Cyberfeminism and I

Hello everyone!
I am in the midst of writing my first blog…ever! So this is a new and exciting adventure for myself, seeing as I normally write my thoughts in a personal journal of some sorts.  In a sense, technology has allowed me to “free myself,” allowing for my thoughts to be read all over the world, at any point in time…oh BOY!

now i’m a dove, a badass dove that is ready to free herself from the binding pages of her journal

I guess you could say this is a characteristic of cyberfeminism, by freeing ourselves from, as Judy Wajcman describes as our “physical, bodily cues […] sex, age, race, voice, accent or appearance,” (2004, p. 66).  Rather, our interactions our therefore reduced to “textual exchanges,” only (Ibid).

I guess what I’m trying to get at is how social media, and technology, can be seen in an optimistic way, a way of allowing individuals to free themselves from the constraints of the physical world.  These individuals, like myself, can say how we feel, do as we please, and create an identity without feeling that we are being judged or viewed any differently from others on the Internet.  I can therefore understand that I have taken on the “social shaping approach,” where I have an understanding that technology not only influences us, but that we influence and change technology.  In other words, we are not powerless to technology, we can shape it to fit our needs and values.  In TechnoFeminism by Wajcman, she critiques most of Plant’s argument, believing that cyberfeminism is “too optimistic” and that Plant does not have a true understanding on why women use the Internet and technology (Ibid, p. 71-77).  However, as I had mentioned in my reading assignment for this week, I choose to side more with Plant’s notion on cyberfeminism and the positive impact technology has had on our society.  Technology, the Internet, and social media forums, such as Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter, allow individuals to create accounts that portray their own individualism.  By not having to fear judgment and ridicule in our traditional, face-to-face society, individuals may feel more liberal in expressing their true identity and thoughts.

I can further prove this by using an example.  My brother Sam (this is not his real name, but for his sake I am using a fake name for confidential reasons) is a very introverted person: he is quiet, likes to keep to himself, is not a very social guy, and has close but few friends.  With this understanding, he does not like to show our traditional society his true side, being a very kind, “feminine man” (what I mean is that he is more emotional than most men.)  Even though he does not use his Facebook page very often, he uses the Internet and other forms of technology that can relieve him of his “societal barriers,” by finding individuals on the Internet that share similar characteristics and interest as his, such as one of his favourite Youtuber, TOBUSCUS.  Furthermore, technology and social media has allowed individuals like my brother to “broaden our networks” and find people across the world that share similar interest to ourselves, but due to your current location would most likely never meet that individual in your life.

I can still laugh at this.

I know this cartoon was in our article by Nancy Baym, but I have loved this cartoon ever since my Dad has bought the New Yorker Cartoon Collection Books. Relating this cartoon back to this theory on cyberfeminism, I choose to see the Internet and technology as rather positive subjects in our lives.  We can create our “true identities” on websites and blog sites that we may feel discouraged to show in our traditional society; People, much like the dogs in the cartoon, do not have to portray your “true identity” known only in the physical world.  I understand that with freedoms in technology comes limitations of those freedoms, but at least the Internet and technology, as well as social media, have allowed us to “get out of jail” so to speak, and allows individuals to embrace what they feel as “their true identity.”  So my question to you, fellow feminist-bloggers, is do you feel social media allows you to “be yourself?” Now enjoy some Audioslave and remember “to be yourself is all that you can do.”

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3 Responses to Cyberfeminism and I

  1. marijkelarge says:

    I often approach the idea that social media and technology is a way to allow individuals to free themselves from the constraints of the physical world skeptically. So, thank you, for challenging my perspective and presenting an alternative point of view.

    I recognize and agree with you when you say that, technology, “the Internet, and social media forums, such as Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter, allow individuals to create accounts that portray their own individualism.”

    But I don’t believe these forums are ‘safe’ spaces (Check a fellow bloggers <a href=”’s post, “‘Is ‘Consent Sexy’ Online” for a great definition of “safe” spaces’).

    So, I hope to engage in a conversation with you regarding your statement: “By not having the fear of judgment and ridicule in our traditional, face-to-face-society, individuals may feel more liberal in expressing their true identity and thoughts.”

    Yes, individuals may feel more liberal in expressing their true identity and thoughts, but what is the risk?! And, is the risk of judgment and ridicule just as strong as traditional, face-to-face interactions?!

    Risk #1: Yes, the net allows a space for you to “be yourself.” But, that doesn’t mean the net and the people who use it, won’t also try to “police” you.

    If we take into consideration who mainly “controls” the net and what ideas dominate the net, then we can consider what type of “safe” space is being created and for whom?

    Blogger, Sarah GM captures it well in her recent post: “Yes, there are new forms of social media that are tailored specifically for womyn, and yes, we have come leaps and bounds in terms of women blogging and having our voices heard online (“individuals may feel more liberal to express their true identity online”), but the internet is still gendered male and is a damn scary place to be a lady.”

    Like Wajcman, I am not entirely convinced that the Internet does not carry over inequalities experienced out side of the Internet. Check out:!/all-time/ and

    But, just as you view the use of the internet in a positive way, I can too. The net can be used as a form of activism to challenge and respond to ways people may try to “police” you through, ex. ridicule, and how you try to free [yourself] from the constraints of the physical world. (Link props to Blogger Sarah GM).

    Risk #2: The role of Hackers.

    I watched an investigative mini-documentary by W5 recently titled: “Investigating Canada’s Big Security Problem.”

    A section from W5’s read article: Here’s something Canadian authorities don’t want you to know: whether its people, organizations, businesses or governments, we are all at risk of being victims of cyber attacks. “We have major cyber security problems in this country,” says Ron Deibert, director of The Citizen Lab, at the University of Toronto. “The problem is nobody wants you to know about it.”

    After watching the documentary I felt unsafe online, knowing that as I type this, someone could be hacking into my computer and I wouldn’t even know. One example in particular stood out. It made me think that though, yes I agree that “Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter, allow individuals to create accounts that portray their own individualism,” these accounts may be tampered with.

    W5 used an ethical hacker, Mike Sues, to show how easy it was to break in and tamper with someone’s personal accounts. In a matter of minutes, Sues targeted a girl and broke into her facebook, changed her relationship status, much to her current boyfriends surprise. He then hacked into someone’s financial information online and could read word-for-word what a third person was writing in an email. In this way, we are not fully in control of our content and how we represent ourselves as individuals.

    I think that if we recognize these risks and use our knowledge to try and create a “safe” space online that challenges inequalities experienced in both face-to-face conversations and online, then I see how social media, and technology, can be seen in an optimistic way; a way of allowing individuals to free themselves from the constraints of the physical world.

    I would love to hear your thoughts!

  2. Pingback: A Response to “Cyberfeminism and I’s” recent post… « What'd you say?!

  3. getwithit says:

    After having thought about it, I agree that technology has given some sort of freedom to certain individuals. As for myself i’m not quite certain it has… I think I feel trapped more than anything. It changes so rapidly that one is constantly learning the new way to interact with people. Take into consideration the webpages available for social interaction Youtube, MSN messenger, Skype, T-dotwire, Blackplanet, Migente, Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest and these are only to name a few. It’s great to know that these pages have allowed me to find some of who are now my bestfriends but at the same time I feel as though it can create a life of solitude. Interacting with people across the world for an hour a day doesn’t allow for the same friendship bonding that others have, like say for instance go out and have a drink?
    Going back to last week’s readings consider technological determinism, as Carr says “technology is conceptualized as an external agent that acts upon and changes society.” The virtual socialization has diminished our ability to socialize in person. Ok, maybe chatting the person beside you isn’t for everyone but at least you see the person, their facial reactions, their hand gestures. Now we rely on !,? “” & to understand how the other person across the country feels. I know people are afraid of being judged and that the internet eliminates this possibility by giving the option of being any one you want to be, but could this not also be one of the effects of technology, that all these pretentious lives that we have created lead to being so judgemental when the person in front of us isn’t who we’d like them to be? Take for instance the example in the reading of “Julie/Lewin,” he posed as someone who he was not only to interact and give feed back to these women. So to wrap this up I ask you is finding true identity when one has to pose as someone they are not? What happens when you step back into reality?

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