Life on the Screen: Identity in the
Age of the Internet
The material below represents notes compiled by
Robert Keel and Takako Nomi in their reading of Turkle's, Life on
the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet, Simon and Schuster, 1995..
They are intended for classroom use.
TINISEX AND GENDER TROUBLE
Gender as social construction :
- Roles and Expectations shap our social relationships
Gender-Swapping in Muds A new
opportutnity to explore conflicets raised by one's biological gender Objects-to-think-with
for the social construction of gender -- Gender shapes our expectations A form
of consciousness-raising about gender issues
Experiences of opposit gender in Muds
- Men who play women, women who play men, men
who play women pretending to be men, and women who play men pretending to
- "The play dramatizes the power of the theater
as a metaphor for life ... [and] suggests that donning a mask, adopting a
personae, is a step toward reaching a deeper truth about the real ... "
Experiences of Garrett (a twenty-eight-year-old
- Presentation of female roles in Muds -- "feels
freer to express the collaborative and helpful side of his nature Interpretation
of the same behaviors dependeing on one's gender -- " as a female, he
could be collaborative withought being stigmatized ... "
- e.g. help as a female taken as natural, welcome
and kind. Help as male was seen unexpected and sedusive. The notion of Depaysment
-- A male persona feels strange
- A term used in anthropology; "One leaves
one's own culture to face something unfamiliar, and upon returning home it
has become strange -- and can be seen with fresh eyes"
Experiences of Case (a male in real life)
- Gender swapping as a vehicle for self-reflection
- Being a female in Muds -- easier to be aggrassive
and confrontational. " I see as a strong woman as admirable. I see as
a strong man as a problem (obnoxious, a bully and a bastard) Externalization
of a part of him self -- practice as a nagotiator in role playing
- " Gender-swapping has enabled his inner
world of hard-bitten nagotiators to find self expression, but without compromising
the values he associates with his 'whole person' " No split off from
his sence of himself -- himself as a collective self, "not feeling that
he must goad or repress this or that aspect of himself into conformity."
- Through Gender Swapping and Self Presentation:
Experiences such as harrasments, unexpected treatments by others, and different
interpretations -- Gender is socially constructed
- Consists of two or more players typing descriptions
of physical actions, verbal statements, and emotional reactions for their
- Verious presentations of characters -- Gender-Swapping,
fake-lesbians/homosexuals, and sex as nonnuman characters Various reactins
of the real life partners of the players to Virtual Sex
- More like his reading an erotic novel -- not
threatening to their marriage
- A feeling of destress -- " He is cheating
on me" Possibilities to play out fantacies -- "Virtual reality made
my girlfriend to explore what it might be like to have a sexual relationship
with another women, too easy for her to experience herself as a man, too easey
to avoid the social consequences of her actions." (Yet, the status of
these fantasies-in-action in cyberspace is unclerar)
- New Questions of sex and fidelity -- Is it the
physical action or emotional intimacy, action or desire? What constitutes
violations of trust ?
- Muds offer new possibilities -- "TinySex
and virtual gender-bending are part of the larger story of people using virtual
spaces to construct an identity"
Children and Cyberspace
- Harrassment and Psychological abuse in the Internet
just like any other environment
- Children's participation in online sexual acitivites
- Parental panic about dangers of cyberspace,
which partly comes from their unfamiliarity with the Internet
- Presentation of oneself other than one is in
the real life -- Deception?
- "Case of the electronic lover": consequenses
of when the real identity is revealed -- shock and outrage
- Confusion of the real and the virtual -- real-life
relationships, virtual relationships with a "real" person, and virtual
relationships with a virtual other
- What is allowed to do in vertual communities
-- depends on players and their communitites
Virtuality as a way of life: we need a
new language for talking about the simplest things.
- Each indivieual must ask: What is the nature
of my relationships? What are the limits of my responsibilities? Who and what
am I? What is the connection between my physical and virtual bodies? And is
it different in different cyberspaces"
Questions about a community --
What is the nature of our social ties? What kind of accountability do we have
for our actions in real life and in cyberspace? What kind of society or societies
are we creating, both on and off the screen?
Being Digital -- People have the
ability to "move through multiple identities, and we can embrace -- or
be trapped by -- cyberspace as a way of life" Technology changes us as
people, changes our relationships and a sense of ourselves
Life on line -- New lenses through which
to examine current complexitites
Owner: Robert O. Keel: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, March 28, 2006 12:14