Saturday, May 5, 2007

Where is Swirly, Lacoste?

Most of you would have heard about the "Become a Model in a Second Life" contest being run by real life clothing company Lacoste. The contest offers 6 avatars the opportunity to model in a fashion show for Lacoste in Second Life, and share in a 1 million linden prize pool. Our very own esteemed fashionista and Fashion Victim blogger Swirly Cyclone entered the contest, but if you search for her name amongst the entrants, she is nowhere to be found. Swirly says she experienced no technical difficulties when submitting her entry, she did not breach any of the contest rules, and her entry was submitted within the required time frame. This leads me to the conclusion that Lacoste simply chose not to add her as a contestant.

The entry criteria for the contest stated that images submitted by contestants must enable a good display of the avatar's face and body, and at least one photo must show the avatar standing. All photos needed to be less than 100kb in size. The images could not feature any elements likely to cause offense, or any infringement of copyright. As you can see from the photos Swirly submitted to Lacoste, all of these entry conditions were met.

So what possible reason could Lacoste have for not accepting Swirly's entry? Surely it couldn't be because her avatar is a little......... voluptuous? A bit on the cuddly side? Could Lacoste be SIZEST?? In a virtual world where people are able to choose a graphical representation of themselves that can range from a cute kid to a furry animal, is it really so unacceptable for someone to choose an avatar that embraces the aspects of femininity that are universal to millions of women the world over? Can beauty in SL only be expressed through an avatar that resembles a Barbie doll with implants? Judging by the number of blingtard bimbo avatars flooding the grid, and the extreme lack of avatars who resemble REAL people, perhaps this really is the case. And where does this leave the brave few who choose to express themselves with an avatar that more closely resembles their real life, imperfect selves?

I spoke with Swirly about her feelings regarding her apparent exclusion from the Lacoste contest, and about her perceptions of beauty in Second Life in general.

Stephanie Misfit: Swirly, why do you think that your entry was not included in the Lacoste modelling contest? Are you upset about this?
Swirly Cyclone: Darling, it's really quite obvious. Lacoste wanted to give all the contestants a fair chance in the competition, and if Swirly was a contestant, nobody else would have a hope of winning! Obviously, Swirly isn't pleased that she won't get to take home a huge cash prize, but that's nothing a rich fiance can't fix :)
Stephanie Misfit: Um, yes, I can definitely see your point there Swirly, but what I am getting at here is that despite your obvious attractiveness, you don't quite fit the stereotype of beauty in SL. Do you think that Lacoste could have excluded you because you aren't 6 feet tall and skinny?
Swirly Cyclone: Well dear, that would be rather silly of them now wouldn't it? Swirly looks at all those poor skinny girls and just wants to take them out for a big feed of donuts to help them get a little meat on their bones! Anorexic little things who can barely stand up under the weight of their overinflated bosoms, it's really rather sad isn't it darling? Swirly really can't imagine that Lacoste would find the stick insect look appealing, can you dear? Speaking of which, when was the last time you ate a decent meal?
Stephanie Misfit: Swirly, have you ever experienced any discrimination in SL because of your appearance?
Swirly Cyclone: Don't be ridiculous dear. Swirly is regarded as one of the most beautiful women in SL. Of course she is treated differently to other people because of this, but that's hardly discrimination now is it?
Stephanie Misfit: Who would you like to see win the Lacoste contest now that you aren't participating, and why?
Swirly Cyclone: Haver Cole, dear. For a thin girl she just oozes style, and of course she is Swirly's landlord, so vote for her NOW darlings so Swirly gets a rent discount! Swirly isn't familiar with all the contestants, but she was rather impressed with Colleen Desmoulins and Aradia Dielli too, very pretty girls.
Stephanie Misfit: One last question Swirly, would you care to comment on your recent engagement to Stephen Bentham, who is of course Caliah Lyon's boyfriend?
Swirly Cyclone: Stephen has payment info used and even owns land. He is everything Swirly has ever dreamed of! The wedding may be somewhat delayed as for some unknown reason Caliah is reluctant to make a custom wedding ring for Swirly.