Thursday, September 20, 2007

M3 - The Virtual '07

A very interesting keynote by Jeffrey Bardzell — who discussed how tools developed for platforms such as Facebook, World of Warcraft and Second Life, shape the culture production in the space in question and also how that artefact that is created is linked to, imitates and uses and is used by other media — was followed by paper presentations on young people and Internet as a public space. Patrik Hernwall and Sofia Lundmark talk about teen identity and avatar construction. Cecilia Löfberg focuses on young people's exposure of bodies online, based on their attempts to adapt to the gendered social norms. "Virtu girls" tended to act out of a feeling of responsibility, "virtu boys" tended to act out of play. The last presenter, Malin Sveningsson Elm, has studied how young people post pictures on Lunarstorm and how that was portrayed in media. Are the pictures and presentations as provocative as is portrayed by media? Her studies shows that there are gendered ways of displaying the body (girls tend to want to be beautiful — thereby choosing to show their faces mainly, boys want to show their strength — often in half-body pictures), but it's also evident that not many choose to show pictures of naked skin. What is perceived as sexy in girls/women and in boys/men? What is shown? Is it different? Why is media coverage different when girls and boys post pictures? Where to draw the line for what can be considered slutty or over the top and does that affect the choice of pictures?

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