According to this New York Times article, social interactive web sites ala MySpace are cropping up that are targeted at young girls with their simple communication tools. More specifically, most have in common the real-life obsession girls have with “dress-up.”
Sites like Cartoon Doll Emporium feature a selection of dolls kids can personalize. “Belle of the Ball,” the doll I personalized below, is the only doll which had the selection features we’re used to in Avatar designs, such as Zwinky. But most, oddly, were basically online versions of paperdolls, in which we drag cutouts of clothing onto the body of the model. (Perhaps these dolls are targeted at a younger age set, who might delight in simply dragging and dropping the doll clothes. I think it’s a poor use of technology.)
What surprises me most is how much I loved personalizing my “Belle of the Ball,” as I do all the avatars I create for myself. Am I creating a technological image of the person I perceive myself to be? fantasize myself to be? I never know. And yet there always seems to be “rightness” in each color or style of clothing I select. It’s an amazing power to be able to fashion oneself without limits, without consequences.