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Thinking girls on-line : texts, body politics, and tamponed cyborgs Zumsteg, Beatrix

Abstract

In affluent western societies, digital communication and information technologies increasingly reshape our social relations and identities, the way we perceive our selves and others. Given that we are all communicative and relational bodies in complex webs of power, the media of communication are central to the ways we are socially structured and relate to one another. The purpose of my thesis is to sketch a framework which can account critically for the dangers and benefits of embodying digital technologies while rethinking the gendered body politics of the everyday world. In this thesis, I develop a set of theoretical abstractions through which to think our bodies. With these theories, I paint images of modern body politics and of the micro- and macro-politics of power over life in larger socio-historical processes. M y textual analysis of Tampax's TRoom (http://www.troom.com), a corporate website exemplifies thinking these broader historical and social issues of embodiment. I focus on this website as a discursive frame that calls girls as free and subjugated subjects into digital texts of feminine protection. Thinking girl bodies through and against the 'civilizing' and disciplinary dimension of digital and sanitary technologies provides us with both liberating and confining images of what it may be like to be or become a girl. In the conclusion, I present the image of cyborgs, as hybrids of human organism and technology, to think our selves through everyday life techniques and technologies. Tamponed cyborgs provide realities that reformulate a bodily unity, capture contemporary issues of "girls" embodiment and incorporation of technology, and contribute to an understanding of the possibilities for discursive remappings of girls' social relations and selves.

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