Life Out on the Street: When Roleplay Isn’t Roleplay

Update: Please see Tapika’s comment and my response if you read this article in full.

While it’s been difficult to squeeze in, I do enjoy roleplaying and do call myself a roleplayer. As a brief and simple review, roleplaying is improv acting, where everyone has a character and a common environment/theme to act their characters in. There are many different forms of roleplay, but that is a discussion for another time. What has flustered this fae is when the acting does not stay on the appropriate stages.

Yes, the slogan of SecondLife is “Your World, Your Imagination”. And while it is not directly supported in the SL Terms of Service, it is generally accepted that different people will do different things and to be judgmental (at least in public) is frowned upon. In combination, users may feel like they are entitled to do what they want, where they want, when they want. Staying in the sphere of roleplay, this seems especially true for the Gorean and Dom/sub cultures. Consider a common situation: you are in a non-roleplay sim at a very modern-society focused shop, and two other avatars come in, one being dragged and/or ordered around. The scene continues with the slave/pet/what-have-you calls the other Master/Mistress/etc, talks in third person, and generally does not make any decisions for themselves.

Sure, I could look away and mute, right? But that does not address the issue- as most of the slaves are women, and I identify with being female, I feel subjected to this lack of inequality. Compare it to someone of African roots standing at a grocery store and two Klu Klux Klan members speaking vocally about their racist ideals in the same aisle. It is still uncomfortable and still calls to mind the basic question of ‘What the fuck?’ What is causing people to think that this is acceptable? What is causing people to not consider others’ emotions? What is causing people to not care at all about others?

The situation becomes even more problematic when you have statements like this posted in the profile:

This girl is the property of Master Username and Community Name. She was captured on date. She is in training and is white silk restricted. She is IM restricted all convos with her will take place in open chat. All punishments are by the hand of her Master only. All concerns or compliments will be directed to her Master.

This girl is KM to Master Username and to Community Name. All punisment or concerns of this slave should be directed to the slavers of Master Username. This slave is IM and TP restricted.

These are actual examples. And frankly, I’m having difficultly exactly describing my thoughts and feelings. Because of their roleplay – their game – I couldn’t treat them like the registered adults they’re supposed to be even outside of the roleplay environment. I guess in my perspective, this seems like a way to excuse yourself from manners and shut off most of the world, which is a peeve of mine. I also take issue with people telling me what I can and cannot do, and damnit- if I have a problem with you, the most mature thing for me to do is to contact you. You are the one that did the deed, you should take responsibility.

The other major issue I have with this is that this is the impression of roleplay non-roleplayers are getting. And it is an inaccurate presentation- not even all Goreans act this way. I’ve met a few collared gals and guys that do not impose their interests on anyone and freely talk about all sorts of things, yet this potential is lost to others when they see someone being disrespected and dehumanized with a smile tattooed on.

I think the following submission from SL Secrets Week 28 bears well on the issue:

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~ by Terry Toland on February 27, 2009.

6 Responses to “Life Out on the Street: When Roleplay Isn’t Roleplay”

  1. […] Originally posted on Lifestyles of the Broke and Notorious […]

  2. […] Lifestyles of the Broke and Notorious […]

  3. […] in order of which I have already talked about them: 1.) Lack of tact. 2.) Being oblivious or rude to others to fulfill your own entertainment needs. 3.) Misidentifying things and being nasty about it. 4.) People only reading what they want to read […]

  4. […] in order of which I have already talked about them: 1.) Lack of tact. 2.) Being oblivious or rude to others to fulfill your own entertainment needs. 3.) Misidentifying things and being nasty about it. 4.) People only reading what they want to read […]

  5. The complaints is just something meant to protect the slave/sub from abusive Dom/mes not from the general public. There are Dom/mes out there who don’t have a clue and will whip and severely punish someone elses property for stupid things like not greeting them by the name they like to be called.

    These 12 year olds playing at being Dom/mes are common enough that people have to take steps like this to protect thier subs from interference.

    As for the no IM’s or TP’s. Often the slave loves to be controlled or may be being punished. That is where using real restraint, a special version of second life the slave download for themselve comes in. With it, the slave can have thier Dom/me control all these things if they wish. As always, it’s the slaves choice and no Domme can really force a slave to do anything they don’t want to do in any computer game.

    Tapika Tomsen

  6. Thank you for the information, Tapika! I know we spoke in world, and this gives me a broader perspective. While I still feel that certain aspects of a roleplay – or lifestyle, as in this case – should be tempered while in certain public areas, this helps my understanding of what’s going on.

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