Section 1: "Introduction: Performing The Digital Body -- A Ghost Story" by Theresa M. Senft
Senft introduces the internet era interactions with a resounding “connection between the internet, contemporary feminism and theories of performance.” She introduces the dilemma faced by feminists in describing what a “body” is and what it is not. With a lot of digital communication and devices around, traditional definitions are taking on new meanings. Efforts to bring the “more natural “animal” body” meaning has been faced with criticism, as some people view this as bringing back the meanings that denying some people their human rights.
The new “body” is faced with challenges as questions of whether cyborgs can contract AIDS, and how to treat “hypothetical identity-making.” As she tells the story of her mother and the ventilator she used before she died, Senft, says that although her mother is gone, the ventilator that came to represent her mother’s voice, still lives on in another hospital. She completes the essay by stating “machines cannot save lives[but]they can, however extend lives, make them richer, redefine them, and help people forge connections they might not ever have, otherwise.”
Sinft’s explanation of how people are acting like cyborgs has led me to believe that I am also a cyborg. The fact that at I am typing this essay using a computer makes me one. My interactions through the mobile phones and other portable digital gadgets exemplify how I live my life as a cyborg. In addition, my identity has changed due to the digital components that surround me. Online, I can post as any gender, I can post like a man or woman and people will respond as if I were that acquired gender. This transforms the way I respond and deal with issues that may arise during such conversations or interactions.
Section 2: "Techno Feminism" by Judy Wajcman
Wajcman starts the book by explaining how globalization and technology are shaping contemporary theories cultural, social, and economic change. The oeuvre posits that technological fields are still dominated by men, who can, therefore, be said to control the future, due to the technology being produced. In questioning whether technoscience is male dominated or it is patriarchal in its essence, Wajcman delves into challenges and requirements of the technological fields. The fact that intensive study and research inherent in the field do not allow for child care and domestic responsibilities, excludes the woman from the field.
In investigating the gendered character of technology, two approaches has been taken; one spearheaded by radical feminism and the other by socialist feminism. Radical feminism is an approach that opposes the development of new reproductive technologies. This approach views such technological advancement as “patriarchal exploitation of women’s bodies.” Radical feminism analysis of technology relies heavily on the notion that reproduction is a natural process that is inherent in women alone. It posits that technology is an agent of patriarchy and focuses on women’s bodies or sexuality. Closely associated with radical feminism is eco-feminism. Eco-feminism is defined as a feminism approach that views military technology and other modern technology as perpetrating a “violent patriarchal culture.”
On the other hand, socialist feminism focuses on the “relationship between technology and women’s work.” This approach primarily focuses on the computer-based offices where women worked as secretaries. Socialist feminism shows interdependencies between the gender-based divisions of labor both at home and at work.