Sunday, April 17, 2011

So, tell me what a "cyborg" is?

History also includes “herstory.” In the early 1990’s, people started to use the term “cyberfeminism.” I decided to search online and learn more about it. The term was coined by VNS Matrix (Australian artist group who were active from 1991 to 1997). They aimed to investigate male domination in cyberspace, and link this with female oppression. Apparently they were very explicit in their quotes about their goals, one of which reads, "to insert women, bodily fluids and political consciousness into electronic spaces."

But cyberfeminism is an actual movement, aimed at displaying feminist ideals and criticizing online art and interactions. Because there still is no rigid definition of this movement, people seem to be confused as to what is the history of it, what are its goals, and why does it exist.

“If feminism is to be adequate to its cyberpotential then it must mutate to keep up with the shifting complexities of social realities and life conditions as they are changed by the profound impact communications technologies and techno science have on all our lives. It is up to cyberfeminists to use feminist theoretical insights and strategic tools and join them with cybertechniques to battle the very real sexism, racism, and militarism encoded in the software and hardware of the Net, thus politicizing this environment.” –F. Wilding

Cyberfeminists attempt to examine issues through a feminist lens. Many cyberfeminists are both artists and theorists. They helped to develop a strong connection between women and technology. More specifically, they have focused on contemporary technologies, examining the intersections between gender identity, the body, culture and technology. They have collaborated to fight against preferred patriarchal technology methods. Cyberfeminism is different in that when it first originated, followers developed 100 anti-theses defining what cyberfeminism IS NOT in order to reflect their fluid and diverse viewpoints. Instead of being a strict, structured movement, it is seen as more of an active and serious but fun and playful movement. Nonetheless, it existed as a movement against the masculine ‘toys for boys’ motto that new Internet technologies adopted. Emphasis is on theory and engagement.

Unfortunately, due to a recent reduction in cyberfeminist literature, the movement tends to be undermined. Recent artworks, however, include Evelin Stermitz’s World of Female Avatars. This project attempts to expand women’s understanding of their relation to their body. An artistic survey is taken and quotes and images from women over the world are collected. The pictures are used to create new bodies or avatars (cyborgs) of the female body. Women can be positively or negatively connected to their body due to societal changes that affect and change the body’s natural state. The body over time becomes morphed into a more cultural object. This project aims to show people how they are constantly creating new self-representations, but if we all were able to eliminate gender biases, we would be “androgynus equals” in cyberspace and reach an optimal level of feminism.

“There are also a lot of other gendered people who are suppressed or marginalized or are suffering from social exclusion or are under social pressure. So of course, all this comes together and is important. I think our society should become very vivid and open to all kind of gender theories or sexes or whatever.” –Evelin Stermitz

According to the youtube clip, the cyborg is postgender, pansexualized and asexualized, masculine, and feminine. WATCH IT! I promise it'll spark your interest!

Even beyonce dressed like a cyborg during one of her prime performances! Interesting attempt to make cyborgs seem real, no?


  1. I do find this absolutely fascinating! Woman have a strange relationship with technology...

  2. I agree! It's so interesting! And to think I never even heard of any of it before... Someone should create a movie incorporating all of this!