I was reminded of my youth in which I became obsessed with the game “The Sims” and lived out my fantasy, future life using an Avatar that I created. As a child, I made sure that the avatar had the same hair colour and eye colour as I did, but I was always excited about the opportunity to pretend I was a grown up, and dress my character up in fancy clothes. There were endless possibilities in creating your dream home, marrying another Sim character, getting a job, and even having children. While I was too young for any of these things to exist for me in the real world, the choices I made in the game absolutely reflected my beliefs, values, and political views in real-time. I feel that this is essentially a large part of the article’s argument.
I believe that de Castell made an excellent point when she brought up the idea of the internet providing anonymity. She states that, “It’s long been supposed that the internet could provide for us a ‘new frontier,’ where the baggage of inherited prejudices, deeply entrenched inequalities, traumas, insecurities of appearance, capacity and disability could all be at long last ‘leveled’ by the anonymity of the Internet” (2014, 217). In her discussion, she previously mentions gender stereotypes, and seems to mostly apply this argument to the fact that women have been thought to have been able to participate equally in the online world because it is so easy for them to become whoever they choose to be. She does mentioned, however, that the online gaming world has become more like a working environment than a gaming environment and for this reason, this piece of evidence may not be realistic.
I want to point out that while I believe gaming, and the internet, have many benefits, I have always felt that anonymity can sometimes be very dangerous. Obviously, there are issues surrounding children using the internet unsafely and dealing with strangers posing as people who they are not, but to revisit some of our previous discussions on self-representation, I’m not sure that condoning anonymity is positive when it comes to self-esteem and bullying. I also believe that face-to-face communication is losing value as we become more and more technologically-savvy. People are becoming confident online, but when it comes to real-time communication, they cannot always apply the skills they’ve learned in the virtual world, to the real thing.
I completely agree with Suzanne de Castell when she concludes by stating that our world needs us to become activists rather than just avatars, and that we must begin fulfilling our responsibilities as citizens in both worlds.