Wednesday, August 19, 2009

For Those Uncomfortable with The "Gender" Issue

Dear Miss Piggy,

I was shocked and disappointed to learn today that you are not really a woman, but a man named Frank Oz. People have feelings!
Poor Kermit must be heartbroken.

Can you imagine how sickened people were to find that the adorable little coquette they've had crushes on for all these years has a penis. Don't you have any shame? Now I have to wonder about all of you Muppets. Next thing you know, Cookie Monster is going to come out as a cross-dressing dyke. It just makes my skin crawl.

Just because newfangled television technology can let you pretend to be something you're not, it doesn't mean you have to start "experimenting" with us as the guinea pigs.

Take my advice MR. PIGGY and be content with who you REALLY are.




Shava said...

Tuna Oddfellow and I applaud you, Botgirl. We are all art. Even in *real life* we are all art.

That you felt that you had to destroy the fourth wall of the screen to be able to connect in RL is a sign of personal authenticity and desire for community.

And besides, zomg, that post was really funny. Who knew people at Children's Television Workshop were allowed to have penises! :)

teddlesruss said...

Don't worry Miss Piggy, I'd go out with you in SL if I met you there.

Actually, I think I *have* met you and gone out with you in SL... %)

Ener Hax said...

why can't we be anything we want to be? gee, some peeps in the 60's said we could be moon people and it seems we can be!

too bad your penis is your identity (we all start out female biologically, so freak out on that why don't you) =)

i love Botgirl because Botgirl is more "real" than you are mr. anonymous

GoSpeed Racer said...

" Take my advice MR. PIGGY and be content with who you REALLY are. "

Who we really are is pretty subjective. Getting technical we are hairless apes with a penchant for acquiring knowledge for the purpose of dominating our environment, ensuring our survival. Pffft, you want that in SL? Go look in a mirror instead. SL leaves the physical realities of our existence behind and frees the mind for further exploration and expression.

sororNishi said...

I REALLY am Soror, and when my RL grid goes offline...all that will be left of me is these few bits of data.

Good job I am immortal then.

melponeme_k said...

Frank Oz did not go out into the world as Miss Piggy. He didn't explore life as an anthropomorphic pig. Miss Piggy had no life. It was always Frank Oz.

Again, Frank Oz did not hide the fact that he was Miss Piggy or interact with others as her.

This is the difference between Miss Piggy and your character Botgirl.

This is not an uncomfortable gender question. But now that you bring that snafu up.

Why wasn't Botgirl plain? Why wasn't she a minority? Why couldn't she be fat? Or for that matter why did she have to look human at all?

Why did she have to be the typical Blonde, male fantasy?

How were you treated as a woman on the grid? There was nothing about that in your travels. Where you grief stalked? That is a common occurrence. How did that make you feel, if it did?

Remember, at the end of the day, you could turn off Botgirl and go back to privileged male entitlement in RL. Whose tech grants you the right to play an idealized woman.

But I and other women can not do that.

So don't act the injured party please.

Dale Innis said...

... and then there's the whole Species Issue... ewwwww...

Botgirl Questi said...

melpone_k: I view much of my work as performance art. The tension between a viewer's visceral response to Botgirl's physical characterists on the one hand, and the utter lack of information about the human behind her on the other, was the mojo that powered the entire endeavor up until this point.

Funny thing is, the points you raise about stereotypical conceptions of beauty are exactly the kind of questions I tried to incite in my audience's minds. If you read through the blog from start to finish, you might find that we're not too far apart in our critique modern culture.

If not, I'm happy to keep the discussion going or just agree to disagree.

R. said...

Gender issues aside, Frank Oz is still a guy who's spent the better part of 40 years with a hand up a pig's ass.

That's gotta be some kind of record.


Botgirl Questi said...

Crap, you always cut to the heart of the issue! (Or whatever organ is handy.)

Amanda Shinji said...

being a RL female and RL lesbian, I just stuck to what I knew when I entered SL and created my virtual lesbian persona too... Which lead me to explore the lesbian venues in SL and this is where I encountered plenty of men masquerading as women... In fact, they were easy to spot.

What people seem to be forgetting here is that SL is virtual... You CAN be anything you want to be and if you can't, someone will be able to help you get damn close.

Ok, so someone you thought was female on the other side of the screen turns out to be a married bloke? Welcome to Second Life. Theres a shower over there where you can wash the sand out of your hair.

Never having spoken to Botgirl in SL, I can't vouch if he/she made the full on transition or was rather a very easy to spot bloke typing with one hand kind of deal, but even so, I find it funny that people are getting so worked up about it...

Truth? I reckon those who are miffed and complaining have just had their crush bubbles burst as they all fancied Botgirl and now they feel that makes them gay, which of course is a terrible thing isn't it... ;)

Edna said...

I don't believe in the authenticity of the letter either, now that you've abused our trust sooo badly. I'm pretty sure you've made it up just to provoke ^.^

Jacek said...

I too am shocked and horrified that Botgirl is not what she claimed to be!

A woman? No, don't be ridiculous, she never claimed to be a woman! I mean, that she's not an artificial intelligence that became self-aware and was now observing and analyzing human society in order to try to understand it!

I feel extremely hurt and my trust violated, especially after that romantic evening we spent together clinically evaluating and analysing poseballs for efficacy. How was I to have any clue that you were actually being driven by a human?! Besides the total implausability of the idea of a self-conscious SL bot, I mean.

Now I'm going to have to cry myself to sleep and ponder my sexuality with regards to non-artificial entities. I hope you're happy, "Botgirl" -- if that even is your real name!? Which it isn't. But still!! Hmmph!


Botgirl Questi said...

Shava and Tuna: Thanks so much! It will be interesting to see how this change impacts my work and its reception. I thought the letter was so over the top that it would be taken as pure parody, I dunno. :)

Teddlesruss...: I hope I didn't offend any virtual pigs!

Ener: I can usually remember that people posting negatively are dealing mostly with long-term dragons they keep fighting. And there's a great Tibetan practice called "The Wheel of Sharp Weapons" which uses all criticism as a practice of purification.

GoSpeed: I don't even know what "who we are" really means any more. There is "what we do", "what we believe", "what have we experienced", etc. But our attributes don't add up to a fixed entity.

soror: Live forever and prosper then!

Amanda: Thanks for the benefit of the doubt! I repeatedly mentioned that I claimed no particular human gender, age, etc.

low: Um. Sorry?

Jacek: Memories light the corners of my mind...of the way we were. ;)

ZE design Zigadena Gabardini-Emarald Harvey said...

well be who you like its second life remember ??
I wish you the best/ZIG

Anonymous said...

I hope your work continues as it always been. Perception is something we cannot do much about because some people will choose to make a big deal about this. The issue of gender within Second Life is something that is so convoluted that it should be taken at face value. Names no longer define the sex of the avatar because of the variety and inventiveness of the users. As was told to me by a friend online, "names don't mean a thing anymore, you just have to accept it for what you see until you are told or you are given a clue."

In role play sims, characters change genders very often so it's something I have gotten used to. Event though this is not a role play sim, we have to acknowledge that Second Life, gives you the liberty to portray yourself as you see fit. Why should we judge anyone for presenting themselves in a different gender, considering that the only thing Botgirl did was present interesting topics for discussion and entertaining web serials in the form or comic books and videos. Personally, I look forward to more from Botgirl, regardless who is at the controls, as long as the content and the conversations continue on as it has been.