[-empyre-] greetings all

Greetings fellow empyreans! Many thanks to Melinda R for the invitation,
and to Julianne P for starting the discussion. I found recent comments to be thought provoking, such as the "hyperstereotypical" roles users adopt online (brought up
by Eryk) that seem to manifest Judith Butler's ideas of performance uncannily.

I'm a former commercial software developer, an artist, and critic/theorist
interested in gender, gaming, and technology. My stance is that technology cannot be
neutral, esp not until it is created in a diverse environment. Having been a software
developer, I've experienced first hand that in the US, diverse audiences tend not to be target
audiences for products nor for recruitment in the industry.

Melinda mentioned that one of the things I'd like to discuss the book I've recently co-edited, _reload: rethinking women and cyberculture_. one of the interesting discoveries
encountered by austin booth and myself was the vast differences between women writers
of cyberfiction and their male counterparts. For example, in the majority of the women-authored
stories, characters face rape and repressive government control. While we have not
completed a detailed study of tendancies, it is a significant and disturbing voice
in the way women's visions of technology and culture differ from the likes of rudy rucker,
gibson, etc etc.

I'm convinced that women still have yet to have a major, empowered voice
in commercial cybercultural arenas (fiction, commercial gaming, to name a few sites)
but in the arts and in activism women are emerging as leaders. I am a strong supporter of cyberfeminist activities and while not convinced or led astray by the liberatory claims of the late 1990s, I do think we can learn a
great deal from feminist analysis of cyberculture and make better environments through
study and awareness... Also, recent discussions about the internet being an asset in the liberation of cultural control is important - while I see it as partially manifesting
in upload/download culture and sharing/opensource movements, I also am concerned
about the future of this empowered culture --we are at a time when it is difficult to see what is becoming more controlled and what is then opening up. . . also the role of participants as *both* producers and consumers
needs to be emphasized.

Recently I've also been interested in the politics of data. TAke scientific visualization as one of many areas which could be considered...
Are there underlying assumptions
about vision and knowledge long critiqued by feminist epistemologists being re-
institutionalized in this arena?

I hope that these comments and inquiries tingle the inquisitive
in all of us and get comments rolling....


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