Women and Web
// Posted by Rachel on 04/21/2014 (9:09 PM)
Ever since we read Poster, I’ve been chomping at the bit to talk about women and the internet. ”The world has turned upside down, with many of our assumptions about time and space, body and mind, subject and object, gender, race, and class” (51). Yes, I used that quote in an earlier blog post. No, I don’t feel bad using it again. Because when I read that quote, and, I hope, when some of you read that quote, I asked myself if Mark Poster and I could possibly be talking about the same internet. Because I look at the internet, and I see a place that can make it pretty difficult to be a woman, and I think Quinn Norton and Amanda Hess’s articles can back that up, though they look at the issue entirely differently.
Phase 1 of the project, the idea of which I expect to continue into Phase 2, has largely been case study driven. Some posts are longer, exploring questions of feminist theory or articles from class, and tying them into things I personally have come across on the internet. Some are short, almost serving like a pinboard for snapshots of the larger picture.
The theoretical framework of my project is largely based in feminist theory — questions about rape culture and patriarchy — and especially how these things can become magnified in a simultaneously hyperconnected and yet more anonymous medium. However, underlying this whole discussion is a reliance on Turner’s work in Counterculture to Cyberculture, because, like he rejects idea that the New Communalist communes really reflected a change in gender roles or cultural ideals, so it seems that the digital culture has not provided the escape from those things either.
Phase 2 aims to look more at solutions than Phase 1′s case studies do — we know there are problems with the way women on some sites are treated some times, but are there safe spaces on the internet? Are there moves being made to open the community up? There are women in Anonymous and on 4chan and Reddit: how do they navigate the system, and can we learn something from that?
Phase 2 will also look at intersectionality, because as Flavia Dzodan so eloquently put it: “My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit.” It’s all well and fine to talk about women on the internet, but without talking about how all those other dimensions Poster mentions at the end of his quote change the way women experience online communities, it will be wholly incomplete.
Your assignment, should you choose to accept it [I don't actually know if it's optional, you'd have to ask the professor about that one], is to answer the following questions either in the comments or in an email (firstname.lastname@example.org), if you’re uncomfortable posting them in public.
- When you get on the internet, what are the first five things you do or sites you go to?
- On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being incredibly unsafe/uncomfortable and 10 being very safe/comfortable), how do you feel on those sites?
- Have you ever been on a website that made you feel unsafe or uncomfortable? What content drove that reaction, if so?
- Do you regularly go on Reddit, 4chan, or online forums?
Bonus round — Not at the same level as the previous questions [so don't feel obligated], but more for funzies, because they’re more exploratory/interactive.
- Go to Reddit.com and click through the front page or any of the sub-reddits or threads. What’s the first thing you see that makes you uncomfortable? If your answer to this is “nothing,” congratulations, you are now a Redditor.
- Check out my project blog, womenandweb.wordpress.com!