There are so many cultures in Second Life. Like so many virtual worlds, the power to create is a strong part of the mix. It includes not only creating your avatar into something fantasy based, but also RP (role play) for most situations. But why exactly do subcultures exist? Is it the ability to be something we cannot in RL? Perhaps it’s for the creation of it all. Or even to relive something via your avatar, which could be the case in becoming a child avatar or parent.
Being a vampire in SL myself, I can honestly say it’s to be something that I have always loved the lore of. Stories, movies and characters with abilities we do not have in RL...immortality. Bloodlines is one of the top subcultures in Second life. The Bloodlines web page shows us that approximately 133 thousand players are registered within this role play system. For most involved in Bloodlines it’s about family as well. The freedom to create a Vampire Clan, Lycan Horde, or Human Guild, allows players to recruit friends and have different social events within that group.
Mermaids...what lovely half human and half fish beings they are. Who wouldn't want to immerse themselves into the fairytale of being such a mystical creature? And moreover a creature with the talent to live in the water or on land and yet be tied to a need for water leaves vulnerability.
Furries come in many a form. Again another large subculture of SL. Simply put animal characters with human personalities. Many a club and hangout is devoted to furries of SL. Some exclusive, others welcome any and all avies.
Fairies beautiful sometimes winged but usually human in appearance have been in many a folktale and mythology. I personally have always loved fairies. For me the draw to them was how they dress, their wings and just the pure almost innocent look of a fairy.
Tinies...well who can resist cuteness? Am I right? One avatar all rolled up into a very small package. Special made avies with the intent of being the smallest avatars around. One would assume the allure to being a tiny is the size and cuteness.
Finally Child Avies...love em or hate em they too are an intrigal part of our SL world. Some relive the nostalgia of childhood via their child avie, while some others also choose to be a child vampire forever immortalized as a young soul, unable to die but forever within the innocent naivety that is childhood. Cute clothes and a pint sized you...the allure that is the beauty of all sweet and pure. While moderate and adult sims have to have different rules per TOS on child avies there are many a child avatar and many places where it is more than acceptable to be a lil one. Some also with the popularity of SL pregnancy have chosen to be the "child" of others within SL. Another outlet to gain the bonds and closeness of family through role play.
But the question here is why do these subcultures exist? What draws people to them and why do they have such a following? Thus far you have read my idea on why they're here within SL. And now I'll ask one person of each subculture why that subculture exists to them.
We'll start with Bloodlines which covers Vampires/Lycan/Human cultures all into one:
Becca Drascol: Why do you think the Bloodlines subculture exists in SL?
Noir8Sagato Resident: First time for rp but now it is for the creator a money maker.
Becca Drascol: Why does bloodlines exist for you personally?
Noir8Sagato Resident: Family and role-play.
Becca Drascol: Why does the furry subculture exist in SL (in your opinion?)
ZeBooty Resident: Well Furries have always existed. And SL allows people to play as their
sonas fairly easily.
Becca Drascol: And why does it exist for you personally? Anything that makes it special for you?
ZeBooty Resident: Why it exists... That's hard to say. And I don't really know how to answer that.
For Mermaids, Fairies, and Tinies I got the opinion of an SL resident who has been a lil bit of everything:
Becca Drascol: Why does the mermaid culture exist in SL?
Aurora Yardley: Mers...are for me truly free. They live in communities or solitary the groups that gather are like everyone else in SL. They have homes ...dance clubs (the dances are in 3 dimensions) and graceful.
Becca Drascol: Why do you feel the Fairy subculture exists?
Aurora Yardley: Ok ...there is a common link to fantasy creatures Mers...Fae. Petites and tinies ...they all are personal expressions of one's inner self and like human groups they like to gather and share ideas avie adaption tips. An endless list they are open to each other and to the human public.
Aurora Yardley: The sims they all gather in generally are tailored to their needs. Mermaids and mermen go where there is water anywhere and mix with the normal humans over the entire scope of SL... Fairy folk mix in well with fantasy sims very well, they can be very cute, or devilishly naughty playing pranks. Again like with any living thing they are unique and no two are alike.
Becca Drascol: Oh I'm sure there is a lot of creativity to each and for each person.
Aurora Yardley: For each genre it is an endless scope of variation. I collect skins and adapt them to roles I take on.
Finally we come to child avies:
Becca Drascol: Why does the child av subculture exist in SL?
BabyGirlVivi Resident: It is a way of life in which they choose to relive something they didn't get to live in real life, sometimes reliving what they couldn't in real life gives them closure and helps them battle through things easier in life reliving it in SL by being more of what they would've liked to live out more like than they may have RL.
Becca Drascol: Some people choose to adopt the role of being another avatars child in SL. Is this something you would do or have done?
BabyGirlVivi Resident: Yes I would love to do that. I have longed to find a family that would love to take in an avatar like mine. It isn't easy to come by, some may freak about it others really enjoy seeing avatars like myself. Another avatar that enjoys a child avatar understands the reasoning for us the way we are and are a great help to us if they take us in. The connection of being another avatar's child in SL is again reliving what we maybe didn't get to in RL, finally with another avatar's help we can feel at home, loved, cared about, and nourished with open arms and heart of the chosen avatar that wants the role of a child avatar in their SL lives. And at same time we can make fantasy for those that choose to do so, that they struggle to have RL.
To Sum it up:
Rather for fantasy or creativity we create the avatar we feel comfortable in and then we seek a place to belong and we find that place among some form of SL subculture. Be you Vamp, Lycan, Human, Furry, Mermaid, Tiny or Fairy, we all have found our place for our own reasons and our own escape into the world which we call our second lives.