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The Insect Girl

February 3, 2011

Lillian and I picked up Pididdle’s Incognito Makeup Set at the Dressing Room a few days ago. The ad for the makeup is shown here. We decided to blog about it because… well, it challenged us, and brought up some issues we’ve been wanting to address.

If you know either of us (or even if you’ve just seen us here on this blog), you know that we both change our avatars quite a lot. We are shapeshifters and experimenters and like to wear crazy things. That is part of what we both really love about SL — you can swerve wildly between costumes, identities, concepts, trends, etc. We both appreciate that SL takes all kinds — Glamazons, Goreans, Furries, Faeries, Tinies, Twinks, Hybrids, Hipsters… whatever, it’s your second life, you should be able to do what you please with it. So this post is not about judging how you choose to present your avatar.

What it is about is this: the best creators make things, even niche things, that are flexible enough to be worn by many different types of avatars. If you create something that only fits a certain consumer audience, then your buyers are limited. Sometimes, creators who themselves fall into a specific niche end up creating items that only look good on their avatars. And that is kind of what has happened here.

And so we come to what Lillian and I affectionately call the Insect Girl. The Insect Girl is a particular type of avatar that is often seen in alt-fashion environments. She seems to have started as something of a rebel against the Barbie look that was practically enforced by the grid in earlier years, but has since evolved to become her own breed of fashionista. She is small and oddly made, somehow managing to have gourd-like curves but waifish proportions all at the same time. Her head is often sort of heart-shaped. Her mouth is a downturned little pout, her nose tiny, her eyes almost impossibly far apart. All of these factors combine into what is often a cute, bug-like appearance… but one that is very, very specific. And, unfortunately, often hard to work with.

In my experience, Insect Girls tend to create for Insect Girls. This is an issue with skins, especially — skins designed to highlight the oddities of their features make for crazy eyes and problematic mouths on more normally proportioned avatars. And so we arrive at the Pididdle makeup set from the Dressing Room.

The makeup is creative, well made and very interesting. Both Lillian and I snapped it up with high hopes that we’d be able to do something with it. But our regular avatars look absolutely batshit in this makeup.

It comes down to proportions. Though Lillian and I have very different shapes, both of us have mouths that turn slightly up at the corners and eyes that aren’t especially far apart. We tried other shapes, other colorings, and realized that the only shapes this makeup looks decent on are Insect Girl shapes.

Eventually, we became virtually the same Insect Girl.

Now, this is by no means meant to slam Insect Girls. You are proud creatures and rightly so. Rock on with your cute buggy little selves. Some of you have fantastically creative Flickr streams and make some of the best products in SL. And Lillian and I enjoyed the end result of this challenge (and laughed our asses off at the unintentional twinning). Our frustration here is simply that an interesting product is, in our shared opinion, not quite versatile enough for our wider use.

If you disagree with us and have a “normal” shape that looks fantastic in this makeup, please let us know, I’d love to see what others are doing with it! It is available (for a limited time, I think) at The Dressing Room [SLurl].

Credits: Lillian and I, as usual, are both wearing a bunch of Lamb and Pig. We will try to be better with more detailed credits in the future.

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