When I tell people about Whyville, I describe it as a virtual world to chat, play, and have fun. But I've started to notice that Whyville is becoming a lot more like the real world, and not in the best sense.
Look at my avatar. How would you describe it? Ugly? Unique? Awful? Awesome?
Well, folks, I've heard them all. When I changed my hair from red to bright green, the comments poured in. Whenever I walked onto North Beach, my favorite hangout, Whyvillians jumped at the chance to criticize, even though I definitely didn't shout, "111 If I'm pretty!"
People whispered things like, "Ew," "Why do you look like that?," "Igly," or, "Newb." People would even tell other people not to talk to me, because of my green hair, huge glasses, and spacesuit. And I wonder, where do these Whyvillians get off making fun of my green hair? After all, I'm only virtual.
But it's all true. In the real world, everyone criticizes each other. "Her shirt is so ugly," or "Her jeans are too tight," but why would you say, "Her cartoon hair doesn't match her cartoon glasses."?
In Whyville, people go around everyday judging people on looks, even if they are purely cartoons. Does the media really make us so judgmental to the extent that we won't talk to a cartoon because it is ugly? You never heard anyone say, "I don't watch Mickey Mouse because he wears tacky clothes," but somehow people have the nerve to say, "Ew, get away from me ugly!"
Why do you say that? Think about it. Does it make sense to make fun of a cartoon? Does it make your cartoon feel prettier? Does it make your cartoon think he or she can get a virtual boyfriend or girlfriend easier because your cartoon has blond hair, not green, is glasses free and would never wear a space suit?
When someone tells me my hair looks bad, or I'm gross, I don't really care. I am not going to rush to Akbar's and buy some million clam brown hair just to look "normal". I think having our own faces is a challenge to see how original you can get! After all, tweety bird doesn't look like a normal bird does he?
So I challenge you. Change your hair, change your clothes! Get original. Have the guts to wear blue or pink or green hair into a chat room, and see what I'm talking about. Let those other Whyvillians know that it's none of their business to classify you as "ugly" if you have blue cartoon hair. After all, it's only virtual.
X's and O's, Joa.