PERFECT EGGPLANTS DON’T EXI-

Oculus Rift + Touch, Unity Game Engine

 Virtual Reality Experience

 Immersive Storytelling Symposium 2017

Perfect Eggplants Don’t Exi- is a virtual reality experience about attaining the ideal body image, and failing to do so. In this superficial world of eggplants, players are encouraged to modify their bodies to meet society’s arbitrary expectations.

RESEARCH

THE GAY MALE GAZE

Perfect Eggplants Don’t Exi- examines the relationship between self objectification and objectification of others. The game centers around the concept of the Gay Male Gaze, suggesting that the intersection of gender and sexual orientation reinforces gay men’s tendency to objectify both themselves and each other by diverging and conflicting standards. (Mitchell J. Wood MDiv, MSW, Gay Male Gaze, 2004)

Another theory suggests that if we live in a sexually objectifying culture where ideal body images are portrayed unrealistically on media, we will eventually adopt to that perspective and start to judge each other. And this leads to poor body image, body dissatisfaction, and eating disordered behaviors. (Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997, McKinley & Hyde, 1996)

PROTEUS EFFECT

The Proteus effect proposes that the visual characteristics and traits of an avatar are associated with specific behavioral stereotypes and expectations. (Yee, Nick, Jeremy Bailenson, 2007)

In Perfect Eggplants Don’t Exi-, the player wears their Oculus Rift headset and uses the motion controllers to interact in the virtual reality space. The player inhabits an eggplant body, and stands in front of a mirror that reflect their body image. The mirror is used as a tool to identify yourself in the virtual space, and has been widely used in Facebook’s Oculus Avatars and David O’Reilly’s Character Mirror. Through multiple user testing sessions with the game, over 80% of players identified the eggplant body as their virtual body, and exaggerated their behaviors to match the eggplant characteristic.

NEXT STEPS

The game is currently under development, and are being used to collect quantitative research data that will further investigate the gay male gaze effect in virtual reality setting.

Please check back soon for updates on this project. Perfect Eggplants Don’t Exi- will be showcased at the Parsons MFA Design & Technology Thesis Show in May 2017. Details coming soon.