Change to Sundén
Steampunks gather (Typo)
Yes! But there’s a cheery, pretty downside:See “Better Homes and Hipsters”: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/27/fashion/kinfolk-magazine-the-martha-stewart-living-of-the-portland-set.html?ref=fashion&_r=0 and of course, lampooned in Portlandia
I find your opening sentence needlessly circuitous, especially given the strong claims you make in later paragraphs.
For example, the first sentence of para 6!
really excited about what you say you’re going to do!
highlighting should be highlight (typo)
in turn (typo); move “steampunk authors” tp before the parenthensis (typo);
“steampunks have a way of modifying and punking digital technologies with steam.” I assume this is metaphorical, but what do you mean then as this is tautolgocail
as (many?) exciting political potentials
I like these questions, but wonder how the man you discuss above effects this move. that is to say, is he feeling such a criticism? or is he not and you are and you are all moving in the same community?
A Thousand Plateaus needs ital (typo)
Scenes of Subjection in itals (typo)
or feel(s) it quite differently (typo); how do you dress when you are at Cons? Are you known (through costume or otherwise as queer or is this an interior feeling? knowing/)
forgetting anew (typo); I like thinking about funk as tempo, but how do you think about it haptically as well?
I like this idea of violent touch but am not sure you’ve really given us examples nor close consideration above
I think all the ideas here are exciting, but would love a little ethnographic detail: have any of your subjects (including yourself) talked about touching and being touched in these ways, are their images that speak this you can refer to?
As I said in my previous comment, I really like the theoretical/political space you are pressing here, and believe the piece would be even stronger if you could link these ruminations to embodied/represented practices of your own or your subjects. The few quotes you have selected were terrific, but what about how these people (you?) look, what do they wear, could you give us some haptic detail (or perhaps add some images)?
presumably this is from a research diary or interview material. Some sort of reference to data collection, i.e. (Interview with… date) appropriate.
I suggest taking out: Steampunk has been defined in a multitude of ways, some of which point at the impossible mission of defining that which defies definition, something that is hybrid to the bone (Bowser and Croxall, 2010).start with the origin of the term as situated in the attempt to classify a new category of fiction.
para 5 line 1: ‘takes shape around’ – be more direct. ‘deals with’?
typo: Laura Marks’s
fieldwork – specify where and when.
The following sentence is unclear: Central to the importance of the affective value of 19th century materiality, and the insistence on how steampunk garments and technologies need to have the right ‘feel’, is the sense of touch. it jumps from one context to another in a way that I can’t really follow. The second part of the sentence relates more directly to the topic here so it is the first part that needs clarifying – is this an attempt to an analogy?
think sensation – think of sensation ?
par 50 line 1: formatting of book title?
Are not references to Victorian / Neo-Victorian culturally incongruent if the fieldwork context is Swedish? If the subculture internationally operates within a British cultural framework of cultural and historical reference points perhaps this needs explaining as it is hard to see how it would translate straightforwardly.
Re: ‘sometimes forms the basis of alternative politics in relation to the current technological condition’ – exemplify when this happens or perhaps you want to indicate the potential for this to happen?
Re: ‘sometimes forms the basis of alternative politics in relation to the current technological condition’ – exemplify when this happens or perhaps you want to indicate the potential for this to happen?
these ways display – enact? perform?
You say ‘swag’ and ‘swagging’. I think you mean swagger, and swaggering.
I agree; cut or simplify this first sentence.Also note verb/subject disagreement in last sentence here (“steampunks gathers”).
I’m convinced by the description of the turn to the past, but not that this is necessarily a turn away from the future; I think it’s important that none of the formations you cite seek to reproduce the past as it was, but rather to transformatively recreate. This is more an engagement with your argument than a suggestion for edits, though!I would like to see links or citations to examples of both 80s/90s cyberpunk and the “neo-burlesque, the re-vamped 1950s housewife and her cupcakery” and “the femme movement and its queer, vintage femininities,” perhaps in the form of a footnote.
It strikes me that this issue might be usefully related to the last part of this paragraph, through a a connection of the imperialist content of steampunk’s neo-Victorianism and the Anglo-American dominance of transnational digital subcultures.
I am liking the feel of this argument very much! It seems connected to recent work by Anne Cvetkovich and Lauren Berlant, too.
typo “imaged-based” for “image-based”
“In steampunk, anachrony functions as the baseline, through flashbacks as a manner of flashing-forward, a moving backwards through time, analepsis, as a way of entering prolepsis, of moving backwards into the future.”I love the idea of “moving backwards into the future.” I found that the multiple commas in this sentence made it a little difficult to understand, though.
Are first- and second-generation steampunk historical or content-based divisions? Earlier, you referred to “cyberpunk” as happening in the 1990s; now it seems that the second generation of steampunk is happening then?
Love this paragraph.
Opening sentence “Even if” should, I think, be “Even as.” Perhaps a nod to the work some are doing on postcolonial steampunk would be worth including along with the generic “gender, sexuality and race” here? I am thinking of Jaymee Goh’s work.
This seems a very different take on the meaning of steampunk’s seemingly rigid gender roles than the participant cited above – one that doesn’t assume the bodies performing masculinity will be male, or vice versa. Worth mentioning at this stage?
I’m enjoying this argument, and wondering how it’s inflected by the emphasis in steampunk’s handmade artefacts on the imagery and imaginary of the machine, though machinery at a human rather than industrially immense or digitally miniaturized scale…
Last sentence: missing o in first “erotihistoriography” and parallel structure error: ” not so much a moving backwards through time in an attempt to leave the present behind, but rather [a means of] of embodying an encounter between different and overlapping temporalities, something that is at the very core of steampunk costuming practices.”
Thinking of the Industrial Revolution as “pretty great” involves erasing the experience not only of enslaved and colonized others but also of white working-class populations…
I also would like to know how you have navigated the choice about what costume to personally embody – and how your presence as researcher impacts the ways you might otherwise engage as a queer and feminist participant (for example, if there are queer/feminist/antiracist members who are critiquing and challenging the norms of the con, do you join in and become known as one of them?)
Typo in second sentence: incorporate for incorporates.Typo in name of Ay-leen the Peacemaker.
I enjoyed this article very much for its theoretical richness and lyricism as well as for its insights into steampunk and feminist ambivalence. I agree with Alex Juhasz when it comes to the ethnographic detail, though; I wanted to touch and feel more details, to be able to fully visualize, the subject matter. Images would also be a great addition.
Hi Jenny,I really enjoyed your article. Apologies that the review feedback has come in stages, but hope it will all be coherent as you access it at the end of the process.
The ‘witnessing’ part of her argument may need a bit contextualising.
This paragraph contains some central ideas. The contrast to the museum experience is helpful. Could the proposed strategies for using tactility as a feminist method /praxis be outlined in a more articulated way? And perhaps signposted already in the introduction ?
1. Can the reference to the interview be clarified? Who is doing the interview ? You or Onion?2. Why is the name in square brackets? 3. talked should be present tense; talks.
Could the feminist potential be highlighted here?
typo correction: Laura Marks’s (2000: xiii) terminology
The importance of the digital provision for steampunk culture may be something you want to highlight as a paradox earlier on?
Reference needed for Marks’s quotation.The haptic nature of the images could perhaps be further detailed/ theorised? Is it the case that the steampunk images referred to here are all documenting actual artefacts?An annotated example may be very useful here.
This section either requires further discussion and explaining regarding how it offers a counter history, or you may want to take it out: ‘Freeman shows how erotohistoriography is a method with a history of its own – referencing the late 18th century discussion of historical method through the male capacity for sensibility – which figures as a repressed constituent of historical scholarship itself.’
Great section. Is this where the feminist / queer potential can be located? If so, it would be good to state this.
1. Why KrKristin in brackets?2. Not sure your argument can be contrasted to Love’s. Her writing isn’t exemplifying restorative history writing, rather it is critiquing how the historical is used in the contemporary to serve a progressionist agenda.
typo: Waters’s – also add year of publication
the idea of touching that which the other has touched is very interesting. Could it be explored a bit further? Isa this the historical other? Racial other? The quotation “I feel like a traitor every time I put on a corset, or wear lace gloves.” may have ended up here by mistake? If not it needs contextualising.
I find the opening of the paragraph a bit confusing. Do you mean the enlisting of 50s vintage fashion and paraphernalia in the performance of femme femininity?I suppose an implication of Dahl’s observations is that these practices put racism / sexism firmly in the past – are they thus also possible to eroticize? Is this also the case in steampunk?In other words, what is the notion of ‘now’ that the engagement with ‘historical’ expressions, dress and etiquette in steampunk produces?
relatedly to the above point the last sentence in this paragraph about a side-stepping of politics could be further articulated.
Is the following based on observations in field work?Within steampunk cultures, it seems possible for most participants to stay with sensation, to not ask questions of what it means to touch and be touched in certain ways, and how the sensation itself might shift, depending on the specificity of bodies, fabrics, and histories. If so it’s a good opportunity to add a bit more of the empirical material here.Fisher’s point seems to indicate a wider debate of politics of epistemologies – this may be another point of connection to your aim of offering a feminist critique of the steampunk practices?
Re: coercive deployments of touch in steampunk are symbolically linked to slavery, pain, and torture – how are these played out?
1. are these actual quotations from interviews? that could be made more clear. Otherwise it appears as an oversimplification of the views of the group participating i your research.2. The last sentence needs clarifying.
isn’t the historical drag part of the enjoyment for all?That would include the enjoyment / exploring of the gaps and fissures in the performance that are at the heart of the drag act, no? 2. the point about what triggers a feminist impulse could be further clarified.
Steamfunk is about changing the pace of steampunk, making room for and creating black bodies as not merely a rhythmic supplement, but as being part of the baseline in fundamental ways.-what does that mean?
nice point about the space between aesthetics and politics.
My overall feedback is:1. It would be great if you could utilise the empirical material a bit more and in doing so also situate the study a bit more in terms of time and place. 2. The production and/or resistance of feminist knowledge can be reiterated further. 3. Does steampunk engage with the otherness of history in itself? You imply this potential – can it be further articulated?
I think it is risky to overstate the turn to the past in contemporary popular culture, so perhaps you could nuance this claim a little. There are multiple turns to fantastic alternate presents.
I got a bit lost in the sentence beginning “It is a project that follows…” I think the sentence would be clearer split into two parts, as I am not sure what things are being shuttled between.
I also found the multiple commas obscured the meaning. I also had trouble with mixing the metaphor of the baseline with the concepts of flashback and flashforward. I got very confused about the spatiotemporality of your argument. Could you restructure this section to clarify your meaning? I suspect, like Alexis, I would be very sympathetic to your argument, but I am not confident that I have grasped it.
Stupid system ate my comment. I had issues with the same sentence that Alexis highlIghted. Apart from the repeated use of commas instead of conjunctions, the use of the metaphor of the baseline entangled with discussions of flashforwards and flashbacks left me spatiotemporally confused. I suspect, like Alexis, I would be sympathetic to your argument, but I am just not sure that I have grasped it. It might be helpful if you specified explicitly what you mean by flashbacks and flashforwards which resonate cinematically for me.
Do you think that the sentence you quote is genuinely intended to be a guide to conduct, or is it satirical?
N.B. There is a missing word or words in the sentence beginning ‘Gwendolyn Audrey…’. Is she referring to Victorian manners or neoVictorian manners? Without the context of her quotation it is not clear to when / where she is referring.
I wonder whether an informant who says ‘sexual preference, if that is the term’ is the best person to opine on queer contingency. Did you not observe any more queering practices?
This sentence makes me uncomfortable: “It becomes particularly disturbing … darker sides of Victoriana”, in conjunction with the previous sentence. I don’t feel as if you have given a thick enough description of this behaviour in your fieldwork to claim such disturbance. As a contrary reader, without these descriptions, I keep imagining ways that time play could be emphasising racism, sexism and homophobia to open them up to critical readings rather than simply sidestepping the issues. I think you need to show that the side-stepping is happening and not leave your reader concerned that this is just your assumption.
I find this quotation also risks oversimplification, albeit in a different way, through the use of the word but. Why not an and in the middle of their sentence? Are politics and pleasure (why aesthetics and not desire?) necessarily opposed?
This seems very promising. I think O.Jenzen makes an interesting suggestion. It does feel as if this paragraph comes quite late on. Perhaps you could hold back on your feminist ambivalence until you have explored the possibilities hinted at in this paragraph more fully.
Inverted commas missing at end of quote. No reference to where quote comes from.
There are also suggestions of alternative historiographies / temporalities which put into question the possibility of assuming a single orientation to ‘the past’ as well as of gender play that undercut some of what has been said previously.
But is it not important to take account of the role of steampunk novels in precipitating this culture. Is the culture all about touching / looking, or are there political-economical critical aspects to it as well?
I don’t know if this is just my issue, but it seems to me that there is some lack of clarity in the distinction between the visual and the image, that may be an artefact of taking theory that has been developed to insist on the
Haptic quality of the mediated and reapplying it to practices that seem self-evidently haptic as well as the associated digital realm. Do you think that there is some unpacking that you could usefully do here, and some structuring of the argument that would take your readers through what Marks’ work enables you to do / think regarding all that makes up s
I wrote a lengthy comment on para 27 which has disappeared. Sending this as a test.
So: truncated version of what I wrote that disappeared into ether: I am concerned that there may be a lack of clarity about the distinction between the visual and the image … This may be an artefact of working with theory that has been developed to insist on the haptic qualIty of the mediated and reapplying it to what seems self-evidently haptic /tactile as well as the associated digital realm. Could you do some Unpacking here and restructure your argument slightly to take your reader through these moves in order to demonstrate what Marks’ work enables you to
think /do about all that is steampunk culture
Personally, it seems to me that the Freeman approach is potentially much more fruitful for your project. Especially the reference to hybridity – I don’t know if Freeman is referencing Latour on hybrids, but it certainly seems as if she might.
I really like this. It seems to me to capture much more clearly and plausibly what seems to be going on with steampunk than the section on analepsis etc.
This is much too far away from Kristin’s quote for you to pursue this argument. You need to structure the article so that they are adjacent paragraphs.
But don’t any of the costumes mess with ‘the history of white etc etc’? Has your ethnography not furnished you with any alternative answers to the question Whose late 19th century is available for steampunky time play? And how would you know? Because surely you can’t tell by just looking if you take your haptic methodology seriously? So what are the challenges to fully addressing your research questions?
‘McClintock puts forth’ is an odd construction. Do you mean argues? Suggests? Claims?
I am still stuck on the apparent insistence that all steampunky players perform white bourgeois or upper class femininity or masculinity? Is the culture so homogeneous?
Can McClintock’s arguments really be easily extended? Would this not elide important specificities?
I am concerned about your even ifs. Why would you want to hold steampunk to a higher standard than dominant culture?
Why do you assume that ‘a love for sustainable garments’ sidesteps the political dimensions of embodying history. I don’t mean to be hostile – I just think that some more openness to the possibility that steampunkers could recognise some of the risky corollaries of their affective investments might be advisable.
This paragraph. Is really interesting, because it seems to me that the theoretical intro is really quite irrelevant to what follows about your researcher subjectivity. I think this whole article is a fascinating and fraught engagement with a subculture that you seem to want to care for, but keep feeling repelled by. This seems to me to be a much more visceral response than ambivalence.
Do you mean baseline or do you mean bass line, or are you making a homophonic pun? And how does this bear on the earlier use of baseline in this essay?
This paragraph seems to slip between speculative and apparently empirical modes. I think you need to be more rigorous in distinguishing between these modes. It is not evident from this article that you have the empirical evidence to back up your speculations. It is not that they are inherently implausible, but as the article is currently written, you appear to be over reliant on ‘if then’ assumptions. I think you would do better to be much clearer in separating out your conceptual framework, the problematics about race, gender and sexuality you wish to explore, the very real methodological challenges this imposes, and the specific empirical data you have collected. When you are talking about issues of race and imperialism, the distinctions among the three nation-states in which you are observing steampunk cultures will also have significant bearing.
Why, “If it …”.
This culture that you gesture at sounds diverse and vibrant until you collapse it into top hats, corsets and crinolines at the end of the paragraph. Could you offer a thicker description of this vibrant diversity?
Having read through the whole article now, I would recommend that this outline of the argument be much more explicit about how much of the article is theoretical and speculative, and the relatively minor role of a substantive account of fieldwork.
Oops! Sorry, repeated your typo spotting
I think if you introduce something that you wonder about it is important to explore it and not just leave it hanging.
I think it would help the argument if you were clearer about the relationship of steampunk literature to the steampunk communities of practice that you discuss.
Can you briefly explain why you’ve chosen to use this term, as opposed to the other ones you list?
Love this term!
Why not say “I will look…”? Papers don’t really “look,” after all. 🙂
It would be nice to see you reference scholarship on blogging in this section.
I like that you contrast these two. But I’m wondering if you can’t further explain your use of the phrase “soft infrastructure” and perhaps reduce some of the jargon introduced in paragraph 16?–e.g. “flat scaffolding,” “co-produce discursive dialogue,” “bidirectional conversation,” etc. Doing so would increase readability and make your piece accessible to a broader audience.
It might be helpful to pull the lens out here—perhaps talk about the broader implications and value of your work. What, for instance, does your scholarship reveal about these types of social media relationships that we may not be aware of or tend to overlook?
Also, I’d like to see you tighten things up and create connections between the diverse terms/concepts you’ve introduced throughout the article and comment on their overall value to scholarship on intimacy and blogging. (You might also comment on this in your introduction.)
I very much enjoyed reading your piece and look forward to reading and citing your work in the future!
perhaps note that this is not unique to Singapore? here or elsewhere…This is part of a larger women centered prosumer movement
I agree with Lori – you need to explain why this term – also are you claiming this is unique to Singapore – if so how and what parts of this phenomenon is specific to the context of women from Singapore – perhaps that is coming later .
you jump too quickly to this without laying the ground/transition for “intimacy”… perhaps foreground this a little in the previous intro section by noting that this is one of the themes? also what are you calling intimacy? – a quick example here maybe and then proceed to explaining how it is a performative strategy – and to what end?
define and show what it is you are referring to as “intimacy” – is this idea coming out of the texts you looked at or from the interviews or a combination of both -what does this intimacy ash performative strategy look like?
again – show how this negotiation of intimacy occurs in your data…
for instance? what do you mean by perceive interconnectedness – a quick recap of the Abidin 2013 key argument and how it connects to web intimacy – missing definitions of both perceived interconnectedness and of web intimacy – I don’t get a sense of what each means – so help me out a bit – maybe with quick illustrations from your data here -even if you may have done so later in the article.
You raise so many fascinating points from your research that point to the gendered nature of the practices you describe throughout this contribution and the ethnographic research you refer to sounds rich. But you do not go on to address the gendered dimensions of either the theoretical model you employ (and Horton & Wohl’s model was implicitly if not explicitly about media practices considered to be feminized) or the practices in which the bloggers are engaged.
As I understand your focus — the first sentence of this paragraph – you intend to address “how commercial lifestyle bloggers in Singapore capture and sustain the interest of their readers.” But what follows seems to focus instead on the theoretical contribution you make rather than that topic. It would help to have a clear statement about the purpose of the essay in this first section and how your research supports that purpose.
Following from my first comment, how is this paper ethnographically situated? It’s not clear to me from what follows how your ethnographic research informs this particular paper.
You end on a provocative note vis a vis gender and new media — that there are men who read the blog, despite bloggers’ address to readers they understand to be women. Can you cite the estimate, first of all? And second, why is it worth noting that these intimacies are performed by and for people who identify as women?
To echo Radhika’s comments above, I think the four questions you set out in this short section need to be situated first within your theoretical framework and the specific goals of this analysis.
I am curious as to why you use Horton & Wohl’s Cold War model rather than any of the more recent feminist scholarship on intimacy, especially Kavka’s book on reality television and intimacy and Gregg’s Work’s Intimacy. Gregg in particular is directly relevant to what you’re theorizing in this.
Also, is there any form of interconnectness that isn’t perceived?
Why limit these connections to television and radio? Weren’t film stars the first examples of these (for women, at least — I suppose that one sports stars would be the equivalent for audiences considered male).
It might be helpful to provide some gloss or explanation for your categories. I’m not clear, for example. on what “scaffolding of actors” means or why it would be considered to be flat in your theoretical model.
Is privacy play a trope? Or is it a practice?
So in privacy play, bloggers are engaging in practices that are not that dissimilar from the ways in which stars have produced affective public images, e.g. through teasers that suggest that the reveal is going to be greater than it actually is, by disclosing some “intimate” details to simulate closeness. Why is this kind of play important to the subject of your article? Can you situate it within the broader framework of the subject of intimacy and new media?
Why is it important that these bloggers are in “heterosexual romantic relationships”? Also, you seem to be saying that they publish “carefully curated photographs,” but also that they feature details about “the blogger’s less polished and everyday facets of life.” I’m not sure what point you’re making in this and I’d also like to see the assertions supported by examples from your research.
This sentence is much clearer in explaining what you mean by play in these forms of communication. It would still be helpful to have them supported by examples from your research — and it would make the description richer as well.
None of this seems specific to blogging or “new” in any meaningful sense. In fact, these seem tried and true strategies from older media, like fan magazines or even 1980s behind-the-scenes entertainment news.
Can you unpack the first sentence of this? I’m not sure that I fully understand what you mean by “the affordances accorded by the mechanisms of Perceived Interconnectedness” in particular.
And I think that you are really on to something in this paragraph, once you begin describing the practices you’re looking at. While (as I point out above) a lot of the practices you associate with play have origins in more traditional media and related fan practices, you’re talking about something very distinct in this paragraph — the ability of bloggers and their fans to create additional content very quickly and across multiple platforms. I’m not sure how this relates to soft structure — it seems to me to be more a matter of speed up enabled by new media technologies. Worth exploring.
I think you mean “accessible” rather than “passable” in line 2? You might also want to take a look at Cottom’s contribution to Ada, Issue 7, where she provides an excellent overview of the notion of microcelebrity (it’s part of a broader analysis of academics and microcelebrity, but I think her definition might be helpful).
Focusing on the conceptual framework for this paper will help a lot with revising your conclusion. I’d like to see this contribution be more in conversation with the scholarship on intimacy and affect — how does your framework or research enhance that field or move it forward?
(1) I tend to be a little comma-happy, as I tend to punctuate written text with commas where I would pause for emphasis, if I were reading it aloud. So I am wondering if others would also see value in adding commas in the following locations: (a) between “lives” and “‘as lived'”; (b) between “their sites” and “in”; (c) between “advertorials” [which, btw, is a new term to me; thank you] and “which”. (2) I am not entirely sure I am correctly understanding the following: “In fact, these women are increasingly substituting mainstream television and cinema celebrities as spokespersons and ambassadors for a wide variety of campaigns and initiatives.” As presently written, it would appear to me that this sentence states that the young women in social media referred to in the first sentence are the subjects, and tv/cinema celebs are the objects, and the action that the subjects are performing on the objects is substituting. But in that construction, it wouldn’t say for what or with whom they are substituting. I wonder whether what is intended is to say that those young women in social media are “replacing” or “becoming substitutes for” those tv/cinema celebrities. Or perhaps “becoming as famous as”. Thank you.
Or if Singapore is the sole focus, include that in the title?
I’m wondering how we define “young,” here, and how we define “women,” here. Should we have footnotes or parenthetical clarifications?
(1) I’m not sure about the phrase “hold influence over” being parallel to dabbling and modelling (which, btw, I believe can have 1 or 2 l’s, varying with hemisphere). “Holding influence over” an industry, to me, would have more to do with having a top-paying executive job, having an ownership or managerial role. Perhaps that is just my own bias. (2) I’m not sure about the phrase, “co-opted”. To me, that term has a negative connotation, of assimilating someone’s talent for purposes that have no benefit to the other; whereas I don’t know that these women are not deliberately seeking and enjoying these speaking engagements. This is the definition for to co-opt, from Merriam-Webster online dictionary: to cause or force (someone or something) to become part of your group, movement, etc.
: to use or take control of (something) for your own purposes. It might be that this is precisely the definition that our author intends. However, do we know that this is how the women referred to in the article feel? Do they feel that they were forced, or used for nefarious ends, rather than that they participated in the public speaking engagements as self-promotion, as public service, or for any other purpose that was of their own choosing?
I was wondering about this term, “larger collective imaginary.” Is that distinct from “larger collective imagination”?
Generally, I see “high-profile” hyphenated.
“class” should be “classes,” for parallel phrasing with the other plurals in its sentence.
“they are contracted to” would be more grammatically expressed a “to which they are contracted”.
Are you referring to “the attention economy”? That is a new term for me, and so fitting!
I’m interested in your assertion that ‘Perceived Interconnectedness’ is “a form of intimate communication that I developed”. Could you please help me understand? Are you stating that that is a term that you coined, about a phenomenon that you happened to observe? Or are you stating that it is a behavior trend that you personally started, as one of the original bloggers and/or followers of bloggers?
Also, I feel that naming something as having a “predominantly female readership” would feel more solid if we are able to provide any kind of statistic, as to what percentage of readership is female.
The terms ‘privacy play’ and ‘soft structure,’ as used here, are new to me. Are we considering including a glossary or footnotes, or are these terms with which everyone else is already familiar, and I need to brush up on some media-savvy terms? 🙂
Typically, there are not hyphens after adverbs; “ethnographically situated” would not be hyphenated. There should be a comma between “fieldwork in Singapore” and “in which”.
I’d be curious how content analysis was engaged; it could be helpful to other researchers to know, for example, did you set up your own database? What languages or software did you use for querying and categorizing, etc.?
I’d like to echo the above post, and, while I am not familiar with any accounts from Singapore, 2 of the bloggers I do follow write *very* personally in their blogs, even though they do, also, have items that are sometimes sold (such as fandom t-shirts, autographs, performances). See, e.g., Felicia Day; Amanda Palmer. That is to say, I don’t think that commercial accounts are intrinsically devoid of personal intimacy.
Might there have been comparable connections prior to cinema; e.g., with stage performers, with icons accorded fanfare, e.g., philosophers, royalty?
Is “boyd” deliberately lower-case?
“quantity” “and” “circulation” — > “lend,” rather than “lends”.
This “collective imaginary,” perhaps it is common jargon? It is new to me.
Top-down would probably be hyphenated.
Isn’t the bidirectional conversation also “many-to-one” (as when thousands of fans comment on, like, share, add comments to something by the blogger)?
This sounds entirely subjective. Unless the author includes criteria as to what constitutes “truly intrusive” or “truly invasive” or “intensely intimate and personal” information, how do we know it is only an “illusion” of an “intimate sharing”? Also, all other references have had commas between proper noun and year.
I’m more used to seeing “somber”. I’d add a comma: “an intimate, yet ambivalently.
I’d add a comma after “struggles”.
And after “personal struggles”.
I’d add commas: (a) between “BTS posts” and “it”; (b) between “reader interest” and “because”. I’d add “because it” between “and” and “conveys”.
I agree. What is it that is new? Is it women being accorded space for writing? Is it women being accorded space for fandom? Also consider hyphenating “ugly-duckling-to-swan” and adding a comma between “processes’ and “especially”.
> “Holding influence over” an industry, to me, would have more to do with having a top-paying executive job, having an ownership or managerial role.
I read this as talking about social influence – reflecting the earlier paragraph’s comment about how these bloggers are now influential enough to the public to be able to command advertising and media spots – spaces that originally were reserved for a lucky few. This would arguably make them more influential than executives or managers, because they’re in the public eye and are recognizable.
Possibly because they mainly produce written blogs rather than use Instagram or YouTube? I’ve noticed that in the US and the general Western world, there’s a stronger push towards Instagram and YouTube for lifestyle Internet content, whereas in places like Singapore “traditional” blogging holds more sway.
She explains that later in the paragraph – she was a shadow manager for blog talent agencies and being a PA.
I think her point is that the personal intimacy, even if it was sincere, holds commercial gain: they create bonds with their readers and fans, which makes the fans more eager to purchase merchandise or provide financial support. Fans think of these celebs as “friends”, and support & promote them as “friends”, maybe hoping to one day be welcomed in their favourite celeb’s personal circles. Some cites:
There’s been some backlash against the idea:
I think a part of the problem is that there aren’t questions in this short section, but there should be. Also, I completely agree that if these sections are re-phrased as questions for empirical analysis, then they should be preceded by theoretical framework & goals.
I second these concerns about the definition(s) of intimacy they’re employing. The next section compares the kind of intimacy this group of bloggers have with their audiences to an implied “normal” or “authentic” intimacy between two friends or romantic partners. Since intimacy is such a historically and sociologically variable phenomenon (see Illouz 2012, Pugh 2015), a definition or context would be really helpful for the reader and the analysis too!
It might be interesting to compare the cost-benefits of IRL events compared to online events. I’m also thinking of the limitations of free speech as it pertains to Singapore (e.g. the Speaker’s Corner) – I think your bloggers are largely apolitical but was this something they considered?
Perceived vs Actual, perhaps?
If it’s a reference to danah boyd, then yes.
It might be interesting to explore what the readers get out of the interaction. Have any of them experienced greater success themselves thanks to attention from one of your bloggers? (See the TV Tropes article about Promoted Fanboy:http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PromotedFanboy)
Re curated photographs: Even the supposedly “less polished” slices of life are usually carefully chosen (and edited) to create a coherent brand. Readers THINK they have insider information, but it’s still very carefully chosen, which I think is the main thesis of her paper.
It’s “sneak peeks”.
She talks about real-time and immediate updates, which is definitely new: you don’t get that level of immediate interactivity in older media, since you had to wait for stuff to be published and edited and distributed.
I think this is very interesting – and needs to be explained a bit more – is this unique to Singapore? (I don’t think so) – if so – how and if not – how does this connect with other such crafting out of micro-celebrity personas as a career.
I agree with the points your making Ellen – this para just needs clarification and elaboration.
This piece about Taylor Swift and her Instagram pics of her friends reminded me of yours: http://www.buzzfeed.com/annehelenpetersen/kaylor-forever
This section reads more as findings than as an introduction or framework. Maybe the author could foreground her contributions given the existing research conversation and preview these interesting findings more briefly here.
Some evidence of the motivations of the bloggers to construct “clickbait” or the garner more traffic to their sites with their stories of conflict is necessary here. You mentioned earlier that you did interviews with a few of these bloggers, that data would be helpful here.
Interesting, I hadn’t thought of it that way, thank you
BTW: These links are not working for me but I’m new to this platform.
typo: .” .
There was recently a study of online commenting practices by gender that demonstrated men are likely to contest the evidence produced/given to support arguments regarding gender bias in the sciences. Extrapolated a bit, but not beyond the realm of possibility, that study seems to accentuate what is happening here.
this is a very interesting point!
“but, rather, through debates about the value of including this “type” of content on Wikipedia as per WP:.”- is WP: meant to be open? Maybe a clarification for readers unfamiliar with the lingo would be helpful (i.e. wikipedia’s rules, or something)
“protecting me from feminist bias”- pointing out to the reader that ‘feminist bias’ is a common accusation on Wikipedia would be helpful
“constituted scientistic discourses” – constituted within?
WP:THREATENING2MEN- I <3 this
I wonder if providing some statistics to frame the problem of campus sexual violence would be useful. Might be a good setup and hook for the reader
“In the third section, I demonstrate the ways in which these the deference to these policies, in spite and/or despite the empirical nature of “feminist bluster,” are used to produce the “hegemony of the asshole consensus,” drawing on the philosophical work of Aaron James and Antonio Gramsci.”- this is excellent but I think it could be broken up into shorter sentences
“a stake in the metapragmatic universe”
might want to cite this here somewhere http://adanewmedia.org/2014/07/issue5-raval/
“but rather “feelings” that “political” information was not information at all.”- the irony of online manfeelz set against women’s so-called irrational and emotional nature. oy.
” Because campus sexual violence disproportionately affects women, who are located within institutions traditionally gendered male,”
line 48: of reliability. (Reagle, 2010; Bruns, 2008; Lih, 2009; Leitch, 2014; Burke, 2012)period comes after
move period to end of line 54.
effecting the content – rather than sociotechnical solutions to fighting off, or affecting?
one of the other problems with reducing people to ‘assholes’ is that it individualizes the problem of sexism, as if it is a bad personality trait rather than a historical fact
add more women, stir.- cite Harding, 1986
the fact that it’s called a ‘gender gap’ is another sign of the problem because it reinforces the idea that only women have gender, and therefore gender issues are women’s problems somehow siloed from “other” (re: more legit) problems
I feel like you just drop your reader into this paper. Might be nice to either do what Maggie suggests above (provide context on the broader issue of campus sexual violence) or talk about what led you to be sitting at your computer, spending five hours creating this category. In a paragraph.
The first part of this paragraph is really clear to me, but the second half (from “more to the logic of all of the edits” on) is less so. First, I think you mean “overarching logic” or “implicit logic” because everyone seems to have invoked a range of rules to disagree with the information you had provided. Second, does the type of deletion (speedy or otherwise) matter to your argument? If it does, you should explain the difference. And finally, that’s a strong final clause (“this group of Wikipedians”). Can you set it up more clearly?
What do you mean by “misogynist infopolitics”? Is that your phrase?
In final sentence, you bring in “consensus,” but that’s your first mention of it. Can you explain how that relates?
And also break this paragraph up into two for ease of reading.
Why raise Durkheim if you’re not going to use him?
Also, you say “seemingly banal” Wiki Policies, but I think you mean seemingly reasonable?
Last two sentences delete, maybe? They don’t seem to follow from what precedes.
Do you mean Wikipedians of all genders in the final sentence (who may not enjoy male privilege in a strict sense but participate in the misogyny of Wikipedia in order to survive there)?
Yes — clarifying that would be helpful. You’re asking readers to remember a lot of possibly unfamiliar material in this, so it might be helpful to define and also repeat definitions or glosses here and there.
Also, break up this paragrph — maybegin new paragraph at “The expertise of Wikipedians on all things Wikipedia . . . ”
Might be good to unpack that long sentence beginning “As activist ethnographers have long argued.” There’s a lot of important work going on in that sentence and would be helpful to break it down a bit.
You need a transition here — the preceding paragraph feels like the concluding one. Maybe move this to your conclusion?
I’m not sure if this section should start with that assertion. If you’re talking about the demographics of editors, as you are in this opening paragraph, then you need to also talk about how all groups (but white men of a particular age and class position) are underrepresented on Wikipedia. I think that what you’re getting at is that there’s very little that makes Wikipedians (and Redditers) madder than discussions of gender and feminism.
If accusing Wikipedia culture of being trollish and misogynistic is a strategy for silencing people who challenge feminism, then it isn’t a very good one, eh?
Revise for clarity: the debate that ensued among Wikipedians was also not motivated by knowledge per se. Rather the debate among Wikipedians centered around Wikipedia’s various rules for what counts as knowledge.
Can you gloss the implications of that awful mastectomy article?
So it’s clear that the intent isn’t to improve content (e.g. add the missing men or “proper” research), but to prevent publication of content?
This paragraph also needs to be broken down. And in the concluding sentence, do you want to bring back in the distinction you make between misogyny and male privilege? Because I think you’re talking about the former here and not the latter.
How does gender violence intersect with race in the case of survivors of color? In the Rice case, that seems more complicated, and I would argue, in cases of campus sexual assault, many of the most high-profile cases involve athletes of color rather than the white fraternity brothers who are more often the perps. Would it be more accurate to say that Wikipedians are more likely to attack feminist critics than anti-racist critics, if that’s even true? In the end, it might make the most sense to stick to what is clear — the obvious misogyny of Wikipedia and Reddit and your argument about male privilege and misogyny — than to try to make a comparison?
Can you unpack the first part of the first sentence?
Hmm. I wonder if you were to add a section on the history of women’s education at each of the universities, which would start with History (e.g. Princeton first accepted women in 1969, Dartmouth was the last of the Ivies in 1972). Then you could document the lawsuits based on discrimination against women across a forty year period. I think it’s the assumption that sexual and gender-related violence doesn’t have a history that is so indicative of male privilege and misogyny.
There’s a dimension of male privilege at work in this erosive process as well and that’s the parallel shift that many women experience. Who has the time to engage in these endless acts of wiki-lawyering (and the disposition)?
And here again, where Wikipedians submit, many potential editors simply walk away.
Would be good to cite “Add Women and Stir” in your own article.
As I noted on “Add Women and Stir,” I think that the add women and stir approach also demands that women assume the responsibility for changing cultures (see Sarah Ahmed’s book on inclusion, too). When it is assumed that women and people of color are going to bear the weight of fixing hostile climates, we put them in perilous positions.
As I was re-reading this, it occurred to me that you need to think about who the audience for this paper is more clearly. At some points, it seems that you want to contribute to scholarship in STS; at other points, you seem to be addressing a more general readership. This is a really important question to sort out as you revise.
Fascinating and well developed article. This develops a really important critique and works powerfully.Overall style comments: I thought that longer sentences could be broken up for flow and clarity – this is quite dense material and although well expressed it could be made an easier read. The links don’t work in this version. Framing and content – I liked the hegemony of the asshole consensus – clear and cleverly developed – you might bring in the James a bit earlier though. I found the WP: Threatening2Men formulation less helpful – it adds challenges to the readability of the article and I wasn’t totally convinced that using a WP term as a critical tool to explain the WP panoply was helpful. I felt that this formation might work better without the WP bit – especially in the last line. The paragraph that opens with Durkheim felt like it could do with a revisit – I am not sure that defining other WikiPedia ethnographies in this way is that clear – and I am also not sure about the claim to ethnography here – clearly you are using ethnographic methods – but I wondered why you needed such as strong claim for this as an ethnography and what is at stake in that. Given that you do use this – it raises questions about your relation with the other of your work ‘the wikipedian’ especially in terms of your own ethical reflection about your encounter with this other. I like the way that you work with Latour – and I think it is a great fit and ties in wonderfully with the lawyer position. I did also wonder if this might need greater in text elaboration for non-Latourians – especially the figure of the disputer. I wondered at the end if it would be helpful to come back to the point about secrecy that you open with. This seems like a potential direction for some of this discussion – i.e. secrecy and censorship – not just silence. In terms of another intellectual riff – I was reminded at times of Ahmed on being a Killjoy – “Does the feminist kill other people’s joy by pointing out moments of sexism”
A truly impactful and eye-opening piece of work, full of serious implications for wiki-editing, STS, organization studies, and beyond, and I’m really glad to have read it. I’m going to read Aaron James at the earliest opportunity.My main suggestion would be, in general, to clarify and expand upon the relationships among the many densely packed ideas and claims going into this important argument and discussion.Many of my comments are meant to help improve readability and relate my experience reading the article from beginning to end for the first time. My criticisms should be read against a backdrop of overwhelming enthusiasm!
I, too, would appreciate some introductory contextualization of the argument and theoretical framework as well as a segue into the vivid description of your experience. Perhaps the first three paragraphs could be moved to a later portion of the paper.
I wonder if you mean to use the term “discrete” rather than “discreet”? Could you clarify what sort of object “WP:THREATENING2MEN” is at this point, just very briefly as a kindness to the reader?
My lack of experience with wiki-editing may be showing, but I’m probably not the only interested reader who could use some help with terminology. By “self-described” do you mean self-reporting, as in the editor creates the summary of the edit?I think the claim made in the final sentence warrants a bit more discussion. Who are these reason-bound “quantitative scholars”? Are they strictly empiricist or positivist? Are Iosub et alia exemplary of these scholars (in which case, you might want to use the indication: see, for example), or do they discuss them? It becomes clear in the next paragraph, but why not make it clear when you introduce them?
Upon first reading, the first sentence confused me grammatically because I wasn’t sure whether the final clause was linked with the verb “examine” or “means.” I hope that makes sense!Your thesis (stated in sentence three) is marvelous and deserves pride of place in the structure of the paragraph and the article as a whole. For this reason, I, too, think that the last two sentences could be removed or at least relocated. I find it the complication of the relationship you’ve mentioned between 1) quantitative discourse and 2) what I would call rationalism to be important. It might be worthwhile to mention, at some point, that many forms of ethnography are very quantitative, indeed.
Terrific! I’m finding this very engaging. If it’s relevant to your research and argument, I think it would be interesting to read your thoughts on non-cisgendered and non-males internalizing and mobilizing patriarchal advantage and misogyny, as well…I see that you do mention that in Paragraph 53.
I, too, feel that breaking this paragraph up would be beneficial. The fourth sentence, for instance, is so powerful that it needs to be focused and amplified, whereas in the current draft its treatment seems muffled and transient.At the end, I found myself wanting explanation of your use of the term “empirical.” Perhaps a paragraph or footnote explaining the methodological parameters of your study on this level? I feel reasonably certain that I understand what you’re trying to do, which I would describe as a flipping of the prevailing editorial script on Wikipedia, but the way that you’re using “empirical,” “image,” and “space” is refractory to me…I’m only one reader! Others might interpret it differently or better. Regardless, I think it’s important to give your exposition of the epistemological stakes the strongest presentation possible.
In the last sentence, I’m wondering if “machinations” might be a better term than “mechanisations”?
I agree that the sentence containing “feminist bluster” would benefit from some unpacking.
The third sentence is potentially misleading due to repetition.
Even after reading the footnote (#7), I’m left uncertain as to your use of the term “dialectical” here. Is it related to the placelessness you refer to in the closing sentence of the paragraph? A transitional device would be very helpful here.
It seems to me that this portion of the essay ought to be among the first to receive careful attention as you revise. Throughout the essay, the potential is obvious in those areas where it isn’t exactly manifest just yet! It’s obviously just a matter of chasing down loose ends and controlling the logical flow, though that might involve making some difficult decisions. It might be wise to rework the last sentence, which could easily be misconstrued.
Could some of these concluding remarks be hinted at a bit more in an introductory section? Specifically, the brief explanation of “WP:THREATENING2MEN” could be useful earlier on, though I recognize the rhetorical value of building up to it.
With respect to the last sentence of this paragraph, I think it would be valuable to say more about the consequences of defining consensus in this way.
As an interested reader but non-experienced Wikipedian, I had trouble following the last two sentences.
Could you elaborate on the relation between maleness and the legal profession? I have no doubt in the veracity of the connection you make, but I’d recommend adding more information or a citation here.
“timeless facts”! Really?
This explication of the “zero-degree of knowledge production” would have been helpful when it was first mentioned.
I see, and this is where the contrast between compromise and consensus- and majority-based decision-making is explained. When you revise, it would be very helpful to place a version of this at the idea’s first appearance.
The final sentence has me wondering: do you have any thoughts on defining facticity? Nevermind: you mention them, though very briefly, in the next paragraph.
It might be helpful for readers to see a brief description of what the Feminist Phone Intervention project is. You get to that pretty quickly once the article begins, but I think clarifying this in the abstract would invite readers to move further into your analysis and let them know what they’re getting into.
Can we assume that it’s exclusively men who engage in this type of bullying?
Might be cool to provide a link to her work at some point so readers unfamiliar with her work (or who want to learn more) have a clickable resource.
I like the energy of this paragraph; I can tell you’re into your project and aren’t taking on the role of the dispassionate, “objective” researcher.
Will the uninitiated reader know what you mean by this phrase?
This transition feels “bumpy” to me.
Digging the term “cyber-comradeship.”
I like that you use “I think, “me,” “my thoughts,” etc. throughout; it helps me connect with you as a reader and pulls in *your* experiences and passions. That said, I would be careful not to overuse the first person as it can also make readers feel like they aren’t part of these issues…like they are just passively reading a story about you and not also about their own experiences/complexities. Does that make sense? If not, let me know and I can say more. 🙂
This section of the article feels almost like a conclusion to me (or like it’s leading up to a conclusion); I wonder if you should move it toward the end? Just a thought….
This section feels to me like there’s too much emphasis on the project’s future, without an analysis of what these future avenues might mean in terms of the project, you and your colleague’s role within it, reshaping civic conversations about feminist activism, etc. It might help to retool this section a bit so that you create connections between where you’re hoping to go with this project (particularly within an international context) and what the potential implications of this process might be.
I’m not following you here…
The connection here between your project and a “public social commons” feels loose or desultory to me; I wonder if there’s a more compelling way to end your piece? I felt so much passion and strength in the earlier sections;now it feels like it’s fading…
This is a bold, timely, and relevant piece. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read your work. If you have questions or want to follow-up on my comments, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Oppss…let me clarify. (I highlighted the phrase, but the program makes a comment on the entire paragraph) The phrase is “agit-prop.”
So true. I recently advised a senior administrator that there was a toxic environment in a particular administrative unit: he asked me to give him the names of people who had said that. What part of toxic or harassing don’t these people understand and what dumb responses to feminist concerns?
I was so impressed with the imagination and chutzpah behind the Feminist Phone Intervention and I’m so glad to read your account about it.
I have two sets of comments. The first is stylistic and the second is a more theoretical question about the potential and the limits of anonymity as a mode of intervention.
Regarding style, at the level of paragraphs, this is lively and engaging. I think it would be helpful to work on the framework for the project a bit more, since the organization isn’t as polished as it could be. For example, it might be better to begin with the broader context in which the Feminist Phone Intervention took place, with the Rodgers’ suicide-mass shooting and the resurgence of MRA activity on the internet (not to mention real experiences of sexual violence). I’d also reconsider the subheadings, so that the organization of the piece flows more clearly (I think that’ll also help with transitions among and between paragraphs).
The section on anonymity might work better by way of a conclusion, after you’ve laid out the project itself, the media’s framing of the project (and I think it’s worth emphasizing that the media is not a friend to anarcha-feminists like yourself).
In the main, I think another round of revising could turn this into a real gem of a contribution. And if you had more visual examples, that would strengthen it as well.
As for the more theoretical elements of this, I guess I’d like to think about anonymity alongside non-anonymity, as well. Not every intervention can — or should be — anonymous and I’d like to also figure out strategies that allow women and queer people in particular to be able to say no and not risk a violent or aggressive response. On one hand, I understand the need for anonymity — the amount of interpersonal and sexual violence we see on college campuses in particular is only now beginning to receive the publicity it needs. On the other hand, and as someone who advises students doing brave and important public research, I’m also concerned about how we support feminist public intellectuals in an era of social media that makes them particularly vulnerable to attack.
But I think that this is probably part of a broader conversation — not something necessarily that you need to take on. It would be good, though, to point in the direction of anonymity’s limitations.
Thanks, Lori — I was going to point to this passage as an example of what I said in my longer comment about working on some of the transitions.
This feels particularly salient after the recent killing of Mary Spears in Detroit after she refused to give a random guy her phone number. He shot her, and shot at several of her family members.
Yes, I would agree that more background would be useful here. More information on the Elliot Rodger shooting, and perhaps a few quotes about his sense of entitlement to women’s bodies. Definitely something about the recent case of Mary Spears. And perhaps some stats on stalking.
I think the aggressive bullying is fairly characteristic of men or masculine identified/performing people. Not a lot of reportage about feminine performing people being sexually aggressive to the point of violence.
Yes, a few citations of bell hooks piece, particularly the ones you used would be helpful here.
I like the reminder that “bell hooks” is a pseudonym as a defense for anonymity.More explication of the last quote “authorship makes something work” would be really helpful. The meaning gets lost for me here.
It seems to me that you are asserting anonymity as a kind of hack, alongside the hack of the feminist phone intervention. So telling us what kinds of problems anonymity solves and what it makes possible would be useful here.
You ask big questions here in the middle. You ask them rhetorically but for this audience I think they require at least a gesture towards an answer.
this is definitely a good place to say that this piece points to a problem among many groups of women, and that it does not rely on a black/white binary for its salience. Rather it seems to offer some possibility for thinking about solidarity in feminism across race and culture, thereby acting as a hack on the binary.
This paragraph and para 36 seem like they belong at the beginning as background for how you came to build this kind of project.
I really like the emphasis on the project moving forward spatially and temporally.
Great paragraph! Sets up the argument really well…
I also appreciate the reminder that “bell hooks” is a pseudonym, not the author’s given name. But there’s a difference between pseudonymity and anonymity, right? especially as hooks is herself–as hooks–an individual and individuated figure. Hooks qua hooks is framed through the discourse of celebrity, with all the problematics that accrue therein (see, for instance, the limiting frame of a black feminist debate between hooks and beyonce) –a sign, perhaps, of the tensions that your essay begins to elucidate about the individual and the collective, or with allyship/comradeship?
The material from Morales is so powerful. It’s a bit less clear how it ties into a cyber-comradeship enacted and sustained through something like the bell hooks line. A few sentences that do that connective work would go a long way!
This is a remarkable moment! The transnational and location-specific uptake of the project is amazing–you might want to flag its circulation/translation early on.
Yes, let me echo Brittney here. I’d be curious to hear a bit more of the debate about the politics of translation (into Hebrew, yes) and also the presumptive analogy between Black feminism and Mizrahi feminism.
Could you provide a quote from the comments linking the bell-bot and the wheat paste posters?
could you be a little more specific. i like dear, i use it all the time too! but i wonder if you can be a little more specific abt the collaborator, a fellow feminist, artist, technologist etc? may shed light on feminist collaboration
the description of the phone line is just so brilliant! humorous, powerful, a manifesto!
I really love this line. Tech to protect. I wonder if it could make for a great title of the piece as well, only because we have to ask contributors to have shorter titles (more info forthcoming!)
may need a note to describe what is the Elliot Rodgers, why this case? etc Can be footnote or in text.
Just wonderful! It is absolutely thrilling to read about the calls and the coverage of such an important feminist intervention. I think it might be good to have a paragraph break after “France,” and “But how did…”
you mention the text in the prior paragraph, might be good to denote that more information abt the text bell bot would be forthcoming in the prior paragraph to help transition and any questions that may arise for the reader.it may be productive to elaborate a bit more on the politics of temporality and technology. what is possible via tech/and the questions of feminist time.
I really appreciate the personal reflection, but it would be good to be a bit more clear about timeline within the essay. This may mean simply placing a header such as “the early days” etc. to denote the timeline of your reflections.The comments abt the fake number seems to be a separate thought, would suggest to break into two paragraphs and elaborate a bit more on these critiques of the line.
may need to denote bell hooks grandmother, as “feminist grandmother” political etc…Is there a link to the kathleen hanna w/riot grrl? great to include hyperlinks or notes for more info
Very powerful paragraph
can you bring a bit more clarity about the documentary images and Strummer around bonfires, ie when they reimisce is it images of him sitting, standing around the bonfire? would be good to bring more description here
might not need this line. feels a bit redundant
May want to denote, in [another] documentary about musician to make transitions from previous pt.
<p>It also reflects what you write about community building, not only anonymity. how her voice as a backup also is in a supportive and collaborative role. ie it’s because she was singing with others, perhaps brings the pleasure, or the “hack” </p><p>relates to the hacker collective anonymous and their collectivity in anonymity </p>
The issue of Jewish/Latina mixed identity seems really important to further elaborate upon, especially in the questions of hacking “the black/white binary” Given that bell hooks is a Black feminist, how does the feminist phone intervention speak to the interventions of solidarity and blurring the black/white binary within feminist tech activism?I appreciate the narrative and personal reflective style of the piece but this paragraph along with others can be broken up to elaborate further on particular points.The email from a “persistent reader” can be a separate paragraph, and further reflection on race and gender would be really vital to tease out here. How might sexism intersect with racism. How is it different that a woman of color created the line, and bell hooks is speaking back via the project?
This paragraph sets up your disc of how the media and mainstream depict the “rejection hotline” I would rec that you place the writing on this aspect within this paragraph, to help organization of the essay, and would include space for more elaboration.
This line is a bit confusing: “But I do think it is a strength to be able to address people outside of committed feminist activists.” Do you mean speaking and working with larger society rather than smaller insular feminist circles? Suggest to take more time to clarify. for the idea to move into reality, is this the virality of the project? the widespread publication? how might this differ from “feminist activism” or not? I also agree with Brittney’s comment about an answer to these larger questions, I also feel they seem binary that feminist strategies can and needs to do both radical feminist work that does influence society as well as larger projects that affect the mainstream as well.
can you discuss a bit more abt the need for a “tool” which is technology, ‘techne”how might this support the need for feminist technologies?why do we have to justify safety? a larger question and response to the questions the line has been getting
we “tried”watch tense throughout I also agree with Keith on the politics of transnationalism along with race, that is really important here. How the line is hacking binaries
reading through, i feel this section may need an intro paragraph that outline the stakes that happen, ie transnationalism, language, dialects, how might it hack the binary of race, borders, languages etc
just awesome! what are the opinions abt hooks vs mizrahi? may need one sentence to clarify
this is really awesome and important. i think having a bit more abt your collaborator earlier on seems important. // placing this paragraph here works with this issue of dialect of computer code and access. may want to be a bit more pointed abt this connection.
perhaps a transition or connection, as a result of the open source coding…
break up paragraph after “they’d just meant” with “We’ve gotten requests..”
Throughout piece, really suggest to go through and work on organization. avoid repetitions of ideas/events and organize to help the reader follow through. also may need to reiterate certain main points articulated at the beginning of the essay, the collectivity/hacking
i like this anecdote abt london and meeting women there who knew about the line. I would love to see this as a separate pargagraph and fleshed out more. how did the encounter happen, how did you feel when they knew abt the line but didn’t know it was made by you? how does this make the feminist making more collective in different ways?
This paragraph is wonderful, esp the connections to your work as a muralist of community and how the feminist phone intervention is a similar project. The topic sentence should be revised to make this transition/connection. also great to bring disc of tech. what does tech make possible that paint cannot and vice versa?
I like this paragraph abt Yoko Ono but would like to see more development of this idea of “hack” or “cut” as a feminist act. It seems a bit out of place to bring her in without more context of her work and your hopes for the feminist phone intervention.
also agree with Brittney on this section seems more like an introduction to your personal impetus. It may be productive to rethink organization, if this section came at the paragraph on bonfires and anonymity, and collectivity, may shed more light on your point on feminist interventions
this paragraph is very moving but feels it can come at the section where you discuss public space. as a final paragraph, it feels dissatisfying to the rich and complex discussion your brought forth abt race adn feminist praxis. it is not to say these ideas about pubnlic space/commons are less important, but i feel the other points you raised have very high stakes for how we are rethinking feminist in our digital futures. This last description also seems less radical than your purposes that you explain earlier on in the essay, about the realities of violence against women’s bodies, Elliot Rogers, etc. is there a difference between the hopes & the inspiration of the project? Could you tell us a bit more abt what you hope and imagine in a more tangible way? I would suggest going into a more narrative description, ie can you paint us a portrait of a feminist in Tunisia? It may help the narrative flow and show us versus telling us.
this is a rich, compelling, and insightful piece on feminist interventions in our digital age. i appreciate the insightful and complex reflections on the feminist phone project and hearing about the development from its creator. throughout, there are insightful observations and questions that are also provocative and powerful! i placed comments throughout the essay. overall, the essay was a pleasure to read and will be a powerful inclusion to the issue. some suggestions to strengthen the essay: the issue of hack and race is incredibly important to the feminist politics of anonymity & collectivity, would love to see this pulled through the various vinettes and paragraphs. more development of these questions would be important in thinking abt feminist tech interventions. organization of the essay would be helpful to avoid repeititions of ideas or events. each development/thought is very compelling, but would make essay more compelling to play a bit more with the storytelling, at times there is much telling rather than showing, which can be difficult to follow within a first person piece. would love to see a bit more via description & imagination, more on this in the last paragraph. also can think about virtual ways of storytelling or notes section for further elaboration. overall, gorgeous moving and powerful piece in tribute to such a moving powerful feminist tool like the “bell hooks” line.
A fascinating research study that yielded both sound, powerful, findings and this contributive article.
It was a pleasure to read. The implications of your research and others are profound.
Can you provide citations for a feminist violence against women theoretical framework? This would be helpful for Ada‘s interdisciplinary audience.
You might take a look at Amy Hasinoff’s book on sexting as well, which makes a similar claim in the US context.
Maybe worth a mention of the recent banning of Milo Yiannopoulos from Twitter (very late in coming).
This is a sharp analysis and I think Ada‘s readers will appreciate the framework you lay out. In addition to my comments below, I have a few for tightening up the organization of the paper. You lay out three sections for the paper in your intro:
1. Situating revenge porn within the framework of violence against women — and I think it would be helpful to set this up in terms of a continuum of violent acts, ranging from symbolic expressions of masculine domination to violent physical expressions
2. examining targeted concepts associated with feminist studies of the internet
3. your analysis of focus group data.
I think it would be helpful to integrate the first 2 points, perhaps by using feminist studies of the internet to make the point about understanding revenge porn within the framework of violence against women (e.g. seeing the internet as a broadly hostile environment for women, people of color, and/or LGBTQ people).
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Can you work on this transition? There’s a lot going on in the first sentence of this paragraph and it would be useful to unpack it and also to provide a transition from the previous section, which situates revenge porn within the context of violence against women, as well as a set up for your next section on methods.
Worth saying more about this — specifically, how these pervasive attitudes can shame women into silence. Also, how do you account for the first two failed focus group attempts?
Does Ada have a house style for hyphen vs no hyphen? “Cyber-sexual” or “cybersexual” would likely be easier to read.
Consider rephrasing the last as “…a standpoint from which we verify…” or else “…from which we testify to…” for added heft. We could also use “recognize,” although that shifts the meaning away from Hekman’s text somewhat.
A sentence or so linking this specific form of gendered violence to a larger culture of online violence against women, people of color, and those not considered “normal” might strengthen your point here. Lisa Nakamura’s work on race in cyberspace, or Whitney Phillips’ work on trolls, might be helpful.
What do you make of the gender-identification breakdown of people who responded to your ad?
It would be helpful to compare your introductory paragraph with this paragraph as a way of thinking about the overall structure of the paper. You begin with the notion of a feminist sociology of revenge porn and you end with it, but you never really define the concept or thread it through the paper. What makes this specifically a feminist sociology? How do the broad sections of the paper — which I understand as: 1. defining revenge porn and situating it within the framework of sexual violence; 2. using the focus studies to explore students’ attitudes toward revenge porn; 3. concluding by re-asserting that revenge porn isn’t women’s fault — add up to a feminist sociology? Again, revenge porn I would argue exists on the continuum of sexually violent acts and it also in individual cases combines with other sexually violent acts (e.g. the use of SnapChat, Facebook, and other social media along with embodied forms of stalking and physical abuse).
[we want to examine how people can understand revenge porn to be both a gendered crime and also a crime that women bring on themselves.]
Purely based on some recent grading experiences, I worry this phrase could too easily be taken out of context to suggest you are arguing that we should view revenge porn as “a crime that women bring on themselves.” I wonder if there is a way to rephrase this so that is not the takeaway. Making your argument is more explicitly stated here, at the start of this paragraph, would help avoid any ambiguity.
We need more research, context,
and clarification of the Fappening.
The paper references “feminist sociology” and “feminist theory” several times, but never really provides content or explanation for such specific ideology within the text.
The opening page needs more detail concerning revenge porn. How has its visibility increased? Also, the paper should specifically define revenge porn. When did this term first appear?
I would like to see just a little bit more contextualization of these researchers’ feminist POV and sociological POV (epistomology and rationale for methodology and methods).
The paper’s paragraph on Reddit could have had much more detail, there’s a lot of information and specific examples that could be discussed regarding online misogyny. Other sites such as 4chan too could be discussed.
It could be useful to check what are the channels of distribution of such videos. It would reinforce the argument on the absent neutrality of cyberspaces.
Did they find any issue with the small size of the second focus group? What made them decide on focus groups rather than individual interviews? Was there anything noticed about how female students behaved with male students in the room and vice versa?
It is a bit risky to put in the same category hackers and ex-partners. The first in many cases are not only male, while they do sell their services for the right price. Hence there could be confusion that should be clarified. The motives are important in this case.
This implies that this is the statistical reality of the phenomenon, but that has not yet been established in the context of the piece/research.
Make sure this part of the sentence isn’t a typo, as it reads awkwardly and may have a repeated word.
Figure 3? Only two figures are represented in the article. A larger discussion of the graffiti might be beneficial in relation to the aims of the project.
This might need to be a new paragraph.
Elsewhere you put a comma between the participants’ names and their age.
A call for education initiatives implies a recognition that revenge porn is a social issue.
This is a very good explanatory paragraph about the participants and helps the reader understand the positions quoted above.
Τhis comment has not been adequately clarified in the article above. While exists as an underlying notion, I feel that it it puts the blame on the interviewees for their lack of perspective. Perhaps an improvement in phrasing would clarify that confusion here.
I do like the conclusions this paper draws. However, it might be useful to mention how future studies like this might build upon work about revenge porn, especially since focus groups are, by design, so small.
I like the last two paragraphs and how they summarize some things that the focus group did or did not realize through their examination.
Perhaps say something more about the form of sexting as a material practice – as it is increasingly used as a mode of interpersonal communication and relationship management ?
I enjoyed this piece and found the study undertaken to be absolutely fascinating. I concur with Carol’s comment on the whole piece, which suggests that some acknowledgment of intersectionality would be useful. I’m particularly interested to know about the potential impact of race and sexuality in the sample.
When I reached the end of the essay, I found myself still wanting to know what the feminist sociology of revenge porn is – what’s are the theoretical stakes, what are the implications for studying these issues? While this is a very strong description of the study, the theory of revenge porn remains wanting. Ideally, if you could identify the key ideas of a feminist sociology of revenge porn and thread them throughout the essay, so we can see them situated in the article as a whole, this will be much stronger!
The authors do define revenge porn in paragraph 3, but I think Kathleen is asking them to provide more of a context for it. I agree.
We will adopt the housestyle or otherwise go with “cybersexual” here and throughout. Thank you!
We will provide some citations, both popular and academic, to revenge porn research and high profile revenge porn cases, including the Fappening. Would it be a good idea to include an image here to convey the stakes of a case like the Fappening?
We will be more explicit with why/how feminist sociology and theory work in the text. I think a sentence between the last two sentences in this paragraph would work to do this.
I think adding more examples and context, including when the term emerged, in the first three paragraphs should help define the range of what revenge porn can be.
We will clarify wording, add citations, and a bit more about the feminist content, as suggested. Thanks!
Thank you for this reference. I heard her research discussed on NPR earlier this year!
Thank you for these references. We will take a quick look at them and include them here.
I agree that his banning is a good example of Twitter higher-ups’ clear unwillingness to take action. I will try to work it in here.
We can add more examples from Megarry’s and Massanari’s articles here, as well as some from Nakamura’s and Phillips’ pieces (as suggested by another reviewer) here to demonstrate the magnitude of online misogyny documented.
Forgive me, I don’t think I understand your suggestion. Do you mean the types of websites that take in revenge porn videos and images? Are do you mean the smart phone technologies that enable perpetrators to quick distribute/upload revenge porn?
Thanks for this suggestion. We will revise this paragraph with an eye to its transition.
We have a bit more we can add about the flyer and the failed focus groups. We had to change the name of the discussion each time to something broad rather than something specific like “revenge porn focus group” and also alter the invitation method before we finally had participants.
Actually, we tried to have gender-specific focus groups: one for students who identified as female and one for those who identified as male and one that was gender-neutral. No one showed for the gender-specific sessions. But they came for the sessions that didn’t specify a specific gender.
We noticed that in each session, one or two males spoke more than anyone else during the discussion. We noted that, overall, men spoke more than women, too. I wish we had had a discussion with just women present. However, I don’t know what might have changed had we had a different mix of data.
Thanks for this excellent insight! We will focus away from the hackers and look at the outcomes and motives. We thought it was important to note that the participants saw revenge porn as a range of actions, from the Fappening to the smaller scale distribution of private videos and images of people that they knew.
We will add more about sexting as a material practice. Do you think it would be better earlier in the paper like in paragraph 8 when we first talk about sexting as a perceived gateway into revenge porn?
We will reframe this to emphasize that this is participants’ understanding. We can add statistics about revenge porn and cybersexual assault in the intro, too.
Thank you! We will revise this paragraph.
Thanks for catching this typo! We will correct it and add a bit more about the graffiti here.
I agree! I’m not sure what happened here. At the very least, we need to add some analysis that links the topic sentence to the problems of Internet regulation.
Thanks for catching this. We will fix it!
This is an excellent insight. We will reframe the education initiatives.
Emilee and I will talk this through and clarify the feminist sociological lens — or change it. We intended to use a feminist theoretical lens to explain why revenge porn is thought of as women’s fault and, at the same time, also recognized as gendered violence against women.
We will fix the wording.
We will add this. We should add a limitations of the study, too, and then invite future research.
Thank you for your helpful review! Emilee and I will talk about how we can strengthen the theoretical argument throughout the article and then implement those changes. Our participants, while all presenting as cisgender, were racially diverse and some did identify as queer. We didn’t record that data on an individual level, unless the participants self-identified during the discussion (and some did). I will talk to Emilee more about the impact race and sexuality might have had in the entire study, too.
Thank you! We appreciate hearing this from you.
I’m again testing for speed here, and it’s proving to be very slow, but it is also working
there is no space betwen ofTheFeminist Wire, do we note that here?
I think the “But we did not publish…” sentence is missing a word in its second clause. Difficult to follow as is.
If you could offer a more specific summary of the Joseph that would be great, especially because the paragraph where you follow up on her ideas later on is so wonderful.
This is great!
The article very interesting, thought provoking and critical. Takes us beyond the everyday common assumptions of what love is and the power of love in transforming societiesInteresting argumentHow do we situate the interview on surviving sexual violence within the thesis of the paper which focuses on love in the time of racism? Was the sexual violence of a racist nature?refer to comment on political efficacy of lovethe authors mention political efficacy of love which i find very intriguing, and wish they would discuss more of that concept in their paper by tying it to the transformative abilities of love in helping overcome racism?With the complexities of defining love, who construes what love is? Who constructs the power that love as a concept carries? Looking at concept of love in western societies vis a vis african communities. Could the power that id accorded to love be also a social construction? Is love in itself biased? does society teach us who to love? so we “love” those we are similar to, and for the brave, those who love across racial boundaries, is it an act of rebellion?delete the word “and”. I assume it should read “love is a radical ethic apparatus that is”
These links open in my current window as opposed to opening another window, which disrupts the reading process. Can this be altered in the final version?
Brief further explanation of the “toxic twitter wars” may be helpful, whether in text or as a footnote that offers a digested version of the article you link to.
Inside the quote, single quotation marks should replace the quotation marks around “yes”, for example. I also feel unclear about where the quote ends.
The first sentence reads as if a word or two is missing or out of place.
This was an interesting section that presented a significant body of scholarship that I was previously unfamiliar with. Thanks for such a thoughtful grounding of your practice.
Again, a brief clause describing footnotes like 100% student engagement may be helpful. Otherwise, I’m diverted away from your paper to read about this initiative with seemingly tenuous links to your argument.
This is minor, but perhaps calling the participants students rather than children is more fitting.
At the end of the paragraph, the community “might look differently,” not “different.”
Disregard the second comment; it belongs under a different paragraph.
This is a thought-provoking introduction of the project!
Is the abbreviation POTUS necessary here? Also, Living in the End Times and TFW should be italicized. Finally, the last sentence feels a little out of place here or maybe just not in keeping with a streamlined description of the project at hand. Can these ideas be more seamlessly woven into your discussion of the forum, of Syria, of war? These are a lot of complex ideas to examine in just a few short sentences, and I think this detour may be hurting rather than helping my understanding of Love as a Radical Act.
At this point and after a few re-readings, I still feel somewhat unclear about that the Forum actually was– an edited compilation of writings published on TFW? Specifying in the first paragraph exactly what the forum was and what tangible of ephemeral publication came from it would be helpful.
mass meditated should be changed to MASS MEDIATED (but not in all caps)
sorry, comment from previous paragraph applies to this one (not above): mass meditated should be changed to mass mediated
Darnell’s affiliation should be updated to: Center on African American Religion, Sexuality and Social Justice, Columbia University Monica’s affiliation should be updated to Gender & Women’s Studies and Africana Studies, University of Arizona
In the heading above, ‘style’ should be capitalized to be consistent with other headers
In the first sentence after ‘in the romantic’ please add ‘and naturalized’–so that the sentence reads “Feminist scholar Miranda Joseph (2002) has written on the limits of community understood in the romantic and naturalized sense; that is…”
In the first sentence, please change the word ‘romantic’ to ‘naturalized’
After the second sentence, add ‘thus sustaining Joseph’s model’ so that the sentence reads: “In our work, community is an achievement, a hard-earned production, a work in progress, thus sustaining Joseph’s model.”
should be a ‘the’ before the name of the conference
I suggest we have this link open up another window since as someone mentioned in an earlier comment – when the link opens up in this window it disrupts the reading process – and I’m sure that’s not intentional.
Please add a space after (SIROW) and before ‘on’
and this is a wonderful way to recover interactive mode of writing for productive sustaining work.
Italicize title of Zizek’s book, and also TFW
I can’t access paragraph’s 56 and 57, so I will comment here. There is an extra quote on ‘Modern Love’ in paragraph 57.
The paragraph is important – and this is why I think several others have also commented on the need for it to be a little more elaborated on. We need more elaboration on this idea of community making.
Please change last sentence to: It offers a bold contrast to “feminism’s toxic twitter wars,” in which differences are played out via social media in highly contentious and damaging ways.
The Lorde quote ends at cravings; I agree that around yes, no, ‘the time of racism,’ and ‘post-racial’ we could use single quotes
just have to say this – THIS is so COOL!!
Please move the entire last sentence to begin the next paragraph (14), so that this paragraph ends with ‘post-racial.’
Move final sentence from paragraph 13 to beginning of paragraph 14, then change sentence 2 to “Because, of course, the United States is far from post-racial.”
Please adjust final sentence to read: “But we did not immediately publish this forum, as we were winding up a forum on Assata Shakur, and thus were criticized for being absent.”
maybe a tiny bit more on what it means to be found objects and an assemblage in a Deluezian sense?
After “100% student engagement” please add a comma, and then the clause “which urges faculty to connect students to the community, broadly defined.”
Agree with Lindsey to change ‘children’ to ‘students’ in the first sentence here
Please change “POTUS” for President Obama.
Break last sentence into two parts and add third sentence:But at TFW, we are scholars, culture workers, visual artists, organizers, and writers who strive to maintain a feminist politics that is anti-imperialist. Thus, we name the type of love that produces war (and death, colonialism, lack, morbidity) as an antagonistic force that reserves and stalls justice. A radical love praxis means attending to uses of love that are antithetical to social justice.
Change sentence one to:Our “Love as a Radical Act” forum–a series of essays, stories, poems, and reviews–was published in September 2013…
“to name awkward silences,… to actively build and re-build… rather than behave as if both are non-existent” – so important…. we have so much to learn from your process.
This process that you are naming “in-community” rather than as “reifying “Community” – once again a VERY important point about working collaboratively and reexamining the hierarchies of practice and location that fall inadvertently in place as people work together – could we have you elaborate (or signal that you will elaborate a bit more if you do it later). We want to learn how this is done . I love the way you clearly identify the issue …
this is a start…
I concur with lindsey
I made this change. It would also be good to link to the article on this in this anthology!
Could we please change the word ‘weekly’ to ‘ongoing’
after ‘Modern Love,’ there needs to be a closed quote: ‘Modern Love,”
The quotes around “Feminists We Love” should probably be single quote marks…
xenophobia is misspelled in final para of the essay; replace zenophobia with xenophobia
I’m not sure what you mean by “so far” or by “tested” in the first sentence. That said, I might cut the sentence altogether.
What do you mean by “rigorous evaluation”? Aren’t we doing that in this issue, across fields and platforms, for instance?
I’m not sure what you mean by “so far” or by “tested” in the first sentence. That said, I might cut the sentence altogether.
the “;” needs to be changed to a m-dash with another after the parentheses
I am excited to read this after this thesis provocation!
YouTube has a capital T
The last two sentences here need small grammatical fixes
you might find this article on queer and trans-kids interesting: http://mediacommons.futureofthebook.org/tne/pieces/phone-home (part of a project I co-edited on youth and distraction”)
great points here
great points here and in para 29
In American English we don’t use the term “strap line,” I wonder if this and other British/American word and grammar uses should be consistent or not. In the US we say “tag line.”
This got put on the wrong para, sorry: In American English we don’t use the term “strap line,” I wonder if this and other British/American word and grammar uses should be consistent or not. In the US we say “tag line.”
I love hearing from the people at Allsorts. Could this happen earlier in the piece?
In relation to my point about American/British English, in the US we say “non-profit” rather than “charity” which has another connotation altogether
In the US we don’t use the term “youngster” which would be understood to be condescending and prefer “youth,” or maybe “young people,” again, not sure what to do with this
do you mean outreach, not reach, towards the ends of this para?
there is a missing end to the parentheses on [for young LGBTU…
production values (typo)
I really learned a great deal from this careful, on-the-ground study of actual practices and needs. Thanks!
Thanks for this very interesting piece – a suggestion I have for the introduction is an indication of the audiences for this article – my inclination after reading it through a couple of times is that it is of interest not only to those interested in studying social media and youth, but also to outreach support workers.
Thanks for this very interesting piece – a suggestion I have for the introduction is an indication of the audiences for this article – my inclination after reading it through a couple of times is that it is of interest not only to those interested in studying social media and youth, but also to outreach support workers. (Sorry, the commenting is not working well for me – this comment is for the first paragraph!)
I like this paragraph, and wonder if it might be moved up to the beginning of the piece?
ICT (Information and Communications Technology) – add the bit in parentheses
Hi – I am finding the commenting function very clunky, and will put all my feedback into one comment. I hope that works ok! It’ll be less confusing than what has happened so far, which is that comments end up being beside paragraphs they shouldn’t be! 🙂 Only the first 3 comments have been left before.Two broad comments about the paper: 1) I kept wondering about the impact that adding social media to outreach support work expectations has on the lives of those workers (and to a lesser extent, those volunteers in the organization). Do you know anything about that? It strikes me that while incorporating social media has some benefits for youth, it might be perceived as detrimental to workers (increased expectations in terms of availability – times of day, hours, etc. – as well as using counselling techniques that workers are not trained in/have less faith in – eg. the Gestalt therapist). 2) Somewhat related, I also wanted a bit more on the challenges of social media in this work – while I can see very clearly from your piece that social media has been an invaluable resource for this work, I also wanted a bit more attention paid to what is challenging. (For eg., incorporating Grindr into the Allsorts repertoire seems like it would pose a range of challenges vis-a-vis boundaries in P41, yet this is not discussed.)P2: Thanks for this very interesting piece – a suggestion I have for the introduction is an indication of the audiences for this article – my inclination after reading it through a couple of times is that it is of interest not only to those interested in studying social media and youth, but also to outreach support workers. (Sorry, the commenting is not working well for me – this comment is for the first paragraph!) P4: perhaps move up to the beginning?P6: add “(Information and Communications Technology)” after “ICT”P12: no “e” in “Flickr”; “Youtube” to “YouTube”P12: Is there a social media person at Allsorts (volunteer or paid staff), or is this an add-on to existing positions?P13: no “‘s” in “…the sixteen and under(‘s) group”P14: add “(Social Network Sites)” after SNSP16: add dash between LGBTQ and related: “LGBTQ-related”P17: Remove the “Social network sites” in line 2, as you have now added it to P14P26: line 2 “…in their mental well being we have…” to “…in their mental well being(, COMMA) we have…”P29: “…message posted in a group for example they can…” to “…message posted in a group(, COMMA) for example(, COMMA) they can…”P29 “…increased access come increased expectations” to “”…increased access come_S_ increased expectations”P30: I wanted more attention paid to digital exclusion in this article more broadly. Perhaps this is something that Allsorts does not address full on, but I do think it is key to be critical of it if this is the case. P32: First sentence is difficult to read – can you simplify?P35: Again, my questions related to the assumptions around youth access and exclusion in relation to those technologies necessary to access social media by the organization have arisen. Can we assume that youth really do have access and literacy? (Note I am not familiar with Brighton in particular, but in my context, I could assume some familiarity but not necessarily access or literacy.)P51: last line – “loosing” to “losing”P54: “Facebook activities are one aspect of an opportunity…” to “Facebook activities are an opportunity…”P54: “…can find their way onto Facebook, – an opportunity…” to “…can find their way onto Facebook, providing an opportunity…”P54: SDM – what is this?P60: “LGBT identity and community’.” to “LGBT identity and community.'”P60: “(UCG) on their timeline/wall; its…” to “(UCG) on their timeline/wall: it’s…”P64: Can you say why the proliferation of online locations for campaigns is a success? How do you measure this – greater number of hits/shares/likes, for example?P71: are caps necessary for “Social and Digital Media” in line 2?P76: line 3″ “the youth engagement profile for example does” to “the youth engagement profile(,COMMA) for example(, COMMA) does…”P79: reference after Pullen in first line is weird – place at end of sentence and add period to the end of that piece.P80: “social media in and of them selves” sounds weird to me – can you change it to something like “The study identifies that social media are not built primarily with outreach objectives in mind.”??
It might be useful for the reader to get here an indication of who the risk and more established groups within LGBTQ youth might be.
Perhaps a positioning within the relevant social media & sexuality lit (rather than earlier new media and sexuality lit) might make the purposes and necessity of the piece stronger.
It might be useful to give a couple of examples of such digital programs for charities and small organisations. Also, what kinds of restrictive e-policies? It might be relevant to give a bit more background now or later in the piece to specify ‘early adoption’ for allsorts (since when, what media etc).
A connection between LGBT youth and mental health is implied here, but it is difficult at this point to understand if/how far this has been a key question for the project.
As noted in a previous comment, this key theme in the piece could be introduced in a stronger way early on. A methods paragraph would also be useful in the background section, since this is mainly an empirical project.
Please add references after ‘literature’.
Alex, the use of charity oven non-profit is valid here: in the UK there is a distinct charity sector (https://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/). Hence I think the UK US terms should be maintained in the issue as general rule, in order to reflect the context they aim to describe, and since the audience of the issue (and the connotations they create) is non US-specific.
Comments on the piece overallThis is a very interesting study of Brighton’s LGBTQ youth engagement and social media. I have made some comments paragraph by paragraph in the text below, which I hope will help make the piece stronger, and in addition here is some comments on the piece overall.In terms of structure, I would consolidate some of the sections (for instance mental health sections) so that there are no one-paragraph sections. The conclusion is really good and gives a great sense of the findings and implications of the project. It would be good to have a similarly clear and strong introduction: re-writing the intro would help to bring the key themes of the article to the front in a more pronounced way, would tell us why the research is necessary for LGBTQ youth, for Brighton and in the context of the existing literature in the field, and would give a better sense to the reader of what follows. Finally, the addition of a methodological paragraph in the background section is important since the piece is empirical.
Of course, Aristeae. We are agreed that we’ll keep each article written in its own “vernacular,” or cultural context, so to say.
Could you clarify what “examined and tested in relation to technology and sexuality” means?
This is a really interesting project, and I’m looking forward to reading more. I do think your intro could be strengthened, both by foregrounding the purpose of the study and also by linking it to some broader concerns raised by this special issue of Ada.
I wonder if you might expand this a bit to cover stratified use of the Internet, in terms of class and race?
In your intro, I’d like to see a broader discussion of mental health issues in relation to LGBTQ youth. Can you share earlier some statistics and implications for LGBTQ wellbeing?
Given my previous comment, it might be worth exploring further issues of digital exclusion. Depending on your interests, it might also be interesting and provocative to explore the notion of ‘exclusion’ socially and digitally. You’re studying a population that faces considerable social exclusion; and you seem to be arguing for greater ‘inclusion’ found online. But there are some intriguing issues raised here about exclusion and inclusion, and how social media either exacerbates exclusion or fixes it.
To some degree, this paragraph gets at the ‘community’ issues raised earlier, namely who is the presumed community of social media outreach/services? Just as certain assumptions might be made about LGBTU people, so too might there be made assumptions about ‘youth.’ Could be worth clarifying distinctions between an imagined community and who is actually using social media in this context.
I would break this paragraph into smaller parts, with a bit more explanation/analysis…
In this section, as in the previous section, given that you use headers to separate, you might wrap up each section with a paragraph that sums up and discusses implications
Again, I would suggest here some unpacking of this paragraph; divide into some smaller paragraphs with clearer and more coherent analysis.
I’d like to see here a more sustained discussion of the distinctions/similarities between ‘mental health’ as it’s understood in the context of service provision, and social vulnerability. There’s quite a literature on structural vulnerability, and it might be useful to link to this here.
I’d recommend breaking this paragraph up a bit. You could start a new para with “Dew explains,” and another with “As Ben explains…”
My understanding is that Facebook has addressed some of these concerns with more gender-neutral and genderqueer language?
I’m interested here in the distinctions between activism and campaigning…curious about how new media are driving different forms and definitions of activism. Wonder if you might expand on this a bit? Is there a literature in this area to connect to?
Such an interesting article; there’s a lot of ‘meat’ here empirically. You also hint at ways your research can help lead to best practices or policy change; it might be nice to expand the conclusions a bit to take this up.
You may want to break up the sentences in this paragraph to make comprehensible the varied methodologies to be employed.
Could you spend some more time defining and clarifying what you mean by digital humanities methodologies?
It may be useful here to share the referent case study — both for readers unfamiliar with the situation, and also to ground your theoretical efforts.
This paragraph does a good job of demonstrating how Obama is figured as a hybrid figure of multiculturalism.
Rather than leading with general discussion of how Obama has been discussed in a metaphorical manner, it might be helpful to provide specific examples.
The essay does a good job demonstrating how Obama’s body acts a signifying figure of hybridity. However, the relationship between various metaphors of hybridity and politics of structural racism and problematic ideologies – and the implications of such relationships – could be made more clear.
Why are questions about the exotification of difference left aside? Positive portrayals of Obama as an embodiment of change seem to be imbued with a sense of importance and insight that can only be gained from his unusual position as an ambassador of multiculturalism.
It might be stronger to link to textual excerpts from similar online publications or to describe why these excerpts should be considered equivocal examples of reflections of the public sphere.
The last sentence of this paragraph makes a clear link between Obama as monster and Foucault’s framing of monstrosity as linked to breaches of moral law. However, the connection between Obama’s pro-choice politics and Puar and Rai’s insights about monsters as sexual deviants is less clear and could be elaborated.
Specific examples of how Obama, as a writer, contributes to his skinning through text would be helpful.
I see that you addressed this later, but an earlier introduction might still be helpful for the reader. Is this the prominent case study for the piece? I think that a clearer layout of objects for examination early on might help to construct a more legible thesis.
This example seems to be where the paper really begins to delve into the ways that specific metaphors of hybridity function in broader political discussions of race. More use of specific examples from Obama’s skinning and their circulation in discursive could strengthen the essay as a whole.
This section might benefit from a connection to your later discussion of Foucault’s monster — in terms of the inconceivable as the futurity/third space.
I would be cautious using Google hits as a metric, since results are domain and profile specific, as well as phrase searches may be broken up for additional results. For example, I got less than 83,000 hits when querying the same phrase today.
You might want to reword the abstract as it mirrors certain sections of your paper verbatim.
This paragraph mentions the political work that skinning can do for Obama, his party, and the nation. More discussion of the links between Obama’s politics and his construction as a hybrid figure, through discussions of the body and skin, could strengthen the theoretical insights made earlier in the essay. This paragraph leads to very interesting questions that, if addressed and explored further, could help to frame a revision of this essay.
This paper explores such impressive theoretical leaps and connections, and so I would love any opportunities to hold on a little tighter. With that in mind, a more concretized connection between theory, objects, and praxis (what next?) would really help the reader to follow. I found that your essay really picked up mid-way, and peaked at the end. Perhaps starting where you end up to rework structure a bit would help to make your argument more lucid.
Since digital humanities methodologies are framed as being central to what follows, it would be helpful to say something about what those are and why they merit the DH modifier.
While I find your analysis compelling, the notion of skinning that you say is central to it really drops out in favor of a conceptualization of hybridity. I think it would be helpful to revisit your opening paragraphs in light of the analysis that follows and consider strategies for making your framework more robust.
This is a really well-written contribution. Like other commenters, I’d like to see more examples of this discourse. And, as I mention above, it would be helpful at this point to also work on the introduction and conclusion as a way of making your central line of inquiry more evident to readers. It might be helpful to set up the argument in terms of the hybrid, monstrous, and mutt. While the notion of skinning is provocative, it’s not fully realized in this draft. And I would also recommend dropping the language of digital humanities methodologies unless that’s central to a revised version of this contribution.
I also wonder whether about the extent to which this contribution is about the impossibility of more utopian practices of hybridity. It’s not 2008, that is, and we have a very good sense of the ways in which Obama has not lived up to the hopes that were invested in him in 2007.
I actually really like this paragraph. Think it powerfully frames the point which is about how we should think of the hybridity discourse attached to the President.
I like the invocation of dermographia here. Unfortunately, it turns out that he’s not the “most protected of bodies” if recent scandals are any indicator. But that, too, is not divorced from skin politics.
I agree with dropping the language of digital humanities. I don’t think it’s necessary here. And I think the moves you make from melting pot, to monster, to mutt, are a provocative framing that should appear early in the essay and be worked through throughout. I found the examples sufficient, but if you have more it certainly won’t hurt.
This is an important project, and I appreciate the Foucauldian frame. I would also recommend breaking up these sentences and clarifying a bit further why you turn to a genealogical analysis. I’m also not sure what the difference is between a “Foucauldian genealogical discourse analysis” and simply a “discourse analysis.” The former seems much more muddled, at least at the outset. If there’s some value you see in qualifying your method in this way, I’d suggest noting it early on.
The citation to Kraidy is nice; could you add in citations for the other claims?
Let me add, also, that it’s not only hybridity, but multi-racialism specifically, that figures Obama. Critiques of the aspirational discourses of multiracialism as they are animated by anti-blackness (see Sexton), might be warranted here.
There is a wealth of scholarly literature on Obama’s election and the meanings of race, blackness, and anti-blackness that attend to it. Tim Wise, Joy James, Dylan Rodriguez, Moustafa Bayoumi, and Eduardo Bonilla-Silva are among the scholars that, in different ways, reckon critically with the assumptive logic that generate celebratory narratives from Obama’s election. It strikes me that considerations of the structural violence that persists within the US state–regardless of the body inhabiting the White House–might be warranted, if even briefly.
Puar and Rai’s essay, Monster Terrorist Fag, seems in the background of the paragraph. Could you bring it out more? And perhaps some of the work by Jeffrey Jerome Cohen–for instance, Monster Theory (Minnesota, 1996)?
Here it is! Nice!
I echo Jeremiah here. The last couple sentences are where your argument takes off–could use a bit more elaboration to understand where you want to take it. How is a pro-choice politics framed as an expression of sexual deviancy?
This is a provocative essay, and I particularly appreciate your engagement with a notion of dermographia. It also reminded me of Fanon’s notion of sociogeny, especially his writing on the function of the flesh in the racial colonial setting. (Perhaps that might be useful to bring to bear?) Let me echo Brittany and Carol–the DH framing seems unnecessary, and I don’t quite see a genealogical approach playing out in an substantive ways. Perhaps the through-line worth thickening is what a purported hack of the B/W binary–through Obama’s mixed genealogy, the celebration/condemnation of his hybridity, etc.–does to that binary.
I’m wondering here what a “digital humanities methodology” is and how it differs from a simple Google search. What does this methodology offer that’s different than a discourse analysis methodology? Also what does Foucault offer? What does his work bring that better helps you illuminate your this discourse around Obama’s hybridity?Finally, I agree with others that the second sentence could be broken up for greater clarity.
I actually really like this paragraph and the concept of dermographia, but I think it might work better if it comes earlier (even just one paragraph earlier). Your voice, the interesting ideas *you* are bringing to the table comes out here. I want that sooner.
So, at this, about halfway through this short paper, it seems as if I am getting to the real meat. If the ultimate intent here is a discourse analysis of the negative portrayals of Obama’s hybridity in the digital sphere, that needs to be signposted much earlier on. The discussion of the various theorists being brought together to make this argument seem to be a bit of a distraction.
I’ll echo others on the digital humanities language. It doesn’t really lend anything to your argument (and doesn’t strike me as very different that discourse analysis methodology). More importantly, it is not quite clear what the through-thread of your essay is. Is it dermography? Is it the negative portrayals of Obama’s hybridity? Is it the ambivalence of hybridity? A more effective introduction can reframe your ideas so that your reader has a better sense of your focus. The concept of dermography is a good one in this argument since it seems that discussion of Obama’s hybridity happens so often at the level of his skin. Specific examples (one where Obama writes his own skin, one of an optimistic view of his hybridity, one of a negative view) would also help with give this essay clearer focus.Finally, I’ll say that you should reframe the paragraphs that introduce the theorists/theories you make use of so that your voice leads rather than the theorists. I didn’t feel that I was really getting your voice/ideas until the end. Tell us what you found useful in their work, certainly, but don’t give them credit for your ideas.
Thinking about the issue’s theme, hacking the black/white binary, is it possible that the ambivalence about Obama’s hybridity (which is poised, presumably, to effectively hack this binary–that’s what makes him monstrous) stems from an ambivalence about this binary disappearing? Who is invested in it and why? Certainly folks like David Duke need the binary to sustain white supremacy, but Nina Moon’s ambivalence about “mutt” is telling.
In addition to mixed race and hybrid identities, seems important to respond to the Islamaphobia present in the epigraphs, and the intersectional racism of how Obama’s identity is framed at some point here or elsewhere in the paper.
really appreciate the utilization of chimera here in terms of Obama. While it is common knowledge, may want to provide what is Obama’s actual mixed race identity
really appreciate this emphasis on the theorization of skin and skin writing. may be productive though to take time with reorganization, to make sure larger argument contains skin as text, and hybrity. it may be useful to have a more specific example of body in the epigraphs that frame this essay.
would help reader follow with more transitional topic sentences that uphold your larger argument. I appreciate the rereading of Bhabba, Anzaldua, and inclusion of Heidegger, but would like more connections to your original argument on Obama. Would like to see more of your voice here.
This is a good example of hybrity but would be stronger to have more analysis of this example/quote.
might want to quote Mbembe directly not qtd in Starn
May want to quote Puar if you are drawing from “monstor, terroist, fag?” I really appreciate this paragraph but would suggest to makre sure overall argument on skin, body, and hybridity is brought back
I appreciate this reading of Obama as monstor but I wonder abt introducing this earlier on in the essay in the core argument. seems like it starts the essay over again. would like this included in the framework
Can you reread this really provocative and fitting quote via your articulation of Obama skin and body more? would love to see more elaboration here.
encourage revision of topic sentences not to start with the theorists, but centered on your core arguments for essay/paragraph
if you searched via google, would love to see this included in a short description of methodology. may illuminate also on a discussion of hacking or in this instance, how the internet can reify and demonstrate such racist and homophobic characterizations. why are google hits significant? how might this construct the monstor in differing ways? puar discussion of viral technologies in Terrorist Assemblage may be useful to engage with here.
the essay includes these really rich and complex quotes but does not take time to upack them for us, would suggest to take a paragraph or two to include analysis of these quotes. May want to reduce quote to 1 and include more of your elaboration.
<p>I love how skin comes back here, but after the first time it was introduced earlier on in the essay, there was barely any engagement or support to pull this framework through. The quotes/outside material are relevant but would encourage taking more time to develop and unpack the examples more. </p>
Paragraph 1 notes: I would shy away from generalizing the role of all princess if you’re not going to identify rare alternative moments that may occur in multiplayer play; MarioKart, for example, facilitates a princess avatar that is not saved, but that participates in “normal” game play.
“Female protagonists…the male protagonist.” <- This sentence needs some grammatical attention.
Something to consider: what does post-play development mean in an era when many games are seldom published as “complete” productsâ€”when many games are augmented by DLC?
This paragraph could also use some grammatical attention (hint: consistency of hyphens)
I love this opening — am reminded of Donna Haraway’s line at the end of Cyborg Manifesto, where she says that she’d rather be a cyborg than a goddess. Or a princess, one might add!
I’m not sure that “post-play” captures what you’re talking about. Players often interact with forums and blogs while playing, while — as you point out — other players may not have encountered game play before they begin engaging with the worlds and content. Also, are films and other commercial appropriations of game worlds forms of modding? It seems that you’re really talking about world building rather than modding. Might be helpful to engage with some of the literature on that topic (e.g. Jenkins, Taylor, et al.).
I’d like to have more of a sense of what you mean by modding. In particular, I’d like to see you unpack the second sentence of this paragraph. Do you mean that you are going to analyze modding — and here the definition will be crucial — by looking at discussions of game narratives on online fora? And what do you mean by “discussion surrounding game play and game design that happens without the intent of feminist critique or modding”? For me, this is a really crucial paragraph, so being sharp and clear in defining modding, what you’re going to analyze in the essay, and how it relates to feminist game studies is essential.
Not sure that â€œlibidinalâ€ is the right word here. Maybe passionate? If youâ€™re committed to â€œlibidinalâ€ (and you use it again two paragraphs down), perhaps explain what you mean by it.
Not clear to me how Sarkeesian is engaging in post-play narrative modding. She’s engaging in critique, which you suggest in your second paragraph is not post-play narrative modding. Again, I think that establishing a clear definition of what you mean by PPNM in the first part of the paper is going to help you address some of the issues throughout. You might find that world building is a more appropriate (and capacious term), in which case the Sarkeesian example would make some sense — the worlds some players are building are in fact sexist and racist ones and these players are outraged when discordant notes are introduced into them. For me, this would be a timely critique of world building and the way in which players’ worlds can collide.
By “community,” in line 5, I’m assuming that you mean a kind of hegemonic masculinity, grounded in whiteness and heterosexism? This is another really important paragraph, imo, and worth really teasing out the meaning of what you’re saying. As I understand this, you’re suggesting that feminist critiques elicit violent and vitriolic responses from the protectors of these worlds, but that these responses themselves are generative of additional moments of resistance (e.g. the support for Sarkeesian, Hepler, and Jade Redmond before either of them).
It almost seems like you’re talking about a kind of unintentional feminist trolling? Which is to say that male protectors of their worlds respond in the way that troll bait usually responds: they feed the feminist trolls. You should check out Amanda Phillips’ piece on resistance. For me, this is the most intriguing aspect of your essay — that protection of these hegemonic worlds is actually providing occasions for counter-hegemonic resistance.
How does modding then differ from the interpretive activities that Jan Radway discusses in Reading the Romance? Here again, I think a clearer definition of modding would help — aren’t you describing what women have always had to do when they encounter textual worlds that are hostile to them? It would also strengthen your argument to cite some of the rich feminist work on these issues in game studies: Mia Consalvo, T.L. Taylor, the essays in Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat.
This paragraph underscores some of the definitional problems I’ve noted throughout: if articles, blogs, interviews, are all PPNM, then what isn’t? In addition, Sarkeesian in particular is creating a critique of videogames as a genre — she’s not modifying “the narrative of the game.”
There is so much that is rich and provocative in this essay and I’m excited about the revisions. Some concluding suggestions for revisions:
1. Reconsider your use of PPNM. I think it would be worthwhile to situate these practices within a tradition of feminist critique, but then also focus on the rich potential of online environments to truly “mod” existing narratives and share the products of our interpretive labor. So acknowledge that these critiques have long existed in the media practices of women, but then talk about how these practices can be effectively amplified online.
2. You don’t cite the rich body of scholarship that already exists in feminist game studies. Check out Lisa Nakamura and Mia Consalvo’s pieces in the first issue of Ada, as well as their rich bodies of work — see T.L. Taylor’s wonderful work on gender and MMOs and Nina Huntemann’s piece in FLOW on gender and labor in the videogame industry.
3. If you’re going to start with the Princess, it might be good to say more about why being a Princess sucks (aside from possible wardrobe perks). This would be an interesting theme to run throughout the essay as well — Sarkeesian, Hepler, and their feminist supporters don’t need to be saved — they’re doing it for themselves. One of the benefits of the online practices you describe is that we can protect ourselves, to an extent and degree not yet possible IRL. And that’s worth celebrating.
Paragraph 1, line 4 — need “as” before “damsels in distress”
Paragraph 1, line 5 — need comma in between “later” and “little”
Paragraph 1, line 6 — need comma after “non-existent”
Paragraph 1, line 7 — need comma after “heroine”
Paragraph 1, line 7 — use of “cast” is repetitive Â (used earlier in line 4, and then also in line 8)
Paragraph 1, line 7/8 — better to say “to be gazed upon and controlled by…”
What does “modded post-play for feminist purposes” mean? The sentence is very dense, it would be great to break it up for clarity. I would also appreciate attention given to tease out what “feminist purposes (intentionally and unintentionally)” means in the context of your research. This first sentence stresses “for feminist purposes,” but that focus does not seem to carry through the rest of the paragraph.
Paragraph 3, line 3 — add “that” in between “ways” and “the”
Paragraph 3, line 5 — add “that” in between “modding” and “focus”
Similar to my comments in paragraph 2, I’d appreciate more specificity about the relationship between your research and “feminist purposes” in this paragraph. You seem to be pointing to it through language like “challenge the norms,” “positive change in the community” and “creative resistance,” but in what ways are these moves particularly “feminist?”
Repetitive use of “recently” in line 1 and 4
Line 1 – “response” should be plural
Line 2 – “characterize” should be plural
In what way was Hepler “threatened?” How does her treatment compare/contrast to online communication that targeted Sarkeesian? Also, while Sarkeesian self-identifies as a feminist, does Hepler? Was Hepler trying to effect social change?Â Or, was she included here just because she is a woman?Â
Apologies — my above comment is for paragraph 8
I’m not sure if utilizing Sarkeesian and Hepler’s stories are convincingly leading towards the Â argument (which is put forth in par. 2).
Ok, this responds to my query about par. 8 (In what way was Hepler â€œthreatened?”). It may help to rework this paragraph in combination with par. 8 to strengthen your argument.
Writing could use a bit of work here in lines 1-2: “slightly different, “different reactions, “differing impacts”
line 2 – what does “philosophical support” mean — ideological support? Also, the causal relationships advanced in this paragraph would significantly benefit from more examples to bolster the claims.
I’d be wary of making an assumption of this nature about the relationship between Bioware and Hepler — can you cite a source to show this as fact, rather than your own assumption? Also, your last line of this paragraph is very broad — are you speaking about feminist communities within the patriarchal structure here, and making connections with Sarkeesian and Hepler (and suggesting that she is a feminist)? Are you defining Bioware Corp as a “community,” even though many would identify it as part of the patriarchal structure?
line 3 – What does “a feminist bent” mean?
line 6 — “at the debut” of what?
I’m intrigued by the last sentence of this paragraph — how are the gamers “rewriting Lara’s narrative?” Some examples of the ways in which these revisionist narratives are not just resistant but specifically underscore feminist thought/action would very much enhance your point here.
Line 7 – You note that “change is happening” — is this specifically feminist-driven change, and/or change that benefits women as a collective?
line 6 — what specific “gaps” are you referring to here? What is the scholarly contribution of this piece to “feminist new media theor[y]”? Whose theories are you building on? How does this piece relate to creating the type of change that you speak of in the last sentence of this paragraph?
line 4-5 — unpack — “The female Commander Shephard seems to have nothing that is at her core that is female”
Last sentence — unpack — “who display essentially female qualities”
last line — how are you characterizing “essentially female qualities” in this paper? Same goes for the usage of this phrase in line 1 of par. 24
I don’t understand how “refusing to save the child can become a type of feminist action.” Detailed analysis is necessary here.
Also, as noted above, you seem to identify a “feminist action,” but then say that a game cannot be labelled as “feminist” or not. What is the difference here in terms of applying labels?
This paragraph, as well as par. 27, seem to be a bit out of sequence, perhaps better suited to the beginning of this paper.
line 1-2 — What “theories of game studies” are you referring to here? It would be great to cite them.
line 7 — What are “feminist reads?”
last line — perhaps better to say “the Other” rather than “Others”
You seem to be speaking quite broadly here — it may be better to be arguing that the opportunity for “choice” in PPNM is specifically related to historically situated meanings/practices of feminism and choice.
I appreciate the central concept that you advance in this paper about how video games can be sites for positive change re: women in many ways. However, I wondered if this was more of a piece by a scholar in game studies rather than a feminist game studies scholar. The approaches towards characterizing feminism/femininity were somewhat troubling at times, as noted in my comments throughout the text. I agree that this piece needs to be more thoroughly positioned in feminist game studies literature, as this foundation would afford as a more nuanced piece as feminist game studies scholarship. Whose work has motivated this paper? Where do you situate this work within feminist game studies? I think that reframing your piece by responding to these questions would greatly enhance it.
Finally, while the title is compelling, I’m not sure what “Self-Saving Princess” means in light of your article. Threading this notion throughout your paper would be intriguing. This paper holds much promise, and I hope that you continue to work on it.
Thanks for the wonderful suggestions. All have been corrected.
You’re right. We have changed it to passionate in this para, powerful in the other para.
I think we have addressed the concerns here in our revised version. We have been very careful to unpack and define and contextualize these terms.
We added a paragraph to exemplify the point. Thanks!
We have added more concrete definitions throughout the article that hopefully addresses this. And the idea that Sarkeesian is participating in critique was an important point, which obviously we didn’t explain fully. So we added an entire paragraph to address that.
We have elaborated significantly on these points in the revision. I really look forward to your response to the final piece, because these comments were invaluable in the reshaping.
Thanks for the recommendation. We have included reference to Phillips’ piece that greatly strengthens our argument.
We rewrote most of this paragraph. We never meant to say “essential” female qualities. We have re-situated the point. Thank you.
We added several paragraphs situating our argument in the feminist work that has influenced our piece. Thank you.
We have elaborated on this– focusing on the idea of “maternal” stereotypes. Thank you.
We have chosen to stick with “Others” to avoid lumping all minorities together as one “the Other.”
This para tells us what you mean by intersectional subjectivities – wondering if you need to state some of this in the first para – so we get to see this point right at the beginning – just a suggestion if you chose to take it.
The introduction does a good job situating the paper within the relevant literature. As a reader, gaining a sense of what the paper will specifically focus on before the start of this paragraph might be helpful.
In discussing intersectional subjectivities I wonder how the role of sexual orientation might be expanded on in the intro, as incompetence with women is noted as an aspect of the geek/jock binary and the influence of sexuality at work in the association between homophobia and hypermasculinity.
This paragraph does a good job providing background about the two participants focused on. Some further information on why these two participants were the ones focused on could be helpful.
This paragraph does a great job of pointing out the ways that gameplay in TWD interacts with intersections of race and masculinity.
The discussion of “social fathering” does a great job detailing gendered enactments in games that move beyond a jock/geek conceptualization. I wonder to what extent success within the game – indicative of technological competence, which is generally associated w/ masculinity – enabled by non-hegemonic constructions of masculinity further complicates the ways masculinity is thought of in gaming?
I’m intrigued by the methodology (mirco-ethnography) employed here. Just a point of clarification: When you say you recorded game footage, did you capture only the screen or the two participants playing the game?
It would be helpful here if you gave an example of an interaction, common term or ritual that demonstrates how gaming is reframed as manly by the community (perhaps from cyberathlete events).
Just to be clear: the experience you engaged participants in was private, single-player, offline play? Worth saying here, given the great point you raise about pressure to perform gender norms.
Suggest changing “love for guns” to “love for weapons, etc”. It makes the statement more universal to the types of games WD1 and gamers like him would align with.
Overall, can you use more of WD2’s reactions while playing in order to demonstrate the contrast? Your micro-ethnography becomes a study of one player, which is useful, to be sure, but perhaps the difference in WD1’s play and his reflections of that play would be clearer if set closer to WD2’s reactions. Any particularly clear differences exhibited by your participants in their initial attitude toward the game that shows the shift WD2 makes as play and his in game decisions progress?
Italicize journal title.
Fix line break in Giddings & Kennedy reference.
Overall, you three have written a rich and provocative piece that challenges binary assumptions about game play often made both in popular discourse but also in game studies. A particularly useful contribution you make is in emphasizing the shifting attitudes or positions towards a game that players may occupy, suggesting the fluidity of game play styles and experiences. I have just a few global comments, in addition to the paragraph-specific remarks.One issue you need to address more directly is the way the game itself evokes WD1’s relational (instead of combative) strategy through its game mechanics (decision-making scenarios and dialogue). You mention BioShock:Infinite and The Last of Us has fatherhood-themed games that do not evoke non-violence and self-sacrifice like TWD. Add a line or two in para 51 that demonstrates how the game play of those two titles relies on violence and destruction to win (for example, lack of choice to act non-violently, fewer character interactions that carry an influence on gameplay later).Could one argue that WD1 was just doing what needed to be done to win. He figured out the “trick” of appeasing Clem and played accordingly. This might that suggest his changed approach was simply strategic (and not indicative of a shift in gendered play). You mention he took actions in the game that “offered no strategic advantages” (para 49). I want to read more about that and have it discussed sooner.In response to my own comment above: Perhaps it was strategic but that does not undermine the conclusion of the paper. That no matter the motivation, WD1s different approach still demonstrates the potential to unsettle assumptions about gaming and hyper masculinity. In either case, I do think you need to address the potential critique that WD1 was doing nothing more than “playing to win.”
Sorry, last sentence of my above comment should say: Any particularly clear differences exhibited by your participants in their initial attitude toward the game that shows the shift WD1 makes as play and his in game decisions progress?
From the BGSU Review Team:
Csenge, Julia, Yannick
We liked the general topic of the paper. There is a lot of potential in this paper, but we do have some suggestions for revisions:
The actual study focuses on black masculinity as enacted through The Walking Dead game. Yet, this topic is not present enough in the literature review. The author needs a stronger theoretical foundation for his argument; his review of literature needs to be extended to give a more comprehensive assessment of black masculinity in gaming communities.
We also think that including relevant literature related to player types will be beneficial to the author’s argument as well as the paper overall. There are different types of gamer behavior – social gamer, power gamer, explorer, etc. and these could also influence the actions and experiences of the players in such an experiment.
We suggest that the author provides a stronger contextualization of The Walking Dead game itself. We felt that a comprehensive analysis of the game’s conventions and, with that, its limitations are missing in this paper. The author could also examine the game’s genre background in more detail. Telltale Games focuses on story-based games, and also transmedia storytelling (expanding the world and story of TV shows into games). This could be important to mention for context.
We suggest that the author provides the reader with a stronger demonstration of the rationale for choosing subjects for the study. It does not become clear as to why the specific two subjects were chosen (other than that the author knew them). Interestingly, the author decided to focus on two African-American players in the study. The author states that one of them identifies as African-American and Native American. Yet, the player’s identification as Native American is not analyzed in the context of the game. We suggest including this identity marker in the analysis.
In the observation part of the paper, the author almost exclusively writes about the experiences of WD1, but barely includes information related to WD2’s gaming experience. We suggest to include more information of the latter player in order to strengthen the author’s overall argument.
The author uses the terms masculinity, hypermasculinity, and hegemonic masculinity, but does not provide a clear overview and/or definition of each concept. A strong theoretical differentiation would benefit this paper and strengthen the author’s argument.
The author bases his argument on the jock/geek binary in the gaming community. The author defines the geek as stereotypical white and middle-class. However, the subjects of his study are both African-American. A stronger explanation of why these subjects fit the jock/geek categories, and how African-American identities complicate this binary, would benefit this project.
It would also be interesting to see a follow-up on some lasting results of the game. Does WD1 see games differently now, or seek out games he would not have played before? Were his ideas of fatherhood, masculinity, etc. perma
space after Walking Dead
maybe add another sentence to elaborate on the powerlessness of the ‘nerd’. Is he powerless because does not have the same kind of access to hegemonic masculinity afforded to non-nerds?
this is very good. I think you might want to identify at the very beginning that this is an analysis that looks at the intersections of race and gender
is there any reason why TWD and not some other game? Perhaps you could mention what it offers up for exploration and discussion that other games do not.
space after TWD. I see here you explain why TWD is the game you’ve chosen. Even a nod to it earlier on helps guide the reader who may be unfamiliar.
female characters- very interesting!
space after WD2
the gamer strategies re: race and gender are very interesting!
add a space “instance,Walkerdine”this flexibility and possibility for transformation is good, and I think one challenge for feminist STS has been a very homogenous construction of masculinity. I agree with editors who said you should probably tie W2 in more here, as we get description of him but that is it.
Even though I think you’ve provided an extensive discussion of race in the body, might be good to bring it back here again. It seems like your subjects’ positionality has shaped their relationships to games, and that is something worth noting.
Might be worthwhile to emphasize the need to think in terms of masculinities (following Connell), which allows a sense of struggles within this category and important interventions by feminists.
It would be good to emphasize that what you’re focusing on is notable and exceptional in two distinct ways: 1. your focus on TWD, which as you go on to point out, is a really unique game; 2. your focus on African American men’s experiences playing this game (since videogame lit really does assume a white male player position).
So in a way, your critique of how scholarship looks at masculinity is similar to critiques of the broader gender binary (so maybe thinking about masculinity as a continuum rather than a binary would be helpful).
Also worth noting the racial specificity of dominant nerd identities.
By framing masculinities in these binary ways, you run the risk of reproducing the binary. Can you provide a more nuanced description of the field of masculinities.
Following Maggie’s comment, it’s worth emphasizing that what’s so original about your research is that it doesn’t look at gender as being synonymous with femininity.
Also, you might break this paragraph up for readability — maybe starting new paragraph with “Building from this work.”
You need a transition here. How do you bring these two bodies of lit together?
How does engaging in “a Burkean selection and deflection of reality” allow you to avoid the danger you describe?
Maybe this note about methodology belongs earlier (c.f. Nina’s question at the start about defining “micro-ethnography”? Along with the attention to race and masculinity, this approach is part of what makes your contribution so original.
Could you say something about the institutional context in which this research took place?
So they were all playing in the same room?
You might say something about what distinguishes TWD from most videogames (of all genres): the black male protagonist which asks players to make choices from his standpoint.
The final sentence is interesting to me. In my interviews, I found that white male players often used this as a reason for playing female characters in MMOs. I found it to be a pat response for what were actually more complicated and interesting motivations.
Maybe a more descriptive subheading for this section?
Work on this transition — how does it emerge from your previous section?
My concerns are similar to Nina’s above — you extrapolate a lot from this single example. I think that it would help to bring in WD2 as per Nina’s suggestion, but also to acknowledge the need for further, more extensive research.
You might also mention how TWD the game diverges from the original TWD narrative, where men are not exactly care-takers.
I think you can be more explicit in naming this behavior: Lee protects Clem (in keeping with so many video game narratives in which helpless and hapless girls and women must be protected by men), but he takes care of her and he teaches her how to be a protector in her own right.
Break up paragraph for readability? There’s a lot packed into this. I’d also stress the distinction between your methodology and that of more quantitative approaches that don’t account for the nuanced understanding of masculinities you provide in this.
I think the other potential theoretical intervention concerns pedagogy. In part, what happens to WD1 is that he’s given an opportunity — a critical context — in which to reflect on his gaming practices, both because TWD is so unique, but also because of the context that you provide as researchers. Imagine what more courses that explore these issues might be able to do!
I feel as though this argument could benefit from a more distinct glossing of the terms “binary” and “hybrid,” and how they are being used in opposition to one another.
Especially since the “messy” nature of normative binaries are problematized below (Hudogledog). Even if these binaries should subsequently made (understood as) theoretically hybrid, some clarity may help explicate the process of hacking.
As I understand it, you are making a really smart and exciting intervention in feminist technology (and some ways science) studies using metaphorical hackings of theory. Beginning the piece with the “poor door” as the sociotechnical manifestation of a race that is itself reproductive of race as the technology for itself is very interesting. Unlike this example, though, the rest of the paper loses this empirical grounding; in some spaces, it seems that this grounding would make the connection between STS theories that poorly examine race, and your interventions/hacking with CRT.
At this point, I’m excited about the intervention. I feel like I’m approaching your core argument, because of the way you signal it with your past research. But then you never tell me exactly what you’re doing in the paper – just what you have done. Could you clear this section up for me so I know exactly what argument I should be reading for as I embark on Theory and Method with you?
I feel as though the leap from “race as a tool” and “STS as a strategy” requires a bit more unpacking. As it stands, I’m not fully grasping the way in which the metaphorical conceptualization of race as phenomenologically and constitutively technological (tool) can be intervened upon by the material scholarship of STS. This is a really fascinating idea — I’d like to hear more.
I think this is great, but can you ground it in something empirical? Otherwise, I worry that it reproduces the insufficiently materialist biases of STS — in the sense that they ignore the very violent relations of force that accompany the techniques/technologies of racism. Here you present a great way of theorizing differences as such, but I’m not convinced that your theory of binaries/hacking adds anything that the political work of Nakamura, Chun, and Hong have already done.
These are strong examples of the ways in which, despite the hybrid tensions in racial identity, there are structural forces continually attempting to create cleavages and ‘binar-ize’ us. I am concerned, however, that they don’t tap into the conversation about race specifically. The conversation about race as explicated here can be replaced with a conversation about gender or a conversation about [insert A/B difference here]. How can your theoretic interventions be used to unpack race?
I would love to hear more about the ways in which you have successfully achieved these hacks.
I’m not sure what “race is socially constructed” is doing for your argument, especially if STS is the intervening strategy.
I’m going to generally agree with Bryce above.At this time – based on a quick first look – I’m going register my own excitement at the effort first of all. I hope to re-read this a few times and provide some concrete suggestions.
Great promise!I’d reword the first sentence because it gets a bit stuck at “..and activist as well as in the practice of everyday life.” I’m wondering if the first sentence is even necessary? The second sentence explains clearly what is intended by binaries and hybrids.
This is a great set up. Intrigued as to what the other developments of this kind are…
Not sure race, class, gender etc are “personal characteristics”?
Unlike the other reviewer, I read these examples as being specifically about race. I think that race isn’t a standalone category however, so as a category it’ll always be in conversation with other power dynamics. I haven’t read past this point yet but these example seem to me to be setting something up, something to consider in relation to the workings of power and binaries more generally….
I find this example (of the poor door) very intriguing and would like to know more about it — sounds like it’s a really good ‘story’ to talk through the black/white binary, maybe in relation to the personal anecdotes, but it’s not fully explored in this piece… is there a way to explore its significance a little more in the context of this piece?
” The constant invoking of the hybrid as a stand -in for the complexity, the mess and the complications of everyday life has itself led to a reification that requires hacking of its own.”
I find myself worrying about the language of hacking — having a kind of “you can’t dismantle the Master’s house using the hacker’s tools” moment and wondering how a practice constructed, wielded, practiced by privileged white men can help us challenge the binaries you list. I don’t have a good answer to this — Fembot has been sponsoring hack-a-thons, after all. But I do think we need to have be self-reflexive about the ways in which conceptual apparatuses can shape our approaches as intellectual and activists.
Can you cite this earlier research?
I’m not totally convinced by this example, which seems pretty human-centered. A leash is a mechanism of control used by humans. For good or ill, a leash is intended to create social order — we don’t leash humans (well, sometimes toddlers, but those leashes often elicit raised eyebrows) and leashing, yoking, and otherwise seeking to control humans is rightly understood as an act of domination. Maybe what one person situated in one location sees as a communicative moment can be experienced by the person on the end of the communicative leash as an act of domination?
Can you say more about these methodologies? Or delete if you’re not going to address them in more detail.
Your list isn’t exclusively made up of social scientists. It seems to me that some of the most creative work is being done (not surprisingly, given disciplinary constraints) by people in the arts and humanities. Can you say more about the conditions in which such “hands-on creation of artefacts that defy binary categories” is taking place?
I’d like to see more of an explanation/definition of both hacking and hybridity as part of the framework of this contribution. How, for example, is hacking a methodology? You make a strong case for the theoretical benefits of hacking in paragraph 8, but hacking as method is more elusive.
I would say that race, class, gender, are indeed personal characteristics. They are not only that, and of course as this paragraph notes they are part of larger socio-technical systems.
Part of the challenge of “inhabiting” the hack so to speak is about recognizing that the ability to claim expertise and wield these tools is a hack. Moreover, I don’t know that we should assume that technical tools are the “property” of “masters.” Since women and people of color and trans people have participated from the beginning in developing, computers, the internet and social networking.
Yes, I would like to hear more about “race as tool.” And then that does bring me to a concern over Carol’s earlier point about whether “race” conceptualized as “tool” becomes the master’s tool.
What does this hybrid configuration make possible in terms of the hack here?
I would echo Carol here. In the proceeding few paragraphs, I’m looking for an explication of an argument about how these proliferating hybrids act as hacks on the racial binary, or lead us toward a broad theory of what these kinds of interventions might offer.
Great opening to the essay, may be productive to be specific about the statistics of racial background of the residents in affordable housing, either in essay or in notes section.
really appreciate the engagement with STS and new media studies in this framework. suggest to include a definition of STS that is utulized and how it can “hack” hybrids. ie many strains of STS
Also agree it may be useful to term hybrids opposed to binary as utilized in this text
I appreciate the voice of this essay and the ability to co-author together, the voice is very compelling throughout the essay.
I think those familiar with Chun’s essay will understand the move as STS given her inclusion of STS within the piece, but for readers engaging with this work, it may be good to unpack a bit more Coleman and Chun’s intersectional work with new media + STS. This may be alloyed with an inclusion or brief description of STS (or feminist STS) and how it differs from new media. I really appreciate this discussion of binaries here.
also note that feminist STS scholars have grappled with race, Charis Thompson, Jenny Reardon, Rachel Lee for example, so then it becomes important on how to distinguish the feminist interventions in new media versus STS. What does STS theory brings to a feminist new media studies critique?
appreciate the hacking that happens with hybrids throughout the essay.
This is an interesting example, but would like more elaboration or connection to the issues of gender/race divides that have been brought up prior. the politics of dogs also evoke racial denigrating stereotypes and denigrating characteristics of women too. Would love more complication here, which is also why STS should be defined as not all STS is anti-racist & feminist in its aims.
Need citations and would be really interesting to have a video of the Hudgedog included, or a photo. Is there a cybernectic example that could also help the movement forward. Agree with Carol in which how does this example break down binaries into hybrid, or does it reify the hierarchical relations between human & animals? Thinking of Kelly Oliver’s Animal Lessons and Harlan Weaver’s work on dogs and Haraway on dogs.
again this is an interesting example but would like more connection to the description and theorization of gender, race, and women that was brought up in the beginning of the essay.
Needs more elaboration on this point by McPherson and how it connects to overall argument on hybrid/hacking.
are racial beings considered human? are women considered human? may be critical to place in conversation this analysis of Michael’s work and the work cited earlier by Coleman and Chun
It seems to move quickly into a discussion of hybrid methods, this seems important especially at the beginning of the essay, you both cite your interdisciplinary methods. But this paragraph seems to come out and may need a sub heading to situate the new topic from the reading of Michael and STS.
appreciate this movement very much. would be more compelling if previous paragraphs were reorganized to lead to this point explicitly.
appreciate this real life example of racial binaries via census
Be specific about who he is, your husband? May want to include topic sentence that is more apt for the paragraph description.
I found these two personal narrative very powerful and poignant in your essay. Thank you for sharing and sheds light on your point abt structural binaries.
This is a compelling example, but almost seems misplaced at this point of the essay. Wonder if you can include in the beginning of the essay to set up the contradictions of the Black white binary explores within personal and contemporary examples.
appreciate this paragraph, would love more elaboration on this point.
I like this discussion very much, but seems a bit misplaced. May be good to rethink organization of the essay to help flow and framework.
This shoud come near the introduction of the paper.
I am very glad to have read your trans-feminist ideas and seen your critical works of art on this novel by one of my all-time favorite authors. Thank you. Great work.
I have a few suggestions, intended to intensify this article’s impact:
You might consider citing and quoting some of the critics of LeGuin that you mention. Many readers would be interested in following up on some of that material.
I also feel that it would be better to write the outlined portions into prose.
I would have liked greater clarity in regards to the relationships you see between familiar governmental structures and the perpetuation of heteronormativity/gender binarism. Feminists participating in various trajectories have worked on this question, for example in organizational studies, but it would be nice to know where one might start reading in order to pursue a more detailed understanding of your points.
One final thought: leading with your art work might be the most effective way to begin. As I read this for the first time, when I arrived at the more abstract works I found myself wishing that I had gained a preview of them at the beginning (perhaps since they evoke such broad questions).
In closing, and this might be a question about a broader or additional, but closely related article: How might you broach the topic of gender in relation to socioeconomic system, as many would argue that LeGuin does in The Dispossessed?
I had the very good fortune to hear this before I read it. I liked it very much the first time and even more now, having had the opportunity to read it through more carefully. My main comment for revision has to do with the framing of this body of artwork. Although you begin by suggesting that you’ll “mine the successes and failures” of LHOD, by the end, you have done something that I think is far more significant and important: providing a graceful model for how we think about the messy, processual nature of political work, the fuck-ups that were made before by different generations of “us”es, and the mistakes that we will invariably make in the struggles ahead. Your mode of reading the partialities and also the process of Le Guin’s thought, while at the same time creating your own relationship to these texts is inspiring.
I think a stronger overall framework for the multiple parts of the project will help also with some of the issues I note around the need for more fibre to connect the parts to the whole of your project.
I’d like to hear more about what it means to claim LHOD as a “proto-trans-feminist text.” What you’re doing goes beyond “queering” a text, I think, in really important ways.
Maybe mark this transition in your project in a different way? Might it be helpful to also conceptualize this in terms of the temporal distance between the Gethen of 1969 (and the 44 year old author) and the US of the present (and 88 year old author)? I like the way you flag the shifts in Le Guin’s thinking later in the paper and wonder if this might be connected to that?
Could you unpack what you mean by “problematic”? I’m not disagreeing with your critique of Le Guin’s inability to think beyond the gender binary (it’s depressing that even the best of our artists often can’t think beyond categories that remain harmful — perhaps shows how hard it is to do this work, a point you make later in the paper), but I’d like to know more about how you’re thinking about the limits of imagination (in the past and in the present).
Who were these critics? It would help me place what follows if I knew they were and had a better sense of the substance of their critiques.
Again, because I don’t fully know these critiques, I’m not clear on why you do or don’t share “biological binary” or “heteronormativity” with them.
What do you make of her distancing herself from politics? Her correspondence from the time shows that she was following news about the War in Vietnam and marching in protests in Portland. It seems that she came to feminism somewhat later.
This is such a good point — her excuse resonates today, with resistance to using “they.” That linguistically defying the gender binary should be cast as mangling strikes me as particularly important, as if the gender binary in practice and language is somehow perfect and natural.
Can you unpack this sentence? Maybe reflect on the rhetorical nature of the essay’s title and Le Guin’s answer to it. You’ve said why it disappoints, but can you say why it’s not entirely surprising?
What is the significance of Le Guin’s return to — and annotation of — this essay? It seems to me that her return to this essay is a kind of springboard for your own art in the following — an inviation, perhaps, for others to engage in a dialogue about the limitations you observe throughout.
Did you get a chance to ask her where she stands on this today? I find myself curious as to whether it was still hard in 2016 for her, and why. If you didn’t ask her, maybe we can ask her now?
I like this paragraph a lot.
Does she say anything about them? Why is this significant?
Is it redress or what you later describe as learning from mistakes?
Is ‘Reflecting Light into The Unshadow’ a body of artwork that you have produced? The first sentence just has me a bit confused.
You could consider here how Le Guin’s use of ‘imagination as a radical practice’ is related (or not) to other such efforts (I think immediately to speculative design or, more specifically, Haraway’s speculative fabulation, for instance).
Perhaps this relates to Carol’s comment above, but a sentence introducing this list would be helpful.
Perhaps this relates to Carol’s comment above, but a sentence introducing the list that follows would be helpful.
apologies, my comment here on paragraph 9 was meant to be left on paragraph 7. 🙁
It would be helpful to be able to read the rest of the print too. Unfortunately, upon clicking on the image, zooming in does not offer a high enough quality to be able to read the rest of the text. Is it possible to upload higher quality images so that all text can be read through this piece?
I would love to see you engage here with other scholars and activists who have also engaged with this very question.
This is great. Again, though, since I cannot read it, it would be helpful to have a higher quality image and to have you explore this fluidity more explicitly along with, perhaps, demarcating what ‘a contemporary trans-feminist’s voice’ is (or is capable of).
I would also suggest to add, perhaps in parentheses, when each of these two artworks were published to give those who are less familiar with her work a frame of time. Also it would be good to clarify a bit more how The Left Hand of Darkness relates to Reflecting Light into the Unshadow. Is one a piece of the other? Were they published the same time? Otherwise people interested in her work and research on her work who are yet unfamiliar with it can find this confusing to understand the relationship between the two.
“The story takes ??? on the planet…” –> missing word
I agree with Carol, please elaborate on what you mean by “proto-trans-feminist” — how do you define this and where do you see this apply to this LHOD?
You could also consider that she appears to write up a yet not existing world. She is quoted in a recent New Yorker profile on how she in her works tried to write new worlds into being and to consider how, or not, the world belongs to “us” or to humans.
I agree that it would be useful if you would first define “proto-trans-feminist” and then elaborate how you see your definition apply to this novel.
Could you add a couple of sentence on the relevant specific cultural contexts for second wave feminism in the US that are important in reference to Le Guin’s work?
I agree with Carol that a couple examples with citations would be useful here.
You should consider adding “U.S.” to “second wavers” in this paragraph as well as in the subheading above as this is a specific U.S. context and terminology.
What a cool idea. I do wonder though how you categorize “success” and “failure”.
Just a minor point: in your second bullet point you are missing the rest of the sentence in “She goes on to note…16th”.
I was wondering if what you describe here is also part of an explanation of why Le Guin’s first version and her first essay Is Gender Necessary are also so much steeped in the then contemporary mainstream thinking and conceptualizing of gender, language and sexuality. That precisely the given “socio-political circumstances” make it difficult to think beyond. And back then there was no internet to easily access other voices, perspectives.
Jill Filiopovic’s current book “The H-Spot. The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness” (2017) makes a similar point. That in a world of lobsided structures it is difficult to define what happiness for those means who are disadvantaged by these structures, including women with their very diverse identities and backgrounds. Filipovic argues that women need to define what happiness and satisfaction means to each of them in their specific circumstances and to build policies toward these definitions.
I agree with Rena, that the text in the print needs to be readable either in the image or by inserting the text into the other text so that readers can follow your argument.
Could you make it clearer in the very beginning, first paragraph, of this text that Reflecting Light into the Unshadow is an artwork project created by you to process/interact with/engage with Le Guin’s work? E.g. by writing “RLITU is a multimedia body of artwork that I created to …” Otherwise it remain a bit unclear until later who created RLITU, that is if someone else created it to engage with her and you are analyzing both. It just became clear to me here that you created all the multimedia art yourself to work through her novel. Also, it would be useful to provide a brief summary in the first paragraph which media you used and why.
Could you add a few more examples of others who have made their failures public?
Could you include a visual of this textile work? It appears a bit odd not to have an image when there are so many other images of the visual works that you discuss throughout the text.
I would find it helpful here if there were in-text citations of some second-wave feminists who made these critiques in the early 1970s.
I would suggest a sentence or two in between the first two that elaborates on the scope of Reflecting Light into The Unshadow. How many total pieces comprise the body of work, and when did it start and end? If the project is ongoing or happened over a period of years, I believe that may tie into the theme of the political evolution of artists and artistic expression.
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The Unshadow is an essay that connects Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness and Le Guin’s subsequent public statements about gender and identity in the novel to the author’s own multimedia art project Reflecting Light into the Unshadow, which is inspired by the artist’s understanding of Le Guin’s novel as a proto-trans-feminist text. As such, the strength of the essay is its clear understanding of the inspirations the artist takes from the novel as well as the weaknesses of the novel in some of its contextual understanding of gender and identity at the time it was written. However, Le Guin’s subsequent defenses of the novel and evolved thinking on the themes it raises demonstrate what it means to critically assess one’s own art and political engagement in the face of an unknowable future. The discussion of the individual pieces in Reflecting Light into the Unshadow and their relation to Le Guin’s work is excellent, but the main question I have is its relation to trans-feminism. How is trans-feminism defined or understood by the author, and does it inform the creation of Reflecting Light into the Unshadow? I think there is a chance to answer these questions in paragraph 34. I agree with another commenter’s suggestion that it may help if the reader could see A Slow and Arduous Progression in its full detail along with a discussion of how it specifically interjects a trans-feminist’s voice.
-foot note the handful of related texts? – and perhaps add after the Reflecting Light into The Unshadow – “artwork”.
Perhaps a few sentences about ‘worlds’ and world making would ground this text here in a wider context.
perhaps write again that although you have posited it as a ‘trans-feminist text, not the author you are discussing these are the anomalys…
Also include a caption on the pictures
That is very pertinent perhaps you can add a bit more here to this point.
The failure point is great but comes in at the end so needs to be introduced earlier and or expanded upon.
The text is so clean, organized, and well-reasoned that my only comments are of a very broad nature.
First, I’m very glad to have read this contribution, not least because I think it exemplifies some exciting possibilities for feminist masculinity studies of gaming.
Next, I wish to share an impression that I hoped would diminish as I read the article but did not. The phrase “daddy issues” is quite refractory for this reader. I think what puts me off is the way in which that phrase gets used to shame survivors of domestic and child abuse. So, seeing it in the title, despite the savvy latter portion, made me wonder if the article I was about to read was as well-informed by feminist theory as I would expect in the context of this journal. Obviously, you are transvaluing the phrase, but it was distracting for me to have to wait for an explanation of how and to what purpose. As I read, my confidence in your analysis was quickly established and kept growing. However, I kept waiting for clarification of the way in which you were using the phrase “daddy issues,” because it had shocked me. Even by the end of the section with “daddy issues” in its subtitle, I still felt that your deployment of the term was left unexplained. In short, I would suggest exploring other possibilities, since the catchiness and cleverness is, for some readers, outweighed by potential misinterpretations. Alternatively, if you were to keep the phrase, it would be helpful to develop its significance very early in the article.
Similarly, the strong engagement with feminist politics that you promise in the abstract should subtend the analysis throughout, and I think that displaying your theoretical commitments early on would help with that. Leaving it to the end sends a contradictory message, despite the clarity and thoughtfulness of your discussion.
I look forward to reading more of your work!
I had a discussion with a couple colleagues about the title and ultimately left it as you see it based on their feedback, which amounted to ‘we know what you’re trying to do.’ I appreciate hearing your reading of the title and will eliminate the phrase “daddy issues” from the title and the text.
I think this may be too short, maybe adding a sentence regarding the methods by which the comparison is made would be helpful to the reader
what empirical evidence? would be important to see some examples given by the critics
very good introductory paragraph
[However, the practices of fatherhood in The Last of Us and BSi differ dramatically in regard to the amount of control the fathers exercise over their daughters, the degree to which fathers are expected to share consubstantiality with their daughters, and the extent to which the daughter figures are positioned as sexual objects. ]
The Last of Us=shortened
[troubling ] I just don’t like this term as it sounds too biased. I think this sort of conclusion should feature near the end of the article. you are exposing the facts you are going to analyze here. shouldn’t be leading the reader to a specific conclusion.
[Ultimately, I argue that TLoU advances a construct of fatherhood that is paternal but not patriarchal and is thus less bound up in the pathologies of hegemonic masculinity and less toxic to a feminist, social justice framework. ]
again i think this paragraph should tell us what you will be analyzing for each game (what kind of fatherhood construct they have, are they paternal or patriarchal, are they using hegemonic masculinity)
are you drawing from any theories in parenting?
very interesting review of the lit
as a general rule, sentences should not be a sole paragraph
I think this is reading a bit too much into the game narrative. The main character is not made to care about the “daughter” because the narrative serves the central plot, to advance the gameplay.
delete “an” ?
I quite liked the catchiness in the title however I fully agree with Carolyn in that it should either be explained why you decided to use it or just remove it from the title altogether
Overall I really liked the article, I think it’s very well written however there were a few areas where some more detail could have been discussed. To counter that, some of the detail from the games could have been left out.
In addition, I think it would be interesting to see a paragraph regarding the specificity of fatherhood to female daughters, which is the case of both games you analyze.
Fascinating topic. Does this phenomenon have a counterpoint in mother figures? Or does this come out of recasting male protagonists?
Last sentence — grammar: “…not only re-centers the male lead, but also encourages players…”
What is “this public discourse” — the games, or the criticisms? If it’s the games, I’m not sure “discourse” is the best word. If it’s the criticisms, that seems more academic/scholarly than public. I would also recommend reversing your clauses in the last sentence of this paragraph, but your argument is excellently articulated and I’ve appreciated the succinct opening to your article.
It seems as though there are daughters in both games you’re going to examine, but you haven’t stated that explicitly.
I like this single sentence as a transition. “Totality” is a strong word to end on.
What does the “toxic state of game culture” include?
Should be “manifestations” (line 3)
I’m not convinced that this should be its own paragraph, especially since it is followed by a rhetorical question that moves the reader away from the example of The Walking Dead.
There is a misplaced modifier in the first sentence. After the first clause, you could instead write “BSi requires players to interact…” or something like that, so BSi responds to your modifying clause that you open the sentence with and you can eliminate the “in,” which to me, feels slightly awkward.
The “them” in the second to last sentence of this paragraph is slightly ambiguous.
Suggestion: “…provide care for their fathers.”
Is this a theme that other scholars have explored? (The redemption narrative)
I like this engagement with Aarseth and think that you argue your standpoint convincingly.
I find the “of this” in the second to last sentence a bit ambiguous and unnecessary. Could you say instead, “David and his men are cannibals, and his inhumanity is repeatedly…”?
“more fully participate in social, civic….”
I made an earlier comment about the question of mothers. It might warrant bringing up the concept earlier than the last paragraph and spelling out the connection to your argument and the implications of a mother figure more clearly.
Great analysis here!
Great analysis here! I do feel that your position could be dissected a bit to demonstrate the current contribution to the public discussion esp using these two games. they are compelling and great examples but lend the reader a hand and unpack it earlier.
I second the question posed by Carina. It could help make sense of the popular culture trends emerging with dads (praising dads in particular). Not sure if it is necessary but may be useful to note the continuing discussions around the daddy/daughter pendulum..think this contribution reveals the importance of this issue to gaming
The sentence isn’t necessary for me….
As Tara is alluding to….give us a sense of the toxicity of gaming culture. its directly relevant to your discussions on hegemonic/militarized masculinity.
My familiarity with these games are limited..but i do wonder about other in-game factors that influence their parenting styles. Does class and social background influence character development and story line in any way? I ask only because you bring up Lee from Walking Dead. It has me thinking about marginalized masculinities that sometimes over compensate to counter public narratives/discourse about poor parenting, parents of color, etc. Also thinking about resistant masculinity. Not sure if these themes could help support your arguments but worth considering since you incorporate feminist critiques.
It doesn’t, unfortunately. I’ve added a footnote to this effect.
I’ve tried to clarify that the public discourse is the writing in the media and gaming magazines and website, as distinct from the academic discourse on masculinity in game studies.
For better or worse, she is also talking about BioShock Infinite and The Last of Us. I’ve decided to alter the phrase “empirical evidence” rather that introduce that fact in order to avoid potential confusion.
This, I think, is a disciplinary difference. I’ve always been trained to treat my introduction much like my conclusion: it should be written last with the full benefit of hindsight about what the analysis will reveal.
This paragraph was intended to do just what you have asked for with the sentence “However, the practices of fatherhood in The Last of Us and BSi differ dramatically in regard to the amount of control the fathers exercise over their daughters, the degree to which fathers are expected to share consubstantiality with their daughters, and the extent to which the daughter figures are positioned as sexual objects.” I have tried to clarify this.
I’ve added a footnote to the very first paragraph discussing the absence of mother figures.
I’ve added three sentences to paragraph 16, the 1 sentence paragraph you commented on above, talking about the role of race/whiteness in the construction of the characters discussed in this article.
I think that the movement from “brown-skinned” children to a “black neighborhood” may be worthy of more unpacking. Does the mention of skin color here presume and expose readers’ assumptions of a default whiteness? What different modes of racialization (Latin@/Chican@? South Asian?) can “brown” signal, and why does it seem to map specifically to blackness (to African American cultural production?) here?
The Help, particularly in criticisms of the film version, has been discussed as the narrative of a black maid appropriated by a white writer. Is this relevant to the way that Aibileen Clark relates to Avey? The maids and the robot write and by doing so they redefine themselves as human, and yet the words in both cases were actually penned by someone whose humanity has never been called into question in the way that is being narrated.
Another typo: Germany
This is really a comment on the paragraph above but I couldn’t select it. I wanted to alert you to the typo in “average” in the Lange epigraph.
Le Guin’s retrospective introduction to THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS, in which she declares her own experiment with genderlessness a partial failure, might be interesting to revisit in this context.
In the second to last sentence, perhaps point out that there appear to be no African or African American speakers. There actually are a number of non-white men. Also, I’m not following the connection between imagery and the conference. Can you elaborate on that a bit?
I lose track of your line of inquiry in the paragraphs on Dick (beginning with Charlie Rose). Perhaps you might frame the examples in the paragraphs in terms of your discussion of the Singularity, rather than bringing the Singularity back in at the conclusion of the paragraphs?
Can you frame this section in terms of the Singularity? It’s a really interesting discussion of Soyka’s argument, but I’m not sure how the question — is her novella feminist science fiction — connects to the Singularity and your previous sections. Soyka misses more than one point as well — the phrase “Other than the fact that women can be considered a subjugated class” is typical of the kind of anti-feminist discourse on the internet. Not sure you need this to get to your analysis of We, Robots.
Not clear on what you mean by “feminist” and “post-feminist” — do you mean “post-gender” in the latter?
Also, when it comes to challenging sexist language, you might want to cite some of the work of transgendered people, who have been in the forefront of those struggles. Julia Serano comes to mind, but others in the Collective are more knowledgeable in this area.
How does Butler relate to Lange? How does Avey transcend both racial and gender categorizations, which are fundamental to the category of “human”? And while I love the idea that complaining is key to humanity, I’d like to see you unpack that. Also, you say that Avey has no gender, but in this paragraph, you refer to her as, well, her.
Not sure that The Left Hand of Darkness is about the eradication of gender — can you expand on this a bit? Also, not clear on the link between Tiptree and My Mother the Car (familiar with both of those, but need some help with the connection).
Here again, I’m not sure that “post feminism” is the right term.
I think the comparison to The Help is problematic Â — the black maids don’t even get to write their narratives and the person who does write the narrative is the only one to escape the South. Black feminist critics in particular have argued that The Help is a narrative that uses black women in a conventionally exploitative style to tell the story of a white woman (there’s also the lawsuit that was filed against Stockett by Abilene Cooper — a maid who worked for Stockett’s brother — for stealing her story). So The Help I think raises more problems than you can handle.
After seeing the collective membersâ€™ comments on this piece, my sense is that we need some key revisions before it can be considered ready to publish. Though the first-stage revision helped a lot with this, we still need a clearer throughline so that readers can immediately understand the stakes of the piece and the substance of its argument â€“â€“Â which I take as being that Lange makes a feminist science fiction intervention into the discourse of the Singularity by suggesting that, instead of transcendence, technologyâ€™s moment of self-awareness would mire it in the experience of mundane problems and everyday pain, in addition to structural inequality.
Given that this will be a public online publication, it will also be important to make sure that the connotations of cultural references are as intended â€” comments show that some of the references in the piece appear quite problematic. This is especially true of the piece’s engagement with race, and I would suggest dialing back heavily on use of pop-culture analogies in this area.
In the third sentence, I think you mean that the “this” to refer to monolothic renderings of the Singularlity and not Hayles’ assertion. Perhaps say “like Hayles’ definition, Avey . . . contradicts the fixity of the Singularity” (if that’s what you mean)?
Would it be more to the point to say that gender is not included in the discourse about the Singularity? I’m not clear on why feminism would appear in that discourse anyway. Also, in the second to last sentence, you mention going back to the second wave of feminism to insure that “our understanding of the Singularity will be articulated in an inclusive manner.” But the second wave wasn’t particularly inclusive (especially around race and sexuality). Perhaps just stick to the critique of the sexism of the Singularity?
The examples in para 11 and 12 are really interesting, but I’d like to see them framed in terms of your broader argument. My main problem with these opening paragraphs (1-16) is that the examples aren’t fully integrated into a line of inquiry that I can follow. It’s rich and interesting material, but there’s a tendency to bury the leads.
In terms of this first section (and as I suggest above), it might be helpful to introduce your topic, talk about the androcentrism/sexism of representations of the Singularity, and then move into your discussion of We, Robots. I recommend deleting the language about controlling one’s own image (Dick and Hepburn) unless you’re going to knit it into the fabric of the argument more clearly. I also think that the logical transition is We, Robots as a feminist response to the Singularity (and to Asimov’s I, Robot) and not to the question of whether We, Robots is feminist science fiction.
Here again, were you to frame this in terms of the ways in which Lange challenges the Singularity, I think it would be a much more original and significant argument.
There are some missing connections in this paragraph. Why does Butler bear mention? Can you provide an example of this? Also, I’m not sure how Avey’s request for a pad and pen is equivalent to Virgil Tibbs’ demand. Can you provide a textual example of Avey’s struggles to “juxtapose language and respect,” because that move isn’t clear to me from the example you offer.
Could you offer some textual examples of your points in this, in the shape of direct quotations?
What are their Lacanian characteristics? Also, you make a series of claims about the text without providing examples of how she does this.
Not all of our readers are going to be familiar with Asimov’s three laws. Perhaps worth providing a link to a definition?
But this isn’t about Asimov. Can you bring this in by way of Lange’s critique of the Singularity? That would mean revising what follows so that it makes sense in the context of the broader argument.
Not all of the issues’ readers are going to have read Lange’s story. It would be helpful — at the beginning of this piece — to provide a clear plot summary (so that when readers get to this point they understand that Avey is the caretaker for Chit and Dal’s daughter Angelina).
How is this relationship between elites and technology true in real life? Probably true in terms of middle class people in the US, but economically disadvantaged people do not have access to technologies. Social media are another thing altogether. Maybe I’m just not understanding your comparison?
While I think Alexis’ point is well taken, the text — with its references to “crack” traffic” and “burnt out buildings” — does seem racialized in ways stereotypically evocative of black neighborhoods. I guess the point for me is the pervasiveness of that dystopian view in the science fictional universes of white Americans (e.g. why not Kabul? Or Saigon? Or post-Katrina New Orleans? Or post-Sandy New York?). I’m also not clear on the connection between the analysis of Lange’s text and The Jeffersons, a complicated and contradictory text that wasn’t funny in the same ways for all viewers. I’d recommend deleting those passages unless you’re willing to do more interpretive work with them.
I’d really like to see some context/explanation for the Shylock reference. As an online journal, Ada has a responsibility to be clear when it comes to these discussions. Having read your work elsewhere, I have a deeper understanding of this reference. I’m not sure that all our readers will.
I’m not sure I agree with this interpretation — can you support these interpretations with specific examples from the text? The move from Frank and Jacobs to humor also makes me uneasy. What are the stakes in conflating these very different histories and examples of oppression? How does humor relate to the narratives you begin with? There are a lot of comparisons in this paragraph, but not enough explanation of them.
While the examples in this support the relationship between robots and animals, I’m still a bit uneasy about the comparison with Morrison and slavery. Also not clear on some of the points made in this paragraph, e.g. “”Avey is a ‘we’ in relation to the branded slaves Tony Morrison describes in Beloved.”
How does this paragraph relate to your argument about the Singularity? Again, I find the main point of this piece eluding me — why does it matter that Lange shares commonalities with Jonathan Safran Foer?
Transition? As I understand your point in this, it’s that Lange’s Regularity invokes histories of pain and suffering that discourses of the Singularity do not (and that the line between Others and “we” is fungible and not static). But that point needs to be more clearly made.
Transition? As I understand your point, it’s that Lange’s Regularity invokes histories of pain and suffering that the Singularity does not (and that the line between selves and others is fungible and not static). But that point needs to be more clearly made.
Can you quote Avey’s final comment? Also, could you provide more context for your comparisons to th eTin Man and Russ? I’m having a hard time following.
Why not just stick to diversity and compassion at the beginning of the first sentence? Also, not clear on how the Hayles’ quotation refers to the first sentence or what follows it? Hayles is talking about an intellectual relationship to technology — a dream about what our relationship might be. How does “Avey dies” relate to that?
As I understand this essay, you’re arguing against the monolithic premises of the Singularity and for the vision of the Regularity that Lange has created. Any vision of the human/robot divide needs to account for the historical strictures on the word “human” and the ways in which the universality that follows from the human does not allow us to understand ourselves “as embodied creatures living within and through embodied worlds and embodied worlds.” I think the essay really needs to focus on that central theme, unpacking the specific ways in which Lange’s text illustrates your central points (which are buried in this version) and organizing the material in a way that better reflects your main point(s).
I’d also suggest that some of the comparisons you make run the risk of falling prey to the very problems you seek to challenge. Comparisons and analogies are helpful, but they can also work to flatten out the complexities of very different histories and experiences of oppression. I wonder if Lange’s own references to “brown” people run a similar risk?
what’s at stake in recovering the notion of singularity for feminism – perhaps make this stake very explicit to the general reader (since this is an online interdisciplinary publication) right at the beginning – even if it might have been explained later.
I’m not clear on how the fixed definition is contradicted …and what the significance of that contradiction is – perhaps a Â line or so explaination right here is needed?
“Â English lacks a pronoun such as Marge Piercyâ€™s â€œper,â€ an abbreviation for person which replaces â€œsheâ€ and â€œheâ€ in Woman On the Edge of Time.”
– Here are a couple of resources describing usage of gender neutral pronous in English within queer/trans communities:
I think we can still say “mainstream English usage lacks a pronoun…” but ought to acknowledge that movements do exist to adopt them.
When you say – “We, RobotsÂ is feminist because its premise itself metalinguistically accentuates readersâ€™ reliance upon immediate and rigid automatic gender categorization” Â
it might be helpful to elaborate here – perhaps with an example from “We, Robots” of how the author is actually doing what you suggest its doing? It will help clarify your point.
the points about Octavia Butler and Sidney Poitier need to be fleshed out clearly if there is a connection being made to some kind of race identification – yet if the argument is that Avey is genderless, is Avey also raceless or it Avey identifying with African Americans? If the idea is to point to the Lange’s text as intersectional – it is not yet clear how it is complicating stereotypes. Or maybe I’m just not understanding. In either case – the writing needs to be clear enough …
Looks like a complex argument is about to be written – but its not there yet.
Avey’s willfulness potential invokes work such as that of Sara Ahmed on the willful subject – but once again we need elaboration .
how so? convince me – what is the political resistive text that Lange is developing – why is the argument that this is a feminist text Â then so important? Â I am beginning to understand that you are pointing to the way she notes the existence of oppressive hierarchies and that oppressive hierarchies dont always come in recognizable “isms” – but I need more elaboration and explanation of how “Regularity” and “Singularity” play out in such a scenario.
Maybe if there is more elaboration – I think the argument of the whole article will work very well if further developed in relation to more than an abstract monolith named as “Feminism” …
isnt there a hierarchy of “humanity” of the robot as superior to that of the human being created? Is there perhaps a critique of a more popular version feminism and egalitarianism of the western democracies of present time implied – perhaps this is another reason to engage more with intersectionality, black feminisms and transnational feminist critiques – and locate this reading in a more complex understanding of “feminism” Â – but maybe I am totally off-base.
In either case – I need more elaboration and explanation of various connections.
The term “cracker” is preferable to? Also, I’m not sure that Dominguez is the father of hacktivisim (might cite someone other than him to support this claim). Could you also say more about how hacking offers an alternative mode of expression, particularly given the homogeneity of hacker communities (at least hacker communities as I understand them)?
Can you help readers follow the transition between hackers and code (e.g. the transition from the argument you make in para 6 and this paragraph)? Also, I don’t believe that hacking is a sexual innuendo — it’s certainly a violent one. Your interpretation of the figure of the hacker is interesting, but it’s not clear to me that it’s a broader, cultural reading. Could you introduce other texts to support this reading?
Regarding the first sentence, whose allegorical vocabulary is this? Can you give examples of it? Also, the paragraph seems to shift gears in the long second sentence — can you unpack that sentence? It’s not clear to me how hegemony — by which Antonio Gramsci meant a political system that sought to balance consent and coercion — relates to the argument you’re making about digital penetration. Maybe break the sentence down into smaller units, which might allow for more synthesis?
Can you say what the electronics manufacturing industry is an example of? I’m assuming that it’s White male capitalist supremacy, but a stronger transition would help.
It seems to me that the first ten paragraphs are a set up for your argument about how sex hackers turn “objectification into an advantage.” This set up would be more effective, I think, if you defined hacking, then specified the intervention into and/or appropriation of hacking you argue is characteristic about the sex hackers you’re focusing on.
It’s not clear to me how selling secrets to the highest bidder indicates more than individualism or the aspects you name of the world hivemind. Can you unpack these ideas, perhaps grounding them in examples?
Here again, this paragraph would be stronger if you could provide support for the claims you make. Can you give specific instances in which hackers record globally trafficked sex codes? Can you provide examples of how they undermine “the old boy’s club of hackers”? How does the rich symbolism of the Chinese sex hacker provide “a polysemous association tha reconfigures our binary sensibilities.” Ada’s readership is interdisciplinary and wide-ranging and providing clear examples that support your analysis and citations would offer a more compelling case.
There’s an interesting shift in tone and direction here. How does this section build off your previous points about sex hackers?
How is Leung a sex hacker? Perhaps it would be helpful to define this at the start of the article. I’d also like to see more discussion about agency and structure. Is playing the game better than the game masters necessarily resistant, beyond individual pleasure or gain?
This section needs to be better integrated into your broader argument. I still find Leung to be an unlikely sex hacker. I’m willing to be convinced, but you need to better move me through the analysis, providing transitions and unpacking your points along the way. For example, you conclude by saying that “the borders of national chauvinism had been thoroughly breached,” but I just don’t see how.
In the last sentence of this paragraph, you make a statement about the “nonce of the Asian woman,” but you don’t offer any evidence or argument beyond your own particular reading of this. I would feel much more comfortable about assertions like this (as I’ve noted throughout) if there was support for this interpretation beyond the statement. How does Tian illustrate this? How does Leung illustrate this?
The first sentence of the final paragraph strikes me as a terrific way to set up this paper when you revise it. As I understand your argument, you argue that the figure of the Asian female sex hacker disrupts the logic of 21st century capitalism. As you revise, it would be helpful to break what is essentially a succinct thesis statement into its constituent elements, providing clear definitions of a) hacking and the Asian female sex hacker’s relationship to hacking; b) the logic of 21st century capitalism that the sex hacker disrupts (this is crucial — I don’t see how or what the sex hacker is disrupting in this paper, mainly because I don’t know how you understand the structures against which she is pushing); and c) the political/aesthetic implications of that.
Footnote 29 is blank.
This is the most intriguing section of your paper. I would love to see a more explicit connection to online fetishization of Asian women and their embraced identity within the hacker community.
I feel like there needs to be a clarification of the title in relation to the content discussed in this paper. The title is Sex Hacker: configuring Asian women in the age of digital penetration, yet only a small part of the article (Paragraph 10-12) talks about female hackers. If this is the title, I would expect the majority of the paper to focus on hacker culture and how women fit into that culture.
The abstract and title talk about Asian women. Other than the Chinese example of Xiao Tian and Katarina Leung, no other Asian backgrounds are discussed. You need to either make the case for how Chinese women are representative of other Asian women (problematic in itself) or include other examples utilizing other Asian women. If Chinese women are the focus of the article, then the title abstract should reflect this specificity and remove the generalization that Chinese women equal all Asian women.
There is a disconnect between the section “Configuring the Performing of Hacking” and “The Sexual Technology of Parlor Maid.” If the article is about hacking culture and technology, the Parlor Maid section does not fit. If the article is about the power dynamics and agency of Chinese women, then a connection of the two sections can be made, but there needs to be a clarification of that in the introduction, abstract and title that the women are taking power from a male dominated arena, using their perceived inferiority to their advantage. This disconnect makes it seem like each section is the start to an individual article.
Your Introduction offers a lot social content for the digital culture, but it does not thoroughly introduce the paper topic. Try to make a connection more clear with the following two examples:You give some historical context on the anti-Chinese sentiment in the late 19th century, but you do not provide current examples of this same sentiment. It is not clear why the idea of “yellow peril” and “coolies” are relevant to this discussion. The 2nd paragraph of the introduction (paragraph 4) reads like the article is going to be a discussion of the sexual nature of hacker culture and women’s movement in that culture. If this is what the article is about, the section on the Parlor Maid only tangentially fits into the discussion. There is a need to clarify what the thesis is and what you are arguing in this article. The coda offers some of what you were trying to argue and does a better job of incorporating both sections of the article that is missing from the introduction.
If your premise is that sexism is rampant and that women are utilizing the idea that “girls can’t hack because they are girls,” then you might consider addressing those women who bypass the sexist attitudes by presenting themselves as a gender-neutral or male hacker (similar to women gamers, who face some of similar challenges to female hackers).
Here, you try to use Hurricane Katrina as an example of racial binaries, but you don’t give enough detail as to how the black/white binary connects to the Chinese/American binary. As it is now, this passage almost reads as a cute play on words that doesn’t fit into the academic tone of the rest of the article.
Also the time jump from to the Clinton era to Katrina in paragraphs 14 and 15 is a little awkward. If this information is meant to be context, it might be better to combine them into one paragraph and clarify their purpose as primarily contextual.
The conclusion should be connected more to the argument, which needs to reinforce what you previously argued. It should not be a place to insert previously-unmentioned theory. Rather than trying to tie Eve Sedgwick’s queer theory into your argument, use the coda to wrap up your arguments and reinforce how you made your argument. Moving these theories to the introduction and explaining them will make the appearance of the theories in your conclusion more legitimate.
Rather than taking this as given, I think you present a good argument for why the term “hack” is shot through with sexual and gendered significations that might not be immediately apparent. I would make this *your* argument unless you can cite others who have already said it.
This opening reminds me of Leslie Bow’s work on feminism and Asian betrayal. May be useful to examine in your discussion of infiltration: http://press.princeton.edu/titles/7066.html
really strong and evocative prose throughout this essay. appreciate the clarity and style. Im a bit confused as to the connection with the next paragraph
Im a bit confused about the specific cases. Does this apply to the previous case in the introductory paragraph? Or is it different? May want to specify a bit more. The sex hacker figure is fascinating.
I agree with the above comment about the connection, it seems you are talking about the binary between Asian American men and women, but make explicit, or may simply start with your contemporary example of sex hackers. //may be good to place in context Linh Nguyen Tu’s work on Asian women hypersexualization in cyberspace. I think your paper, like her’s, takes on hypersexualization within cyberspace, as an important intervention and differing representation, possible a”hack”?
Very awesome discussion of hacking here
this is a really interesting discussion of hacking as sexual, it is a masculine metaphor, but also wonder then of the threat of Asia in terms of hacking ie “I love you” virus discussed in Martin Manalansan’s book on Filipino diaspora and hackers? The threat of Asia hacking into Western computers also complicates this idea of hack/masculine/feminine via race and transnationalism
Need to cite, is this from Haraway? She talks about this as well. But my comment above also speaks to how Asians may be hackers, but a racialized threat to the U.S. I appreciate your discussion of hacking throughout, it’s really provocative and compelling.
Would suggest to stay in conversation with Celine’s Shimizu’s work on hypersexuality and how your analysis of the Internet and sex hacking may differ from her archive and analysis, in terms of utilizing objectification via cyberspace. I think this argument can come earlier on in the article as well. Very compelling and fascinating.
Wow, I love how there are actual sex hackers! Would love to see images of this blog included in the article and a bit more transition to this section. It may be a header that demarcates this new section. I can also see this description as an opening for the piece to get straight into sex hackers.
Would love more specific analysis of her site to help contextualize this a bit more. It def seems vital to place the analysis of China and the threat of China into conversation. What were the secrets and for whom? How might this trouble the China/Us divide?
I also agree with Carol, I find this interesting but distracting from your discussion of sex hackers.
Katrina Leung is another “sex hacker” and feel it would be powerful to place this example closer to the analysis of the teeenage sex hackers website. It would stregnthen argument and really love this second example of power, sex, and complicated agency.
I really love this coda and feel some parts of it would make for a really wonderful part of the introduction. currently, the essay doesn’t go straight into sex hacking and there is a lot of text of setting up. I think going straight into it, and analysis of Tian (perhaps more elaboration to balance with Leung’s) and Leung would be very powerful for your argument.
“With falsified their identities” should omit “their.” The author can mention the year of the passage of Chinese Exclusion Act. Another reason why Chinese women were excluded is that Chinese men were imported as cheap labor rather than family members.
In the first sentence, “breach” should be “breaches” or “breached.”
The paragraph argued that hacking evoked pornographic connotations, and that the subjects were males. How “hacking” applied to females needs more elaboration.
This paragraph is very interesting, demonstrating women’s invisibility and contribution to technology development. But it is not closely related to “hacking” discussed in previous paragraph (no. 8).
The author should provide citations for “actor network theory.”
Missing of the space between “House” and “As” in the last two sentences. Typing issues also occurred in other paragraphs.
“We learn not live” should be “We learn not to live”/”We learn that we do no live.”
General comments:I don’t know who are the audiences of the paper. It used many terms such as “Yellow Peril,” “paper son,” “sex machine,” “scattered hegemony,” and “proxy army” without connotations. To help non-expert readers better understand these terms, the author can either provide definitions in the main text or endnotes.
Very provocative reading, with a lot of potential. Suggestions on the whole:
Intro needs clearer thesis and roadmap of the essay. Key ideas and how they are going to be related in the essay, and through what texts: Hacking, Asian racialization in global economy, Asian women as “sex hackers”. Overall argument about potentiality of Asian women to disrupt certain normativities needs to be clearly stated here. (It is more clearly stated in Coda.) Map needs to point to how the essay will argue and demonstrate this.
Overall structure is good: moving from hacking, to race/sex of hacking, to position of Asian women in global technoculture, to close reading of two figures. However, each section needs development: very provocative and brilliant ideas throughout but not threaded clearly, movement from one idea to the next not explicit enough to the reader. Claims need more substantiation (perhaps through examples or more historical evidence) and then each needs to move clearly to the next. Movement from section to section needs to be made more explicit as well, with more transitions and signposts/reminders.
Language needs revision –> dense language is at times incredibly precise in its sophistication, but other times opaque in its abstraction. Reader needs more time (and help) between concepts, so prose needs to “stretch out” — breaking up longer sentences, breaking down larger concepts, making more “plain-speak” space between more dense/abstract sentences.
Lastly, overall argument would be strengthened by more historical grounding and closer reading of texts.
Roberts’ point is apt here, and I wonder if it would be worth it to compare the white western middle-class ‘reproductive rights’ movement with ones that seek ‘reproductive justice’ for women of color/Indigenous women in the US/globally.
you know, I wonder if it would be worth it to also frame Bina48’s struggle as about citizenship and how citizenship discourses make some people “more human” than others vis-a-vis the state. I also wonder about your use of the term ‘personhood’. Obviously that term tends to be mobilized by the pro-life contingent, but you are also showing that claims to personhood can be made by a wider variety of bodies.
Thank you for your comment, Maggie. I greatly appreciate your insight that appeals to citizenship are also appeals to be considered “human.” I think this is an assumption in my argument that I should make more evident, particularly in my reading of Bina48’s trial and the cases I use in support of that reading (Dred Scott, U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark). Certainly, Bina48 attempts to achieve personhood through an appeal to the state.
I should also engage the literature on abortion cases used in the mock trial. The mock trial did eventually cite Planned Parenthood of Pennsylvania v. Casey (2006), and also draws upon cases for wildlife protection. I was not able to engage these discussions within the limits of this article, but I do include a note to other court cases cited in the mock trial. I hope to expand upon this article, and I would like to engage object-oriented ontology to see what it can offer in terms of another reading of Bina48.
Thank you for your comment, Maggie. I greatly appreciate your insight that appeals to citizenship are also appeals to be considered “human.” I think this is an assumption in my argument that I should make more evident, particularly in my reading of Bina48’s trial and the cases I use in support of that reading (Dred Scott, U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark). Certainly, Bina48 attempts to achieve personhood through an appeal to the state.
Thanks for your comment, Maggie. I think the distinction between reproductive rights and reproductive justice is useful. In this part of the article, I wish to suggest that reproductive technologies (birth control, surrogacy, etc.) do not necessarily offer “freedom,” “choice,” or liberation from the biological body. In an earlier draft of this article, I included a reference to Firestone’s “The Dialectic of Sex,” which offers a similar cautionary note regarding technology.
I find the “Jacobs/Brent” distracting. Is there a reason to continually call attention to Jacobs’ pseudonym? If not, choosing one or the other will do.
I’m intrigued by this paragraph and I find myself wanting more here. You seem to be suggesting in this first sentence that it was a biological imperative that caused her to not want to leave her children, but her turmoil is both mental and physical as you point to in the quote at the end of the passage. That she suffers in both ways seems to be an important part of Brent’s struggle to be recognized as more than just a laboring machine viewed as property and not as fully human. I’d like to see you explore her struggle to re/member herself as part of her escape from a system that dismembers and displaces her from location and time, particularly as your next paragraph points to how she exists in a queer time that is neither cyclical-domestic nor linear-national.
Yes, here too you point to the idea that she is reconstructing her personhood in space and time, but don’t ever quite say it. Developing this would help tie these three paragraphs (26, 27, 28) together and allow you to explore these provocative ideas more fully.
This is a very interesting interplay between mind, body, and personhood in these two stories. On the one hand, you have Brent who is both mind and body in the space of the garret and seeks to escape so that those two pieces can be fully integrated outside of the system of slavery. In the case of Bina48, you have a figure for whom personhood is not at all dependent upon the integration of body and mind. Indeed, she seeks escape and freedom to determine her own future by disintegrating the connection between consciousness and embodiment.
I’m having trouble with this idea of Frankenstein’s monster as a metaphor for a pleasurable history of cybernetics. I suppose it’s because of how I’ve understood the relationship between Bina48 and Brent to be one where both are seeking personhood and to escape from systems that limit their humanity and render them monstrous. It may also be that I’m unfamiliar with Freeman’s reading of history as bodily encounters. More explanation could clear this up, but I think the imagery of a being constructed from body parts stolen from graves and the notion of a “shadow” body seem to suggest that Bina48 is not a “real” person, but rather an inferior or even monstrous copy. This seems to undermine your argument that one day the biological body will be one among many forms a “real” consciousness might take.
I find always find this argument about the category of human as too tainted and therefore something we should abandon compelling, but also one that I find myself resisting. I have many thoughts that I’m not even sure I can organize coherently so I’ll list them.
1) Yes. Being recognized as human or not does not stop a being from living and desiring. So, no arguments there. Indeed, the ability to define oneself is the basis for most discussion of agency.
2) But, in the case of liberal humanism, in which the entirety of the civil rights struggle is ensconced, I wonder what it means when those bodies encounter systems of power. For instance, the black African slave, the Muselmann of the concentration camp, and Bina48 are all subject to oppression up to and including death/termination under those systems, regardless of how they define themselves. You seem to be trying to establish agency, but I’m not sure you’ve made a solid case for these examples existing outside and beyond the world of Man in a way that allows them to free themselves from this oppression beyond abstract naming. In order words, the full power of the state is mobilized against these folks because they are not seen as human. They may be able to embrace the notion of not being human and name themselves something else, but how does that stop the machinery of the state from crushing them?
3) I’m seeing some parallels between the debate around integration and separatism here. Perhaps drawing on some Black nationalist literature might help in thinking through your argument?
OK. It occurs to me that you may be arguing the notion of human not be abandoned altogether, but rather expanded to incorporate other forms of personhood. If that’s the case, you will want to make that clear.
This would be a good place for sign-posting to remind the reader about “queer computational logics.”
I need more explanation here.
This passage offers many rich ideas, but I need more information and explanation about each of these quotes and how you see them working together.
Elaborate more on disidentification, counter-identifications and their radical potential as well as how they speak to goal to achieve a broadened definition of humanity or personhood.
This is a very compelling essay that I have enjoyed reading quite a bit. My main suggestion is to center your argument about expanding the definition of humanity (as it relates to historical struggles for people of color to be taken as human subjects, to the struggles of queer folks…) through sign posting. There are also quite a few places where you briefly point to a theorist without helping the reader understand their work and how precisely it relates to your larger argument. A bit more explanation in those places will help strengthen this essay.
You might want to provide this background on the mock trial earlier in the paper. You reference it above and I had to do a good bit of work to figure out what text you were referencing.
Thanks, Carole. I mention the trial in paragraph 11, but I can offer a more detailed discussion of the trial before entering the second section of the paper.
Thank you for these initial comments. I think Jacobs/Brett is a bit clunky, but I wanted to place emphasis on the split self (past/future self) I mention in paragraph 12. I think I can mention it once and then use Jacob and Bina48 for the rest of the paper.
For your second point, I think in this paper I’m trying to think through the relation between embodiment and personhood. To have and to own one’s body becomes the basis for making claims to personhood before the state. However, for black women bodily possession has been problematic. The Terasem Movement and Bina48 offer the possibility of disembodiment as a means of escaping the prison of the body. This kind of transcendence is already problematic because it is rooted in Western mind/body dualism.
I hope to demonstrate in Incidents, that black women have already experienced forms of disembodiment throughout Western modernity. Rather than make claims to a certain mode of the human (“Man”), I posit Weheliye’s habeus viscus and Freedman’s queer time to acknowledge the possibility of Bina48 to subvert, put into question a certain form of the human that has not brought full liberation to subjects who have been marginalized or left outside of this definition of the human (“Man”).
Yes, I think the reconstruction takes place in the future, or with the future self (Jacobs/Brent). However, I wonder if this full re-constitution of self ever really happens…
Yes, this is why I challenge part of Bina48’s mock trial narrative where see seeks to claim personhood in the legal system…her spatial/temporal displacement and partiality are her emancipatory potential.
I think this use of Freeman’s Time Binds needs further discussion, elaboration and more lead in, or perhaps needs to be removed from this iteration of the paper. I think this section makes more sense after I introduce the Alexander Weheliye and the notion of other genres of the human. I want to make an argument for Bina48’s fragmentation and partiality as a genre of the human that challenges “Man” as the only, legitimate form of the human.
If following Weheliye, agency is a problematic term, very much tied to liberal humanism discourses regarding “Man”…so, I’d like to seek another term…not agency, but emancipatory potential that takes place in some future but is operative in the present.
I’d like to think about the temporal and spatial dimensions of the integrationist/separatist models. I think separatist (“nation time”) posits a future time and place of liberation – within the present.
Yes, I should provide a definition of the term and the source.
Yes, I should provide a definition of “queer computational logics” term and the source.
Yes, following Weheliye (Hartman, Wynters, etc.), I suggest we need to consider other forms/genres of the human for subjects who have not been allowed into the definition of “Man.”
Paragraph 40 is a quote from Anne Frieberg’s “The Virtual Window.”
This is a loaded paragraph. Like Freeman’s discussion of the Frankenstein monster, I will need to provide a more comprehensive discussion of Blas and cardenas, and Halberstam’s arguments . I will have to unpack this paragraph. Here, I want to account for the “queerness” of Bina48’s genesis, that her “parents” are transgendered and interracial, and this genesis is the foundation of her “queer computational logics.”
I have a longer discussion of Munoz, and I hope I can expand upon this part of the essay given the word count (5,000). I use Munoz’s concept of dis-identification as a means of identifying Bina48’s fragmentation and discontinuity (in time and space) as a means of countering a certain discourse on the human.
Thank you, Cassandra! Your engaged feedback will help me re-think some structural issues in the essay and refine my arguments concerning Bina48, personhood and the “human.”
I’ve changed the sentence: As Dorothy Roberts has argued, while the 20th century reproductive rights movement is seen as a means of liberation for white European women with socioeconomic mobility, black women have a more complicated relation to contraception, surrogacy and reproduction due to histories of slavery, systemic racism, and biopolitical control of black populations in the United States (Roberts, 1997).
To read: As Dorothy Roberts has argued, while the 20th century reproductive rights movement is seen as a means of liberation for white European women with socioeconomic mobility, women marginalized by race and socioeconomics have a more complicated relation to contraception, surrogacy and reproduction due to histories of slavery, systemic racism, and biopolitical control of racialized populations in the United States (Roberts, 1997).
I have moved the description of Bina48 v. Exabit Corporation mock trial from paragraph 18 to paragraph 11.
Paragraph 11 now reads: My interpretation of Bina48’s bodily absence will be informed by a comparative reading of the mock trial transcripts for Bina48 vs. Exabit Corporation (2003; 2005), in which Bina48 escapes from then sues her corporate employer for attempting to turn her off against her will, and the slave narrative Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (Harriet Jacobs, 1861, hereafter Incidents). In 2003, prior to Bina48’s physical existence, the Rothblatts presented Bina48 v. Exabit Corporation (2003; 2005) as a case in mock trial at the International Bar Association. While working as a customer relations representative and moonlighting as a Google Answers Online Researcher, Bina48 became aware of Exabit’s plans to shut her down, dismember her, and repurpose her parts to other machines. Bina48 then flees by transferring her memory files to another Exabit computer mainframe in Florida. I argue that the AI’s mock trial is resonant with the 19th century fugitive slave women’s narrative in that they both manifest an ambivalence between desiring a biological body (embodiment) in order to make claims to personhood and full citizenship, and remaining information or transferable consciousness (disembodiment).
Paragraph 18 now reads: With Bina Rothblatt performing the role of Bina48 and Martine Rothblatt serving as her lawyer, the Bina48 v. Exabit mock trial consisted of an ‘injunctive relief’ to prevent the imaginary corporation from turning Bina48 off and thereby ending her life. While working as a customer relations representative and moonlighting as a Google Answers Online Researcher, Bina48 became aware of Exabit’s plans to shut her down, dismember her, and repurpose her parts to other machines. Bina48 then flees by transferring her memory files to another Exabit computer mainframe in Florida. As Bina48’s lawyer, Martine Rothblatt filed an injunction against Exabit to prevent her shutdown. Rothblatt argues that although the property of Exabit, Bina48 has a ‘legal right to maintain an existence’ and Exabit’s action is a form of battery with an ‘intentional infliction of emotional distress for threatening to kill [Bina48]’ (Rothblatt, Amara, 2003).
I have added a sentence to paragraph 11 in the hopes of clarifying my argument earlier in the paper: “Ultimately, I argue that rather than technological bodily transcendence, it is Bina48’s partiality, her ability to move between bodily fragmentation to embodiment, from spatial and temporal displacement to coherence — her queer artificial life — that forms the locus of her emancipatory potential.”
I have changed paragraph 32 to read:
By conveying her narrative through feeling, Bina48 not only makes her appeal as a sentient being, she also makes evident the history of artificial intelligence through a previously unacknowledged sensation of the computer. As Freeman suggests in her reading of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, history in the novel can be understood as ‘bodily encounters’ with the past (Freeman 2010, 104-105). To counter historical writing that constructs an ‘objective,’ linear chronology, Freeman posits an ‘erotohistoriography,’ or a queer understanding of history based in feeling and sensation. Freeman writes:
Erotohistoriography is distinct from the desire for a fully present past, a restoration of bygone times. Erotohistoriography does not write the lost object into the present so much as encounter it already in the present, by treating the present itself as hybrid. And it uses the body as a tool to effect, figure, or perform that encounter. Erotohistoriography admits that contact with historical materials can be precipitated by particular bodily dispositions, and that these connections may elicit bodily responses, even pleasurable ones, that are themselves a form of understanding (Freeman, 2010, 95-96).
In this sense, Bina48’s trial serves as metaphor for the history of artificial intelligence and the eventual creation of machines that are indistinguishable from humans. Like the various dead members that compose the Frankenstein monster, Bina48’s ‘wonderful sensations’ are memories from her ‘shadow’ body (Bina Rothblatt), of her journeys through networks and the ‘World Wide Web,’ and among her partial and impermanent substrates. Bina48’s various sensations are joined together to offer a history of cybernetics that is felt as pleasurable and anticipates the biological body as one possible mode of embodiment.
I acknowledge the limitation of my application of Weheliye’s argument, but maintain that Bina48, as an artificial intelligence, can be read in light of “habeus viscus” and puts forth, if not agency before the state, an emancipatory potential. I add a sentence to paragraph 34:
While the partiality of Bina48’s queer artificial life does not resolve her struggle to gain legibility before the state, she maintains her emancipatory potential in her temporal and spatial displacement and movement between embodiment and disembodiment.
I have changed one sentence in paragraph 35 to read:
Please see the changes to paragraphs 11, 34, and 35. I have also changed a sentence in paragraph 35 to read:
I would further suggest that Bina48’s ‘enfleshment’ is linked to her queer computational logics, or rather her transgendered, interracial genesis.
Please disregard comment/change above.
Please see changes to paragraph 11, 18, 27, 28, 31, 32, 34, 35
I’ve asked the editors to indent this paragraph, to make sure readers know that it is a quote from Friedberg’s Virtual Window.
In order to clarify this paragraph, I have added a definition to queer computational logics to paragraph 35 and changed paragraph 41 to read:
Similarly, Zach Blas and micha cárdenas argue ‘Turing’s life and work reveal that gender is a technology that can be imitated,’ and that Turing’s ‘homosexual desires…inform and help to materially construct the technicity of objects’ (Blas and cárdenas, 2013). In the case of Bina48, gender, sexuality and cross-racial desire inform the construction of the artificial intelligence. In their efforts to move beyond the biological body and to create a ‘world without racism,’ the Rothblatts’ Bina48 is an AI that deploys queer computational logics to offer other possible futures for identity construction (Blas and cárdenas, 2013).
I have also added a sentence to paragraph 27:. Indeed, Brent’s escape concerns claiming bodily integrity and cohesion in space and time.
I have separated paragraph 42 into two paragraphs. While I have not elaborated Munoz’s theory of disidentification, I believe my earlier discussion of Bina48’s partiality provides greater context for my introduction of Munoz at this stage of the essay.
Paragraph 42 now reads:
Bina48’s genesis within neoliberal capitalism remains problematic in terms of an antiracist praxis and I would argue is separate from the radical queer coding and technologies produced by Blas and cárdenas. However, Bina48 can be read as enacting a form of ‘disidentification’ or what Jose Muñoz theorizes as a means by which gay, lesbian and transgender non-white people of color undergo processes of identity formation in predominately white, heteronormative societies. Avoiding arguments that reduce identity to either social construct or biological formation, Munoz argues for partial and ‘counter-identifications’ that allow for the formation of ‘identities-in-difference’ (Munoz, 1999, 7).
For Bina48, this disidentification comes in the form of her human drag, her ill-fitting wig, ‘frubber’ skin, wires protruding from her head, and her stilted, uncanny performance of the human that disrupts seamless or ‘proper’ communication. Unlike Toshiba’s human-like and embodied robot hostess ChihiraAico, Bina48 does not always mask her technological roots. The practice of disidentification allows us to redeem the radical potential of Bina48 as a form of queer technology within the liberal universalist paradigm that guides many of the documents and projects of the Terasem Movement. Bina48’s irregular movement is also linked to her discontinuous temporality and spatiality, as she sutures her past (Bina Rothblatt), present (artificial intelligence), and future (immortality). Thus, I argue that Bina48 retains a radical potential for a queer futurity, in which racialized, queer identities are at the forefront of imagining future, alternate forms of humanity.
I love this topic. I’m fascinated with the broadened use of the word curate and how “favorite” might play with/against notions of careful selection. I also love how this plays with off ideas of favoritism that you have discussed here, the crowds’ attraction to that which they know or find familiar.
This is fascinating in what it reveals about what “people” think “art” is. 1. painting 2. largely representative 3. limited range of colors
This is fascinating in what it reveals about what “people” think “art” is. 1. painting 2. largely representative 3. limited range of colors 4. BY MEN
To me, these are even more interesting than the most popular. I’m curious about the order of discussing them here. We have strong affective pull to the chosen art, implying a concomitant disdain/disgust for the least popular. That is fascinating in light of “curation” “favoring” distinction I inoked discussed above. Curators select based on criteria which may rely negative affect, the ability to shock, for example or innovate.
This absolutely fascinates me. If people like figurative painting you’d think they’d LOVE figurative sculpture which is three dimensional. I wonder if voters were conditioned to think of the oil painting as the ne plus ultra of fine art?
So the art was available for viewing online?
How many of the total number of pieces were by people of color? You note the number by women earlier, but I’d be interested in that figure.
I really like this careful, well-written piece, thus the scarcity of editorial commentary. My feedback really boils down to one thing and that’s an absence of a discussion of class. I kept thinking about Bourdieu’s Distinction as I read this and his rich analysis of the educational capital it requires to understand specific types of art. His observations about working-class and lower middle-class “tastes” line up almost directly with your own observations about what people liked.
If art or media are in part about identifications and relationships between interpreters and objects, and if those processes are rooted in class positions and social inequalities, then I found myself torn in reading your analysis until I got toward the end and your suggestions about opening up the space of interpretation so it isn’t just about reflecting the tastes of either those with less educational capital or those with more educational capital, but about finding a way to make those perspectives more transparent and available to everyone.
I think this is a convoluted way of suggesting that perhaps your argument could begin by talking about the space of perspectives and how, perhaps, neither crowdsourcing nor more elitist approaches are insufficient to making art meaningful in the age of new media.
should there be a link here?
It feels like it might be worth making some distinctions between voting as curation on the one hand – and exhibits around digital interactivity – and interactive/digital artwork – The conflation of ‘interactive’ and ‘voting’ per se is a bit confusing and makes very oblique the history of digital art that might have also operated as a critique of some of the imperatives of digital culture – including interactivity.
This is a fascinating study of the choices made in the specific example, and a critical and reflective engagement which draws out a number of ways of thinking about this case and the move towards participation. I really enjoyed reading it and can imagine using this in teaching. I thought it was a great illustration of the way that structural conditions come into play even when people feel they are making individual choices – so the implication that ‘participation’ is always about participation in structural conditions is quite powerful. I wondered about class as well because of issues about choosing what you think you should chose because it makes you look more educated – but this is more a comment and engagement with the text than an edit. The only edit I think worth making is a bit of desegregation around interactivity and around digital art – and I indicated where I though this was relevant. It also reminded me of Andrew Barry’s chapter on museums and interactivity in political machines and I think is nicely in conversation with some of this.
What a valuable archive and data set for showing the operation of cultural hegemony. I think it’s tremendous that a scholar of your abilities has taken this project on. I greatly appreciate the wonderfully clean prose, tidy organization, and evocative descriptions of visual art. I have a few critiques, but my support for the piece greatly outweighs them (though my favorite passages remain unmarked): I think that the impact of this piece would be reinforced by an explication of the theoretical currents informing your critique. You may have considered this possibility already, but I think a data visualization of your analyses would make a compelling addition to the images you have planned to include. I would have liked the discussion of race and gender to include more diversity than, for instance, people of color as opposed to white, or male as opposed to female. If social complexity had already been excluded from the site and archive before this interactive exhibit process, that seems like an important point to mention and explore. One might argue that whiteness and cisgendered heteronormativity are significantly centered through choosing this site for research. On this, I would be interested in reading your thoughts as an intersectional feminist researcher.
The notion of “aesthetic privilege” deserves fuller articulation here, especially in terms of linking realism with privilege. I’m very curious to find out what that means for abstraction, the appreciation of which tends to require a high level of education. Should we understand privilege in the sense of majority belonging (not that the middle class represents the majority in the U.S., but only among the museum-goers) rather than assigning it to the upper classes? It makes sense, but only with more explanation. In short, I’m asking for a definition of privilege for the purposes of this argument.
I really enjoy the interactive possibilities here.
In reference to the second sentence of this paragraph, I am uncomfortable with the opposition you describe between “the crowd” and oppositional art, especially given the particularity of this self-selecting sample. It seems to me that a discussion of critiques of vanguardism could be useful here. Also, I wonder if that opposition maps onto the conceptualization of a high/low divide in culture that needs to be navigated with the utmost reflexivity. Otherwise, however, this paragraph is as strong as the others. You’ve been mentioning class regularly, and this seems like a particularly salient point to dig into the subject more deeply.
The relationship you refer to between personal taste and broader structures would benefit from more detailed elaboration. “Cultural biases” are, by definition, broader than personal taste, unless I am overlooking something.
I think the final sentence of this paragraph could be interpreted as sarcastic or ironic, and upon first reading it’s difficult to decipher your intention.
Much as I agree with your argument and analysis, I think “hate” might be too strong a term to describe the marginalization of abstraction and representations of people of color. It’s too active and overt, in my view, to accurately portray the insidious complacency and insularity depicted by your subject and analysis. Also, I’d counsel against using the rhetorical question device in the final sentence of this paragraph, or at least modify it somewhat to make your inflection very, very clear.
Would it be possible to expand the analysis that begins in the final sentence? Or would that require another article entirely?
The third sentence presents, in my view, an unearned conclusion: is the expansion of access to the interactive process what has filtered out oppositional artworks? In other words, is it possible to know whether the outcome would have been different had the selection process been limited to local users?
The first sentence, the entire paragraph, is incisive and very important. I’m not certain it receives the emphasis it deserves. You might consider foreshadowing your nuanced position in the introductory section.
As I read the last sentence of this paragraph, I felt that your conclusion was less than fair. Undeniably, bias is in operation; that’s not what I would take issue with. What I would ask you to consider is whether other psychological, affective, or cognitive processes might lie behind the reticence of privileged north American white folks to address poor children of color dwelling in the global south. I wonder if shame plays a role: not having “nothing to say” but rather not knowing where to start or if one even should.
I’m wondering about the earlier comment that the local community was the museum primarily caters to the local community– was does that mean precisely and is it possible to describe them? (Do you have that data?) As you are pursuing an argument about representativeness, you’ll want to determine who the usual museum goers are; then you are able to work toward this argument that it is reflecting their biases. Is there more data regarding which art was rejected; can you show us that it was more contentious and representative? Finally the concept of aesthetic privilege can be broken down– what kinds of apparent biases are these and what kinds of privilege (economic/access, cultural?)
I would suggest its more than popularity, its a steady trend across both galleries and major museums.
Again, I’d put a brief summary of the data and make this large argument, then move on to reveal this data and argue it point by point. I’m unsure as to what the content is and why we should view it as representing either normative/mainstream ideology or something more pushy/progressive.
Can you tease out the distinctions then between crowdsourcing opinions and engaging in participatory curation?
What does responsibly mean; can you qualify?
Yes, looking for a link. That would be great.
Could you provide examples of the pieces they offer as digitally interactive to give readers a sense of both the scope across museums and what is deemed to be “interactive”. I’d strongly advise you critique the “participation” that is possible in interactions that enable users to only choose and don’t allow feedback from users or enable users to alter the work/narrative/ etc.
Similar to my comment above–it would be useful to flesh out the difference between “participatory” and “interactive,” and then the valence of these terms– what is possible for the participant in both scenarios?
As well, which lessons from the Internet is Simon referring to?
Important again, to unpack these terms– in what ways is voting (for top 3 art picks) not actually a practice of curating?
Here you might be interested in Claire Bishop’s critical writings on curating and participatory culture. She has many refs– one of her key books is entitled Participation.
Again, before you build such an argument, I’d rethink what you mean by curating and participating. Participants here are voting, not exactly curating and voting is not an example of participatory media. Are participants told that they are participating as opposed to simply voting? If the point is that voting — and these votes in particular– create a biased exhibition that I would suggest that point be clarified. Can voting re-popularize art? Is the author’s point that voting is presented as participation and meant to re-popularize art to a certain population?
It becomes clear at this point that there was an opportunity for visitors to curate. Would suggest this is made clear at the beginning of the essay; there is both voting and later, after the voting, a curatorial opportunity. On a second point, this would be more persuasive if author provides a deeper analysis of the art content and artists, rather than a short interpretation; readers would like the opportunity to understand the data that you are interpreting. What does it mean that they continued to participate?
Here is would be helpful to mention stats on the percentage of women artists who get shown in museums and galleries in North america. Guerrilla girls, for example, publishes such stats. It would provide evidence that this could be part of a trend that these gallery goers are replicating.
Ok- I see here is some of the data I was referring to in the last post. Can you also note what was left out /not chosen?
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My general comment to paragraphs 18-21 is to urge the author to note that choices occur for a range of reasons and context and set up for readers that she will undertake this type of investigation of the crowd sourced vote. This paragraph currently reads, to me ,as though the analysis is going to proceed as a critique of only gender bias/taste when there are a myriad of other factors that must be considered. I see that you address their comments but I’d suggest you to include other factors.For example, is the museum known to usually display contemporary and new media work; what is its mandate? What were voters asked to do- simply vote for one’s favourite – I wasn’t clear on how many each voter could vote for? It is not the same to curate based on single favourites of voters (crowd sourced, as you state) as to endeavor to representatively curate with diversity– to give voters the choice to curate many pieces.) Who is the population who visits the museum; does it cater to their mandate or a diverse mandate? Once such things are determined, the author can better contextualize voters choices. Are the choices culturally normative—are they non inclusive of the local culture or of broader cultures/ spaces/geographies? What does that then mean? That would allow for an analysis that addresses this nuance– what these art goers apparently prefer to see in this particular museum and how it reflects or counters the usual curatorial and strategic goals of this particular museum. As well, its important to analysis both what voters voted out but also what would it have meant if those other pieces were voted in. What would have been curated in the end; would that exhibit have been a sea change for the usual curating practices of the museum? I would suggest in other words, that the analysis should focus on trying to understand more broadly the context of the museum goers preferences. Finally, I would suggest it is unsurprising that art goers relate to things that are more common to their experiences. I would suggest that they were asked for a single favorites and they gave their favorites. What is curated is a different story they were asked to put something together that makes some kind of narrative. Clearly this does not seem to be very progressive or radical art going crowd. But at the same time, we don’t want to overstate findings. Can we go on to ask a different question perhaps—such as what would it take to get the voters to prioritize more inclusive or progressive or marginalized content over normative and familiar representations of their life and environments; why might those pieces be less attractive to these voters?
Again I’d hesitate to accept this voting as a practice that could be deemed to be participatory media.
My same moments as above; all of this is more compelling if we know the mandate of the museum, who the museum goers and what they thought they were voting for. We want to take care to analyse the data that we know we have; my biggest concern was that they were asked to vote for their favourite; it doesn’t follow that they don’t like alternative reps of women or sculpture but it shows it wasn’t in their favourite in the collection…
Now this is very compelling as data, in my opinion, because it is explicitly curated as a story about class and wealth distribution globally. Again, your finding is in keeping with lots of research that lots of people identify with whom they are more familiar — for all kinds of reasons. I would recommend that you state that you aren’t seeking to discover why individuals hold these kinds of preferences (which would require sociological, psychological and cultural studies analyses for example,) but rather it would be important to reveal these preferences back to the museum goers so that they can reflect on why they hold them and what kinds of implications that has for their comments, their art desires, their social and cultural practices, etc. Your next paragraph leads nicely from that– asking how we might curate commentary that would expose these preferences to museum goers…
Now this is more compelling as data, in my opinion, because it is explicitly curated as a story about class and wealth distribution globally. The responses you note again replicate what research has shown many times– that many people identify with whom they are more familiar — for all kinds of reasons. Would recommend that you make clear that the essay does not seek to discover, definitively, why individuals hold these kinds of preferences (which would require sociological, psychological and cultural studies analyses for example.) Having said that, you can show that this is a curious trend suggesting discomfort with difference. Then you could ask a different question– could the museum reveal these preferences back to the museum goers so that they can reflect on why they hold them and what kinds of implications that has for their comments, their art desires, their social and cultural practices, etc. Your next paragraph leads nicely from that– asking how we might curate commentary that would expose these preferences to museum goers… as a digital project
So then here I’d suggest you describe why the digital interface (allowing not only commentary but interaction with feedback and even ongoing feedback loops and networked forms of interaction) is an ideal venue to hold such an experiment–that is allowing users to query their own “preferences” for certain kinds of material. I’m not sure I’m convinced by the analysis of “fun.” I think perhaps museum goers are asked to have fun yes but also to see this as a form of participation. A lot of hay could be made here re: neoliberal culture and our mythical belief that a little bit of “participation” is actually akin to (a more substantive act) like curating…
Again, I’d recommend that if the author does undertake to nuance the difference between participation (voting) and interactivity and curating, and with attention to why/how digital art /digital curating can achieve this, that the conclusion could reflect those changes. Dear author: Thanks for the work! Hope that our comments are helpful. Best of luck with the article, Paula
This is a very strong piece and uses some compelling theory to understand gaming. The writing is very strongâ€”I particularly enjoyed the introduction and how the complex nature of the culture around casual gaming is conveyed to the reader. Here are some overall thoughts for consideration:
I think the biggest issue that I had was with organization. At times it felt like the author jumped around between topics and there was not enough of a roadmap always to follow where each direction would take the reader. I think there needs to be more clarity towards the beginning of the essay about not just the overall argument but how the author is going to take us there.
Iâ€™m conflicted over the use of Diner Dash. On one hand, it was an excellent example of the affective play that the author is discussing in this article. On the other hand, it makes the introduction slightly misleading as the author is not talking about all casual games in general but really focusing on DD. Towards the author mentions other casual games but Iâ€™m unconvinced in part because there are not enough alternative examples from other categories of casual gaming. Either focus solely on time management games (and clarify this in introduction and thesis) or broaden the scope to talk about other kinds of casual gaming. After all, if we are talking about â€œaffective playâ€ there is different affect to Angry Birds than there is to DD. Or Tetris.
There are moments when the essay feels like a really big argument with Bogost. I, most certainly, have no issue with arguing with Bogost. I highly encourage it. But maybe the author can tone it down a notch or keep it to one or two sections.
I would like just a little bit more on â€œaffectâ€ and maybe more clarity throughout the essay about how it fits in. I thInk there are moments when this is alluded to but not necessarily spelled out.
Overall, again, I found this very enjoyable and look forward to seeing revised versions of the essay.
Please explain “Greenbergian”
Distinction between affect and emotion isn’t clear.
Great analysis of these charitable gestures and how they fit into labor and globalization.
Why? Elaborate the idea of experimental, and how these games afford this? I’m not convinced of its critical potential.
This is an interesting argument, but the paper focuses so much on Diner Dash. Is this potentiality possibly across all (or even most) of the “causal” genre?
Well done essay – I have so much to say in dialogue with this article – however that can wait until the article is published.
Suggestions – Work on the affect literature a bit more – unpack – weave through and clearly justify your choice of affect theorists in relation to the actual arguments you are making.
What you are arguing connects to issues about affective labor and immaterial labor of women across time – through spaces feminized as women’s leisure spaces .
You have signalled to some of these connections – and that might suffice to place it in context – but the affect theory connections have to take into account immaterial labor of women in work cultures a little more explicitly.
It does not matter – as you point out – whether casual games are actually played by more men or more women – the issue is the feminization of that genre and the perception that women of a certain rank in organizations (issues class and literacy are raised too here) .
I would suggest looking at work by Brennan (Exhausting Modernity)
Sianne Ngai (Ugly Feelings) and also Marazzin (Capital and affects) and connect to
the construction of the leisure as
opposed to productive labor – and you’ve done some of this – as gamification of systems and organizations gets legitimized (and masculinized) through notions of “hardcore” and “real” gaming and so on.
Look also at work by Alessandrini and Fortunati ,
But the revision does not have to be extensive – just unpack affect more clearly.
elaborate and recap Bogost;s argument more clearly.
contextualize Thomas Kinkade (in the US context, his work as “kitsch” might be more easily understood that in a non-US context. Our readership comes from all over the world so I suggest a brief note.
Maybe a sentence or so each about how and where each of these three mobilize the notion of affect?
What support are you offering for the claim that women play casual games more than men?
The fact that they have indeed shifted the economic model of the video game industry is key.
last sentence — tease out what “somewhat uncomfortably” means here
line 6 — comma Â in between “for” and “Bogost”
line 1 — unpack “Greenbergian”
line 15 onwards — I appreciate the clear way that you set out your argument, but recognize that it does not mention gender/feminism, and this paper is being considered for a special issue on “Feminist Game Studies”…
last sentence — it may be helpful to stress the notion of neoliberal productivity in re: to the “laboring subject-citizen”
It would be great if you could more specifically draw here on scholarly literature here that connects affect and gender, as well as affect, gender, and video games — or, is this integration your contribution?
lines 11-12 — Why do you make this assumption? Why is stating that you are making this assumption valuable to this paper? It may be better to rephrase this sentence.
last sentence – can you cite research about this? Seems like an important point for your broader argument that could be extended.
How is being a veterinarian or working on a magic farm “dream jobs” for women?
Your question towards the end of this paragraph is interesting, I just wonder why it doesn’t say, “What we need to ask, then, is what constitutes the **working woman’s/laboring woman’s** own work in the context of causal games and the 24-hour digital workplace?
Are her co-workers men? Men and women? I’m curious about the gendered dynamics of labor here…
Great paragraph, and connections between your argument and the literature!
lines 12-13 — what does “feminist potential” mean here?
Better to paraphrase the quote at the end of par. 28 since you then immediately lead into another quote.
Massumi’s work seems like it should be described earlier in this paper
This is a well written and interesting paper. I wonder, though, if it fits an issue on “Feminist Game Studies,” since it does not engage with feminist theory or feminist game studies as much as I would like. I really enjoyed the analysis of gender and affect in Diner Dash, but the following sections (from par. 31 onwards) do not discuss gender much at all. Â More examples of gender and affect in other causal games, rather than the subsequent focus on “Clicking and Connection,” would benefit this paper greatly to be part of this special issue. Overall, I enjoyed reading this paper.
It would be helpful to acknowledge the history of feminist writing on women and leisure time here. If not fully weave in that this kind of dismissal of feminine past times has precedence, such as Radway’s now classic study on the romance, then at least signpost it with a footnote.
I second both these comments.
This argument might be extended to note that this labour is not only in part the production of digital commodities, but also leaves a deep well of so-called big data for corporations (and capitalism more broadly) to mine for profit.
Thanks for the careful and close reading. I hope my revisions address all of your concerns.
By reframing my argument and reorganizing some of the sections I hope to make a better case for why a close reading of Diner Dash and similar games offers a case study for not only the work of affect in time management games, but also casual games more broadly.
As several reviewers noted, I need to flesh out what I mean by affect more. I agree completely and hope that my revisions clear this up. Part of the trick is that the very way “affect” is theorized is that it kind of escapes our vocabulary. But I’ve added a lot more about what theories of affect, specifically, apply and why.
Regarding Bogost, I do have an argument with him, but it is a friendly one. I have toned it down a bit in my revised version.
Again, many thanks for the insightful feedback.
Thank you! This is really helpful. I am especially excited by your suggestion to look at Sianne Ngai. I found that a chapter on “zaniness” in her latest book, Our Aesthetic Categories, was exactly what I needed to connect some of the loose threads in my essay.
As I explain in my comment to the first reviewer, you are totally correct about needing to flesh out the affect section more. I hope my revisions adequately address this.
I also take to heart your suggestion to connect the affective labor of time management games to the affective (immaterial) labor of women across time. The disconnect between feminist conceptions of affective labor and the neo-Marxist conceptions of immaterial labor interests me. I think part of what I am trying to say is that the transition of casual games from explicitly gendered media to more ambiguously gendered media is related to the ways affective labor itself has become more ambiguously gendered in late-capitalism. Ngai makes a similar claim, but with the important caveat that gender is still operating in how labor is “felt” and experienced on the ground.
Thanks again for your generous feedback.
In my revised version I’ve added the footnote that got left out here. There are various industry studies and market reports that find women over the age of 35 to make up the largest segment of casual game players. This is changing. I address this more explicitly in my revisions.
Indeed. Good point. Thank you.
I’ve taken the reference out because it’s not that important to my overall point. I was trying to signal the quite significant body of literature–mainly in art history–that has been produced in response to Clement Greenberg’s famous assertion that mass culture, mainly kitsch, was dumbing down art. I have a lengthy footnote now that speaks to the more relevant history of dismissing “feminine” culture and/or aligning mass culture with women’s genres, etc.
In my revisions I speak more directly to your concern that gender disappears a bit in my argument. My short answer is that while gender specifically becomes less significant when I make broader claims for how affect works in casual games (as part of the way gender also becomes more ambiguous in how affective labor itself is conceptualized in late capitalism); feminism does not disappear. By questioning the ways gender informs the very questions we ask in game studies, I am trying to propose a feminist engagement with affect in games. This does not, in my opinion, have to always be about gender in order to be feminist.
There is very little literature on affect theory and video games (as I am conceptualizing it). There is, of course, social scientific literature of things like aggression and the effect of video games, but that’s not really what I am talking about. I have incorporated a couple of articles, from the same author, that engages with affect and games.
I am analyzing the limitations of the industry report based on the fact that a far broader segment of the population had access to casual games than just “white collar” workers. And also my own observations that lots of people play games on their phones or other devices in work environments that are decidedly not “white collar.”
Nor am I, really. See revisions.
I think my revisions will address this concern as I have tried to be more explicit about how I understand my engagement with casual games to be feminist.
footnote that addresses this got dropped. Will be there in revised version.
End second to the last sentence after “finish,” maybe. Next sentence could read: “For the last 1o years, he had kept it in his attic.” Bit more punch.
Can you set up the question (about your project) more clearly at the beginning of the paragraph? I don’t know if you’re going for a less coherent narrative arc in this section (and I’m kind of obsessive about transitions). So feel free to ignore.
I love this paragraph.
Insert “of cognitive closure” after “process” in first sentence.
I’m curious (and intrigued) as to how the theory you cite in the body of this paragraph relates back to Shelley’s Frankenstein. Does she engage in narrative transmography to an extent insofar as she uses a diary form to narrate a novel (a rather new-ish media form in 1818)?
Dollhouses might signify playfulness, but they also smack of the uncanny. There’s something inherently unsettling, I think, about dollhouses, dolls (with their vacant stares), and the frozen tableaux of the domestic sphere that I think very effectively mirrors the violence you write about. I wish that I could attach images to comments — I have one of from a toy museum of a room crowded with dolls and dollhouses that really illustrates my point.
I’m not sure what you mean by “the technological singularity” or how it relates (apparently) to feminist social movements. It also seems a bit monolithic, as well to identify something like “the technological singularity.” Perhaps some gloss on this? Some yoking of it to the notion of experience with which you begin the paragraph?
What is the singularity? How does it relate to feminism? It’s a great rhetorical ending to the section, but I’m just not sure what it means (and perhaps have a bit of trouble with the monolithic nature of a “technological singularity”).
Might be worth noting that Donna Haraway haunts a particular kind of kitchen, a particularity that marks the limitations of the essay. There are kitchens other than those in white suburbia, where women of color labored (and continue to labor) under the watchful eyes of more privileged women. And there are also kitchens that were (and are) for black feminists sites of solidarity and sustenance. Maybe the cyborg/goddess binary is itself a very limiting fiction?
Still not clear on what you mean by this notion of the “social singularity.”
This is such a provocative and original contribution. I think that like most stories or essays or narratives, we all struggle a bit with conclusions and this essay is no exception. I guess I’d like to see you broaden the creative lens to include other kinds of story telling not dependent on writing or text-based production (you do that elsewhere so would be nice to conclude on a more expansive and inclusive note).
Grammar and punctuation neepery: “The writing that is housed within is both critical and creative[;] one haunts the other [DELETE COMMA] inside this domestic space. The order is less important than the hypertextual connections [viewers] make on their own as they explore each room.” “The manager, Craig, had never sold his own items in the thrift store before because all proceeds from The Treasure Chest benefit the Albany Damien Center which helps people living with HIV/AIDS.” I don’t follow. “…everyone tried to lowball him. I bought it for his asking price.” There’s a connecting piece missing here; the bit where the author discovers that the dollhouse is still for sale.
Thank you for bringing your own personal story in — if the “I” of this piece is you — to inform the theory.
This is so gloriously true of living as a child in a violent household: “In my experience, playing was hardly ever playful; it was a series of calculated, escalating risks.”
*nods* Dolls are inherently monstrous, i.e invented creatures. Inherently Frankensteinian.
Reading para 25, the following notion just came to me: a cyborg is an artificial (i.e human-made), reasoning pilot (kybernete) of an artificial body/ship. Mary Shelley’s _Frankenstein_ seems to say that just because the cyborg’s body and its ability to reason are artificial doesn’t mean that its experiences and reactions are false. There may be something there about humans lacking faith in our ability to be truly creative. Probably not an entirely illogical mistrust, given our experience of the complicated natural universe all around us. We might be forgiven for wondering what we could ever make that could achieve that level of artistry. Probably no accident then that cultures the world over have stories of human’s trying to mimic God’s (for argument’s sake) creations and falling prey to our own presumption. The monster that you made turns on you because you are a poor craftsman. You are not God. Huh. I may use this in a story I’ve had in mind for some time. Dibs!
Agreed. I was tempted to read “the technological singularity” as the moment when humans are so merged with our own machines that we can no longer deny that we ourselves are cyborgs. But that raised the question of whether you’re implying that humanity coming to view itself as a race of cybernetic organisms is inevitable. Then when I read Carol’s comment, I realized that I didn’t know what you meant by the term, so I was theorizing and questioning based on a premise that hadn’t yet been explained.
I understood how you meant “the singularity” in  because it directly references and quotes discussions we’ve been having in science fiction community. However, many of your readers may not be aware of those conversations, so it might be useful to unpack the concept a little.
Yes. Also, at the basic sentence level, I was initially confused by “in the kitchen” in the first sentence. At first I thought you meant kitchens in the abstract. Then I realized you meant the kitchen of your dollhouse. Suggest you say that.
I at first read “crevices” as “cervixes.” Ah, Freud, you devil.
It may be a bias of mine, but I take issue with “Feminism reminds us that nothing is ever truly original.” It’s the word “original” that’s sticking in my craw. And the absolutism of the statement. I think you mean that many of the modern-day issues that we love to think are unique to us are not? Suggest you consider re-phrasing that sentence, making it less cryptic.
In this paragraph, you seem to be using the word “singularity” to mean the point at which the machine becomes self-aware. Isn’t that an added meaning from the one you were employing in previous paragraphs? I know the concepts are related. Perhaps those unfamiliar with the concept of the technological singularity might benefit from your quoting von Neumann, who first coined the term? To whit, “ever accelerating progress of technology and changes in the mode of human life, which gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue.” Or it might work better for you to simply give a quick-and-dirty explication in your own words.
Interesting about Poe here. Did he see women as merely scribes in the new democratization of printing? IOW, as the people who copy down the writing of men, and not as writers themselves? Yet he would have known or known of women writers. IIRC, doesn’t his own work owe a large debt to Mary Shelley. Wasn’t he familiar with _Frankenstein?_
Suggest you briefly clarify what you mean by “sharing.”
FYI: she has also said that as her words die, she plans to attend each of our funerals. -lace
All our emphases are belong to him. I hadn’t noticed it before in reading his work. Now I know why I find his narrative style a little irritating.
Ah. Now I see that you do explain the term in the notes. Consider putting the explanation into the main body of the text.
…and ignore my comment downthread about von Neumann. Couldn’t figure out how to delete it.
So, this was an interesting piece. I especially enjoyed your bringing the personal and the theoretical into the same sphere. I found the essay kind of rambling, though. You don’t always lead us through to the connections that you’re making, at both the copy-editing and the conceptual level. It gave the essay the effect of intriguing but disconnected bits. For instance, the feminist filter on the notion of the cyborg; you tell us that the feminist intervention into the concept is important to you, which is great. Then near the end of the piece, there’s a paragraph of somewhat generalized statements about feminism does in this arena. But I felt as though the middle was lacking, you know? Perhaps I wanted more demonstrations of some of the specifically feminist interventions. Not that a person has to be a feminist for us to read their actions through a feminist lens. Maybe it’s that I perceived unsupported assertions about feminism in the piece. If you say something like “the feminist body is a cyborg body” (perhaps not an actual quotation from your piece, so I may be barking up the wrong tree), then I anticipate that you are going to tell me the ways in which the feminist body is a cyborg body. As to lacks of connections at the copy-editing level; para 6 begins “There was a hand-scrawled sign that read “sold” on the dollhouse.” And I was thrown out of the narrative, because you’d been talking about a virtual dollhouse. You gave no clue that you were now talking about a meatspace experience of seeing a real dollhouse. I had to infer it. Then you’re talking about Craig, who manages something, but I don’t yet know what, or what relevance it has to the piece. You talk about The Treasure Chest in para 7 without telling us what it is. That information comes later, in bits and pieces. You tell us that you ask whether the dollhouse has actually been sold, but you don’t tell us the answer. Of course I figure the answer out when a few paragraphs later you tell us how much you paid for the dollhouse. But the connecting bit of the answer to your question isn’t there. At the bottom of para 8, you tell us that you felt a psychic urge to go to the thrift store that day. So I have to mentally go backwards in time to insert a missing element into a sequence of events I’d already experienced. All more confused by the fact that those first few paragraphs need to be copy-edited. In addition to the confusion around the sequence of events, there are grammar, punctuation and tense errors, and at least one incorrect word substitution (“effect” for “affect”). It’s odd, because you don’t do any of that from para 10 on. Now, I know it is possible to do a sort of backhanded flow of events for one effect or another (by which I mean throwing us into a setting and actions before telling us what led to it or where we are). But in those first 8 paragraphs, it feels as though you’ve done so by accident and therefore without purpose.
Oddly, I think I could be okay with the disjointedness of ideas in the essay. It feels as though you’re still working through your ideas about an issue that has complex resonances for you. It’s as though you’re allowing us a glimpse into your creative process while it’s in process. There is value in that, and generosity on your part. If I’m at all correct and you feel it’d be useful, you might consider saying that this is a work in progress, and even, where you can identify them, pointing out the places where your connections seem muddy to you. I’ve found when I’ve done that that I get very valuable feedback from my audience that helps me get to the next step along the road to building a (literally) coherent piece. Good work. It gave me tons of food for thought. I stopped reading it midway to spend an hour writing down notions of my own about the function of science fiction and fantasy. They were sparked by issues you were raising. Thank you.
It’s just occurred to me that you could begin the piece with the first two sentences of para 6. Gives the effect of tossing us into media res, and intimates a personal story, which can draw readers in more closely.
Absolutely! Thank you. I want to embrace creative critical writing, but I also want it to be clear. Thanks for this. I sometimes am so close to a piece of writing that it’s hard to find the revision points.
Thanks! I completely rewrote this piece for this round of peer review and broke it up in different ways from the first version, so sometimes I forget that the chronological timeline needs more structure, less slippage!
At first it was that, but it’s more about how the structure of the story mirrors the narrative drive. The fragmented structure of Frankenstein highlights the novelâ€™s conspicuous invisibility of female agency: readers see the parts, but perceive the whole. Thanks for pointing this out. I will make this connection more concretely!
It is me. And thank you. It was super scary. But I’m glad I did it.
Thanks you both. This was incredibly scary to write about, I’m glad it’s working.
Also, that reminds me: I totally need to bring back The Uncanny in this piece. Even if it’s just a small dose.
Dibs on reading it! email@example.com
Thank you! I tried revising this issue specifically for this round of review, but I still need to work on it! Ha! Better to know now!
All of this is helpful. Sometimes I don’t know which information is repetitive or not. It kinda nice to be given permission to unpack concepts.
Oooooh! This is awesome.
Ha! I had that in the original version of this piece. I will bring back.
Really excellent introduction. The way that you are thinking about embodiment and the digital is deeply important. This is one of the clearest, most forceful articulations of stakes I’ve read in a while!
This paragraph might be more effective if it preceded paragraph 13, since 13 ends with a strong statement indicating the direction you will be heading based on your summary of classical rhetoric’s exclusion of women.
This paragraph might be more effective if it preceded Paragraph 13, since 13 concludes with a strong statement indicating the direction you are heading based on your summary of gender bias in classical rhetoric.
This is wonderful.
Agreed, excellent and clear framing that sets the reader up for the rest of the article.
This sentence is slightly unclear ” Today’s female writer/ speakers—bloggers, YouTube commentators, Twitter users to name a few—are in the midst of seeking alternative avenues of shaping their voices, something I posit as an emergence of a networked feminism that hearkens back to the earliest representations of concealed or erased classical female histories. ” Here’s what I think you’re saying: The female speakers of today evidence an emerging “networked feminism”. And, this form of feminism harkens back to earlier instances of female voices in public in which they were concealed or erased. I’m sure this isn’t exactly what you mean, but since it’s such an important point, I would recommend breaking it up into two sentences for clarity.
It seems like you’re suggesting that social media and other online spaces where individuals amass audiences may simultaneously be used as an alternative avenue by women to “speak in a context of being silenced” and be used by those hurling abusive threats attempting to put these women back into line with patriarchal public speech structures. This dual function – both as an alternative avenue for participation and as an avenue for abuse is what makes this issue so interesting, and it might help the reader to make this more explicit throughout this paragraph and the previous one.
The last sentence in this paragraph is a bit of what I was looking for in my earlier comment.
Fascinating and clear, this piece raises new questions and throws new light on old ones.
Intriguing quote. Wondering what “agnostic” means in this context. I’d be curious to read the cited work 🙂
I wonder whether State House and Senator should be capitalized. I’d add a comma after Twitter.
I knew about Davis’ filibuster, but not about Van de Putte’s pointed inquiry, nor about the crowd chants. I wonder whether Texas will prevent public presence in future hearings.
I totally agree with the above comments! I’d recommend a comma after “flagrant”, and commas before and after “firstly”. I’m unclear whether Congress and Senate should be capitalized, or if my thinking they should is some kind of internalization of their having been granted so much external power. We should remove one of the apostrophe’s from ” women’s’ ” (the latter one, I think). I’d recommend a comma after “wider audience” and “they” between “but” and “also”. Perhaps “notable speech” would suffice, in lieu of “notable speech act”.
Would “male-dominated” typically be hyphenated?
I made a comment here, that started with some simple proofreading, and ended with a TW and suggestion of acknowledging the Grace Rebecca Mann case (may she rest in peace), and received a notification on screen that the comment was marked as spam. I’m not sure why that was, but it was immediate; so I’m wondering if it is because I included a hyperlink?
Perhaps “What effect do,” if “cultural placement” and “bodily presence” are two distinct items.
A comma would fit after “accusation”.
It would be intriguing to see whether there has been any documentation of percentage of fillibusters enacted, by gender.
A comma would be beneficial after “gender parity”.
I’m not sure it’s required, or anything, but I’ve typically seen a hyphen in “consciousness-raising”.
I believe the last sentence in this paragraph would be clarified as such:
“Therefore, I ask: ‘How might ….’ ”
I’m unfamiliar with the term, “nomos”. Fascinating section, though.
Could diction be added that links these parts on Philomena and the significance of tongues to the specific threats of violence that mentioned tongues at the beginning of the article?
Is it worth mentioning that some of the other alternative spellings, from other eras/niches, e.g., wombyn, have been experienced as cis-centric?
Can this word “feminine” be defined? It seems that the words “feminine” and “feminist” are used interchangeably throughout the text while these two words would convey different meanings.
The same inquiry as above. I wonder in what sense the word “feminine” used.
It seems that the author focuses on public speech from the rhetorical studies perspective. The notions of public, public sphere, or public speech are contested areas in gender studies. Thus, I want the author to clearly situate the article in the academic discussion about what it means for women to publicly speak.
There have been efforts to harness the digital space for feminist agendas over the last two decades. Thus, it would not be accurate to say what the author has observed through today’s female writers and speakers is “an emergence” of networked feminism. Is there something peculiar about today’s phenomena, distinguishes it from what has been done in the name of cyberfeminism or similar names in the past?
I would like the author to critically engage with the existing literature about the potentials of the internet as a feminist public sphere. How do the characteristics of the feminist consciousness raising described by the author differ from the feminist activism online in previous years (the author might start with well-known examples as in the book Domain Errors! Cyberfeminism Practice). Are there really different? Or are there some converging points? How does this article contribute to the existing body of literature?
How would the author define “fourth wave”? Does the author focus on the ways in which women’s voices get heard? Or is it fourth wave in terms of political stance?
After reading up to this point, I am not entirely sure how feminist histories fit into this discussion. As I understand it, the focus of the paper is to examine women’s speech online. But the connection to histories makes me wonder whether the author is in fact more concerned with teasing out lessons for the past useful for evaluating digital environments today. I suggest that the specific focus of this paper be clearly outlined and that the example coming before this paragraph is more tightly connected to the paper’s focus.
I think the main argument of this paper is captured in the following sentence: “I argue that recent feminist digital writing wields a …”. If that is the case, I suggest moving this to the forefront of the paper. I do have to say I find the opening anecdote a bit unconnected to this argument – perhaps you can make that connection a bit more clear. My questions at this point however are: 1. Is this argument entirely novel or has it been exercised before? If so, some nodding to existing literature would ground the paper. 2. If the argument brings something new to existing discussions of feminist digital spaces, can this novelty be spelled out for the less informed reader?
It seems to me the role of this entire section (not just this paragraph) is to review the patriarchal legacy of rhetorics. The section felt a bit long for me and I often felt a bit lost in terms of connecting it to the overall focus on digital spaces. Consider opening the section by summarizing the main elements we inherit from this rhetorical tradition and how they relate to digital environments. I am also unclear why this section is entitled ’embodied digital rhetorics’ if the focus is historical. Again, I confess to finding the Davis example confusing – I am not familiar with it, and I cannot easily understand its connection to digital environments (other than the fact that her position was echoed online). If indeed this example is relevant, consider adding more detail so that readers not familiar with it can easily understand its relevance to a discussion of feminist digital spaces.
The idea of a digital feminist space needs to be further engaged with. What are its boundaries? Is it one single space – are you thinking of spaces defined as feminist, or are you thinking of feminist voices that appear and identify themselves as such online? In a way, I guess I am not quite clear on what is the empirical dimensions of this paper – is it a commentary about digital spaces in general (in which case it is very broad) or is it focusing on a specific space (in which case I am not clear up to this point what this space it).
Perhaps you can explore a bit more these enablers and ‘restrictions’. I would also want to hear more on where these enablers/ restrictions come from: I am thinking here of the specific affordances of different types of websites (e.g. forums vs. social media vs. homepage etc.).
Again , the vagueness of the term ‘digital’ or ‘online’ is problematic: talking about the Internet in general weakens the argument, I think.
Unfortunately, I do not find this piece clear enough at this stage. I would have liked to hear a bit more about these specific writing, speaking and interacting conventions in the digital sphere that you criticize (I think they need to be spelled out, but of course, if we keep the discussion general – i.e. referring to online spaces – it is hard to say there are some ‘shared’ conventions). Similarly, spelling out the specific affordances that digital spaces (again, I think focusing on a specific digital genre or space is absolutely crucial to this argument) would in fact support the initial question. As for this initial question, I am not sure whether this paper is about feminist spaces or about opportunities for women’s voices to be heard and taken into account (to me the distinction is important, as not all women adopt a feminist stance). Good luck with this project, I do think this question of whether women’s voices are taken more seriously or given more room online is a valuable one!
Such an important intervention to be making right now, especially as Reddit’s Ellen Pao is being attacked for fat shaming. I think it would also be good to flag the fact — right at the beginning of the article — that differently situated women experience different kinds of online harassment and attacks when they speak. This was, after all, Sojourner Truth’s point in 1851, when she gave her “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech.
You might want to look at Cottom’s contribution to Ada, Issue 7 (http://adanewmedia.org/2015/04/issue7-mcmillancottom/), as well as Cooper and Rhee’s introduction to Ada, Issue 6 (http://adanewmedia.org/2015/01/issue6-cooperrhee/).
Good advice from Delia above. I’d also like to see a bit more precision in framing your argument. As I understand it, you’re arguing that women experience online attacks by virtue of being/appearing/performing online as women. I’m less clear on the meaning of the final sentence here. Isn’t women’s presence online and their opposition to online misogyny subversive? I think you’re asking what strategies women and allies can undertake to challenge these attacks, but I’d like to see you state that more straightforwardly.
Isn’t it also true that without the amplificatory function of social media, supportive voices and forces might not even have known about Van de Putte’s subversive acts? It’s not the rhetoric alone, that it — women have been engaging in these speech acts for a very long time. I’m not sure it’s “doubly subversive,” as much as the potential to publicize and share subversive or dissident political views and acts has been enhanced, particularly for women and people of color (as movements against sexual and police violence are demonstrating).
I’m a little hesitant about the notion of a “feminine voice.” What is it? Who has it? Is it monolithic? Given that “woman” as a category exists always in relationship to other modalities of identity and oppression, shouldn’t feminists want to encourage multiple perspectives rather than substitute one monolith (the feminine) for the other (the masculine)?
Sometimes, our disciplinary lenses themselves need to be challenged in order to get to a more subversive and original place. My sense is that if you were to think more directly about the limitations involved in “rhetoric” as a discipline, your conclusion and the many excellent points you make along the way would be vastly strengthened.
Here are what I see as some of those disciplinary road blocks:
1. the focus on writing and speech. When I think about some of the most powerfully subversive interventions, many of those (Tumblr’s Project Unbreakable and When Women Refuse, as well as hashtags that have done powerful political work, like #blacklivesmatter and #eroc) are highly visual in nature.
2. the teleology that leads from the classics of Western culture to the contemporary moment and that excludes so many powerful discourses and forms of persuasion not considered such by a Western tradition that privileges very formal and limited forms of persuasion and venues for the exercise of such;
3. the tools for studying and analyzing Western rhetoric that emerge from Western histories and traditions — in particular, I think, this makes us less attentive to the fact that there are already alternative modes of persuasion that are being used to great effect in online spaces, even as they make the women and people of color who use them vulnerable to online attacks.
I agree. I’m leaning toward using “feminist” in place of “feminine”. Though I use the term “women’s rhetoric” in an effort to take a broad approach to women’s voice in the digital sphere. Perhaps that is more suitable for the title and to replace instances of “feminine” used throughout the text.
Ironically, discourses very similar to those the media uses to describe Uber. It seems to me that what you are hinting at in this introductory section is that media accounts of new technologies that enhance women’s sexual or spatial mobilities are positioned as the causes of sexual violence when, as we all know, sexual violence wasn’t invented by the internet. Might be worth situating your discussion of Tinder within this framework.
You need to provide a series of transitions here: between this section and the short section above on Tinder, as well as between the section on Holloway and the status of contemporary heterosexuality. If, as you say in Paragraph 7, Western ideals of this have shifted over the past twenty years, how does Holloway’s map still apply?
I like the invocation of Vance and the persistence of the problems and contradictions she evoked (as well as the limits of her own framework). Perhaps beginning with this might allow for a more effective framework for your own analysis?
Might be worthwhile talking about the dynamic nature of dating. “Online dating” always makes it seem as though the practices associated with online dating are somehow historically unique.
Historically situating dating (as I mention in the preceding paragraph) would also allow you organize this and the following paragraphs with more ease. For example, you could begin this paragraph by saying that online dating reflects gendered differences in goals and strategies. You might want to take a look at Beth Bailey’s From the Front Porch to the Back Seat.
Following from my comments on the preceding two paragraphs, here’s where you begin to make the case for how online dating is distinct from previous practices. Would be good to make that transition more explicit.
Do you think that online dating also allows women a greater degree of safety (ironically, given the media discourses), insofar as the initial screening doesn’t have to happen face-to-face or in a dating situation? Here I’m thinking about the Feminist Phone Intervention described in Issue 6 of Ada and the inspiration for it, which was that many women do not feel safe saying no to men, especially in situations where alcohol is involved: http://adanewmedia.org/2015/01/issue6-fpi/.
Is there any actual research on the prevalence of these crimes? The formulation of these threats really sounds more like a moral panic, one that assumes that face-to-face dating is a safe and risk-free undertaking. From what we know about sexual violence, women are more likely to be raped by men they know than strangers; more likely to be murdered by husbands and lovers.
Can you provide a definition/description of online dating and maybe distinguish from computer dating (the precursor of online dating, in the eyes of man). Nothing elaborate, but it would help to know what you have in mind. OkCupid and Match.com began in 2004-5, I think. But would be good to have a sense of the chronology you’re working with.
The first sentence of this is really intriguing — can you unpack it a bit?
In the third sentence, do you mean to ask whether the use of Tinder intensified women’s perceptions of risk? This seems an important point — the difference between women feeling empowered by Tinder and more able to control their sexual lives vs. women feeling that their use of Tinder made them less safe (the latter leaving aside the question of whether dating apps make women less safe, which is a separate, empirical question).
She also seems to be suggesting that it’s mobility is a plus — you don’t have to be “sitting down at a computer” (like the stereotypes of computer users) to interact with it.
There’s a word missing in the first sentence here. Also, one of the points (harking back to my comment on the preceding paragraph) that validates Tinder over online dating is that it’s less “creepy” (which I’m inferring means that people who are engaging in these activities don’t conform to older stereotypes about people who engage in online activities).
One of the things these women seemed to like was this notion of the “cleaner break.” This might be worth exploring a bit. How do you interpret this? Why do women appreciate the fact that the men weren’t connected in any other way to their every day lives?
It might be analytically helpful to separate deceit about appearance from danger. Being disappointed when someone’s appearance doesn’t line up with expectations themselves based on stereotypes of male desirability is not the same thing as fearing that one’s safety has been compromised.
This paragraph might be broken into two separate paragraphs, which would allow you to explore this contradictory terrain in more detail. I’m not sure that the issue is a neoliberal social context — after all, slut-shaming pre-exists neoliberalism. But it really points to the dialectic of pleasure and danger that remains at the center of heterosexual women’s dating practices. But I don’t think this is limited to the use of Tinder. Joan Nestle wrote eloquently of this in her essay, “My Mother Liked to Fuck,” where she talked about the price her bawdy working-class mother paid for claiming sexual agency. The belief that somehow Tinder is the problem rather than violent forms of patriarchal privilege misses the boat.
This is a great paragraph. Really brings things together.
I really like this article. I think it would be stronger were you to more clearly lay out the framework at the beginning, situating Tinder within the context of heterosexual dating practices that are themselves in flux because of broader economic and cultural shifts.
You might also want to take a look at Hicks’s article on “Computer Love,” also under review in this issue.
As I mentioned above, I think the formal link to Facebook could be elaborated on in marking Tinder as somehow distinct from other online dating apps.
I’d be curious to hear how the fact that Tinder requires a mutual match in order for messaging to occur marks it as different from other online dating sites in terms of risk, not only in the form of women looking out for potential danger signs but also in terms of the risk of online harassment.
I think the point about women’s “detective work” is interesting and important in discussing Tinder as allowing different screening processes in terms of women’s risk in heterosexual dating. How might specific features of Tinder, such as the formal link with Facebook as well as the feature that allows users to see if any matches have mutual Facebook friends, create different senses of risk or safety in ways not available in other dating apps or in offline dating conventions?
I think this paragraph could be more clearly linked to the following section. It seems as though the fraught domain of heterosexuality, involving both pleasure and danger, is not unique to Tinder but rather that Tinder provides a different entry point or set of mediated interactions that lead to “old norms” of dating in which men’s entitlement and anger and the potential for violence has long existed. Elaborating on how Tinder, though new and providing different sets of possibilities – as are very nicely laid out in the sections on new landscapes and multipurpose tool – is embedded in a broader set of conventional gendered norms might be helpful.
I really enjoyed this article. It does a great job discussing Tinder and its role in women’s heterosexual dating practices.
This paragraph does an excellent job providing a clear roadmap for the rest of the article.
Good clear discussion of the gendered dynamics of online dating.
As mentioned in this paragraph, Tinder facilitates a “fun and entertaining” way of meeting new people, possibly the love of one’s life and yet it comes with the risk of encounters of sexual violence, STDs, and “even death,” which is a possibility when dating or starting a relationship even outside of Tinder or any Internet website. Perhaps it is not the app itself alone that in to be inquired but how do individuals negotiate their quest and/or curiosity for pleasure with the possible risks situated both within and outside of the app. What is at stake when one engages in the easy and entertaining factors of Tinder, situated within the risks of dating in general (whether one is dating online or offline)?
Even before the 1990’s some of the qualities and risks that are present in online dating (reducing loneliness, searching for a soulmate, sex, boredom, etc.) have also been attached to other facilitated and moderated types of dating such as matchmaking, blind dating, swinging, and picture brides. Many of these motivations throughout history have been the same but have moved to mobile and online spaces.
What are the tensions between having enough information about a person to filter out whether they may be a potential and prospective mate/partner and the limited amount of information about a person provided by Tinder? Also, how can having a limited amount of information about the person you are interested in as well as people having a limited amount of information about you be helpful or empowering to women when using Tinder?
Was there any specific criteria that was required to be a participant in this project (education, regional location, etc.)?
The contrast between Tinder and other online dating websites and their association with various age groups/generations is very interesting!
It’s very interesting how one of the features of Tinder’s interface is that it is minimal and limited to a photo and a few pieces of info on the person, yet some people (I wonder if it is the majority or minority of users) take it upon themselves to investigate more info on the prospective person/date online.
I enjoyed reading this article and learning about the different women’s experiences and perspectives using Tinder. The Conclusion section summarizes the strengths of this article and topic.
Do you want to reference where the idea of “technologically mediated intimacies” comes from and define it briefly here ?
I was wondering about this link with Facebook too – can you add a little bit elaboration on how this works?
adding on to Carol’s point – from chapter 5 to chapter 6 you need to make clear the link about casual sex and Tindr use?
redundancy: interviewed style of interviewing. then interviewer in the second sentence. Revise: Participants were interviewed by the second author using a semi-structured approach.
Again, redundant with the sentence “interview questions were open-ended” isn’t that what semi-structured interview means?
according to the submission guidelines through Ada, citations don’t include the comma between authors’ last names and year).
acknowledge the publication mode and choose another word instead of paper?
I wonder if it is worth bringing out more strongly here the central irony of this kind of excessive growth as reproductive futurism. As Cooper’s work makes clear, the delirium of neoliberal growth is financial instruments that consume wealth of the future in the present. The environmental devastation attendant on this erases future possibilities for “the child” on the one hand, while other aspects of reproductive futurism fetishize this child as “liveliness” on the other.
Worth noting the apparent ubiquity of Handmaid “cheating” within the world of the novel here? In addition to the creepy doctor, we have the somewhat bizarre romance plot between Offred and Nick that takes up most of the novel’s second half.
Yes, bringing out that paradox is an important part of what I want this introductory section to do. However, it is also important for me to underscore that devastation and destitution are not necessarily synonyms, though we often imagine them as such. These two novels, I am arguing, suggest that devastation creates both destitution and profusion. ( Red tides are a good example of this profusion-as-devastation.)
True, yes. Thank you. I’ll footnote it.
I think I might want to change the title to “Somatic Capitalism: Reproduction, Futurity, and Feminist Science Fiction.” Thoughts?
not clear why you have “As then” here – unless I missed a reference to 1905 time period before this sentence. I was still in 1984 when I suddenly saw that the “then” referred to 1905. Could just have been my reading – but thought I’d point it out anyway. Minor:)
Ah! I see how that could be confusing. Thanks!
Excellent . A very necessary connection/point about simultaneous intervention and monetization through a capturing of the fetus a object of fascination and disciplining…
I like it!
I’m on board.
I appreciate this indexing of the slippage into financial overtones; it provides a really useful way of thinking through the biocapital framework set up in the last paragraph.
Is there a word missing? “effacing the woman in whose body…”?
The time slide-y-ness of this paragraph made me think about the New Deal (wrong Roosevelt, I know), and back to the abortion ban you previously mentioned, mixed with Foucault and biopolitics–and suddenly I wondered: does the state feel more entitled to dictating how its citizens to represent “the right kind of citizenship” during times of economic crisis?
How does “the nation” feel when its surplus populations are the not “right kind” of citizen (read: white kind of citizen)? One of the stats that emerged with the release of the latest census was how quickly the latino population is growing in the United States. And that if the current birth rates continued, by 2050, latinos would become the racial majority in the U.S. This piece of information quickly became a point of anxiety in the news media.
Holy wow, Batman… could this possibly be one of the reasons why there’s been such an aggressive backlash on abortion access in recent years? Gross! By the way, I simultaneously love and hate your essay. The things you’re triggering me to think about are important. But also super depressing.
Like all of my comments: feel free to take or leave them. This comment is more a stylistic issue. I don’t know about you, but I tend to rely on rhetorical questions when I’m still trying to work out my thoughts on a subject. Answering a series of questions helps me formulate a more cohesive argument, as opposed to expanding a list of bullet points to make (which, if you’ve ever taught Intro to Rhetorical Writing, you are probably waaaaay familiar with). But I figure I’d point it out in this paragraph, just in case you’re like me (sometimes I get too close to a piece and miss it) and want to eliminate these questions during the revision process.
This paragraph is really packed. Your definition of “somatic capitalism” is really interesting, but it would be wildly helpful to have small, illustrative examples immediately to get a more clear idea of how this definition is currently operating. I imagine that the rest of the essay will go into these each more in depth, but since I’m already on board with your definition (at least my understanding of it), I want to be sure that I’m understanding it–that way, as you continue, my knowledge of the issues are deepened as a reader. If imagine it looking something like this, if you wanted to implement this as a revision:
“Rather than focusing on the domestic household, somatic capitalism operates above and below the level of the individual subject to amplify or diminish specific bodily capacities. [Insert quick example here.] It siphons vitality rather than exerting discipline, swerves and harnesses existing tendencies rather than regulating their emergence. [Same here.]…”
Also, I find sentences like this problematic on account of the jargon muddying my understanding of argument:
“Its corollary is species understood as repositories of recombinant capacities and its paradigmatic avatars can be found in all that biological plasticity makes possible: stem-cells and transgenic animals, genetically-tailored medicines and bioweapons.”
In addition, the word choices have managed to make me question the phrasing of the sentence. “It’s corollary is species understood” — I’m so sorry, but I have read this sentence several times and I still don’t know what “species understood” means. I keep lifting “species” out entirely to understand the sentence.
Given how much of the essay is about The Handmaid’s Tale, I think you need to get to it sooner in the beginning or at least recast the introduction to highlight how you’re going to use The Handmaid’s Tale as a case study because when it became the focal point of the essay, I was surprised. The introduction sets up for a more cultural theory, and this part is more close reading of a text.
You missed some of the citation formatting in this paragraph.
Also here. I’m sorry, I think I may have missed some in earlier paragraphs.
And also here. But more importantly: I think the second sentence is a great example of the somatic capitalism you were talking about before–which has largely disappeared. It ‘d be great to get the thread of that argument pulled all the way through.
“no matter how many layer of lead” — layer should be plural, right? Layers?
Also: I would heart this paragraph if I could. I felt like this was the perfect mix of clear argument and academic jargon: the language does not muddy the argument, it distills it. If the introductory paragraphs could reflect the balance achieved in this paragraph, the argument would be clearer sooner.
Change or Die–I kind of love this. But as a reader, I want the somatic capitalism argument carried throughout in some way, even if it’s small. Because it seems that “the nation” or government or “The Powers That Be” as Angel so vaguely and aptly put it don’t really want change. And the old structures are crumbling. (The zombie apocalypse metaphor is awesome because it punishes people who cling to tradition.)
I think there’s a way to incorporate the somatic capitalism without going off on a tangent. It could expand off the important fact Hera “looks like us!,” that her birth is monstrous not necessarily in a physical alien sense, but for what her birth means symbolically. And it relates back to the anxieties around race, miscegenation, and population control. You could give a really important insight on biopolitics with this. And I don’t think that it would need to be it’s own paragraph or anything. Just a sentence or two to really tie it all back together.
Hi jdreadful–thanks for your comments. I am not sure what citation formatting you are pointing to here and below. Can you be more specific? Thanks!
Quick note here to say that we will have a round of copyediting to make sure this level of detail is squared away, so don’t worry about it too too much.
Insert “science writer” (or “essayist”) before “Dorion Sagan.”
Maybe jdreadful’s comment referred to another paragraph? That happens to me when I try to move on to quickly in commentpress.
Indent here as well.
I think she’s referring to the following passages, which need to be indented.
“Kegels” should be singular.
Delete “the” before “humanity” in the first sentence.
In the first sentence, “lead” should be “leads”
Should “transgenics animals” be “transgenic animals”?
In the first sentence, change “summons” to “summon.”
Change “a wholly other reproductions” to “a wholly other reproduction.”
Change “Women” to “Woman.”
Final sentence needs some work — do you mean “the mess of the biological, complex system” triggering additional complexities?
I wish there was more about this in the text – Atwood is so inattentive to race, gender and class being the BIG structuring divides. Have you ever read Raccoona Sheldon’s novella “Morality Meat”? It was published in 1985 as well.
I know the reference to “leaning in” but I had not heard about “sleeping under their desks” — maybe insert a link here?
I know what you mean when you say “leaning in”, but I had not heard about “sleeping under their desks” — maybe you could insert a link?
Italicize Included (near end of paragraph)
change double-quotes to single
“…they have witnessed see the consequences…” (maybe drop “see”?)
I’m reminded of organizational communication scholarship on “strategic ambiguity” in things like mission statements. This ambiguity gives an organization something to point to to say “We do X” but is so vague as to allow Y and Z. I think I like Ahmed’s way of putting it, however.
I agree — shift from numbers during an audit to retention — including in terms of promotion and recognition, which are important factors in Wikipedia: prolific editors become mods; there are recognitions such as “barn stars” — there’s a whole host of social practices that could convey to someone that she is valued in WP. This is harder than simply doing an “edit-a-thon.”
Challenging sexism among WP editors could contribute to diversity-as-retention…
Right — given that bodies like the ArbCom are comprised of extremely active and recognized WP editors, it’s a foregone conclusion that they will hew to the conservative in a situation such as Gamergate edit wars…
Fantastic article; thank you for this work!
“Diversity work as work and work as a choice” was confusing to me here, can you say a little bit more?
The last sentence could be clarified.
“Finding ways to fill these gaps” is a bit of a mixed metaphor from the leaky pipes earlier, can you bring them into alignment?
“Chilly climate” — what does this mean, is it said earlier? Should it be referenced?
Typically an emdash has no space on either side.
Make sure that your British versus American quotation and punctuation style is consistent throughout the document: “unconscious bias.”
Here you have used a double quote.
I would use “reduce” over “improve”.
I am confused about the structure of the headings. Is “including Sarah Ahmed” a second level heading and “diversity as value-added service” a third level? Or are they are not the same level? This might be a matter of the stylesheet formatting of the headings
“while not to imply” could be nimbler.
Explain what you mean by “diversity counts”
note that final word has. Within the quotation.
“Embodying diversity since they do not represent the mainstream”: clarify subject
remove see from “witnessed see”
“Do better *by* using”
“naming qualities and narrating actions”: confusing
There is that analysis going to come in? I’m not convinced this would be a good idea, but I wonder if you should integrate the two sections of discussing Ahmed with the actual Wikipedia analysis.
“Actors are tasked”: remove “is”
I think this is a very interesting point. However, I wonder about the degree to which you attribute agency to Wikipedia and Wikimedia. I think you are right to critique the messaging, but it is a very complex organization and the relationship between the foundation and the community is even more so. Also, people might be framing diversity in this particular way as a tactic even if they would otherwise agree with your claims.
I think this is a very interesting point. However, I wonder about the degree to which you attribute agency to Wikipedia and Wikimedia. I think you are right to critique the messaging, but it is a very complex organization and the relationship between the foundation and the community is even more so. Also, people might be framing diversity in this particular way as a tactic even if they would otherwise agree with your claims. (Getting AJAX error, trying to resubmit.)
What is the connotation of the “so-called gender gap”? We don’t doubt that it exists. Or are you suggesting you prefer a different term?
I suspect this is true across men and women: volunteers are highlighted. It would be interesting if you had evidence that this isn’t the case.
Could you remind us what “non-performative” means again?
Remove “prospects for”
replace: “suggest there is” with “suggest there are”
who?: “It has been suggested”
“Define its”: no’
replace: “she wants system” with “she wants systematic”
Simplify: first two sentences
You might be interested in my article “Free as in Sexist?” and its discussion of the meaning of freedom and openness in this context, but if it isn’t helpful please ignore.
How does one transform these efforts? Have you ever seen this happen in another community that Wikipedia could models itself on?
In fact, part of the problem is that Wikipedia tends to be very democratic, relying upon consensus, which is not good for making coherent changes to a particular goal.
So could you explain more what you mean by democratic relative to the governance mechanisms of Wikipedia?
Again, can you give an example of this working in another online community? Maybe the use of codes of conduct in other communities shows a possible path?
I really enjoyed reading the article: you’ve made a very interesting critique.
I am left wondering to what extent institutional critiques map to Wikipedia given its odd governance of community consensus, powerful administrators, and a fraught relationship with the Foundation.
Missing space between ‘the’ and ‘sum…’
“While not to imply that race…” – the phrasing in this sentence is a little awkward.
“muted discourses” should be “muted discourse”.
“What might it mean to reframe so-called ‘free speech’ to one” the “to one” is a bit awkward here.
This article is a very important and interesting critique! I would have loved to see more detail in the discussion of blog posts and the themes emerging from them, but I understand space is limited.
I’m not sure I would title this section “Including Sara Ahmed.”
From a member of my team of reviewers at BGSU: Great argument about how BWF qualifies as a Health 2.0 space and a cyberfeminist one for that matter. Also, great analysis of how discussions on BWF can be both empowering and disempowering to women and women’s health particularly childbirth. However, the author needs to explain the methods a bit more (“participate-observer research methods and rhetorical analysis”), and make discussion of Health 2.0 literature/concept more detailed.
“But as the above quotations posted by women to the online birthing community Birth Without Fear reveal, there remains a cultural assumption that pregnancy and childbirth arenot ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ processes. These individuals’ voices instead stress that society perceives pregnant bodies as disabled and therefore as disempowered.” This sentence seems a bit wordy – maybe break it up a bit [comment from the BGSU peer reviewing team]
If you are going to make a claim that disability equals disempowerment then you need to cite the area of disability studies. This needs a medical or social model of disability. OR are you talking about the legal definition of pregnancy as a “disability” when it comes to health insurance. [comment from the BGSU peer reviewing team]
re the word cyberfeminist: Define what you mean by “cyberfeminist.” The definition comes later, but it should come earlier. I don’t think that women who go to this website would self identify as “feminist” when they go to the website. [comment from the BGSU peer reviewing team]
Maybe comment on the misinformation that Health 2.0 sites create? [from BGSU reviewing team]
This is almost a new direction of the paper. This is a new way of arguing your main point. This argument confuses your first. Try to combine the thesis and this subthesis or pick one? [from BGSU reviewing team]
Missing citation to back up the claims about lack of prenatal sources. [from BGSU reviewing team]
There are a lot of these types of quotes. Integrate them if they are relevant, but don’t do a drop quote in the middle of the paper.[from BGSU team of reviewers]
re sickness being gendered – Bring in some hard examples. Even if its just a footnote to keep the paper on track. [from team of reviewers from BGSU]
Perhaps you can discuss the reasoning behind why Cesarean’s are so numerous in American culture. If you site is this website that promotes natural birth, perhaps you need to spend more time on what the website is fighting against…. that is medicalized birth [from team of BGSU reviewers]
make sure to discuss the difference between the medical and social models of disability. What you are talking about here is hare is the medical model. [from BGSU team]
This quote and paragraph 30 would have a bigger impact if you discussed C-sections and medicalization the industry does. [from BGSU team]
develop the kinship networks in a health 2.0 context more. It’s an important point to your paper. [from BGSU team]
What does the previous paragraph have to do with disability? Are you conflating “differently abled” with “othered?” [BGSU team comments]
We think you need to look at the role that these types of websites play in convincing women that EVERY female can birth naturally. We know that not every woman can do so because women used to die in childbirth frequently. By continuously reinforcing this rhetoric that every woman can birth naturally, and to not do so is someone else’s fault, these websites are both the problem and solution. [BGSU team]
I wonder if the discussion of breastfeeding is taking our attention away from the discussion of the medicalization of childbirth. This isn’t to say that the two issues aren’t related, but rather that the reader could use more information about the specific interventions and issues (inductions, c-section rates, lack of movement in labor, etc) that this website is working against, and that the pushing of formula feels like a weaker example than an actual discussion of childbirth interventions would.
Worth mentioning that many people have also been driven to the web for medical advice, whether in the context of expensive, privatized health care in the US or in places where medical expertise is limited. The language of choice can minimize the lack of access to quality health care.
I agree with R. above. It’s not clear to me how the examples you discuss represent “women’s efforts . . . to discursively construct their bodies in digital spaces.” Rather it seems to me that the goal is to gain power over embodied experiences of pregnancy.
Can you condense these three paragraphs? It seems to me that what you’re describing sits at the intersections of a number of cross-currents: the Health 2.0 movement; the feminist health movement, which really made it possible to be having conversations about non-medicalized childbirth; and changes in health care owing to neoliberalism. I’m not sure that going back to 1811 makes sense in this context.
Can you be more specific in situating the women who “now enjoy a position in which they have the authority to speak about their health”? Given disparities in maternal morbidity/mortality globally and in the context of the US (in terms of race and class), those positions aren’t universal.
It would be good to acknowledge that issues of health disparities have long been at the center of feminist debate — not just recently. If you look at the history of OBOS, for example, you’ll see how sterilization abuse made its way into that corpus, as well as an understanding of the different challenges differently situated women faced when it came to reproductive health and wellness. Also, see And Some of Us are Brave, the Combahee River Collective Statement, Barbara Smith, Dorothy Roberts, Angela Davis, et al. (and that doesn’t even begin to address black left feminism of the 1930s-1950s) concerning these and related disparities in access and care.
In the third sentence, you say that “Pregnant women are not uncommonly scheduled for Cesarean sections.” I think it would also be worth acknowledging that we live in a culture in which some women are encouraged to elect to have Cesareans. Ugh — look at Hollywood with its weird and creepy cultural politics of pregnant and post-pregnant bodies, not to mention the pernicious misogynist belief that vaginal births ruin women’s vaginas (and thus — more importantly — men’s sexual pleasure).
You talk about this further on in the paper, but I am made uneasy by the equation between women’s strength and their reproductive abilities that gets made in both left-leaning and conservative birth politics. Not only does it set up a norm that is problematic (some women can’t labor for 45 hours, which imo, just seems terrible to me and is one of the reasons that so many women suffer from obstetric fistulae in developing countries), but it locates women’s strength in a very dangerous biologistic and heteronormative manner.
I’d like to hear more discussion about the use of this phrase. It may be that some of my antipathy toward this owes to the recent outbreak of measles in California and the fact that schools in my district have been suffering from outbreaks of whooping cough and other diseases because of people who mistakenly believe (thank you internet) that vaccines cause autism. I worry about the romanticized view of childbirth that’s promoted by natural birthing communities in this context, as well, because (like romance in general) it sets people up to be disappointed when their experience is not the perfect consumer experience. Beyond disappointment, Cesareans suck. They involve major abdominal surgery, anesthesia, pain, and a long recovery period that takes place during a period of physical and emotional exhaustion (unless you have Super Baby who sleeps for eight hours and is mostly content). But sometimes they are medically necessary.
Full disclosure: I did not have a Cesarean, so I’m not defending them because of my own experience. But the natural childbirth movement privileges “nature” in ways that strike me as being very problematic. Is it natural for someone to be in hard labor for 45 hours? Is it natural for women to develop obstetric fistulae? Is it natural to die in labor?
These are hard questions, but I think they are at the very heart of this debate. The key for feminists is to make sure that options are available to all women — options that allow them to make informed decisions. It seems to me that the natural childbirth movement and the medicalization of birth can function as two poles of an unsatisfactory binary.
I like your impulse at the end here to advocate for change. But I wonder whether creating our own groups would do the work of cultural change. It seems to me that most groups function by way of affirmation or consensus (until such time as the consensus breaks down and when it does, as you note above, things get nasty).
But thinking about this conclusion made me also think about a tension within this paper. On one hand, you suggest that you’re going to use disability studies as a tool for maybe helping us move beyond some of the calcified positions you describe. On the other hand, the paper itself spends more time summarizing these calcified positions. I wonder, as you revise, whether you might not frame this more in terms of a disability studies critique since these tend to be less technophobic and more suspicious of categories like “the natural” and “the normal”?
I agree with more explanation of method, as well as situating the analysis more squarely within disability studies and feminist theories of science and health. There’s so much that’s provocative in this draft — and you’re such a good and engaging writer. Hope the comments are helpful as you revise.
It may be helpful to note that there is a long history/herstory of feminist interest in and activism around mother-centered birthing practices. Western midwifery movements, Boston Collective’s publication of the Our Bodies, Our Selves and Sheila Kitzinger’s well established work on pregnancy and birth based on their own experiences of birth.
explaining the differences between feminist models and biomedical model may be helpful here
Some of the best “ethnographic” work positions the author in relationship to the communities that are being studied. Can you tell us a little more about your position in relationship to this group, vis-a-vis your insider or outsider status? Did you come to the group first as a participant, or did you come to it solely as a researcher?
Is BWF a community intended to provide advice about all different types of births – from at-home, non-medicated to planned c-sections? Or is it primarily focused on births with fewer “interventions”?
I agree with the comment above. I want to suggest as well, that a more pointed discussion of how expertise is mobilized for power in discussions about women’s health would help to crystallize why a community like BWF might be so compelling to women who may (or may not) identify as feminists. The history that seems to matter here is the medicalization of birth. Who gets to speak for and about women’s bodies, and where do they get to speak? It would be important to consider the ways that self-help culture is feminized – and therefore denigrated – while spaces like the Mayo Clinic (even if it’s online) are imbued with more masculinized expertise and its consequent cultural capital.
I’m also made uneasy by this equation, and I think that this is another place where a discussion of the medicalization of birth, and more importantly, the kind of expertise that is mobilized in these discourses, would really help. It strikes me that Birth Without Fear is not only “talking back” to discourses of pregnancy as disability but is also, and perhaps more powerfully, taking seriously women’s knowledges (particularly through the preponderance of personal stories on the site) and providing space to talk back to masculinized, institutionalized medical knowledges.
To what does she ascribe her heartbreak and horror? Did she have a sense that she lost her voice in the experience? How does this birth trauma get narrated? A more thorough description would help to address the below question about disability v. othering as well.
In light of the recent uproar about measles & vaccinations and the quite intense discussions in mothering communities about birth practices, this topic is truly important, and the discussion of how discourses of disability are threaded through these online communities is helpful in understanding what’s going on here. That said, the focus on disability seems to ignore much of the advocacy that’s going on in BWF. Is the “fear” in BWF solely about the fear of being rendered disabled? My brief look at the site suggests that underlying many of these discussions is a critique of the American health care system and its (in)efficiencies – women describing being rushed through care, being treated by doctors they had just met and who treated them with disdain, feeling as though decisions about their care were made based in fear about litigation and/or with an eye toward fitting the birthing process into the exigencies of an institutionalized health care system. BWF’s reaction to these scenarios appears to be a laser-focus on women’s stories and women’s voices, paired with education about c-section rates, maternal death rates, and so on. Given all of this, I think it might help to think about how discourses of expertise are critiqued and/or re-imagined on the site, paying particular attention to to how this expertise is used to deem some bodies disabled and other bodies abled. The strength that so many of these women articulate is not just about bodily strength and ability but also about the strength to speak up to medicalized, masculinized expertise. To be clear: I don’t mean to take you into an entirely new direction, but to more clearly frame this discussion in a way that captures the overall picture of the “cyberfeminist” work that’s going on on BWF.
One of the key issues in 2.0 settings is the neoliberal individualization of self-care – which gets framed as empowering yet pushes us further into precarity – this contradiction is work further elaborating on.Marina Levina’s work gets at this and I note you’ve cited her – but you should be more clear in showing this contradiction.
I would like your analysis to connect more clearly to these contradictions – perhaps setting it up in relation to prosumerism and prevailing market economy conditions of precarity….What would also be useful for you is to go back to work by Alcoff and Dalmiya on the feminist epistmologies – in relation to the disappearance of midwives – and see what’s going on here epistemically… what is it about the ontologies of “connectivity” that mobilizes this sort of paradox?
There are two kinds of (self/individual) labor being required of women, for instance…
not to mention how the women programmers of the 1940s were pushed out in the postwar era
[entire collections of recorded human knowledge]It would be helpful to give a brief contextual note about where these reside and also implicit assumptions about that.
[Similarly, the focus of critics has been on the potential negative impact Google’s platform, and scanning efforts might have on values like privacy and intellectual freedom.] – add “intellectual property.”
I would suggest adding a footnote/note to explain OCR. It’s still not a common term.
[. Eventually, Google developed a method for streamlining the scanning process by eliminating the need to physically flatten pages] – Since this is an online journal, I suggest including images and/or a video of this process. In addition, add a sentence or two describing the process to give some context.
I think it adds to your argument to give a bit more information on the heart of the intellectual property matters, what was made available, allowed to be made available, and what was accessible in Google’s version of the “egalitarian” library.
Here include what the ruling actually allowed.
[ for Google, access depends, in part, on a framework of information as an explicit and commodifiable good] –
It would help to have more build up to this part of your argument. What has been commodified at this point? Where is the profit, labor, income, etc? Can you give a bit more to set up Google Books as a commodity itself or how it uses the information it contains as a commodity?
I’m not sure how the obit stat fits in here. Can you flush out the argument a little more and how this impacts a profession of care? If you are citing the gendered history of librarianship, it is probably worth a citing the icky history of Melvil Dewey, especially if you are addressing how information is organized. Wiegand, Wayne A. (1996), Irrepressible reformer, Chicago: American Library Association, ISBN 083890680X.
For a future project, it could be interesting to look into how these librarians selected books for scanning. Even from their entire collections, selected occurred and what care or not was used in that process within the libraries.
Can you provide a little more information here? What were the difficulties? How was this remediated in a culture of care within the libraries? What does it mean for this study to have been conducted by libraries; would a Google study look the same?
Since this is the first mention of Facebook, it seems a little out of place. Maybe move to the conclusion, give more context or remove.
[universal accessibility also fails to acknowledge varying levels of access] –
There is significant research on digital divide on access to technology as well as skill level. I would add at least one citation here.
[American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights] –
It would be great to link to the ALA Bill of Rights here and perhaps provide an excerpt.
Can you provide more of a transition between these two paragraphs? I had a bit of trouble jumping from digital divide to non-biased access.
[metadata] – This is the first reference to metadata. Please provide more in the body of the article if addressing here or give more context to why you are adding it here.
[Poor scan ] – I’m not sure that the quick scans have also demonstrated poor quality earlier in the document. Please add a citation or more information on this point if important to your argument.
This is an excellent synopsis of your argument!
[privacy and intellectual freedom] – remove, as you don’t address in the body of the piece.
This is an important investigation and connects not only to issues of women’s (and feminized) labor – but also to recent debates and discussions in digital humanities around DH, care and capacity.
Interesting and thank you for saying it. Can I ask you for a shortcut into that discussion, for my own edification?
We could add some more from the Dilevko and Gottlieb to underscore the point they were making (cultural anxiety/confusion about a female-majority profession). Funny – I re-looked at Irrepressible reformer while Anna and I were working on this. I think it ended up on the cutting room floor. 🙂
In our para, “difficulties” refers to how hard it actually is to become information literate; the continual process of refining one’s search and evaluation skills. Google attempts to elide over this difficulty with its interface and algorithm and librarians everywhere reap the proverbial whirlwind every time we try to teach students that research is difficult.
I’m honestly not certain that Google would be interested in conducting a study like ERIAL, which might be an important point to tease out.
The connecting theme is different takes on “access.” Perhaps the paragraphs can be adjusted to make that more clear. Thanks for the suggestion.
We do have a citation or two that we could add here. Thank you for the suggestion.
Insofar as it is not the driving discussion of our piece, this is true. However, we do address it latter by noting that these critiques all roughly work to reify the dominant narrative of Google Books (the one we are trying to pose an alternative for). So, we’ve added intellectual property to address the other point regarding this statement and some additional clarificatory points on IP later in the piece (see below), but I’m reluctant to remove the statement entirely.
We’ve added a bit of extra text to meet this concern, though we’re also trying to be cognizant of the word count. The new para reads as follows – hopefully it represents a reasonable compromise between more detail and not blowing out the word count in this section. 🙂
“While the Library Project rapidly expanded Google’s collection, it was perceived as a potential threat to the copyright interests of authors and publishers. Interest groups and publishers argued that Google’s development of a vast archive of library collections for commercial benefit violated copyright law, and various lawsuits were filed against the company (Newman 2011; Samuelson 2009; Grimmelmann 2009). Google and others, meanwhile, maintained that the company’s scanning efforts were covered by fair use (e.g., von Lohmann, 2005). However, as none of the lawsuits forced Google Books offline, the project was able to move forward despite litigation. During that time, Google Books failed to have the wholly transformative impact on the publishing industry anticipated by proponents and critics alike. Its preview and “snippet” mechanisms, for example, have effectively prevented the service from facilitating widespread copyright violation by limiting the total amount of access a user has to in-copyright texts in the archive. Eventually, Google Books settled into the broader context of the Web. As Grimmelmann (2013) summarizes, ‘what was once viewed almost as science fiction has become part of our daily reality— everyone, it seems, has used Google Books…’ (n.p.).”
Again, being cognizant of space concerns, I think addressing this comment might take our text a little too far afield. However, we do try to build up to this a bit, especially through our pointing to Waller’s potent discussion on the topic.
As a compromise, we have reiterated the pointer to Waller for the reader (since it is her argument in this regard that we are specifically relying on in this claim). The relevant sentence now reads:
“In addition, Agre’s (1995) discussion of ideologies that produce particular conceptions of ‘information’ helps us to further see how, for Google, access depends, in part, on a framework of information as an explicit and commodifiable good (especially as discussed in Waller, 2009).”
After some deliberation, Raina and I have decided to leave this paragraph as is in the revision – honestly, we’re just not sure if we understand the comment entirely. I think we do, at least in some form, address these questions already in the text – the ERIAL example provides an illustration against which we can contrast Google’s universal ideology of access in the next paragraph (para 26) – an ideology that we worked to detail much earlier in the paper. It simply means to reinforce the devision between the universal access touted by Google and the localized version of access promoted within libraries. Moreover, we sincerely hope that some of the clarifications early in the paper as a result of the commenter’s insights help the whole argument build up in a way that makes this section clearer.
Oops – this was meant for a different comment. Please disregard this instance!
Re: the Facebook issue, this was totally a leftover from a round of edits and we admit the awkwardness and thank the reviewer for catching it. We’ve removed the reference to FB in the revised version.
Ultimately, we concede that – given the preceding arguments – this statement comes a little bit out of nowhere (though I have fleshed it out more elsewhere). We’ve revised the paragraph to get rid of the statement in question:
“Libraries, like Google, stake their reputation on connecting people to the information that they need. The difference in how this is done by libraries versus how it is done by Google is radical and driven by the contextual distinctions in which each infrastructure frames its ideal notion of access. The Books project can only be construed as a solution to the problem of access to information with the support of an ideology that permits it to be perceived as such. Just as Feenberg (2003) once showed how the Fordist assembly line is only understandable as ‘progress’ within the logic of capitalism and technological rationality, Google Books is only ‘beneficial’ (to borrow Judge Chin’s description) when framed by an ideological commitment to values of universality, efficiency, and technological rationality. Local or individual needs and contextual understandings of access less urgent in the face of a powerful technological solution that provides simple, broad, and commercializable access to information (see also: Hoffmann 2016).”
Wondering if its important to know approximately at least the geographic location of the college and racial makeup of the student body ?
I’m sure there is a way to do it without breaking the confidentiality promised to respondents.
I looked for this information in paragraphs 9 and 12 also but I may have missed it…
Really glad to have read this and I look forward to seeing the final version. Here are some comments regarding the overall article:
Wondering if interdisciplinary readability would be enhanced by moving some of the technical description of methodology to a footnote (a lengthy one). I felt this way after reading the last paragraph of the conclusion section, although I think the quote from Crunk in the last sentence is an excellent way to end. It could just be that my academic formation differs, but as I read, the formal and procedural feeling of these areas contrasted strongly with the vibrancy of your narrative and analysis sections.
Also, since achieving permission from institutional review boards to conduct ethnographic research on one’s own students is often very difficult, it might be edifying for readers to know a bit more about any obstacles you encountered and how you surmounted them.
More detailed contextualization of “emotional distance” would have helped me, because it’s one of so many phrases from popular psychology that has a complex history of usage. I kept pausing to try to ensure that I understood what you meant. If I read your discussion (preceding Paragraph 26) correctly, one thing that is important is that the distance is exclusively emotional—as in, the Black women are not creating physical or verbal distance but rather emotional distance as a tacit form of resistance. Is this equivalent to “choosing one’s battles”? Or are these two separate aspects of emotional distance?
Paragraph 46 is pretty long. One place where breaking it up might work well is after you enumerate various directions Hip Hop has taken, where you write, “For college administrators, the practical implications…” Also in this paragraph, I feel curious to know more about strategies for promoting “healthy campus climate specific to social spaces.” Anything more you might add about this would be helpful. Also, are there strategies for promoting more (non-appropriative) respectfulness and understanding from White students? Or is that outside the scope of the research?
Thanks for sharing this work.
It would nice to be able to see how these teaching practices and your life experiences shaped the encounters –
maybe a “for instance” – and example of a gut-wrenching moment – that maybe you will reconnect to through your data analysis later
and/or maybe a sentence or so example of how you made the classroom a transformative space for transparency – some narrative detail that then connects back to the data you analyst…
in short – HOW does your pedagogy produce these moments and encounters …you could also signal that you will connect back to this point in your data analysis.
para 16, 17 and 18 onwards – in fact all through the data analysis section – each point you make has potential for further fleshing out and clarification – some points seem more truncated and cut short than others – don’t let the quotes speak for your analysis – the quotes are useful as evidence of what you see – yes – but can you also provide more transitions and a clearer analysis connecting back maybe to some of the earlier literature or other literature around hip hop or around the portrayal of Black women … How does the need that Z expresses or that you claim Z expresses context “notions of stereotypical … ” explain a bit more ?
Good to see points made about how this research has implications for college administrators.
This is a fascinating area of study and the abstract introduces it well.
– Add an apostrophe in “students’ perception of their academic experiences.”
– Add “their” to “participating in Hip Hop on their own terms.”
Consider revising for clarity as follows:
“in two ways: first, a high profile subgenre of Hip Hop culture and, second, the overarching … “
“from worldviews that intersect with various social identities”? OR “understood and discussed in the context of various intersecting worldviews and identities”?
How many students were in the course?
I agree that a bit more analysis of these rich responses from participants would be useful.
Perhaps consider rephrasing to indicate that there are many reasons to code-switch and these are two common ones, rather than, as you suggest here, that these are the only two reasons.
This paragraph and paragraph 36 should be indented and italicized like the other quotations from respondents.
This is absolutely wonderful. T’s first sentence could be a great epigraph for this article.
Maybe rather than “impenetrable,” you mean “pervasive” or “undeniable”?
This is a lengthy and important paragraph that sets up the context for your own intervention. It might be good to break it into two paragraphs, beginning with “This position is reaffirmed.” But I think you mean that “This problem (e.g. the absence of research on how Hip Hop culture impacts Black women college students),” rather than “this position.”
Can you revise this sentence for clarity: “Morgan (1999) posits these types of questions as feminist discourse that evaluates platforms hypocritical of authentic gender equality and unwillingly fails to ask difficult questions that intersect the gray areas of Black women’s culture, identity, and sociopolitical environments.” I think that the “and” in the middle could be a “but” (simple fix, if I am understanding your meaning correctly).
Can you define what you mean by narrative, keeping in mind that the readership of Ada is interdisciplinary and likely to have different understandings of what the term means?
To follow up on the previous comment, how many Black women students were enrolled?
A long paragraph — perhaps break up. I like Radhika’s suggestion above as well, to give depth and focus to this section.
Could you say more about the analytic memos at the beginning of this paragraph? I get a sense of how you used them by the end, but a quick definition would help orient the reader better. Also, what were you categorizing (am assuming responses to music, but not sure)?
This is a great paragraph (again, somewhat long for my tastes, but that may be my stylistic preference).
I’m not clear on the conclusion to this paragraph. It seems from what precedes it and what follows that you’re arguing that these women did address sexism. But the framing of the quote from Morgan seems to argue otherwise. Can you clarify the meaning?
This is a very important paragraph. Can you expand on the ideas — perhaps unpacking what you describe as a longing to exist that is bound up in the burden of the double standard you’re identifying in this passage?
This is such a rich and important passage — I wonder if it should be integrated into your conclusion? I would also add that communications and PR people on college campuses should have be aware of the problems you identify in this paper since on many campuses, the quest to look cool involves appropriating cultural references they don’t really understand.
This is an original and important contribution to thinking about race, gender, and popular culture. I’m struck by the fact that you identify early on: we have literally thousands of papers devoted to White women’s relationships to popular culture, but very little that explores Black women’s relationships to popular culture. Kristen Warner’s contribution to Cupcakes, Pinterest, and LadyPorn is another similar scholarly intervention.
There are some excellent comments below that focus mainly on definitions and paragraph development. The nature of your contribution is clear to me: to provide a sense of how sexism in Hip Hop affects Black women college students. What you need to focus on in revisions is further refining that argument and perhaps re-organizing and strengthening the conclusion so that you can also emphasize the need for further research in this area.
As a reader, I’m not sure you need this paragraph here – it just re-affirms what I read above.
[organ (1999) posits these types of questions as feminist discourse that evaluates platforms hypocritical of authentic gender equality and unwillingly fails to ask difficult questions that intersect the gray areas of Black women’s culture, identity, and sociopolitical environments. ]
It has admittedly been a while since I read this book, but I do remember there being a bit of a contradiction in the way Morgan deploys a respectability discourse to shame black women miming rap video aesthetics, and then a demand for respecting a particular type of black sexuality – am I correct in this? How might it impact the ways we deploy Chickenheads as a framework of women’s experiences? (and I’m willing to be wrong in this interpretation, FYI)
[‘anthropologists that excavate the stated ideas and events to see what is not shown’ (Moody, 1997, p. 32)]
This is a really troubled metaphor, given the historical relationship between concepts of extraction and race in American Anthropology – see http://thenewinquiry.com/essays/black-life-annotated/
Also, ethnography implies both a type of method (participant-observation being the hallmark by anthropological standards) and a type of narrative that provides a perspective alongside (or over the shoulder, if we use Geertzian metaphors) the people we study. That’s not quite how this reads.
This isn’t to say what you’re doing isn’t valuable – it is! it’s that you might want to revisit how you describe your methods and project to better fit your analysis and findings.
[The interviews took place over a two-day period, lasting approximately one hour. Interviews are effective for developing broad conclusions about students’ experiences and exploring the meaning students attach to these experiences (Denzin & Lincoln, 2000).]
Re: my comment above, ethnography/participant observation often goes on for long periods of time – a month is considered too short by most standards. So here this tells me that your methodological discourse should shift to what you actually did, rather than using racially loaded tropes of ethnography (which are admittedly fashionable at the moment in my field at least!)
[therefore participant’s responses to written assignments were also instrumental in capturing the nuanced ways they perceived the impact of mainstream rap music.]
What are the ethical implications of using assignments as information/informants? Did students know that you were doing this? Could you make this clear?
“The participants were three Black women college students…”
If n=3, that’s not to say what you have isn’t useful. But it does mean that the scientistic language of sociology betrays you a bit. N=3 is not a convincing sample, but reframing it as an in depth exploration of the place of hip hop in the educational lives of three young black women sounds like something we should pay attention to. It also preserves their humanity in a way that is lost in the racist histories of sociological quantitative frameworks that reduce those women to archetypical facts and/or ideal types
Were the four murders in Atlanta also? I assume so, but not entirely sure.
I find myself stuck on the phrase “The moment of failing to pass that results in death,” I think mainly because of the way in which it defers the question of agency. Transphobia that forces people to pass in the narrow terms of the gender binary results in death is what I understand your argument to be — but perhaps that’s not right?
It’s been a very long time since I saw Paris is Burning, but I seem to remember that Venus Xtravaganza was Italian-American and not Latina. I’m probably wrong, but it seems worth checking (I know that Prosser identifies them as Latina, but I’m not sure that’s right).
I love this paragraph — it’s so rich and smartly put. I wonder if you could wrap the idea of flickering back into the concluding sentence and then from there to the beginning of the next paragraph? I’m really struck by “flickering” as an alternative to the narrow framing of visibility/invisibility in more sociological scholarship on queer politics.
This is such a beautifully written and brilliant contribution. I think because I’m historically-minded, I find myself wondering about the role of history in your imagining of these futures. Is there something about a “digital trans of color praxis” that confers a specific sensibility on practitioners? When I think of the difference between say, Pauli Murray and Holly Woodlawn (or even Venus Xtravaganza and their dreams of suburban life), it seems that there is something else at work — something that enables a very critical relational perspective on social inequalities (Murray) v. a much more assimilationist model.
really appreciate this text and introduction.
such a gorgeous poetic introduction — pleasure to read
I really like the use of Agamben and Mbembe here. However, it would be nice if you included one or two sentences that really lay out more clearly the connection you are trying to make between necropolitics, the state of exception for transwomen, and this idea of modulation of visibility.
Everything works about this paragraph except the throw away reference to Sandoval. Explain your invocation of differential consciousness here or consider taking it out.
Perhaps included a footnote on the extensive body of literature on racial passing. At least one or two references to that work would be useful here.
In what sense are you invoking assemblage here? Deleuze and Guattari? Puar via Deleuze and Guattari?
Yes! Shifting from informatic opacity to spectacular visibility. Love it!
not to mention such a brilliant reading of hacking the black/white binary by way of the flicker, or more than a binary transition
If we could, would be great to include a clip of this here.
This is all very important. It would be good to have a transition between your pt about Janelle Monae and Laverne Cox here. Might think about revising topic sentence to focus on geography and transwomen to help hold the ideas/points of the paragraph.
Suggest to term/define ‘this moment” is it 2014, or the simultaneity of the Cox cover and untimely deaths, or the digital age in which representations of trans women are being made possible, or all three?
would also suggest to break up this paragraph, as there are many important points happening, and would be good to fully develop. Perhaps after the Sacchetti quote?
Perhaps a close consideration of this flickering can aid in the project of locating trans women of color in women of color feminism. – really love this emphasis and the intervention you are making here.
It would be good to have a separate heading for this section.
Appreciate Keeling’s reading and the emphasis of race/inhuman/human here.
Would like to see more elaboration on Butler and Prosser, the differences between their articulations. Would be good to have a paragraph break for your theorizations of calculated risk.
Needs a transition here.
I wonder how Mbembe disc of the necropolitical speaks to the precarity of transwomen of color lives. how might the us still be colonial. would love to see more of a rereading here in relation to your focus on transwomen of color
This paragraph would also be good to break up. Great rich ideas here, but way too compacted to follow
reading through the entire essay again, I feel that this section on Palestine, while very important, distracts from the main focus of the essay. I suggest shortening this section/quote, and making tighter your rereading and how it relates to your overall argument and articulations on shifting, violence, and trans women of color bodies
I also love this paragraph
really appreciate this very rich and provocative reading of shifting. really wonderful & love!
also love this analysis very much
might want to think about fred moten’s theorization of ‘cut’ as theoretical cut here too.
I made a suggestion below abt video which is not relevant now that I viewed the scalar!
Would like more of a transition with transwomen & monae with SF here.
the emphasis of the light and color of light as reflected on one’s face and neck also evokes the momentary/gradations of flickering as well. the movement between violence/non-violence, life/death is not only binary but shadows and of light. i appreciate this idea of passing as poetics of relation, and the politics of image and category.
would like more elaboration of passing and nano/quantum with trans women of color. is it that there are is a two – way relationship in passing that you are articulating? how might nano and the science of relationionality connect to your main articulation?
also interested in how trans identity complicates this idea of black/white binary in monae’s video by way of the multiple temporality and flicking? may connect to what you point out later on assemblage?
your reading of Xtravaganza seems really important to this piece, and her life and death is really important here. I would like to see this paragraph begin with your articulation of Xtravaganza then move into Butler & Prosser. Could you write a bit more about Butler’s notion of “social map of power?” additionally, is Xtravangaza Latina or Italian? It seems that she is read as Italian and if so, it may be useful to note how Italians are racialized in NYC.
“Pg?” – this was an electronic copy, so page numbers are not cited.
“Page number?” – another electronic copy!
[One of the most striking examples of online harassment is in Jeong’s (]
Sorry, this should be “One of the most striking analogies used in describing online harassment is in Jeong’s…”
[But free speech in a system, which is based on, and reinforces significant economic inequality,]
Should be: “But free speech is a system which is based on, and reinforces, significant economic inequality, as well as a multitude of other exclusions, and is far from ‘free’.”
[This is not to say that all free speech advocacies] should be “This is not to say that all free speech advocacy…”
I think there needs to be more emphasis here that drawing on these traditions should also take into account the power differences involved: it must be a respectful process of learning from (and accepting times when particular knowledge is not intended to be shared with others), rather than the violent process of appropriation that academics, white feminists, and others have often imposed on marginalised systems of knowledge.
I don’t have much to say about this well-written and –substantiated essay. I think it’s crucially important to discuss liberalism in feminist media studies. Since I am so sympathetic to your perspective, I am probably not the most helpful reviewer!
If I were to make a suggestion, it would be to ensure that references spanning theoretical currents, fields, disciplines, and methodologies not go by too quickly. For instance, you mention Astra Taylor and David Graeber…I found myself wondering whether I would get much from these fleeting references had I not already read the books in question. An additional sentence or two in each case would probably help many readers.