Academic journal article Resources for Feminist Research

X-Clusively Female: The Cyberspaces of the David Duchovny Estrogen Brigades

Academic journal article Resources for Feminist Research

X-Clusively Female: The Cyberspaces of the David Duchovny Estrogen Brigades

Article excerpt

Cyberspace is imagined as a utopia in which body-based identities such as gender, race and ethnicity are rendered irrelevant. What disappears when "the virtual" is conflated with "the unreal" is the circulation of discourses that regulate identities in such spaces. Drawing on the work of Michel Foucault and Judith Butler, this paper provides a feminist, post-structural analysis of the ways in which such virtual spaces are gendered through linguistic performance of identity. This article looks at the "feminine" cyberspaces of the David Duchovny Estrogen Brigades, three electronic mailing lists for fans of The X-Files. L'espace virtuel se veut une utopie dans laquelle les identites qui reposent sur le corps, soit le genre, la race, et l'ethnicite, ne sont plus pertinentes. Lorsque "le virtuel" et "l'irreel" sont confondus, la circulation des discours reglementant l'identite dans de tels espaces disparait. Cet article puise dans les ecrits de Michel Foucault et de Judith Butler et fournit une analyse feministe et post-structurelle des facons dont de tels espaces virtuels sont genres a travers un spectactle linguistique de l'identite. Il examine en particulier les espaces virtuels "feminins" des "David Duchovny Estrogen Brigades," trois listes de destinataires electroniques pour femmes fanas de l'emission televisee, "The X-Files."

In cyberspace.... [w] e do everything people do when people get together, but we do it with words on computer screens, leaving our bodies behind. Millions of us have already built communities where our identities commingle and interact electronically, independent of local time or location. The way a few of us live now might be the way a larger population will live, decades hence. (Rheingold)(1)

Utopias are sites that have a general relation of direct or inverted analogy with the real space of Society. They present society in a perfected form, or else society turned upside down, but in any case these utopias are fundamentally unreal spaces..... There are also, probably in every culture, in every civilization, real places ... which are something like counter-sites, a kind of effectively enacted utopias in which the real sites ... are simultaneously represented, contested, and inverted.... I shall call them, by way of contrast to utopias, heterotopias. (Foucault)(2)

As "New Information and Communications Technologies" (NICTs) are increasingly common features of the homes and offices of white middle class North Americans, their impact on social relations has become a widely discussed topic in both academic and popular print media. The opening quotation by Rheingold is typical of the types of celebratory claims made about cyberspace, the term commonly used to symbolize computer-mediated communication. Cyberspace is imagined as a utopia in which body-based identities such as gender, race and ethnicity -- identities that are said to "impede" communication and the formation of community in the spaces of "real life" -- are rendered irrelevant. But as the second quotation by Foucault suggests, utopic sites are "unreal" and rely on a false binary that constructs them in opposition to the "real" spaces of society. As I will argue in the following pages, what disappears when "the virtual" is conflated with "the unreal" is not the cocktail of identities associated with "real" bodies but the circulation of discourses that regulate identities in such spaces. Drawing on the work of Michel Foucault and Judith Butler, this paper provides a feminist, post-structural analysis of the ways in which such virtual spaces are gendered through linguistic performance of identity. Specifically, I will be looking at the "feminine" cyberspaces of the David Duchovny Estrogen Brigades (referred henceforth as the DDEBs), three electronic mailing lists made up exclusively of female fans of the popular television show, The X-Files, and its lead actor who plays the role of FBI Agent Fox Mulder.

When I first came across their homepages one evening while "surfing" the World Wide Web for X-Files-related information, images of a bunch of obsessed giggling teenaged girls immediately came to mind. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.