Going beyond “average” (male)

Working with averages for male avatars was significantly more difficult than working with averages for female avatars. For one, the digits project has now been running for almost two weeks and there are still just 50 male avatars participating (the 50th was posted today while I was finalizing these charts, though, so my charts only reflect 49 male respondents). This is not a large enough sample size to draw a lot of firm conclusions. Additionally, the vast majority of male alts on this list were alt characters — this does not necessarily affect their shapes, but it may.

That said…on with the charts!

Male avatars love their height sliders. The (revised) average height of male avatars is 77, and eight of the 49 male avatars in the project had their heights set all the way at 100. The majority of male avatars (53%) have their heights set at 80 or above.

Generally, more men have longer legs than torsos, as shown by the ratios greater than 1:1. However, nearly 60% of men have set their legs between 0.8:1 and 1.3:1 of their torso length, which probably places them within ideal proportions.

However, leg ratios aren’t where most men struggle. Male avatars tend to struggle with arm to torso ratios:

Generally, I am only trying to present data, and not my opinion. However, here, I will interject for just a moment: guys, what is with the short arms? Seriously! Okay, I’m over it. But honestly: while seven out of 47 (not all participants provided torso length) male avatars had a 1:1 arm to torso ratio (which is, itself, slightly shorter than the ideal proportion), 24 male avatars (51%) had arms shorter than their torsos. Only 16 male avatars had arms longer than their torsos.

Men: in reality, your arms are longer than your torsos. Your fingers should come to mid-thigh. You should be able to grab your own ass. Short arms are woefully disproportionate. Okay, done lecturing, I swear.

So…what are real human proportions?

Da Vinci (probably) first determined the golden ratio of the human body: the ratio of the height of the human body and the distance between the navel and the foot is (ideally) 1.618 : 1. This doesn’t help us, of course: Second Life doesn’t create any sliders that originate at the navel. There are other golden ratio points in the body, but those don’t really help us come up with more accurate slider points.

Another option is looking at human proportions with the head as a base. This is a little easier: assuming you want a very tall avatar, your torso (to the groin) is three heads. Your legs are four. This means that your leg to torso ratio should be 4:3, or 1.3:1. Your arms, to the fingertips, are three and a half heads. So…arms should be 3.5:3, or about 1.2:1.

I offer this because this entire project began with one woman wondering how proportional her own shape was. Two weeks later, we have learned that we are a widely varied group of avatars, and we all manage to look unique even with just the few slider choices we examined in this project.

Thanks, guys, this was fun.

The contents of this post are licensed Creative Commons Attribution.


About Vaki

Seriously, Mega Shark v. Giant Octopus is a masterpiece of modern cinema. What? It has Deborah Gibson in it. And there's this one scene where...what? Oh, like there's something better than a mega shark leaping out of the ocean and biting a plane in half. Whatever.
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