Friday, October 23, 2009

New Gender Possibilities?

This is a similar fantasy to the idea of the mall as a space in which you can shop around for another identity.

But you can't. At the mall, all you can do is use its social spaces, including cyberspace, as supplementary augmentations of aspects of your identity. This is perhaps a minor augmentation, not really as radical as some proponents of virtual identity might claim. You don't become a woman by adopting a female identity in cyberspace if you are a man in real space. Cyberspace has been seen as the site of a certain cross-dressing, or swapping of identities, that can only be phantasmatic and supplementary. But while entering cyberspace does not make the man a woman, it may make him see other possibilities for being a man.

--from "Embodying Space: An Interview with Elizabeth Grosz." by Kim Armitage and Paul Dash. Architecture from the Outside: Essays on Virtual and Real Space. 22.


3xEMonkey said...

Perhaps it's a way of examining who a person is outside of the constrictions of a physical shell. After all, some people think they are who they are; and on the internet or within another social space (such as a mall) they can evaluate other aspects of their personality by acting in a different way. It's not about becoming someone else, just being someone different, starting from a blank slate.

Laminated Fragments said...

Interesting response. I had never thought of a mall in any way similar to virtual space until I had read Grosz. It's interesting that in both instances production and consumption are so prevalent (and not necessarily in a Marxist sense). When you are in virtual space and "adopting" an identity (even if it is some simulation of your own) there are acts of producing identity and consuming intercourse/interactions with others. I just like how Grosz continually reminds us that there is an actual body still present connected to the computer. The man cannot become a woman by adopting a female identity on the computer -- but this can be an expansion of what it means to be masculine/man. I just think this is so interesting.