Friday, May 21, 2010

Playing With Discovery...

My dear friend Krista, told me about an experience she had which I related in my first blog. She wrote for an online question-answering service and didn't disclose her sex. Her readers were shocked when she revealed *ta-da* "I am female!" I read some of their responses...hilarious! Here's the link:

My post today is based upon an article found by a colleague of mine regarding blogs and gender identity:
It's a long article but SO worth the read! Under the section heading "Gender and Language Use" it says "In online forums, including weblogs (blogs), language is a key means through which sexual identity can be expressed and explored."

"The adolescent is increasingly expected to assume a sexual identity, one of the markers and anchors of a mature identity...language is a key means through which those roles are explored and constructed"
It continues to describe the general language used by female bloggers vs. male bloggers.
"The communication patterns of males and females often differ, with males using a direct and forceful style while females use a more indirect and intimate style of interaction."

Traditionally the family environment has been the forum where gender roles are learned, but with this new mode of exploration, aka blogging and the language used in the post,
could the digital natives have found a place to explore not only their ascribed gender role but perhaps the opposite? With online gaming networks such as Second Life, the player's online avatar can be whoever he/she desires with the online viewers being none the wiser.
Sooo, what do you think? Are blogs the new place where our digital world can learn not only about their own gender but the Other as well? Has the internet become the "moral imagination" needed to create the bridge between self and the Other? What are your thoughts?!


  1. I do think that blogs are the new place where our digital world can discover their own gender. Of all the blogs I follow, I only follow one run by guys. ( (not exactly scholarly:) ) When I read that blog and compare to my sister-in-laws blog ( are two entirely different reads. Their points are completely different, how they word things are different, and just the feel of the blog is different. Through their blogs they are writing what they are thinking and feeling, therefore creating a deeper understanding of themselves.

  2. What you say about "the traditional family environment" being "the forum where gender roles are learned," and contrast it with a "new mode of exploration" brings to mind an interesting article I read recently about Lesbian mothers on mothers day. Which one of them gets to be celebrated mother? Which one has to help her daughter make something for the other? Ultimately, the author (lesbian) says she just wants to avoid mother's day altogether.

    So, might "new exploration" also suggest that such users who eschew traditional roles will find it hard to identify with those same traditional roles, and try to get rid of them altogether?

  3. Neal! Yes, that's a really great point and one which I will explore shortly here in my next blog post. Intellectually, it seems it's smarter to have a genderless society for if all people are viewed as humans with no bias of gender or sexist views then words, ideas, opinions, etc. could be taken for what they are and not "excused" or easily set aside because a gender might have dictated that. However, as I've been exploring the more spiritual side of this matter, through words of Latter-Day Saint church leaders and the counsel they have given it made me pause and think about the role of gender. I'm interested in your opinion and trust your judgment so can I ask you a question?...why do you think gender is essential for our eternal progression as stated in the proclamation to the world? I'm not 100% sure on my thoughts but am about to blog on the issue (given it's Sunday I thought that'd be appropriate!) so tell me what you think! I'm still forming my opinion on why gender is essential. Thanks again for your input, really it's always helpful! = )

  4. I really like your question, "Has the internet become the "moral imagination" needed to create the bridge between self and the Other?" It places your gender question onto another level, dealing with both identity and relationships and how the two affect each other.

    There are other issues here, too. Achieving gender identity is part of adolescence. Is dodging gender a way of retreating to pre-adolescence?

    Language is both identifier and mediator when it comes to lots of things, including gender. I guess the question becomes how does the use of language online identify, mediate, or complicate gender?