Monday, July 31, 2017

Little Issues: Explaining The "Fox Reporter" Look.

By Bixyl Shuftan

Most of what I write about is at least mildly serious, such as charities, or a location someone spent a great deal and time and effort to make. But occasionally there are certain trivial but amusing, nagging, or both, issues that aren't going away from your mind. Especially when someone keeps reminding you.

As a fan of science-fiction and fantasy, I've had as my look a "furry" avatar from the start of my Second Life experience. Initially, it was the starter "ringtail" that was available as an option for a beginning avatar at the time. But once I had the cash for another, after some thought I chose upon the Luskwood red fox avatar. I had roleplayed a felinoid in a sci-fi game a few years before. But after reading Tiffany Ross' "Cyantian Chronicles" in which the foxfolk in her story universe had one of the more detailed and interesting, sometimes tragic, histories of the peoples there, perhaps it was time for a change. That the red foxes in the Cyantian stories were traditionally soldiers or blue collar workers was the reason for the fur color.

At first, I would wear a green shirt, which was a leftover from my days in the "Runescape" MMO (what I played before "World of Warcraft"), along with clothes similar to what I wore in real life, a brown jacket and slacks. I had to skip the shoes as my feet were just too big. But after I landed a job in James and Dana's Second Life Newspaper, I used my first pay to get myself a white fedora and tan leather overcoat. Since I was a reporter, I wanted to look like one. And so, I went about in the classical 20th Century reporter's look. And with the most popular news channel being Fox News, well, that helped add to it with the "fox reporter" catchphrase.

Over the years, I would get other avatars, from Lusk stripped skunk to Kani bunny to AX hyena, to black human, and many others, which I change to on occasion. But the Luskwood red fox has continued to remain my main avatar. I sometimes change to other clothes while still being foxy, such as the red Victorian era suit I occasionally wear at the Steamlands, or a black jacket and jeans while on a motorbike. But usually I can be found with the fedora and overcoat. Although all of my avatars, aside from the human, are PG nude due to the coat of fur, I always go about with at least a pair of shorts in them, except for the mesh tinies and micro fox, which I have yet to find pants for.

Most people are happy with this look, calling it neatly dressed. But one friend for some time has been nagging me a bit, "Why do you wear clothes?"

Although she on occasion has on a full dress, she prefers going about with very little clothes. If someone had a coat of fur, even a short one, she feels realistically would mean he or she couldn't wear much for long. The overcoat and long slacks, she feels, would realistically lead to me quickly overheating. So she feels the coat and pants have to go.

I disagree. For one, this look was popular even indoors in the days before air conditioning. People just dealt with the heat. And in the colonial era when Europeans went to travel about, or take jobs, in places in the tropics, while a few were "going native," most continued to wear their existing clothes meant for a much colder climate in the hot tropical sun. Even if they didn't see the locals as "savages," it was simply the thing to do.

Tiffany Ross would also say a few things on the matter in her comic forums some years ago. The furry people of her fictional world of Cyantia didn't have a nudity taboo, but most who lived in cities and towns still wore clothes in public. As she saw it, clothes allowed her Cyantians, as well as humans in real life, a chance to distinguish themselves as individuals, even for those who aren't fashion snobs. Plus it helped distinguish themselves from those who went "feral" and abandoned civilization, and their clothes.

And of course, if you're standing upright, your "family jewels" are more exposed to things like low branches and flying rocks. So some kind of cover is needed to prevent what realistically would have you bending over in pain.

So the clothes stay. While you may see me in something other than the coat and fedora on the fox on occasion, or an avatar other than the fox such as the skunk at some Relay events, if anyone sees me stark naked in public, it's from a computer glitch.

As for why always a male avatar, aside from when my friends raise an enormous amount of money for charity, that's an issue I've already discussed in December 2013. As for why I haven't replaced this avatar that's been around for over ten years, that's another story.

Bixyl Shuftan

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