There have certainly been plenty of things written on the subject, but it comes to mind now because I’m reading an article about the idea of online avatars “lying” to those viewing it.
Is this lying? Is presenting as a different race or sex in your avatar than you are in real life really lying? The wording alone bothers me, because it reminds me so much of the people who talk about transgendered people as if they’re “lying” about their identity. (Warning: link goes to a .pdf file.) How can you prove what anyone identifies as behind the screen? Maybe their online avatars are a more accurate representation of themselves than their physical bodies could ever be—be it a different sex than their physical body or a different species entirely.
I think the deeper question is not whether these people are in some way lying by presenting themselves in any particular way online. I think the question is whether or not we should start re-evaluating the way we see identity and representations thereof. The internet is changing the way society functions; we’re just not changing fast enough to keep up.