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Samarita Ibanez: An Identity Journey from First Life to Second

, University of Michigan-Dearborn, MI

Journal of Virtual Worlds Research Volume 5, Number 1, ISSN 1941-8477 Publisher: Journal of Virtual Worlds Research


When we are given the chance to have a Second Life online, we often choose to modify our offlineselves with a little something extra, e.g. younger looking skin or a taller figure, or we choose a slightlydifferent direction in terms of race and/or gender. This paper explores the construction of a Second Lifeavatar's identity in terms of race, and gender. In Second Life, users can embody a virtual body similar toor different from their offline body. Avatars are created by people who sit in front of a computer with aset of lived experiences, identities, characteristics, and beliefs. This work describes one avatar's journeyinto Second Life, focusing on the intersections of offline and online materializations of raced andgendered identities. In creating a second self, how do power imbalances based on gender and ethnicitywithin global space shape the creation of an avatar? What social and communicative issues emergethrough Second Life existences? In order to respond to these questions, an ethnographic study as well asinterviews with three different users of Second Life were conducted to examine the steps an individualtakes when he or she becomes a resident of Second Life.


Anarbaeva, S. (2012). Samarita Ibanez: An Identity Journey from First Life to Second. Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, 5(1),. Retrieved September 29, 2023 from .


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