Masthead CMC Magazine / January 1, 1996

* A Plea for Understanding--Beyond False Dilemmas on the Net, by Charles Ess

What We Now Know About Women and Men on the Net

Before we can see the implications of Habermas's discourse ethics for the question of speech and its possible restrictions--we need to consider how communication, including communication in CMC environments, may be gendered.

A common claim for the Internet and CMC is that these environments will promote greater equality in communication, including greater gender equality. The argument is that because the electronic environment masks the usual social cues of status, hierarchy, and gender, users' discourse will be taken on its own merits rather than prejudged according to existing social conventions and prejudices.

On first blush, the argument is plausible. But -- studies by Susan Herring show differently.

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