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X-clusively female: the cyberspaces of the David Duchovny estrogen brigades.

Cyberspace is imagined as a utopia in which body-based identities such as gender, race and ethnicity are rendered irrelevant. What disappears when "the virtual" is conflated with "the unreal" is the circulation of discourses that regulate identities in such spaces. Drawing on the work of Michel Foucault and Judith Butler, this paper provides a feminist, post-structural analysis of the ways in which such virtual spaces are gendered through linguistic performance of identity. This article looks at the "feminine" cyberspaces of the David Duchovny Estrogen Brigades, three electronic mailing lists for fans of The X-Files. L'espace virtuel se veut une utopie dans laquelle les identites qui reposent sur le corps, soit le genre, la race, et l'ethnicite, ne sont plus pertinentes. Lorsque "le virtuel" et "l'irreel" sont confondus, la circulation des discours reglementant l'identite dans de tels espaces disparait. Cet article puise dans les ecrits de Michel Foucault et de Judith Butler et fournit une analyse feministe et post-structurelle des facons dont de tels espaces virtuels sont genres a travers un spectactle linguistique de l'identite. Il examine en particulier les espaces virtuels "feminins" des "David Duchovny Estrogen Brigades," trois listes de destinataires electroniques pour femmes fanas de l'emission televisee, "The X-Files."

In cyberspace.... [w] e do everything people do when people get together, but we do it with words on computer screens, leaving our bodies behind. Millions of us have already built communities where our identities commingle and interact electronically, independent of local time or location. The way a few of us live now might be the way a larger population will live, decades hence. (Rheingold)(1)

Utopias are sites that have a general relation of direct or inverted analogy with the real space of Society. They present society in a perfected form, or else society turned upside down, but in any case these utopias are fundamentally unreal spaces..... There are also, probably in every culture, in every civilization, real places ... which are something like counter-sites, a kind of effectively enacted utopias in which the real sites ... are simultaneously represented, contested, and inverted.... I shall call them, by way of contrast to utopias, heterotopias. (Foucault)(2)

As "New Information and Communications Technologies" (NICTs) are increasingly common features of the homes and offices of white middle class North Americans, their impact on social relations has become a widely discussed topic in both academic and popular print media. The opening quotation by Rheingold is typical of the types of celebratory claims made about cyberspace, the term commonly used to symbolize computer-mediated communication. Cyberspace is imagined as a utopia in which body-based identities such as gender, race and ethnicity -- identities that are said to "impede" communication and the formation of community in the spaces of "real life" -- are rendered irrelevant. But as the second quotation by Foucault suggests, utopic sites are "unreal" and rely on a false binary that constructs them in opposition to the "real" spaces of society. As I will argue in the following pages, what disappears when "the virtual" is conflated with "the unreal" is not the cocktail of identities associated with "real" bodies but the circulation of discourses that regulate identities in such spaces. Drawing on the work of Michel Foucault and Judith Butler, this paper provides a feminist, post-structural analysis of the ways in which such virtual spaces are gendered through linguistic performance of identity. Specifically, I will be looking at the "feminine" cyberspaces of the David Duchovny Estrogen Brigades (referred henceforth as the DDEBs), three electronic mailing lists made up exclusively of female fans of the popular television show, The X-Files, and its lead actor who plays the role of FBI Agent Fox Mulder.

When I first came across their homepages one evening while "surfing" the World Wide Web for X-Files-related information, images of a bunch of obsessed giggling teenaged girls immediately came to mind. I was a fan of the show, but I was most certainly not a "fangirl." In reading the FAQ (frequently asked questions) of the DDEB, however, I realized the members of these lists also refused this categorization:

We talk about our lives/work/SOO[Significant Others] /kids/life in general -- not to mention other actors we find talented (and not just in the looks department and not just male ones either).... So, as you can see, we're not nuts. :-)(3) We just have lots to talk about.

Indeed it was their refusal to be put down or ridiculed for expressing admiration for an actor that in part led them to turn their backs on so called "public" discussion groups like those on the Usenet(4) and set up "private" spaces of their own. Following Foucault, the spaces of the DDEBs can be thought of as heterotopias, which "have the potential to constitute a subversive feminist space, literally a site where women can `remember' their own gendered identities."(5) The first section of the paper will examine some of the popular imaginings of cyberspace as a "Frontier" where "bull sessions" and "flamewars" are accepted "common" practices. The second turns to the DDEBs themselves as imagined by those members who agreed to participate in an ethnographic research project I conducted from March 1996 to April 1997.

The `truth effect' is out there(6)

Conceptualizing NICTs as disembodied spaces is generally agreed to have originated in the science fiction of William Gibson. In his first of three novels, Neuromancer, the characters "jack in" to their computers to enter "cyber-space," that is, virtual worlds where the material body is rendered obsolete, a worthless piece of "meat."(7) Yet these worlds are still populated with straight, white male and female characters whose sexual practices are masculine fantasies that would not seem out of place in either a Playboy letter or a Jackie Collins novel.(8) In technocultural magazines such as Wired and Mondo 2000 and in bestselling books such as The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Frontier and High Noon on the Electronic Frontier: Conceptual Issues in Cyberspace, (9) cyberspace is constructed as the "New Edge" or the "Frontier." Drawing upon narratives of exploration which have as their source the "settling" of the American West in the 18th and 19th centuries is obviously problematic in that these spaces were only "empty" in the sense that they had yet to be occupied by white Europeans. Moreover, stories of the "Wild West" focus almost exclusively on the actions of men while the stories of the pioneer women or peoples of colour are only mentioned in passing or not told at all.

Finally, analyses of common on-line practices are informed by similar masculinist norms. Much has been written about the hostile and aggressive "nature" of Internet exchanges particularly on the Usenet. E-mail insults directed towards other newsgroup posters have become known as "flames" and the practice of posting such vitriolic messages known as "flaming." Dery, who titled his edited collection of essays about the Internet Flame Wars (10) attributes flaming to "the wraithlike nature of electronic communication":

When tempers flare, ... disembodied, sometimes pseudonymous combatants tend to feel that they can hurl insults with impunity (or at least without fear of bodily harm). Moreover, E-mail missives or "posts" seem to encourage misinterpretation.(11)

The reason for the latter, contends Dery, is the lack of nonverbal clues. He concludes by quoting a nameless "net surfer" who informs us that "shit happens on the Net" and that "anyone who plans to spend time on-line has to grow a few psychic calluses."(12) By resorting to technological determinism, Dery avoids questions as to who actually engages in flaming, how it became so widespread in the first place, and why "everyone" should just accept this practice as "the way things are." All the same, Dery indirectly and partially answers the first question when he describes flaming as:

a less ritualized, cybercultural counterpart to the African-American phenomenon known as "the dozens," in which duelists one-up each other with elaborate, sometimes rhyming gibes involving the sexual exploits of each other's mothers.(13)

Of course, one need never to have heard of "the dozens" to realize that the adjective missing in front of `phenomenon' is male. Although Rheingold does not use the term "flaming," he does refer to "sport hassling," which he describes as "vicious online verbal combat."(14) Like Dery, he blames such behaviour on the medium, specifically the "anarchic" structure of the Net and its lack of formal rules and regulations, hence mobilizing the "Wild West" discourse. Although Rheingold distances himself from such behaviour, his description of his online experiences in the "neighbourhood pub" or "coffee shop" as being part of a "global bull session which seems to blend wit and sophomore locker-room talk" is hardly gender-neutral.(15)

The collection of discourses that define and structure cyberspace as described above are what Foucault refers to as true discourses:

True discourse, liberated by the nature of its form from desire and power, is incapable of recognising the will to truth which pervades it; and the will to truth, having imposed itself upon us for so long, is such that the truth it seeks to reveal cannot fail to mask it.(16)

Narratives of disembodiment and settlement are "true" in the sense that they produce a truth effect that passes off spaces as genderless and/or empty when in fact they are infused with what Balsamo calls a "mythic narrative" of white, male, North American identity, one which relies upon "body-based systems of differentiation and domination."(17) In other words, the same discourses that regulate "real" bodies in "real" space continue to circulate in "virtual" spaces.

A Space of Their Own

In light of the above, the formation of the "private" women-only spaces of the DDEBs needs to be understood, in part, as an effect of marginalization on "public" Internet fan fora, which in 1994 and 1995, were still dominated by male participants:

I was on alt.tv.xfiles(18) for awhile [sic] first, then as usually happens whenever a woman starts to express her appreciation for an actor on the net we started getting "me toos" from women and rack from the men. (Why is it men can talk about actresses in public and not get flack, but let a woman talk about a man and we get jumped all over!) Anyway, that's why Julia and I started the original DDEB.... I pretty much quit reading a.t.x.. The signal to noise ratio got utterly unmanageable. -- Kellie (19)

I decided [to join the DDEB] as soon as I read Kellie's post. People think nothing of it if men talk about lusting after women, but if women discuss the sexual attractiveness of men, people act like were [sic] sluts. I wanted the freedom of being able to talk about lust without being exposed to condesension [sic] for it. -- Hollis

I think it was in February of 1994. I decided to join because I found the news groups to be a little hostile to women expressing their admiration of an actor. Also I thought it might be fun. I decided to stick around because the conversation was never limited to DD or to the Xfiles and because I met such interesting women from so many different parts of the world. -- Moll

According to the research participants, marginalization involved receiving flames from and generally being harassed by male fans for engaging in "feminine talk" about an actor, talk that is often referred to as `drool', a term that both infantilizes and sullies those who engage in it. It should come as no surprise that the derision of women's fandom predates the Internet by decades. According to Jenkins, the word "fan," an abbreviation of the Latin fanaticus was first used at the turn of the century to refer to male sports enthusiasts and female theatre goers. While the sports writers used it "in a somewhat playful fashion," the male theater critics used it as a put down, claiming "the Matinee Girls" were only attending because they admired the actors.(20)

As the next set of comments indicate, the majority of the research participants were either not at ease with or not interested in engaging in extended flamewars to challenge the dominant discourses that circulate in the "public" cyberspaces and define the boundaries of legitimate fandom:

I generally prefer not to reply to messages I find offensive, both in email and on the newsgroups. I feel it's immature to spam [flame] people and isn't likely to cause trolls to change for the better. -- Geneva

I tend to not express very controversial opinions online. There have been a few disagreements on the DDEB2, which I have been part of, but it's nothing like flaming that's on newsgroups! -- Megan

I don't flame. Life is too short not to grow up. -- Ardis

I don't think flaming is very useful form of communication. I have expressed my disagreement with other people but there's not much chance of them listening to my point of view if I insult them. When I have felt like flaming someone, it's usually pretty clear that they wouldn't get what I was trying to say them anyway. -- Moll

Foucault argues that every society has or has had what he calls "heterotopias of crisis -- privileged or sacred or forbidden places, reserved for individuals who are, in relation to society ... in a state of crisis: adolescents, menstruating women, pregnant women, the elderly, etc."(21) These spaces, however, have largely disappeared, having been replaced by "heterotopias of deviation: those in which individuals whose behaviour is deviant in relation to the required mean or norm are placed."(22) The problem with defining such spaces in term of forcible confinement -- Foucault makes reference to institutions such as prisons and psychiatric hospitals -- is that it fails to accord agency to those thought of as "deviant." I therefore wish to open up the concept to include all those spaces created by those whose practices are marked out as aberrant from those practices associated with the dominant social group -- straight, white, middle-class men. Heterotopias, however, are not mere equivalents of "private" spaces. "The heterotopia," states Foucault, "is capable of juxtaposing in a single real place several spaces, several sites that are themselves incompatible."(23) For a number of the participants, these "private," "feminine" DDEB spaces were reconstituted in the "public" workplace as their jobs allowed them easy and frequent access to e-mail:

I blip on to check my email frequently throughout the day while I'm waiting for queries to run at work. Then I also usually log on in the evening to check my mail again. -- Hollis

Actually, my job is pretty great, b/c my boss is absent. She's a faculty member who has an office on another floor, and I see her prolly [probably] once a week, and that just to pass paperwork back and forth. So, as long as I run the office in a decent way, the students get the attention they need, and I get my work done, nobody seems to care how much I'm on my computer for personal stuff. -- Daphne

First thing in the morning when I get to work, then I check mail periodically throughout the day. I'f [sic] I'm overloaded with work, I'll log on from home around 8:00 at night to read my mail. -- Geneva

Gawddess, this is embarrassing. I leave my work computer online all day and check it periodically. I don't know if that counts as being on hours a day. *Actual* time spent online is much lower, probably an hour to two hours, counting time in the evenings when I logon from home.(24) -- Drucilla

Since I keep my mail server running all day at work, approximately 8 hours are spent online. I also use Netscape for work information sometimes as well Newswatcher. -- Megan

This blurring of the boundaries between "public" and "private" space is a subversive act, for it creates moments in which the discourses that regulate female bodies in relations of production are disrupted. At the time that this data was collected, all the participants had attended university, and several had completed graduate degrees. Yet, many were working in jobs that provided secretarial or administrative support, positions associated with "the pink collar ghetto" for which, on paper at least, they were over-educated. De Certeau describes the use of work time to produce "work" of one's own as la perruque (the wig): "the worker who indulges in la perruque actually diverts time ... from the factory for work that is free, creative, and precisely not directed toward profit."(25) For the majority of the participants, the DDEBs were such creations. Even Daphne, who liked her job because she had a fair amount of independence and responsibility, was keenly aware of how undervalued office work was:

I'm a secretary. I'm a good one, and I care about my students and try to give them the best service possible. Yet, secretarial work is looked down on, jokes are made about "government employees" etc.

Going on line to interact with other DDEB members was for Daphne a deserved break for her efficiency. For others like Hollis, who had what she described as "the job from hell," it was a necessity:

My job is high stress and I depend on the DDEB lists as my lifeline to sanity. The worse the job gets, the more I feel a need to be on the `net, and the less time I have that I can afford to be there.

As suggested above, the function of these female heterotopias is not simply to provide a "safe" space in which to talk about The X-Files or even David Duchovny, but seek out and offer support from other members about difficulties they face in their daily lives. When I asked the participants to estimate the percentage of messages posted to their respective lists that dealt with the actor or the show itself, they offered figures ranging from five to 30 per cent.(26) Far more popular was the "personal chat" (the most common term used to refer to Internet interaction):

It's fun to see what the others think of just about everything, and I lick [sic] the support group aspect I can help my sisters out sometimes, and they can give me a hand. -- Ash

The reference to the other list members as "sisters" is significant, for it reaffirms the association of DDEB spaces with the "feminine." The next set of comments provide more detail about the friendships that have been made as a result of list interaction, the types of intimate friendships traditionally associated with women:

I only have five or so IRL [in real life] friends who are as close as DDEB members, mostly because I have more time to share personal matters with DDEBers. -- Geneva

My net friends, including some DDEBers are the closest friends I have. Some of these people I have shared my deepest thoughts and troubles with. Drucilla (for example) is, in many ways, closer to me than my sisters. -- Liz

For the most part, my friendships on the list go beyond that to a sisterhood. I can tell them anything they will understand and most will sympathize. No tpic [sic] is offlimits relationships, jobs, sex (ask about the naked men web page and our reactions to it <g>(27)), and those awful aspects of your personality you're ashamed of and hide from everyone. I can tell the DDEB's about it and find out that most of them fight off the same things. Deeply personal things I can't talk about to anyone else except my best friend, I can talk to them about. -- Ash

In many ways the brigadiers know more about what's going on in my life on a daily level right now than my RL [real life] friends. At least I interact more, and receive support from, my DDEB2 friends on a regular basis.... With the brigadiers, like a sorority, there is a bond that surpasses typical differences that might contraindicate a friendship in RL. -- Sonya

Thus, NICTs have enabled what one member called a virtual "sorority" to form on work time and in work space.

I would like to emphasize, however, that I am not positioning the type of interaction described above as "natural" to women or a product of an "essential" femininity. On the contrary, female (and male) bodies cannot be understood as mere biological entities but as "discursive or textual entities generally, the conventional products of particular historical circumstances.... Once bodies come to be seen as a matter of coding or as texts, the relative opacity they enjoyed under modernity is circumvented."(28)

In this sense, bodies are not "real" but "real, lived `fictions' -- things that we humans live and have `made up.'"(29) These fictions are written according to regulatory norms which "institute and maintain relations of coherence and continuity among sex, gender, sexual practice, and desire."(30) The body can therefore be thought of as a boundary concept in that only two intelligible genders are produced in hierarchical opposition to each other. Social subjects, are therefore not "male" or "female" from the start but become so by engaging in sets of practices -- verbal and physical -- associated with "masculinity" and "femininity." Butler aptly describes this process of identification as a performance which involves "a repeated stylization of the body, a set of repeated acts within a highly rigid regulatory frame that congeal over time to produce the appearance of substance, of a natural sort of being."(31) Following Smith, I wish to emphasize that "femininity," like "masculinity," "does not define a determinate and unitary phenomenon. Its deployment ... does not locate a bounded class of events or state of affairs. The most it can produce is an extended collection of instances,"(32) one which, I may add, always intersects with other discourses of identity, including those of race, class, and sexuality. Thus, when I state that the DDEB members articulate feminine identities -- perform female as it were -- for the most part, they are white, middle class feminine identities. Moreover, just as one can take up normed discourses of identity at some moments, one can also refuse them at others. Holloway suggests this apparent contradiction is a result of the "investment" that people have, "something between an emotional commitment and a vested interest, in the relative power (satisfaction, reward, payoff) which ... [the offered] position promises (but does not necessarily fulfill.)"(33) As Butler puts it:

this "being a man" and this "being a woman" are internally unstable affairs. They are always beset by ambivalence precisely because there is a cost in every identification, the loss of some other set of identifications, the forcible approximation of a norm one never chooses, a norm which chooses us, but which we occupy, reverse, resignify to the extent that the norm fails to determine us completely.(34)

In the context of cyberspace, identity continues to be performed by a body producing significations with a keyboard. Language in this sense is the linchpin that connects bodies and their on-line identities. Just as the material body "can never be a presence"(35) "IRL" (Net jargon for "in real life"), it can never be an "absence" in cyberspace. As Haraway has asked, "why should our bodies end at the skin, or include at best other beings [or things] encapsulated by the skin?"(36) The virtual subject may have escaped what Plant refers to as "its formal organization," but it is still remotely embodied.(37) Nonetheless, I do not wish to underestimate the power of what Pile and Thrift refer to as "visual practices" which "fix the subject into the authorized map of power and meaning.(38) With such practices disabled as a result of what Stone refers to as narrow bandwidth, (39) a certain slippage between body and subject occurs, making gender to a certain degree akin to "real life" sexuality or class, identities not so easily "fixed" by the tyranny of the gaze. One might then ask, how the DDEB members can be certain that those they are interacting with on their respective lists are indeed female. While it is certainly possible for a man to "pass" as a woman, such a masquerade is difficult over the long term. In her book, The War of Desire and Technology at the Close of the Mechanical Age, Stone dedicates a chapter to the case of a male psychiatrist who "masqueraded" as a disabled woman for almost two years before he was "outed." In 1992, Sanford Lewin opened up a Compuserve account under the name of "Julie Graham." Julie introduced herself on the newsgroups as a neuropsychologist who had been severely disabled and disfigured as a result of a car accident caused by a drunk driver. Within months she had developed a legion of Net friends, even starting up a support/discussion group for women. Suspicions began to form once Julie claimed to have met a police officer named John at a campaign against drinking and driving and married him after a whirlwind courtship:

It was the other disabled women on-line who pegged her first. They knew the real difficulties -- personal and interpersonal -- of being disabled.... In particular, they knew the exquisite problems of negotiating friendships, not to mention love relationships in close quarters with the "normally" abled. In that context, Julie's relationship with the unfailing caring John was simply impossible. John was a Stepford husband.(40)

Lewin was familiar with a powerful discourse associated with femininity that Davies calls the romantic storyline(41) but he was unable to imagine its articulation at the intersection of femininity and ability. In other words, he deployed the romantic storyline but had no lived experience of its "real" effects. Julie's refusal to meet up with her Net friends "IRL," especially when she was supposedly in a New York hospital recuperating from surgery, also raised suspicions. Like many NICT users committed to being part of a on-line community, they were interested in extending their relationships beyond the confines of the screen. Given that all three DDEBs have been in operation for over five years and that a number of the participants have met at least one other member IRL whom they did not know prior to joining, it is highly improbable that there were any Sanford Lewins lurking about on the lists.

While I did not have access to the actual gender performances that took place in the context of DDEB interaction, I did have access to those on a list that I set up with 23 participants who agreed to take part in what became known as the DDEBRP (David Duchovny Estrogen Brigade Research Pro-jeer). Like the DDEBs, it was a closed but unmoderated list, which means that nobody was able to join and participate without the approval of the list owner (myself), but that posts were automatically sent to all list members without being "vetted" by a moderator. Over the course of the study, 13 months in total, seven of the original participants left, and two other DDEB members joined the list several months into the study after hearing about it from participating DDEB members. Drawing upon feminist approaches to conducting ethnographic research, I wanted to avoid being the researcher who Walkerdine refers to as "the silent [observing] Other who is present in, while apparently absent from, the text."(42) To this end, I made a conscious decision not to "lurk" in the background, simply reading and downloading messages onto the hard drive of my computer; rather, I actively participated in the process of community-making on the DDEBRP, both initiating new "threads" (a series of messages pertaining to the same subject) and joining others.

Based on the data collected, I was able to confirm that the DDEBRP functioned as a heterotopia in the ways that I have mentioned in relation to the DDEBs. First, it was a "safe" space in which to express admiration and/or desire for actors in general and Duchovny in particular. If "drool" was the term that male fans used to devalue such talk, the DDEBRP members preferred the term "squidge" to signal sexual desire from the position of the woman who actively gazes at the male body, reversing the binary of active male spectator and passive female object of male desire.(43) The subject line of the message below, for example, was "MAJOR squidge":

From: Mrs Hale(44)

.... I just now came across the picture of David ... on the DD Photo Gallery page, with him wearing suspenders and no shirt. I was sitting there drooling into my keyboard and whimpering. I don't care what my coworkers think of me any more. Jesus wept. I have never seen so LUSCIOUS a photo of David in my life. This single photo reminds me of why I joined the DDEB in the first place. Oh my goddess....

This message was posted shortly after the research list was set up and lest I mistake her as another hysterical "fangirl," she concluded with the following "disclaimer":

Thank Goddess I have a nice safe place like the Brigade to express myself. Rhiannon .. I do NOT usually do this, but now and then ... oh me. oh my. oh jeez.

Expressing desire for an actor, as I have suggested, is risky business for female fans, even among themselves and especially in the "presence" of an academic.

The next data sample is an exchange which centred on the actor Michael Biehn:

From: Mrs Hale

I've been a Biehnhead since "Terminator," in fact since he arrived on the scene buck naked in that movie. Any chance that was actually him and not a standin? I'll check out the newsgroup....

From: Winnie

I became a Biehnatic when I saw him in Aliens, and he gave that little grin and said to Ripley, "It doesn't mean we're engaged or anything." Whoa, baby! Did the temperature suddenly rise in here?? Woof! *pant* *pant*

I saw Terminator on video a couple of weeks after Aliens, and that cute little butt of his did me in! As far as I know, MB did not have a standin butt. :)....

From: Mrs Hale

Oh, lord. As if it isn't hot enough here in [name of city withheld] , you gotta go raise my temperature again. Woohoo! And the funny thing is, I normally don't even LIKE blueeyed men. Nordic types just don't do a thing for me, EXCEPT for Clancy Brown and Michael Biehn. Two men who get better looking as they get older....

From: Dani

Winnie,

Even if Michael did have a body double for the nude scene (which I doubt), he was most squidgeworthy running around in those borrowed pants and no shirt. ::sigh::

From: Winnie

That's certainly true! Have you checked out Trouble's Michael Biehn [web] Page yet? There's at least one photo of Michael in that very ... ahem ... attire. *blink**blink*

In addition to direct references to the actor's buttocks were general comments about his physical type, centring on hair, skin and eye colouring, and his absence of clothing. Like the famous Monty Python sketch in which the one man punctuates seemingly innocent questions about his companion's wife with "nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more, say no more," there were numerous e-mail conventions representing "sounds" and "gestures" that implied being in a state of sexual excitation: "Woof," *pant* *pant*," "::sigh::" and "*blink**blink*".

Even in this "safe space," however, there were relatively few exchanges like the one above. The practice of dropping a suggestive one-liner into a more general thread was far more common. For example, when asking Mrs Hale for a copy of one of her erotic stories, Moll added, "Pretty please with David on top (or on the bottom, whichever you prefer)." Similarly, when Erin wrote that she had "wanted to do cartwheels" when she found a sexy image of DD in her e-mail inbox, Dani quipped, "I'd do cartwheels, too, if I found David in my box," to which she added, "Hey, it was just sitting, there, waiting to be said!" When one participant mentioned that she had interviewed Duchovny for a magazine article, Winnie exclaimed, "Would that we could all Get David. Yow!!" Sometimes these suggestive one-liners turned into repartee:

From: Mrs Hale:

.... [W] ould like some DD Jelly....

From: Winnie "Wouldja like some fries with that?""[Last name] On white, wheat or rye?

From: Mrs Hale

What else but.... WRY bread? (ducking, running)

On one level, these jokes functioned as a protective shield to deflect any charges of "drooling" over an actor, the line between "drool" and "squidge" always subject to being redrawn. On another, they served to turn the object of desire into a social lubricant, (45) whose primary function was to facilitate list interaction and enable the participants of the thread to establish a communal bond. It is important to keep in mind, however, that as on the DDEBs, talk of actors accounted for only a small percentage of the total messages posted to the DDEBRP. Messages containing references to David Duchovny, sexual or not, for example, made up only 1 6 percent of the total.(46)

While I would best characterize interaction on the research list as friendly but not particularly intimate, members still offered support to those who talked about both pleasurable and painful experiences in their lives. To this end, the DDEBRP also operated as a heterotopic space much in the way that the DDEBs did. The next sample is made up of responses to Erin's mention of a job interview the following day:

From: Megan

Cool! Was it for the web job? You might want to take along that writeup that you passed along ...

GOOD LUCK VIBES!!!!

From: Erin

....

thanks! the interview is at 3pm on Monday ... all vibes are greatly appreciated ... DDEBers seem to have very powerful vibes!:)

From: Moll

.... Good luck on that job interview. Of course you have a lot of vibing support behind you which should make it go that much better.

The terms "vibes" and "vibing" were used in reference to the DDEB practice of wishing other members luck in an endeavour. Phrases such as "good luck vibes" were usually typed in capital letters for emphasis or depicted graphically as follows: ((((((((Good luck vibes)))))))). In joining the thread, Mrs Hale elaborated on the practice and its effects:

And I can *personally* attest to the power of DDEB vibing. It accomplished outright miracles for me last month the new job was only a tiny part of it! I'll be thinking of you on Monday.

Both Erin and I, who had not heard Mrs Hale's news, then posted messages offering our congratulations. I also added that my partner had finally been accepted into a multimedia course for which he had been wait-listed, and in turn, was congratulated by a couple of members. The next day, Erin send a long message to the list which opened as follows:

Since so many of you were so nice as to wish me good luck on my job interview, I thought I [sic] post the tale of my day here ...

I got up way too early after too little sleep ... I was nervous. Better yet ... I'd started my period and had major cramps going. Bleah. I got ready and left the apt. Luckily, it was overcast today, so the car hadn't quite reached it's usual steeringwheelmeltingtempurature [sic] . The air conditioning actually kicked in a bit and I wasn't a total puddle by the time I got there.

While she had arrived ten minutes early and was feeling confident in the new outfit she had bought for the occasion, she was caught off guard when the interviewer took a folder with my name on it out of a big stack of folders with names on them. :/To make matters worse, Her first set of questions had me squirming in my sleep. She said she was supposed to ask me if I was familiar with these software programs: Webweaver, BBedit and Pagemill ... I'd never heard of any of them except webweaver and that one only in passing! I was feeling like an idiot. At just that time, Kay's assistant walked in to tell her something and on her way out she looked at me, introduced herself and then tucked one of those white strings for wide necked dresses so theycanstayonthehangerthingies under my collar and said, "Thought you might wanna know that was hanging out." I was now ready to admit defeat and crawl under the table.

Erin felt the rest of the interview had gone okay but still felt ambivalent: "I just don't know ... it seems like there were tons of other applicants ... I'll just keep my fingers crossed." Other members responded, inserting reassuring comments at different parts of the tale. Mrs Hale, who had lived in the same State, shared her memories of suffering in the summer heat and then assured her that not knowing the programs that the interviewer had mentioned should not have been a problem:

Isn't WebWeaver brand new? You'd have to be a genius to be an expert at it. At which point you'd be too expensive for her. PageMill is Adobe's new web editing software and it sucks.

As for the dress loop hanging out, she retorted:

Nah. Don't worry about it. I interviewed a guy for a job today who came in with no tie. I don't care how he dresses as long as he can code HTML. As long as you are not interviewing for a meetthepublic position, like a receptionist, why would they care? Besides, real programmers (of which web coding is a subset) dress like geeks anyway.

Once Mrs Hale learned that Erin's interview had been with an agency that hires for companies, she gave her a detailed account of how the system works based on her experience. She concluded her message as follows:

Good luck! Even if you don't get this opening, that agency has your resume on file. They *do* call back. My mom, who has been retired for four years, is currently getting phone calls from jobshoppers pulling her resume out of their files from five years ago!! They hang on to those resumes forever. And you can always send them an "updated" resume in the future to remind them you are around. They have called me from time to time asking for an updated resume.

Others responded in kind, sharing their own experiences:

From: Bel

.... Don't get discouraged. It is a letdown to see stacks of resumes, but remember *your* resume was one of the ones that made an impression and *you* got the interview. I know how shocked I felt the first few jobs I interviewed for and found out they received +hundreds+ of resumes. It helps you appreciate getting the interview and the job! that much more. Good luck.

From: Hollis

Good luck, Erin! It would be foolish of them not to hire you just because you've never been *paid* to do that before. The web pages you've written for fun blow away the ones I've written for my old job. I also hope they aren't too sticky about being familiar with those particular web editing programs. It's not like most web editing programs aren't easy enough to pick up on, and like you said, a lot of the time it's almost easier to write code without them.

I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for you! :)

Thus, the DDEBRP members formed a supportive community around Erin in an effort to build her confidence and self-esteem.

Drawing the Line

While the DDEBS, and by extension the DDEBRP, can be understood as female heterotopias in which members can perform "feminine" identities and create a sense of community, they are nonetheless bounded spaces to which entry, even for female fans, is restricted. As Foucault notes,

In general, the heterotopic site is not freely accessible like a public space. Either the entry is compulsory ... or the individual has to submit to rites and purifications. To get in one must have a certain permission and make certain gestures.(47)

The creation of the first DDEB involved an invitation to female X-Files fans posted to Alt.tv.x-files by Kellie and Julia. Julia was already a member of one of the first female fan lists called the Star Fleet Ladies Auxiliary and Baking Society and "liked the idea of trying to replicate what we had over in the SFLA ... plus [David Duchovny] is, well, shall we say, `interesting' to discuss. :)." Others, like Bel and Mrs Hale, heard about the creation of the list through friends on other e-mail lists or were invited to join by Kellie or Julia. According to the DDEB FAQ, the decision to close the list to new membership was based in part on the limitation of the server to handle the high volumes of messages generated on "open" lists:

The list was threatened with extinction if we didn't keep the volume of mail down. We were able to find a new mailing listserver with no such restrictions, but we kept the list closed as each member figured that 100 to 200 messages was about all they could handle from one list. :-)

But another reason is implied in a message posted to the DDEBRP:

From: Liz

[Closed lists] tend to be relatively small, about 30-50 members. In general, after the first flurry of discussion about whatever topic brought them together, threads drift and the group becomes less a discussion group on a certain topic and more like a group of friends sitting around someone's kitchen shooting the breeze about whatever comes to mind. Members talk about their lives and their problems and, in successful [sic] groups, a valuable support network begins to develop.

It is interesting that this virtual female heterotopia is imagined above in terms of a "real" feminine space, the kitchen. Yet, it seems that the list can only retain its heterotopic function of intimacy when it places boundaries around itself, a practice which keeps out not only men but other women who may not have been in the right "public" space at the right time when the list was announced. Excluding others who might also have experienced marginalization and exclusion on the open, mixed for a, however, was clearly problematic for some DDEBRP members:

From: Mrs Hale

Judging from my mail, there are a LOT of DD fans out there trying to join fan clubs, probably for the same reason I did (to talk to other women without male harassment [sic] ). There are no open groups, and some of them sound pretty desperate. I wish someone WOULD start up a new group. I sympathize with these ladies deeply.

The initial response of the DDEB members was to set up DDEB2 and then DDEB3. At that point, the total membership decided that no more DDEBs would be formed, a decision that has resulted in charges of elitism from other female fans. On the one hand, the DDEBRP participants expressed a desire to help those "left out" form their own groups. Bel suggested in one thread that she would consider starting up a group, though assuring the other DDEBRP members that "it would NOT be a DDnamed group, although I'd let people talk about DD if they really wanted to :)." Others then responded:

From: Liz

You know, it might not be a bad idea to come up with a little one or two screen FAQ that pretty much tells people *how* to go about setting up their own lists. Not the nitty gritty details (go ask your ISP would satisfy that bit) but just the "Well, you decide if you want to run a list, you either think up your own unique name or let your members decide on one after you put it together, you announce it in the appropriate places and start talking. Maybe add some insights on the kinds of things to avoid or to be prepared for or something. Mainly just a slap in the head for the clueless (or the honestly ignorant)....

From: Megan

If you get something up, let me know and I'll add it to the DDEB2 site and pass it on to the DDEB3. If I come across a good reference page about setting up mailing lists, I'll let you know ...

On the other hand, some members expressed frustration with those who threatened to appropriate the name, as illustrated in the responses to a rumour that a group of America Online fans were planning to start their own DDEB:

From: Dani

NOOOOOOOOO!!!! No AOL DDEB!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!! (AOL = Airbrains OnLine)

From: Mrs. Hale

Much as I despise AOL, I will go surf the folders there this weekend and see what's brewing. If the group is seriously concerned about this, we can send a message to Deb Brown (Mrs Spooky).... If [R] or someone of equal authority can tell her we are trademarked, registered, locked and loaded, she might back down on this. Since it's her job to monitor the playpen, if she says no AOL DDEB, there won't be one. At least not publicly. Of course we cannot help what people do on private mailing lists. Is there *any* way to handle this without sounding elitist? Please tell me.

The strong reaction to having the DDEB name "usurped" was directly connected to the fact that it involved subscribers of the largest Internet service provider in the world. Indeed, many Internet "oldtimers" believe that the "signal to noise" ratio on discussion for a jumped dramatically when AOL gave its 12 million subscribers full Internet access.(48) In a sense, AOL subscribers are positioned as the Internet's "unwashed masses." With references to the DDEBs as registered trademarks, Mrs Hale's message also mobilizes discourses of ownership and propriety. Moreover, her references to being "locked and loaded" echo the amendment of the American constitution that gives its citizens the right to bear and use arms to defend property. Thus the DDEBs are not simply heterotopias that transgress the public/private binary but "private" spaces bounded and reinforced by the State. Yet, as Mrs Hale's concluding line indicates, policing boundaries is not an act that comes without a price, one which included conflict among some DDEBRP members:

From: Sonya

... The AOL DD forums may have changed since two years ago (when I did some lurking and they were *really* bitter about the DDEB), but on the other hand, I think on some levels, no matter how polite or nonelitist we are, some people might be po'd [pissed off] anyway.

From: Erin

People will think what they want no matter how we go about doing things. As long as we are polite, not condescending and friendly, we've done all we can do about it. I do think it also helps to encourage people to form their own groups ... but I may be wrong as that might emphasize the idea that "you can't join us." Ideas?

However, while Erin wanted to find ways to avoid conflict and appease those who were upset with the DDEB members for not letting them join, Sonya felt that such efforts would not make any difference. Most of the participants in this thread ended up agreeing with Sonya, Mrs Hale adding, "practically ANYTHING you say that isn't `yes, we'd be delighted to have you join' will be put down as evidence that we are snobbish jerks, anyway."(49) That said, none of the thread participants wanted to be perceived as rude or elitist. This is illustrated by the responses to a post forwarded by Mrs Hale some months later, in which an AOL X-Files fan claimed to have received a rude response from a DDEB member:

From: Drucilla

The scary thing is that it could easily be me, even though I *never* intend to be rude to anyone. I know I *have* told people that I'm too busy to start up new correspondences, but that was just plain honesty, not rudeness as far as I was concerned. Until now it never occurred to me that anyone might be offended by it. *sigh*

Hollis joined the thread, reassuring Drucilla that she had done nothing wrong:

If people are going to read snottiness into your messages regardless of how politely they are written, there isn't much point in worrying about it. Remember what "Mrs. Hale" said last week about a lot of people being so immature that they'll get pissy if they can't have what they want even if there is a good reason for it? That applies to minor things like wanting to get a long, personal response to their emails, too. The bottom line is, if someone thinks you're a bitch when you haven't done anything to deserve it, it's their problem, not yours. Not that that changes the fact that it is human nature to wish to be thought well of by everyone. :)

However, this desire to be "thought well of' is not universal, as Hollis suggests, but is very much bound up with constructing a white middle-class feminine identity. Thus maintaining a heterotopia based on a common, shared female identity and experience is ultimately a process fraught with contradictory desires to accommodate and please and yet refuse entry to protect intimacy.

Goddesses or Cyborgs?

In light of this discussion of the DDEBs as heterotopias, it should be clear that the conceptualization of cyberspace as a unitary and universal empty space where bodies "disappear" and identities are irrelevant is a utopian myth that serves the interests of the Internet's dominant group of users -- still middle-class, white, North American men. In the words of Foucault,

we do not live in a kind of void, inside of which we could place individuals and things. We do not live inside a void that could be coloured with diverse shades of light, we live inside a set of relations that delineates sites which are irreducible to one another.... (50)

In light of the above, it is small wonder that exclusively female lists like the DDEBs are seen as highly desirable alternatives to the "Frontier" by many female Internet users. One could argue, however, that valuing the historically devalued "feminine" in a separate space merely serves to reinforce rather than challenge gender norms. Many cyberfeminist theorists, drawing on Donna Haraway's seminal text, "The Cyborg Manifesto," hold up the cyborg as a transgressive feminist symbol. In the words of Stone,

the cyborg, the multiple personality, the technosocial subject, [novelist] Gibson's cyberspace cowboy all suggest a radical rewriting, in the technosocial space ... of the bounded individual as the standard social unit and validated social actant.(51)

In response, I would like to stress that the data presented in this paper is not representative of the full range of gender performances. Indeed, there were many moments in which the members articulated overtly feminist discourses.(52) There is, however, a larger issue at stake. If the cyborg involves rewriting boundaries, not only those between male and female but between organic and machinic, it means relinquishing the intelligible gender core centred in the material body. Given the historical struggle that has been waged for that very body, it is understandable that many women might prefer to hang on to that body and invert rather than transgress the boundary by valuing the historically devalued "feminine." As Stone herself has noted, "Even in the age of the technosocial subject, life is still lived through bodies".(53) Thus, the DDEBs, and other women-only cyberspaces, are not anachronisms but testaments to what Probyn refers to as the "shock [as well as the pleasure] of recognition of being gendered in and amongst women"(54) and for this reason, their members, contra Haraway and other radical cyberfeminists, would rather be goddesses than cyborgs.(55)

Notes

(1.) Howard Rheingold, The virtual community: Homesteading on the electronic frontier (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., 1993), p. 10.

(2.) Michel Foucault, "Of other spaces," diacritics vol. 16, no. 1 (1986), p. 24.

(3.) The "smiley" is a standard E-mail "emoticon" which is used to signal the writer's good intentions and sense of humour. It was several forms, including :), :-) and :D.

(4.) Started in 1979 by two students at Duke University, it is estimated that the Usenet is comprised of some 10,000 newsgroups, divided into five main categories: Bus. (Business); Comp. (Computers); Rec. (Recreation); Sci. (Science) and the very broad "other" category known as Alt. (Alternative) where most of the discussions on popular culture can be found.

(5.) Dawn Dietrich, "Refashioning the Techno-erotic Woman: Gender and Textuality in the Cybercultural Matrix," in Virtual Culture: Identity and Communication in Cybersociety, Steven G. Jones, ed. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1997), p. 178.

(6.) This heading is a Foucaultian play on the slogan "the truth is out there," a slogan that appears in the opening title sequence of The X-Files. It represents Agent Mulder's quest for "the truth" that is constantly being denied or hidden by malevolent, powerful government forces.

(7.) William Gibson, Neuromancer (New York: Ace Books, 1984).

(8.) Anne Balsamo, Technologies of the Gendered Body: Reading, Cyborg Women (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1996).

(9.) Peter Ludlow, ed., High Noon on the Electronic Frontier: Conceptual Issues in Cyberspace, Technical Communication, Multimedia, and Information Systems (Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press, 1996), Howard Rheingold, The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., 1993).

(10.) This "war" narrative informs another popular title -- see Douglas Rushkoff, Cyberia: Life in the Trenches of Hyperspace (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1994).

(11.) Mark Dery, "Flame Wars," in Flame Wars: The Discourse of Cyberculture, Mark Dery, ed. (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1994), p.2.

(12.) Dery, p.2.

(13.) Dery, p.4.

(14.) Howard Rheingold, "A Slice of Life in My Virtual Community," in Global Networks: Computers and International Communication, ed. Linda Harasim (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1993), p.62.

(15.) Rheingold, Virtual Community, p.3.

(16.) Michel Foucault, "The Discourse on Language," in The Archaeology of Knowledge (New York: Dorset Press, 1972), p.219.

(17.) Balsamo, p. 128.

(18.) The name of the Usenet newsgroup dedicated to discussion about The X-Files.

(19.) The names used to identify the participants are in most cases "aliases" chosen by the participants. "Kellie" and "Julia" are real names and have been used with their permission in reference to the founding of the original list as this information is posted on the DDEB website and is therefore accessible to anyone with Internet access.

(20.) Henry Jenkins, Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture (New York: Routledge, 1992), p. 12. Jenkins also points out that some male fans are subjected to the same ridicule. Male Star Trek fans, or Trekkies, are assumed to be effeminate and/or asexual, emasculated by their intense, delusional devotion (p. 10).

(21.) Foucault, Of Other Spaces, p.24.

(22.) Foucault, p.25.

(23.) Foucault, p.25.

(24.) The * symbol is placed around words for emphasis in the same way that underlining is used in traditional print media.

(25.) Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, Steven Rendall, trans. (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1984), p.25.

(26.) The exception would appear to be the third list, DDEB3 with several members reporting figures as high as 80 percent.

(27.) The <g> is another "emoticon" or "glyph" used in e-mail communications. This particular symbol stands for "grin" and is used to signify the writer's humorous intent.

(28.) Alison Caddick, "Feminist and Postmodern: Donna Haraway's Cyborg," Arena no. 99/100 (1992), p. 118.

(29.) Caddick, p. 119.

(30.) Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (New York: Routledge, 1990), p. 126.

(31.) Butler, p. 33.

(32.) Dorothy Smith, "Femininity as discourse," in Becoming Feminine: The Politics of Popular Culture, Leslie G. Roman, Linda Christian-Smith and Elizabeth Ellsworth, eds. (London/New York: Falmer Press, 1988), p.37.

(33.) Quoted in Teresa De Lauretis, Technologies of Gender: Essays on Theory, Film, and Fiction (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987), p. 17.

(34.) Butler, pp. 126-7.

(35.) Ann Game, Undoing the Social: Towards a Deconstructive Sociology (Milton Keynes: Open University Press, 1991), p. 147.

(36.) Donna Haraway, Simians, Cyborgs, and Women (New York: Routledge, 1992), p.178.

(37.) Sadie Plant, Zeros + Ones: Digital Women + the Now Technoculture (London: Fourth Estate, 1997), p. 177.

(38.) Steve Pile and Nigel Thrift, eds., Mapping the Subject: Geographies of Cultural Transformation (New York: Routledge, 1995), p. 45.

(39.) Stone, Allucquere Rosanne. The War of Desire and Technology at the Close of the Mechanical Age (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1995).

(40.) Stone, p. 75.

(41.) Bronwyn Davies, "Women's Subjectivity and Feminist Stories," in Investigating Subjectivity: Research on Lived Experience, Carolyn Ellis and Michael G Flaherty, eds. (Newberry Park, CA: Sage Publications, 1992).

(42.) Valerie Walkerdine, "Video Replay: Families, Films and Fantasy," in Schoolgirl fictions (New York: Verso, 1990), p. 173.

(43.) I am drawing on feminist psychoanalytic film theory. For an excellent overview, see Jackie Stacey, Star Gazing: Hollywood Cinema and Female Spectatorship (London; New York: Routledge, 1994).

(44.) In presenting data from the DDEBRP, I have tried to approximate the form of the original email message. To save space and preserve confidentiality, I have removed or modified the lines from the message "header," any lines from a previous message that were included in the body of the replies, as well as any "signatures" or "signature files". In exchanges, I have "threaded" the messages by subject and only placed ellipsis marks between messages if I have removed any from the thread itself.

(45.) I am grateful to Lee Easton for this turn of phrase.

(46.) This percentage is based on a search of my database by NUD*IST, a qualitative software program distributed in North America by Scolari, Sage Productions Software.

(47.) Foucault, Of Other Spaces, p. 26.

(48.) Mary Gooderham, "America Online Emerges as Media Juggernaut," The Globe and Mail, October 25, 1997, p. C25.

(49.) This thread proved to be highly contentious, stirring up underlying tensions among some of the members that at the time I had no idea existed. The result was that one member, who I will not identify to preserve confidentiality, abruptly left the research project.

(50.) Foucault, Of Other Spaces, p. 23.

(51.) Stone, p. 43.

(52.) For a discussion of the ways in which both feminist and feminine positions are articulated on the DDEBRP in the context of making meaning out of The X-Files, please see Rhiannon Bury, "Waiting to X-Hale: A Study of Gender and Community on an All-Female X-Files Mailing List," Convergence: The Journal of Research into New Media Technologies vol. 4, no. 3 (1998).

(53.) Stone, A.R. "Will the Real Body Please Stand Up?: Boundary Stories about Virtual Cultures." In Cyberspace: First Steps, Michael Benedikt, ed. (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1992), p. 113.

(54.) Elspeth Probyn, Sexing the Self: Gendered Positions in Cultural Studies (New York/London: Routledge, 1993), p.55.

(55.) The final line of "The Cyborg Manifesto" is "I'd rather be a cyborg than a goddess" p. 181.

References

Balsamo, Anne. Technologies of the Gendered Body: Reading Cyborg Women. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1996.

Bury, Rhiannon. "Waiting to X-Hale: A Study of Gender and Community on an All-Female X-Files Mailing List." Convergence: The Journal of Research into New Media Technologies vol. 4, no. 3 (1998), pp. 59-83.

Davies, Bronwyn. "Women's Subjectivity and Feminist Stories." In Investigating subjectivity: Research on lived experience, by Carolyn Ellis and Michael G Flaherty, eds. Newberry Park, CA: Sage Publications, 1992, pp. 53-76..

de Certeau, Michel. The Practice of Everyday Life. Steven Rendall, trans. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1984.

De Lauretis, Teresa. Technologies of Gender: Essays on Theory, Film, and Fiction. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987.

Dery, Mark. "Flame Wars." In Flame Wars: The Discourse of Cyberculture, by Mark Dery, ed. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1994, pp. 1-10.

Dietrich, Dawn. "Refashioning the Techno-erotic Woman: Gender and Textuality in the Cybercultural Matrix." In Virtual Culture: Identity and Communication in Cybersociety, Steven G. Jones, ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1997.

Foucault, Michel. "The Discourse on Language." In The Archaeology of Knowledge, New York: Dorset Press, 1972, pp. 215-237.

Foucault, Michel. "Of Other Spaces." diacritics vol. 16, no. 1 (1986), pp. 22-27.

Game, Ann. Undoing the Social: Towards a Deconstructive Sociology. Milton Keynes: Open University Press, 1991.

Gibson, William. Neuromancer. New York: Ace Books, 1984.

Gooderham, Mary. "America Online Emerges as Media Juggernaut." The Globe and Mail, October 25, 1997, p. C25.

Haraway, Donna. Simians, Cyborgs, and Women. New York: Routledge, 1992.

Jenkins, Henry. Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture. New York: Routledge, 1992.

Ludlow, Peter. "High Noon on the Electronic Frontier: Conceptual Issues in Cyberspace." Edward Barrett, ed. Technical communication, Multimedia, and Information systems. Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press, 1996.

Pile, Steve, and Nigel Thrift, eds. Mapping the Subject: Geographies of Cultural Transformation. New York: Routledge, 1995.

Plant, Sadie. Zeros + Ones: Digital Women + The New Technoculture. London: Fourth Estate, 1997.

Probyn, Elspeth. Sexing the Self.' Gendered Positions in Cultural Studies. New York; London: Routledge, 1993.

Rheingold, Howard. "A Slice of Life in My Virtual Community." In Global Networks: Computers and International Communication, Linda Harasim, ed. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1993, pp. 57-80.

Rheingold, Howard. The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., 1993.

Rushkoff, Douglas. Cyberia: Life in the Trenches of Hyperspace. San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1994.

Stacey, Jackie. Star Gazing: Hollywood Cinema and Female Spectatorship. London/New York: Routledge, 1994.

Stone, Allucquere Rosanne. The War of Desire and Technology at the Close of the Mechanical Age. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1995.

Stone, A.R. "Will the Real Body Please Stand Up?: Boundary Stories about Virtual Cultures." In Cyberspace: First Steps, Michael Benedikt, ed. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1992.

Walkerdine, Valerie. "Video Replay: Families, Films and Fantasy." In Schoolgirl fictions, New York: Verso, 1990, pp. 173-204.
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