Barbara Monroe’s “Re-Membering Mama: The Female Body in Embodied and Disembodied Communication”

Intense frustration over whelmed my research process this morning, leading me back to the library. I came across Feminist Cyberscapes, a collection of essays questioning the role of women (and, if not obvious from the title) feminism in online communities, especially in relation to seminar courses and pedagogy. 

So far I’ve been able to read Monroe’s “Re-Membering Mama” article which focuses on a seminar course using conference style online communication coupled with an in-class seminar meeting (or, as Monroe describes it, CMC, computer-mediated communication and f2f, face to face communication).

Monroe’s essay is dated in comparison to the types communities and spaces online, and the ways these communities and spaces manifest themselves. Her main concern over gender expression, and the freedom afforded to women in CMC, does not necessarily translate to online practices today. While yes, there are many safe forums and communities in which women openly and freely participate, there are still spaces in which women are not welcome and are not “stripped of [her] physical consequences, the threat of violence and rape losing its force online” (72). 

While dated, Monroe’s essay isn’t without purpose or importance. “Re-Membering Mama” raises important questions about the female body online and the ways in which, in certain communities, women’s bodies are still judged and violated. It also draws attention to the lack of privacy that we experience as users online. Sure, our handles might not spell out our names, but with all of our social media connected to one another, our pictures on display, the anonymity previously afforded to women has in some ways, become a luxury of the past.

Blair, Kristine, and Pamela Takayoshi. Feminist Cyberscapes: Mapping Gendered Academic Spaces. Stamford, CT: Ablex Pub., 1999. Print.

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