Archive for September, 2010

I changed the theme of the site, though if you’re new here, that means nothing to you. What does matter, though, is what we’re here today to discuss. Namely, Susanna Paasonen’s “Binary Code, Binary Gender… and Things Beyond” and Lieve Gies’s “How material are cyberbodies? Broadband Internet and embodied subjectivity.” Let’s start with Paasonen. (more…)

The two articles that draw attention today are “Gender and Sexual Identity Authentication in Language Use: the case of chat rooms” by Marisol Del-Teso-Craviotto and  “Emotional Expression Online: Gender Differences in Emoticon use” by Alecia Wolf. The first of these deals with the problem that seems to keep rearing its head in my research lately: the problem of legitimization and authentication. The second touches on it, but not as directly. So I’ll get to that later.

First, Marisol Del-Teso-Craviotto’s article. (more…)

So my exams are rapidly approaching. I have about 20 days left. I have only 14 sources unread (out of 70), and I have 13 others that I have read but still need to review. Looks like I’m actually going to make it. So very much excitement there.

And in that vein, I’d like to talk about a book I just finished. It’s called Virtual Gender: Technology, Consumption and Identity Edited by Eileen Green and Alison Adam. It was published in 2001, and is a collection of essays. My major thought when reading through this was my amazement at what has changed in the past ten years. (more…)

Today’s post is brought to you by “Breaking out of Binaries: Reconceptualizing Gender and its Relationship to Language in Computer-Mediated Communication” by Michelle Rodino and “Dis/Integrating the Gay/Queer Binary: ‘Reconstructed Identity Politics’ for a Performative Pedagogy” by Karen Kopelson.

In Rodino’s article, we look at actual gender identity. Kopelson will take us into sexuality. But let’s start with gender. (more…)

Today I’d like to talk about two articles I have read. The first is “Coming out and Crossing over: Identity Formation and Proclamation in a Transgender Community” by Patricia Gagne, Richard Tewksbury, and Deanna McGaughy. The second is “Out of the Closet and Into the Network: Sexual Orientation and the Computerized Classroom” by Jonathan Alexander. I chose to do these two together because they seem to have pretty obvious similarities. Also, coincidentally, they were both published in 1997.

But let’s talk about Gagne’s article first. They very quickly get to the point, telling us that “The dominant Western system of gender has made it difficult for those whose gender falls somewhere between or outside the binary system to understand and accept themselves or to be recognized as socially legitimate” (479). This seems pretty obvious. It’s hard to handle it when you don’t identify as male or female, but rather as some third (or fourth or fifth) category, one that is either some combination of the two or is a distinct departure from both. (more…)

As I sit here reading Janice (Ginny) Redish’s book Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works, I find myself over and over saying “well, yeah. Duh.” The things Redish is suggesting, like that a website needs to have a search bar at the top of the page, or that links need to be able to stand alone, are so obvious to me. They should be obvious to everyone.

And then it hits me: They are. They’re so obvious, in fact, that people can’t see them. These are so obviously important that we miss them, and don’t even realize when we fail to do simple things like keeping a page uncluttered. (more…)


Posted: September 20, 2010 in Uncategorized
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I just finished Lisa Nakamura’s 2002 book Cybertypes: Race, Ethnicity, and Identity on the Internet. Among other things, I was struck by the amount of change that happened unnoticed over the past 8 years. When this book came out, I was graduating college, and yet when I read through this book, some of the things Nakamura talks about seem so incredibly dated to me. There aren’t ‘portals’ to the internet anymore, opening multiple windows in a web browser is no big deal, and the space between Internet and Web has closed to the point of being nonexistent.

This is not to say the book was bad or unhelpful; just that it surprised me how much the world has changed, and me with it, without even really noticing.

But let’s get back to the book. (more…)

Convergence Culture

Posted: September 14, 2010 in Uncategorized
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I just finished going through Henry Jenkins’ 2006 book Convergence Culture: Where old and new media collide. I picked the book up because of the buzz word of ‘new media,’ but also because of the idea of convergence. It sounded like something important. So what is convergence?

Jenkins tells us that “By convergence, I mean the flow of content across multiple media platforms, the cooperation between multiple media industries, and the migratory behavior of media audiences who will go almost anywhere in search of the kinds of entertainment experiences they want” (2). At first, I wasn’t entirely sure what this meant, but Jenkins provided a great example in the Matrix. There we had a series of movies, along with some cartoons (The Animatrix), and video games (Enter the Matrix). If you wanted to, you could just watch the movies and be fine. But you could also delve a bit deeper, and understand a bit more. With those three things converging, and with the online forums where they were discussed, analyzed, and argued about, there was always more to see. (more…)

In the 1990s, Sherry Turkle looked at the state of online society and wrote a bit about that society, about the lives of people behind and on the screen. One of the things she wrote was the book Life On the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet (Simon and Schuster New York 1995). There is a lot to this book, and it is important, despite being dated.

Turkle is talking about MUDs (Multi User Domains), since those were largely all that existed at the time of her research.  So we should take what she wrote with a twenty year grain of salt; there are things we do now on a regular basis that wasn’t even imagined in her time. Even still, she has some amazing insights. (more…)

Focus and Fetish

Posted: September 7, 2010 in Uncategorized
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First off, my bonsai is getting smaller. I wrote a paper about the establishment of gender identity in a transgendered online forum. Pretty specific, and incredibly interesting. I got to pull on my philosophy background for identity, my composition background for the idea of community building, and a whole bunch more research on how people identify themselves online. I’ll be posting research on that starting immediately.

In fact, I’m going to start with an article called “Fetishes and Their Associate Behavior” by L.F. Lowenstein, MD. I admit I was nervous when I started reading this article. I was afraid that Lowenstein was going to tell me that fetishism is an overall bad thing, a disease, a disorder, and that it leads to horrible behavior. The article was, after all, published in Sexuality and Disability (Vol 20, No 2, Summer 2002).

But I was pleasantly surprised.