Erin (3rd July, 5:26):
The complication of gender identity is compounded by the inherently subjective nature of e-mail and net communication in general. In other words, how do you know what gender I am? The homogenization of gender stereotypes is not some academic dream. It is reality, as represented in everyday life. And postmodernism complicates these stereotypes and interactions. This is what we are addressing.
Radhika (5th July, 23:16):
But the net mirrors the cultural and social relations of power etc., that already exist. Amit Rai (1995) is also critical about the possibility that those spaces can ``inaugurate liberatory practices of the Self.'' In fact what is visible on spaces like soc.culture.indian etc. is precisely ``reactionary politics.'' Virtual communities appear disembodied but nonetheless they are discursive reproductions of real-life societies. We have not completely dispersed into pure cyberspace. And even temporarily transcending the old relations of power on the net does not change our material existence radically.
Lydie (5th July, 12:29):
Nevertheless, communication is the key to transcend gender-related impulses to act (react) according to schemata acquired through our childhood.
Erin writes (23rd June, 1:29):
The element which has been missing for a radical change in identity is exemplified by what we are doing right now. We have text-based communication, which allows us to remain body-centred wherever we really are in the physical world. Thomas Scheff pointed out - as did Freud - that emotions live in the body, not in the rational mind. They display and present in the body, and they manifest themselves when repressed. As soon as those data suits are perfected, a full sensory projection of the ``self'' will become possible. Where, then, will the ``seat'' of identity be?
Debbie answers (25th June, 9:51):
This is a very interesting perspective. However, to paraphrase Rosemary Hennessy and to agree with Radhika, this openness to endless difference (or endless identities, etc.) does not translate into the political, economic and material changes that are necessary for those who do not have access to the privileges of the dominant group. One of the main problems in the idea of a cyborg taking on any identity it likes is that, for me, this is being a ``high-tech romantic'' (a comment that Rosi Braidotti made about Gilles Deleuze's philosophy). I think that from a historical perspective economic inequalities are inextricably linked to gender. In other words, there are material effects of being a certain gender, sexuality, race, class identity etc.