Masthead CMC Magazine / March 1, 1996

Gender Without Bodies

by Mindy McAdams

My body is here, but my mind is --there. I have no body out there, in that nonplace where I get and send email and visit other people's home pages.

If I have no body there, no one need know I'm female. There aren't many places I can go where no one notices that I'm a woman (a fact that puts me in danger in certain situations). Maybe hiding my gender online would be a good idea.

There's a big difference between hiding my gender and choosing to be a man. But do I need to hide my gender? Is it possible that I can be entirely without gender? (And if it is, would I want to be?) Online, gender is a matter of choice -- but there are more than two choices.

Is it really possible to separate mind and body to that extent? If my body is female, isn't my mind also female? The aspect in which this may seem most difficult to argue is any discussion of ideas about bodies, and there the concept of the cyborg may be helpful. [TOC]


Mindy McAdams ( is an independent consultant on information design. She holds an M.A. in media studies from the New School for Social Research, and she has worked for The Washington Post and Time magazine.

Copyright © 1996 by Melinda J. McAdams. All Rights Reserved.

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