Virtual women expose more skin than males
In the virtual world of Second Life, female avatars expose substantially more skin than males, independent of their virtual body proportions, according to a new research.
The human tendency to cover up stems from climatic, environmental, physical and cultural constraints, so measuring people's propensity to reveal skin can be difficult in the real world.
To study human behavior free of at least some of these constraints, Matthieu Guitton and colleagues from Laval University, Canada analyzed how male and female avatars in the virtual, 3- dimensional world of Second Life dressed.
Second Life offers users options to choose the gender, appearance and attire of their virtual avatars, and users can select clothing from several items created in this virtual world, rather than being restricted to a predefined costume.
They found that out of over 400 virtual people studied, 71 percent of male avatars covered between 75-100 percent of their skin, while only 5 percent of females did.
In contrast, 47 percent of the virtual females they studied covered between 25-49 percent of their skin, compared to 9 percent of males. The amount of skin covered was independent of traditional gender-specific measures of physical attractiveness for virtual avatars, such as waist-chest ratios for females.
"These findings have implications for understanding how sex specific aspects of skin disclosure influence human social interactions in both virtual and real settings," the study stated.
The research was published in the open access journal PLOS ONE.