www.whyville.net Nov 14, 2003 Weekly Issue

Veteran Writer

Is Image Important?

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Some of you might remember me from previous articles I've written for the Times. Or maybe you were at the Sportplatz the day I dug to China (...long story!).

I suppose it has been a while since I last came on and visited Whyville, but that's because I've been very busy with my schoolwork and my screen acting (you might've seen me on TV and never realized that girl was 'Techie!').

For today, the Tech came back, and I want to ask all my fellow Whyvillians the question "Is image important when deciding who to talk to here on Whyville?" Hold your answer for now and read on to see if your original feeling changes.

Okay, first things first, where'd this question come from? Why do I care enough about this to write an article to the Times? Like I said, I haven't been on for a very long time, but today while checking my emails I got something from Whyville advertising the new WhyMag. I started thinking about all my old Whyville friends. One thing led to another and I found myself logging on to my old account!

First stop was the Pool Party (where I spent most of my Why-hours). There were only a couple of people there (and we're talking PEAK hours!) so I asked "Where is everyone?" (Remember, I haven't been on for ages, and haven't followed the movement of the pool party people!)

The reply I got wasn't exactly what I was expecting. The little cartoon face said "EW! You're SO UGLY!" I thought, 'Hey, not everyone likes jelly... especially not jelly hats' so I let it go and decided to try another question:

Me: "So, how are you guys?"
Random person1: "You think we talk to people like you?"
Me: "Oh, so what kind of person am I?"
Random person1: "Go look in the mirror.."
Random person2: "Just be careful you don't break it!"

They both LoL-ed and went back to their whispering. So, I did exactly what this cartoon face told me to do, I looked in the mirror. I saw shoulder length hair tied up, two eyes, one nose and one mouth. I look nothing like Tech. Thing is, those two nasty people (I'll keep their identities a secret) took one look at my virtual cartoon face and just started being mean. FYI, I like my jelly hat; it's really special to me and I'm not going to take it off because it's not cool enough.

I wasn't going to let those two get the best of me. I figured it was just unlucky that I met them before I found the 'normal people' in Whyville, so I moved rooms -- this time I visited the Sun Roof. The place was PACKED (it was what I was expecting the pool to be like). I typed "hey everyone!" pushed 'enter' and waited... and waited... and I got bored doing that, so I waited some more.

That didn't work, so I went back to waiting. By now, it was obvious I was being ignored. I'm not worth talking to. I was being treated as if I had some incurable disease and a simple "Hi" would infect you too. So I just started whispering to random people and was quickly reminded by them how I was not a cool-looking face, and I was asked to leave. So leave I did.

Obviously fashion trends have changed in a big way, and I've been too busy doing exams and filming to follow them. Whyville's fashion was always changing, but in my opinion things have changed for the worse, taking a downward spiral.

I understand that people want to look good (no one wants to be told how ugly they are) and that's fine. But what concerns me is that the newer members of Whyville don't always have the funds available to buy the latest lips, hair and eyes. So if they're not looking the way the majority of people think they should look, they'll be ignored and that's not fair. There isn't much they can do about the parts they have if they have no clams. What's even worse is that if they have a similar experience to mine they could very easily become frustrated and just leave for good, saying, "Whyville's lame... I'm not going back there." And then they become a regular member of Neopets.

Truth is, Whyville's not "lame". But some of the meaner members do. Those people need to take a serious look at how they're treating other people, because I know for sure that I'm not the only person who's had their cartoon faced called ugly. People leave feeling hurt and upset because there's a REAL person behind the screen and they have REAL feelings. I just don't understand how some of these real people find it so easy to be real bullies.

I know first hand how important it is to look good at certain times, like in my photo shoots and on camera. Sometimes you can spend hours in hair and makeup, but there's SO much more to the person than how they look (and sometimes on Whyville, if you can't afford the parts that reflect your personality. So you're stuck with whatever you get from Granny, and that could be the wrong look for you.) I think Aesop summed it up well when he said, "Outside show is a poor substitute for inner worth."

When I was on Whyville I tried to include other people that were in the room in my conversations with friends. I tried to help out newbies by answering their questions, introducing them to other people to help them make friends, and being friendly to them whenever I saw them. It wasn't hard; anyone could do it.

It's not brain surgery.  Just BE NICE TO OTHERS. It's so simple, I feel stupid writing it here for you all to read.

Aesop said another thing that I've always remembered, which was, "No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." I'm not trying to sound like a saint, because I'm far from perfect and I know that, but I also know how being kind to others isn't a waste of time.

I also realize that Whyville isn't full of mean people. For all I know, I could've logged on on the wrong day. I know there are some Whyvillians out there who make an effort to include people and be nice. Don't give up doing that -- you're making Whyville a better place.

Take some time to get to know the PERSON behind the cartoon face. Alanis Morisette said in an interview once, "What I have to say is far more important than how long my eyelashes are." I just hope that at least one Whyvillian reads this article and makes the choice to be nice to others on here.

Everyone has the right to be in Whyville, and it doesn't matter what you look like, on or off the screen.

This is Tech-Girl... signing off (do people still say that?!)


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