What is cyberwoman?: The second sex in cyberspace [Book Review]

Ethics and Information Technology 2 (3):159-166 (2000)
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Abstract

In this paper I wish to show that, although traditional notions of genderand sex break down in cyberspace, a revised Beauvoirian understanding ofsexual secondariness is applicable and useful in coming to terms with thepossible ethical and philosophical ramifications of this relatively newcommunication medium. To this end, I argue that persons who enter intocommunication in online chat rooms necessarily deny the bodily aspectsof their own identity. In so doing, these persons make themselvesinessential, or secondary, in Beauvior's sense. For Beauvoir, this isa denial of one's own freedom, and thus commmunication in cyberspacebecomes an instance of self-oppression. Yet, if self-oppression canbe avoided, the self-oppressor is morally responsible for her or hisown oppression. Ultimately, I argue, cyberspatial communication is aninstance of such self-oppression.

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