Lies, Disguises, and Hoops… Part 2

Which hoop am I jumping through?  And why is is lit on fire?

This is exactly how I felt throughout the vast majority of the Miss Metaverse pageant.  It was asked of me to make a more ‘fact-based’ account of my experiences, rather than the emotion-based one that I made in my last post.  The only response I could think to say to the person who asked?  “Oh, it would be my PLEASURE.”

First of all, I think it’s been well established by other contestants in the pageant that the rules were changed on us fairly frequently.  I think I ignored the changes mostly because the ones that I saw really only affected how the Finals were going to go.  Originally, how Finals were slated to run was as follows:

  • The Top 10 Men and Top 10 Women would be selected from preliminary competition.
  • Second Interview
  • Walk: Style Category: Evening Wear
  • Walk: Style Category: Creative Costume
  • Viewer’s Choice (online poll where SL residents could vote for their favorite finalist)
  • Administrative award (measures the ability to follow directions, be where you need to be when you need to be there, etc.)

There was no narrowing… no “Queen/King of the Metaverse” walk.  And it’s not like I came in late.  I was brought in with the 2nd round of candidates chosen.  (Side Note: When the 1st round went out, I thought it was the only round and missed my opportunity to apply… because I’d meant to do so.  When I went to the website and saw the deadline was still ages away, I applied immediately to be sure I didn’t forget again.  That’s how I ended up in Round 2.)

Now, to my knowledge (I’m not in the ground anymore and it was more than 2 weeks ago, so the notice would be gone anyway), right AFTER candidate selection closed, the Executive Board had a meeting.  The notice that came out after that meeting introduced a NEW structure for Finals, splitting it into Semi-Finals and Finals.  This was the New Structure:

  • Top 10 Men and Top 10 Women would be selected from preliminary competition.
  • Second Interview
  • Walk: Style Category: Evening Wear
  • Contestants would be narrowed to Top 5 Men and Top 5 Women
  • Walk: Style Category: Creative Costume
  • Walk: Style Category: King/Queen of the Metaverse
  • The viewer’s choice and Administrative categories will be eliminated.

Ok.  Now.  Not only have we split this that was once “Preliminaries –> Finals” into “Preliminaries –> Semi-Finals –> Finals”, we have now taken away 2 opportunities to earn a decent score and have added an entirely new walk category.  Seriously?  Oh, but it gets better.

Here is, to my knowledge, how Semi-Finals and Finals operated.  (I did not make it past preliminaries, so I am only going on what I have heard and what I saw on the website:

  • Top 8 Men and Top 10 women were selected from preliminary competition.
  • Second Interview
  • Walk: Style Category: Evening Wear
  • Contestants were narrowed down to Top 5 Men and Top 5 Women
  • A vote of all 18 semi-finalists was cast to bring one non-semi-finalist back to get a free pass into finals, plus $L5,000.
  • Top 5 Men and Top 6 Women would now compete in Finals.
  • Walk: Style Category: Creative Costume
  • Walk: Style Category: King/Queen of the Metaverse
  • Placements/Crowning

I have one major issue with this “voting” thing.  Whereas in another pageant, one may see their competitors do their walks, see their outfits, hear their interviews, etc… and have a GOOD understanding of how their competitors did… preliminaries for Mr and Miss Metaverse were CLOSED.  NO ONE except the judges and Hethwen Resident (Heth, the pageant CEO) got to see anyone else’s walk.  So what exactly was everyone voting based on?  It certainly wasn’t who they felt did well and deserved to come back, because no one knows how well anyone truly did.  So what was the criteria?  Their friendships? Popularity?  Heth’s suggestions and personal politics?  As I was not there, I cannot say for sure.  I only know that the voting was NOT done based on performance in preliminary competition… and if you can’t vote based on that, why the hell vote at all?

I wasn’t even in the group at the time of Semi-Finals.  And I had not left it of my own accord and denounced my title as so many others seem to have done.

So why, you ask, was I not in the group?  Oh dear.  Let me tell you.

I was very emotionally connected to my participation in this pageant.  It was my first one, and being so close after One Billion Rising, my platform of bringing awareness to sexual violence against women and empowering these women to stand up for themselves as victims hit very close to home for me.  Actually, in my Preliminary interview, I was asked WHY my platform meant so much to me, and there was really no other way to explain except to recount my own RL situations that make me identify with these women.  My leadership ability and my honor were called into question during that very same interview, in a question about my being a collared submissive, and yet being a leader in a pageantry organization and how I feel I could handle that responsibility.  I took everything they threw at me and hit it head on like a mac truck.  I was honest, I was open, I was different, and dammit, I don’t care what the numbers say (I don’t even KNOW what the numbers say… more on that in a moment) I did well.  So of course I was upset to not make it farther.

Now, in this pageant, I have developed friendships.  And so I went to someone that I knew, as a friend, and expressed a very simple disappointment.  My message read as follows:

{☆ Tivi ☆} shakes her head, very disappointed.  I’m on my way to bed, but of all the emotions swimming around, betrayal is the most prominent.  And I can’t explain why that is in a way that makes sense, but I feel very betrayed by the whole concept of the value placed on being “different” versus being a carbon copy of every other pageant girl out there.  This is cookie cutter… and it hurts.

Now, no offense to you ladies whom I competed with.  I love all of you that I got to meet, and all of you are awesome.  I was NOT pointing out a flaw in you.  I was pointing out a flaw in Heth’s organization of the pageant, ranting and raving about how he was going to place an emphasis on being different, with comments like, “You know everything you’ve seen in every other pageant?  That’s what I DON’T want.”  This was allllll Heth.  This wasn’t any of you at all.

Of course, being in pageantry and being that the friend I sent that message to is an executive board member, she showed Heth the message.  I’m honestly not mad that she did that.  It’s basic business ethics.  HOWEVER, the fact that Heth completely misinterpreted that is what disappoints me.  Being that I was very upset, before I went to bed, I was given a list of maybe 15-20 people that I was allowed to speak with in IM over the course of the weekend.  Otherwise, beginning after I woke up from a good sleep, I was to take time TO MYSELF (something I NEVER do) for the weekend.  It’s a rarity that I have the weekend off of work with nothing to do, so I was instructed to take full advantage of that.

Thursday evening I’m in a roleplay with some very close friends, laughing, having a good time, and doing a lot of things that I haven’t gotten to do in a long time: roleplay, hang out with people outside of the context of a class or meeting, dance for the hell of it, and just HAVE FUN.  I had my autoresponse set to say this:

“It is my wish to be left alone for the weekend.  Please refer ALL communications to Cloe Darkfold.  Thank you in advance.

A&M inquiries should be placed in the Assistance Dropbox at the mainstore location.  Thank you.

❤ Tivi”

Basically, what my partner did all weekend was filter the bullshit and give me important information, allowing me to focus on taking time to myself.  Easy enough, right?  Simple enough request, right?

Clearly not.

Hethwen Resident (Heth, Metaverse Pageantry CEO) came into my IM box that evening while I was in roleplay.  Not only was he NOT on the list of people I could speak with, he wanted to speak about pageant business which I was not allowed to do, AND I was BUSY.  He received my auto response and continued to type to me.  Each attempt he made at opening my IM, I closed the window without responding so that he would see that autoresponse.  “Maybe he missed it the first time…”  A lot of people seem to.

By the FOURTH time that this man got my autoresponse and had not paid attention to it, I finally responded to something he said.  However, it was not rude, it was not angry, it was not disrespectful in the slightest.  It was simply this:

[2013/03/15 20:48:35]  Tivi ‘Lux’ Darkfold (tiviyah): I do please have to refer you to my autoresponse and wish you a wonderful evening.

Some people aren’t USED to people having autoresponses up.  Maybe he saw “A&M” and ignored it, thinking the whole thing was a store message.  I was still giving him the benefit of the doubt at this point.

In response, I simply get a “FINE”.  I was hoping that was the end of it and went back to my roleplay.  Then, much to my complete SHOCK, I get the following:

[2013/03/15 20:49:12]  H E T H   V E R T A U S (hethwen): You have been ejected from ‘Metaverse Pageantry’ by Hethwen Resident.

He goes on to tell me that he hopes THAT got my attention and to remove any tags and associations that I have with Metaverse.  Ok… I have a few issues with this.

  1. You cannot negate the hard work I put into earning my title.  So long as I fulfill my obligations, it is my title.  Period.  I earned it.  You can take away your endorsement of that title, but it is still mine until 2014 when someone else has the ‘current’ title and I will simply be the titleholder from 2013.  Don’t think you can use bully mentality to scare me into negating my own hard work.  Hell no.
  2. I’m ejected from the group because I COULDN’T and DIDN’T WANT TO deal with DRAMA that you were bringing into my IM box at the MOMENT you wanted it dealt with?  Who’s playing games now?  Seriously?  Grow up.  People have lives outside of Metaverse, ESPECIALLY those of us that didn’t have to worry about competing that weekend.
  3. The comment about hoping THAT got my attention.  It wasn’t that he didn’t have my attention… in fact, he had MORE of my attention that I desired to give him at that point, as he was interrupting my roleplay and my fun time with my friends.
  4. You don’t use things like group membership or titles like a weapon.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned through my chosen Lifestyle of D/s and M/s… you don’t use things that are important to you like a weapon!  The more you do, the more flippant they become.  If you use your collar as a weapon, it becomes more like velcro than steel.  If you are going to use a title in your organization against me like a weapon, then how much value does it REALLY hold?

Anyway, I went on my merry way and kept my title in my resume, as I DID work hard to earn it.  I just severed all ties and associations and tags and whatever else having to do with Mr and Miss Metaverse.

Now… at that point, MY experience stops.  However, today, after I was asked to re-write this blog from a more ‘fact-based’ point of view (dear lord, I hope I’ve done that… and sorry it’s so long winded…) I received the link of a blog belonging to another pageant contestant.  In this blog post, this contestant mentions something that deeply disturbs me on a very personal level…

When candidates were being accepted, we were told not to have anything sexually explicit in our profiles, etc, to keep up the image of the pageant and keep dignity associated with our title. I  even had to hide groups like, “Gorean Whip Radio” and “Gorean Whip Staff” that are groups for a radio station I broadcast for.  Harmless, but because they’re “Gorean” they might be “controversial”.

After the crowning of Mr and Miss Metaverse, a picture link was brought to Heth’s attention, regarding Mr Metaverse in a picture on Flickr engaging in an SL Rape scene.  (Now, yes, I understand that in SL everything is consensual because there’s a big red ‘x’ in the upper right hand corner that will take care of anything you don’t consent to.  I get that.)  HOWEVER, when this was brought to Hethwen Resident’s attention, as the CEO of his organization, instead of dealing with the matter quietly… and ethically… he chose to SLANDER the person who REPORTED the link in the first place.  Claiming that the links he had been given of both Mr AND Miss Metaverse (I had not been aware of a Miss Metaverse nude picture until that moment) were done as works of art.

Ok, slow your roll, Sarah Lee.  You want to call a picture depicting a scene of RAPE a “work of art”?  You want to call a picture that not only depicts but endorses as being OK, the idea of a man taking a woman against her will as some sort of display of power over her, a “work of art”?  You want to call a picture that may very well be a TRIGGER for people who have EXPERIENCED rape in their real lives, a “work of art”.  And you want to say that it’s OK for your CROWNED MR METAVERSE to SUPPORT such acts?  Really?

Coming from someone who has experience rape not once, not twice, but three times in their real life, I simply have this to say to your “work of art” bullshit defense: Fuck. You.

So honestly, I went into this whole Miss Metaverse thing with high hopes about being involved in something that could really affect change in SL as well as RL.  I went into this, admittedly, with my rose-colored glasses on, seeing the good in everything and everyone… looking to Hethwen Resident not as the delusional lunatic that I’d been told he was, but rather as someone I could RELATE to and LOOK UP to… I went into this completely blind and expecting to grow and change and push myself and my boundaries in ways that I couldn’t imagine pushing them.  I went into this thinking I would come out on the other side as a better person.

Well, I DID come out a better person on the other side.  But it wasn’t BECAUSE of Miss Metaverse.  In fact, it was IN SPITE of it.

EDIT/UPDATE 3/23/13:

I realize that in my rush to make it to RL work on time after posting this, that I left out one VERY crucial piece of information about this pageant… that I’m not entirely sure if it’s been discussed or brought up by anyone else yet.

One of the biggest issues that Heth has with Frolic’s Miss Virtual World pageant is that he sides with the group of those that believe the whole thing is rigged from the get-go.  From the very beginning of the Mr and Miss Metaverse Emeritus pageants, Heth was ranting and raving (noticing a pattern here yet?) about how he wanted this pageant to be conducted with honor and integrity and ethics and all those other 5-dollar words he didn’t follow through on.  But the BIGGEST way that he said he would be making sure the pageant would remain ethical would be to publicly publish the scores.

This would give everyone, not just competitors, but others in SL, the opportunity to review the scores given to each contestant, and verify that the semi-finalists were, indeed, the ones highest scored, and were fairly moved into semi-finals.  It’s about transparency and giving people the ability to fact-check.  This, in the beginning, I believed, was an awesome idea and a true display of the integrity that Heth claimed to want to bring to this pageant.

Unfortunately, to this day (and I just checked it around 8:30am EST on March 23rd) the scores have not been published.  A few contestants found out how they ranked in preliminaries by asking one of the women who helped tabulate scores, but that is not what the initial plan was that Heth was bragging that he was going to do.

Of course, Heth doesn’t seem to be too keen on sticking to his initial plan.

Anyway, in re-reading this blog last night, I realized that I made mention of not knowing where the numbers fell, and that I would give “more information in a moment”, and I never did… so I figured I’d come back and edit this part in.

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8 thoughts on “Lies, Disguises, and Hoops… Part 2

  1. I wondered over here while reading Isoldel's post and just wanted to commend you as well for everything you've said and having the courage to say it. I could care less about the pageant scene but I always applaud people with integrity. Stay true to yourself and don't let this BS ever bring you down! 🙂

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  2. I knew I needed to write this post, but it was Isodel's that inspired me to do so sooner rather than later. I'm really glad I'm not alone in my negative experience. Makes me feel less crazy.Anyway, thanks for supporting integrity and ethics. 🙂 People like us seem to be few and far between.

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  3. You know, I wasn't the biggest fan of the other side of the coin, but there's a lot Heth could learn from Frolic. Pick your battles, and when you screw up, admit to it and deal with it quickly and ethically.

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  4. I supported my Tivi all the way through the Metaverse pageant. It's not my thing, but it makes her happy, so I fully support and will involve myself enough to be able to understand what she's telling me. All the time we (yes I mean we, because as I said, I support her so will be with her every singe step of the way) were preparing and seeing the goal posts shifting, we were discussing and pretty much putting it down to the organisers not having a proper grip, as so changing their minds. Right up until after the prelimes when they outright changed the rules to suit their own agenda. Suddenly announcing a vote for someone to get a free pass. Combined with all the other things lead opens the lid on a huge pile of stink.Heth not only disrespected Tivi by igorning her wish to have me contacted, but also he disrespected me by not bothering to contact me. I would have been about to cast light on the bigger picture, of why I had seen fit to restrict Tivi's communication that weekend.The door wasn't completely closed to talking to her, just ask her now (that the restriction is lifted) and you will know that my only concern was for her wellbeing and happiness. When the restriction was in place, it wasn't a burden on her. It was not supposed to be a burden on her. When people IM'd me to ask about something, I either – if it was quicker dealt with it myself. Or told Tivi about the IM and allowed her to talk to the other person.Had Hethwen bothered to contact me, I would have explained how emotionally hurt Tivi had been. I would have explained how by restricting her communication I was restricting her ability to make posts like the one she'd done in SkyPe. So there would not be any repeat. So in the eye's of others she would had no possibility of speaking "ill of this pageant again if you wish to maintain your title or remain in this pageant system". Tivi was not allowed to speak of the pageant at all, good or bad. So the problem was already mitigated.I personally think that Tivi acted extremely well. Dealt very well with the hurt not getting through to the (semi?) finals. I deplore the self centered egotistical idiot who couldn't give a damm about anyone other than himself (yes Hethwen look in a mirror and tell me you are happy with what you see)

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