I’m not sure what surprises me more, the fact that a University have been studying whether male or female avatars show more skin, or whether it’s discovering there’s a Laval University in Canada!
The study was conducted by Laval University by researchers studying more than 400 avatars. The results were that 71 percent of male avatars kept at least 75 percent of their body covered, whereas only 5 percent of females did. At the other end of the spectrum, female avatars revealed 25 to 49 percent of their flesh, as opposed to just 9 percent of males.
I’m a tad bemused as to what the aim of this report was, you can tell that females reveal more skin from males from just looking at clothing lines on the marketplace, indeed there are often complaints that female avatars have too much choice of what is termed, slutwear, and nowhere near enough choice when it comes to a more conservative choice. I’m not a fashionista so I can’t really comment on how the land lies but female avatars revealing more flesh than males is not a surprise to me.
The author of the study is apparently Dr Matthieu Guitton, whom a quick googling reveals, is very much a fan of Second Life and publishes articles at Cyberbehavior and Cyberworlds. Maybe if I could find the full report I’d get more context on exactly what the point of this study was, until then I only have the tongue in cheek reports that include such gems as thanking Laval University for reminding them that Second Life is still around and commenting that you can get a penis for a male avatar for around 4 cents.
There could be more serious issues regarding such a study, I know Iris Ophelia over at New World Notes has commented on the portrayal of female avatars in online worlds and games more than once, but I’m not sure what angle the Laval University report is coming from.
I think I am more impressed about Laval University being interested in Second Life than I am with the news of this report!