By Kim Toffoletti
Bringing a full of life and obtainable variety to a fancy topic, Cyborgs and Barbie Dolls explores the belief of the "posthuman" and the ways that it truly is represented in pop culture. Toffoletti explores pictures of the posthuman physique from goth-rocker Marilyn Manson's digitally manipulated self-portraits to the well-known TDK "baby" advertisements, and from the paintings of artist Patricia Piccinini to the apparently "plastic" type of the ever-present Barbie doll, controversially rescued the following from her damaging picture.
Drawing at the paintings of thinkers together with Baudrillard, Donna Haraway and Rosi Braidotti, Cyborgs and Barbie Dolls explores the character of the human - and its ambiguous gender - in an age of biotechnologies and electronic worlds.
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Additional resources for Cyborgs and Barbie Dolls: Feminism, Popular Culture and the Posthuman Body
A simple example of this is the analogies that people make between themselves and machines, as shown by Turkle in the case of a boy called George. She documents how George uses the computer metaphor of debugging to explain how he intends to deal with his feelings of depression. From George’s point of view, his mind could be equated with a computer, which once ‘debugged’ would be ﬁxed (Turkle 1984: 161–2). By drawing parallels between computer and human elements, the distinction between organism and machine is confused, and the very nature of self is questioned.
It does this in part through a revaluation of the feminine and the body in a technological landscape that has been conventionally hostile to women. com. au), is optimistic about the kinds of interactions women may forge with technology. Characterised by a rejection of the traditional coupling of technology and masculinity, cyberfeminism is fundamentally concerned with claiming cyberspace for women. As active agents in cyberspace, women can shake off the tag of ‘technology’s victims’ and inhabit technocultural spaces for their own pleasure (Albury 2003, Creed 2003), and for purposes such as political organising, networking and acts of resistance (Kramer and Kramarae 2000, Wakeford 1997, Wong 2003).
And while the rhetoric of transformation, speed and newness is often associated with contemporary and futurist digital technologies, debates surrounding the subject of modernity suggest this has long been the case. Although current narratives of digitisation suggest new modes of being, seeing and experiencing the world, technologies such as virtual reality are perhaps as Geoffrey Batchen claims, ‘not something peculiar to a particular technology or to postmodern discourse but…rather one of the fundamental conditions of modernity itself ’ (Batchen 1996: 28).
Cyborgs and Barbie Dolls: Feminism, Popular Culture and the Posthuman Body by Kim Toffoletti