made Linden Labs look bad. International furor over child pornography in second life. Cross cultural condemnation of that vile den of child molesters.

Now I am the first to become enraged when children are exploited by adults. I think that when an adult takes sexual advantage of a child it is rape. I find myself nodding in agreement when there is talk of mandatory castration for child predators. I am not so upset that sex offenders in the USA get smacked with an unconstitutional registry after serving their sentence. Civil libertine though I am, I will not carry a banner for their plight.

So when it happened in Second Life I .. um .. wait just a cotton pickin' minute. What child was exploited by what adult? Oh, that's right, there were no children involved. Just adults pretending to be children. You may think it is depraved. You may find it disgusting. You may wonder why anyone in their right mind would WANT to do such a thing. But you cannot call it child molesting. You must call it sexual activity between two consenting adults.

As a result of these two adults having cybersex, all sorts of things changed in Second Life. The change that affected me was the abrupt shift from high school roleplay to university roleplay. I loved high school roleplay. I could travel back to those innocent days when I was not yet a woman, but no longer a child. I could use roleplay to work through some of the emotional turbulence of youth within the framework provided by experience and age. It was like being in a high school play. It was nostalgic, it was fun, it was challenging.

And it is gone.

You see, there was a sexual undertone to Fullton High School. Of course there was. There is a sexual undertone to real High School. News flash: real teenagers have sex. But in the case of Fullton High, it was more about innuendo than hopping on poseballs (no offense to the headmistress, but the poseballs were kinda lame). It was mature innuendo .. sophisticated, funny and quite honestly sexy. Why? Because everyone involved was presumably an adult. But rules is rules, and either the poseballs or the high school had to go - and well, just to be safe, the high school had to go. One never knows when a reporter from the Sudetenland might be lurking in the halls.

The problem with university roleplaying, unfortunately, is that most people in SL are either presently attending college or relatively recent college graduates. Why roleplay what you do in your First Life? And as much as college is about "finding yourself", the really deep emotional stuff happens when you hit puberty and your neuroendocrine system goes bonkers on you.

In seriousness, I respect Linden Lab's decision to crack down on it. Bad press is bad press, and LL wants the world to have a positive image of Second Life. I suppose what I resent is that we live in a world where everyone thinks what happens in the bedroom (or chatroom) of consenting adults is the business of the General Public. But you know what? Its not.

O.K. I'll make an exception for Ted Haggard's gay crack-whore thingie. That was too funny to keep behind closed doors. I'm sure congress would be busy writing up constitutional amendments against gay crack-whore marriage if they weren't so busy trying to get in the pants of young congressional pages.

That's the other other kind of play.

(c) All Rights Reserved. Copyrighted (June 2007) by Magdalena Cazalet.

Any unauthorized reproduction of any portion of this blog without written consent is against the law and considered theft.