chapter  14
20 Pages

Jane Kenway: Backlash in Cyberspace: Why 'Girls Need Modems'

The information superhighway is a new feminist frontier. It is an emerging ideological space in and around which the politics of gender relations and identities are being revisited and where new opportunities for renegotiating gendered power relations exist. As I will show, these are dangerous opportunities; and while I do not want to exaggerate their potential, I do want to stress the importance of feminist educational work in cyberspace. This chapter has three purposes: (1) to demonstrate that dominant and dominating forms of masculinity are being reinscribed in and around cyberspace but that so, too, are other masculinities; (2) to make the case that if feminist educators focus too myopically on these reassertions of masculinity, then they are likely to miss new opportunities; and (3) to argue that overstating these opportunities is also dangerous and that attention must be paid to certain contextual factors which cast a shadow over feminism in cyberspace and which must be part of a feminist educational agenda. Let me begin with a little background about the information superhighway itself.