Just a bit about the Plurk and blog drama that went on yesterday.
As you all know, I roleplay a Victorian gypsy in Second Life, in the Steamlands sim. I have never represented myself to be a true gypsy, or even represented that I was depicting true gypsy culture. I believe that I have always been clear in the reverse, that I am not gypsy or representing true gypsy culture. It’s Steampunk/Victorian/Fantasy and I assumed this was clear if not by my words at least by the milieu.
I was notified by a person in my blog commentary that they disagreed with the stereotypical representation I was roleplaying. I thought we were having a conversation, but discovered it had also been put on a Plurk timeline. The timeline was without my name, blog name or address, but it was pretty easy to find – as indicated by the large increase in hits on my blog.
I got upset and posted my distress (I am a musician, I can be emotional) on my Plurk, privately to friends. I also did not name the other Plurk though, once again, it was easy to find and was soon guessed. One of my friends then posted something on the other Plurk in defense of me which, although I appreciate deeply the thought and motivation, do not agree with the sentiment written. However, this person is one of the few in SL (or RL) for that matter that know some of the issues I am going through and is highly defensive for me. This is all I will say about this person as it is not my purview.
Things spiralled into the usual Plurk drama from there.
Before I go on, let me state that at no time was I offended by the criticism in my blog commentary. It was polite, explained well and I understood the thought. However, I was – and still am – hurt by the race to judgement of me, by the names I was called and the insinuations in Plurk. I am a reasonable person, talk to *me*. I will admit when I am wrong, and do not think I deserved the sentiments thrown my way in that timeline or in others.
I have many friends that question the motivation(s) of those criticizing me and my blog. I will admit to having reservations as well.
But it doesn’t matter.
I understand the criticisms of stereotype. I may not agree with it completely but I am older and remember a time when there was much more racism in this country. My own ethnic group is often stereotyped unfavorably in the US, much less than it was when I was growing up, but it still there. My own ethnic group’s stereotype is the basis of many roleplay venues, even in SL. It never bothered me. But then, my own ethnic group was never discriminated against like gypsies have been the world over – so I will not pretend to say I understand the pain. So just because I may not agree completely with the criticism of my character, does not mean I am right or do not to see the validity. I hope that makes sense.
I apologized in the comments in my blog, and I apologize here. I apologized in another’s Plurk timeline and tried to explain myself – not to justify but explain my thinking. For some that wasn’t good enough, and even my comments there were subject to more criticism. That’s fine, I need to do no more explaining of myself. I will admit to being clueless, unthinking of how my rp could hurt others, but I will not acept the charges of blatant racism, stupidity of history and whether gypsies are real people, and all the rest.
No matter what some people who only know me from SL think, I am not ‘attached’ to roleplaying a gypsy. I have in the past, roleplayed a medieval fantasy minstrel later promoted to a Court Bard, an ancient Briton chieftain’s daughter (one of two twins, that was fun!), a Blood Elf spoiled Priestess, and a 1920’s female jazz pianist in Chicago. When I came back to SL, I wanted a musician/storyteller to fit into the Steamlands and Cala Mondrago, so a Victorian Spanish gypsy named Lynn was born. And honestly – yes I am vapid – I liked the clothes.
Now I am thinking, is a time for a ‘reboot’. Spiderman can do it, for goodness sake Star Trek can do it, Lynn Mimistrobell can do it as well. Its not like where I am in SL is strict on the roleplay (and thank goodness, thats not what I am looking for at this stage of my life).
Now for any that think I am abdicating or losing a battle or giving up, please do not think that. I do not really care what the motivations are of the people that reviled me; I can see that my character could rub some the wrong way. It is my strong belief that if I see what I am doing can hurt others, it is my duty to not do that if at all possible.
In addition, to be honest, I am kind of happy to do this. My motivations and what I want to do in SL have changed since I returned a year ago, and I had painted myself into an RP box. And as silly as it sounds, since the rp is not really important in SL, I like to have that background. I like to write background stories – for me. And the deadend I had painted myself into had stunted my writing. So… reboot!! And I already have the character in my head that will allow me to wear all the different types of clothes I want in SL, including stereotypical gypsy.
I will over time clear up some of the gypsy items here and in Plurk, other than those embedded in web addresses or names. I will probably eventually get rid of the stories. I will not delete the pictures as I was simply blogging gypsy, Boho and faux-gypsy wear as seen in SL.
Now…. I would like commentary, here or in Plurk. Not on what happened or what I am doing (unless you have ideas!!) but on roleplaying in general – without degenerating into namecalling or arguing. Should someone only rp an ethnicity or culture they are part of? One they know the history of? What are the parameters and guidelines? What are your thought on rp?
Oh, and guess who got permission to buy a Jupiter-50 last night? 🙂