What is Cyberfeminism?

I thought about this word and I thought about Feminism. What is the aim and what is the way they go to reach this aim? Who is fighting for what kind of rights? And what role does the internet play?

Cyberfeminism seems to me like a comeback for the “common” Feminism since this term is tainted with stereotypes and negative images. Cyberfeminism makes use of the new technology though and so there is a whole new space and target group for the movement online. Cyberfeminists see the modern technologies as a key to the new social and economic reorganization that seems to affect the position of women in a positive way.

But I asked myself what kind of women does it really affect, who participates? To be part of the movement, a woman has to have both internet and computer access, knowledge how to use a computer and the internet and she even has to have the ability to write. That excludes a lot of women and because of that fact one can guess who is a part of the Cyberfeminism: white, privileged critics.

Also the term “Cyberfeminism” is already a paradoxical term: since a big issue is that every woman is different and unique, why is there then a common term that makes the diversity more and more invisible? When there are different trends of it, how can Cyberfeminism NOT be repressive?

Certainly it is a positive effect that women can intercommunicate and work on one aim but I think even on the internet, there are still too many stereotyped female role models. The internet is not a free medium and the social attributions of the “real” world are still partly valid, even if they are altered and weakened. Nevertheless, the cyberspace is a virtual world, where unprecedented opportunities to produce and obtain the most incredible visions are possible.

BUT related to this fact, there is another big benefit in the cyberspace. Whoever is sitting in front of a computer, is connected to the virtual world and produces a reality with his/her words. And this reality meets other people on the internet and becomes something like a “virtual reality”. An important fact at this, is that this reality can also be an experiment. It is not about “plain” gender switching, everyone can experiment with his/her gender roles, because it is less dangerous and less complicated in the virtual world. That opens new doors and possibilities, because there are totally new creations of identity possible and in the end the gender would not really be recognizable. A life career can be a mix of a lot of life careers, because there is a freedom of identity construction and the usual permitted and demanded forms and names (e.g. account names, profile names, etc.) do not count anymore.

So in the end, I think that cyberfeminism is not against persons or ideologies but against structures. They search for alternative ways and an escape for the power structures online. That is why I think cyberfeminism does not work with usual ways of “rebellion” but with arts and irony. Because it is not a conventional movement, it has to change and adapt all the new technologies and developments in a short time. And I think art is a “voice” that can handle the quick change and still convey the main message.

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1 Response to What is Cyberfeminism?

  1. apalmgre says:

    I find it interesting that you write “Cyberfeminism seems to me like a comeback for the “common” Feminism since this term is tainted with stereotypes and negative images”. This got me thinking about something we didn’t have time to discuss in the class, but could have been interesting in relation to cyberfeminism: feminism and the three different waves. you can read more about it here: http://georgetowncollege.edu/Departments/ws/1st,_2nd,_3rd_wave.htm

    They have been criticized for being very anglocentric. But could cyberfeminism be the same thing happening online? First wave and how women also take up space online. Second wave and how feminism is online, the private being political?

    this is a bit of side track from your blog post, which was very interesting.

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