This article is a good overview on feminism and cyberculture. It asks, “can the posthuman body be raped?”* and other interesting questions about online identity and culture:
Contemporary mass culture equates anonymity with secrecy or downright negative intent, not harmless experimentation. Who lies about who they are online? Pedophiles, scammers, hackers, bullies, Wikileaks. Anonymity has turned from thrilling to terrifying. 1:1 self-to-body ratio is a moral mandate. It’s no wonder that nailing down objective reality seems so attractive.
I read it in the context of the documentary I saw last night on the singularity. It’s a nice counterpoint to look back at the past three decades not through Kurzweil’s positivist lens of exponential growth, but through the feminist lens of failed attempts at equality.
I don’t know yet if I’m ready to be optimistic about the possibilities. I’d like to hope that augmentation and transhumanism will ultimately benefit women (I should say women in particular, and other non-normative identities as well) through a better understanding of different viewpoints, and “subjective body-experience.” But I worry that it will diminish the value of our bodies to reproduce when their work can somehow be outsourced. Then again, I may be holding on to an idea of identity that will no longer apply.
But there was a very reassuring moment in the Q&A session after the film screening. The panel was talking about how humans are pretty incredible complex machines on their own, and the filmmaker concluded by saying something along the lines of ‘the most amazing thing I have seen still is my son coming out of my wife’s vagina.’ I think that helps put everything in perspective.