chapter  18
13 Pages

“Stephanie Is Wired: Who Shall Turn Him On?”

ByTRUDY BARBER

In order to do this I describe online and offline participation of informants who were active mainly from the UK Fetish community (the Fetish Scene) at around the turn of the millennium. I show that this specialist private group is embedded in a particular fetishism for information and communications gadgetry, consumerism, and transgender play; where the body is accessed through a multiplicity of customized and personally built servers and invasive devices; and where identity and the performance of gender are transformed by a select invited audience of those participating both offline and online in a “private” sexual game. In exploring this sexual game I aim to look at the pursuit of arousal as a focus influencing the passion for collecting technological objects that appear to enhance credibility and kudos for certain individual identities within the group setting. In this sense, I argue that the technology itself becomes both the object of desire and

consequently also the “fetish tool” that enables the users and participants to explore notions of gender, identity, and intimacy.This is achieved through participating in what appears to be various degrees of physical separation in synchronous online and offline events that also appear to collapse time and space through instantaneous broadband connections. I will also suggest that developing communications technology has a large part to play in influencing our ever evolving sexual appetite, and that this is changing the way culture and society consumes sex and sexuality through converging media strategies; thus redefining our attitudes to contemporary notions of love and intimacy through the expression of online and offline identities experienced as actual physical sensation combined with notions of the virtual.This will contribute to what has been described in post-feminist discussion surrounding developing technologies “as fundamentally challenging traditional notions of gender identity” (Wajcman 2009).