While the metaverse is still unfamiliar to some, others are ready to embrace these virtual spaces. However, representation in the metaverse is already raising concerns, particularly regarding how female avatars are represented.
Most metaverse or social-based games allow the user to create an avatar. This avatar represents you, the player and therefore many users would often choose to have this character match their real-life appearance. Unfortunately, finding a representative and inclusive avatar isn’t always easy.
Union Avatars has created the ‘Choose who you want to be’ initiative to combat the absence of variety and inclusiveness — a step toward the revolution of personalisation avatars.
Many avatars start with a default white male character, the second option is usually a white female avatar, but the representation of these characters often falls into basic stereotypes. Male characters are strong looking and handsome, while female avatars are presented in a sexualised way.
Many avatars come in basic heights, weights, or age with minimal capabilities to change these features. Union avatars are looking to change this with its first female avatar, Amara, which has different measurements from the universal standards used in technology and entertainment industries.
Shaping online spaces
To learn more about what users want out of a digital character, Union Avatars has created a survey on digital identity. By answering the survey questions, the hope is to create digital spaces that offer users better representation in virtual worlds and ensure everyone feels included. The report particularly wants to highlight female representation and what those users want to see from avatar creation platforms.
XR expert Jimena Torma stated, “the perfect metaverse for women is the one that gives us the possibility of really being those who we want to be, creating everything we want and expressing ourselves as much as we want.”
While the idea of a metaverse has been around for years, it has recently seen renewed attention, with the likes of Meta claiming it to be the future of the internet. As these online worlds continue to be developed, it’s important that they are safe and inclusive spaces for all.