Is SL a version of paper dolls?

I had an interesting revelation the other day which I am sure that many if not most people have caught onto long before me. Paper dolls is a large part of what makes the SLeconomy go round. I have heard many references to SL as playing barbie, which holds a lot of truth because you can have your malibu dream home, your anatomically lacking boyfriend, and even a pink corvette to drive around town. However, I think that my observations of Jell’s spending habits of late represent more of a 3 dimensional rendition of paper dolls. (You know the game where little girls make paper cut out dresses to put on various cardboard doll frames.) She literally reads the feeds, finds something she thinks looks hot or interesting, logs in to buy it, puts it on her virtual frame, admires her cuteness, mayhaps even takes a pic for flickr, then logs back out. Something about this ritual really fascinates me.

Jell finds a tremendous sense of satisfaction in knowing that she logged out with something new and looking hot – even if she is the only person to ever see it or know that she even owns it!   I find this very hard to relate to.   Mayhaps it is because I am male, or just the fact that I am pretty loathe to spend money in SL these days, but my general approach is to log Hawks in with the same outfit for up to a couple of weeks at a time.   At some point I get tired of seeing him in what he is wearing, and I will change out for something else in my inventory.   I have tons of clothes, and probably 50% of my total inventory is from the Block back when the Block was the cool place to get clothes.  Regardless, I can find something for any occassion and I am good to go.

I got to thinking about how much money this game of paper dolls is generating into the SL economy.   I would say it is a pretty safe estimate to say that Jell buys on average about 3 outfits a week, 2 new hair styles, a pair of shoes, and probably a third of a skin (meaning she buys a new skin at least every 3 weeks.)   Using an estimate of 500L per outfit, 250L per hair style, 250L per shoes, and 1000L for a skin.   She would be spending about 2,500 L per week.   Using an exchange rate of 260L per USD$1, this would be USD$9.61 a week.    However, it doesn’t stop there.   Nobody likes to change their clothes in a store all the time (especially since the easiest way is to get naked.)   Now you need a place of your own to set home, where you can change clothes in semi-privacy.   Let’s assume you go middle of the road and pay around 1,000L per week in tier, you are now looking at a grand total of 3,500L or USD$13.50 a week just to play paper dolls.    USD$13.50 turns into USD$700 a year.   It doesn’t take too many individuals to start to really add up and make a significant contribution.  For every 1,000 people you are adding USD$700,000 pumped into the virtual economy.

These individuals are not heavy players.   If you think about it, you can log into a slurl from the feed and be there, rez the store, find the outfit, buy it, tp home, put it on, look at your cuteness, take a pic, and be out of there in probably a 15 minute window.   This is done multiple times throughout the week.

Although, I don’t relate to it myself, I do understand that there are certain emotional benefits that come from seeing how cute you can make your doll.   By dressing her up in the latest trends, you can enhance your self-esteem through your sliderized version of perfection. Quite a few take a step even farther, and like to take pictures of their own dolls to share with the world through blogging the latest styles to the world.   For me, I will dust off that old vintage t and pair of jeans that fits just right.


3 Responses to “Is SL a version of paper dolls?”

  1. SL is paper dolls and Barbie to me, a bunch of other things too, but really I’m all about playing the “Dressing my avatar” game. I really don’t spend that much, I’d spend more if I had actual L$ making skills in SL. I often change what my avatar is wearing several times a session and I almost always change right where I’m at, at the time. It’s a fashionista thing. I was even shocked when I read of people wearing only one skin all the time. I change mine depending on what I’m wearing. When I login, I tend to stay logged in for hours on end. I’m not usually a “login to buy something and log out” sort of avatar. It’s more fun to wear my stuffage out and about in SL.

  2. I just wanna know where you are getting 250L shoes :p

    I’ve always said my avatar is a barbie. I’m often caught referring to her as Dove and people make fun of me sometimes for doing that. But I’m very aware of the separation between myself and my avatar – I’ve never been one of those people who blend with their avatar. We couldn’t be two more opposites. She sorta even has her own “persona” and attitude that has become her – one that isn’t even really me either. If that can make sense. 😮

    So yeah…I can totally see that barbie/paperdoll thing going on – I am one of those. :p

  3. Independently (swear!!) had this very thought!

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