The Girl's Relationship Lessons

I would rather entertain and hope people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained.
~ Walt Disney

Ok, I know there are tons of books out there and they spout most of what I'm writing. I've read these books, rolled my eyes and said "Yeah, right, not me." There is a lot of truth behind those books and whether we believe them at the time or not, well I for one got caught up in it.

1) If a guy says he's incapable of love: Believe him! I spent over a year and a half hearing this line and refused to believe it. I thought it was baloney. It wasn't. No matter what I would do wasn't going to change his mind. He wasn't ready for a relationship and had told me straight out that he wasn't. I was too focused on making him care for me I missed the most obvious hint that it wasn't worth my time.

2) In no way shape or form does anyone have the right to call you demeaning names. The one exception to this might be is if you agree to kinky stuff in the bedroom, but that's your prerogative. I for one did not need my self-esteem shattered by being calling a slut and a whore by someone I wasn't dating. If someone needs to belittle you; you're better off on your own.

3) When there is a perpetual need for you to cover every bill that comes your way when in a committed relationship. I'm not saying that the girl can't cover dinner and household expenses. I firmly believe in the 50/50 trying to not overwhelm the other person with financial responsibility, but if a pattern forms that it isn't so 50/50 more like 100% on your shoulders it's time to reevaluate.

4) Waiting is worth it! There are so many little compromises a person makes in relationships. Soon you start writing off things just to stay with someone. Well... he smokes and I don't, but as long as it's outside, I guess it's not that bad... WRONG! If you don't like something there is no reason to sweep it under the rug just to stay with someone. It's just blinding you to possible bigger faults. There are actually people out there that match your values out there and it may take some digging to find them and, yes heartbreak along the way, but trust me: IT IS AMAZING when you don't have to overlook things that irritate you just so you can be with someone. (Not saying there is no compromise, just not to the point that it whitewashes everything and makes you question your values)

5) Do not degrade yourself. When you find yourself in the bank office bawling your eyes out because your significant other did not follow though with promises and they are threatening to take away your car to the point your grandparents have to step in, or your begging friends and family for money: It is time to open your eyes. This was a major thing toward the end of the Girl Meets Boy saga but it goes beyond panhandling. There are a lot of weird requests out there. Especially after a bad break-up it is easy to lose self-respect. Yes, you do things that you would not do in your normal frame of mind.

However, have enough respect for yourself to draw the line on things that could truly harm you or degrade you. Among these: crying and begging someone to stay with you when they've made it clear your just a sex toy to them (they aren't going to change their mind and you just made yourself out to be a needy fool), giving into odd sexual fantasies of a partner that put you to shame (You have every right to say no to things you are not comfortable with) Obsessing/Stalking (You don't need to know what they are doing every moment of the day anymore than they need to know about you)

If for any reason the person you are with has issue with you denying something that you're not comfortable with, take a moment to look at the overall and decide if the person is worth being with.

Happy but Worried Girl

When you are in love you can't fall asleep because reality is better than your dreams.

~Dr. Seuss

Today is a momentous day for me. Six months ago I made contact with the one person in the world who turned my view on life and love around. Happy Anniversary Love!

I apologize for not keeping up with the blog. Season hit and after running around at work coming home and thinking of posts has become difficult. Correction, sitting down and putting it down on the keyboard is difficult. I swear I have had about thirty post topics flit through my mind only to escape to the recesses of subconscious when I get my motivation up enough to do something about it.

I watched a documentary about Heavy Metal recently and in it Dee Snyder of Twisted Sister was telling a story about how one day he was sitting by the pool trying to write the next "We're Not Going to Take It" and found that he couldn't do it. His life had turned around with all the success that writing about rebellion and scrapping by was really hard. I understood the concept when I watched it, but now I can relate. I have lost focus of where Broken Girl was supposed to go. I plan to return on track and continue the stories that I started to tell. I apologize for my procrastination.

I must pose this question because of something happening with one of my friends has me puzzled. Is it possible to fall headlong in a long-distance relationship with someone? If you are not near the person, can you have a true romance and be angry or surprised if it fails? And if you are in such, or trying to maintain such, a relationship: How much contact is acceptable? I know there are times in close distant relationships where it seemed like I was in almost constant contact/checking in status with the other person, I don't even know where you begin to decide such lines in a cross-country affair...

Washer Girl

We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.
~ Charles Kingsley
I went to the laundromat today. Seemingly a mundane task, and do not get me wrong, I do not mind doing laundry, I just do NOT like paying for it. For this reason, I usually will load everything into the car and drive 150 miles to my dad's house to hang out with him and just as importantly get clean socks. Of course this is based upon a schedule that usually does not allow me two days off in a row, so my time as a Victoria's Secret cashier is still paying off since I (in theory) do not need to laundry for a minimum of a month and a half. Plus, I am no longer allowed to do it because I spend too many quarters...
But I highly doubt you want to know the details of my clothing, that really is not the topic of today's blog. It is the conversation I had while in the laundromat with an elderly lady. I inherited my Dad's ability to talk to strangers; even though I have a phobia of telephones. This gift is how I can be in a buffet line and learn about the pancake maker's eighteen month old son. There really is one topic most everyone wants to or is able to talk about and that is themselves. How many personal blogs (Broken Girl included) are out there for crying out loud?
The thing is does anyone listen? We spend so much time wrapped up in ourselves or the false lives of TV/movie/book characters or tabloid section that do we never look at our neighbor, our close friends, our own family to find out what it is that makes them tick.
The lady today is eighty years old. Her husband and she are from a state away but are staying at a local campground. They are staying for the rest of the year because the husband has to do dialysis three times a week and it is easier to get it near here than back home, and they enjoy being around here. They have a large family with multiple grandkids and great-grandkids.
They have lost one son and still speak with his wife and she would move up here to be with them if she could get a job around here. The kids come up every weekend to bring the mail and check on them. How great is that? So much love in the family, so much life lived! She had to ask her daughter just how long she (the lady I was speaking with) and her husband had been married because she remembered her fiftieth anniversary but the ones that followed just blurred.
For all of this though, both she and her husband are ready to die at any time. They just want to go to sleep and never wake up. They have lived a good life and even in the hard times came through it. There is nothing more they want to do.
I am glad I got to speak with this lady, whom I do not even have a name for, it got me thinking of how many stories each person has and how many get lost because no one listens.

The Girl has an Announcement

Being married doesn't make you happy; it makes you married.

~Marian Jordan from Wilderness Skills for Women:How to Survive Heartbreak and Other Full Blown Meltdowns

I have to say that that book is one of my all time favorites. It helped a lot when I felt very lost. Marian Jordan has a lot of of good Christian Inspirational/ Self-Help books, what makes them so great? She's human! Her writing style is compelling and sincere. A number of self-help or Christian books seem so doom and gloom. The writer does not care about the reader.
This is not the case with Marian Jordan. Her other books include Sex and the City Uncovered: Exposing the Emptiness and Healing the Hurt and The List: Figuring Out Prince Charming, the Corner Office and Happily Ever After. She also started Redeemed Girl ministries (HTTP:// and I must admit, that she is part of the reason I started Broken Girl/Fractured World.
However, that a book review is not the purpose of this entry. I just want to apologize that I have been on a sort of writing hiatus the last couple weeks. School ended (4.0 semester!) work is getting busy (despite the rain) and I have been discussing things thoroughly with the the love of my life and am incredibly happy to announce:

Essay Girl #2

I present to you in a form suitable to the relationship I wish to achieve with you.
~Luigi Pirandello

Within the Public Eye
It is safe to assume that millions of electronic transactions take place on a daily basis. The banking system thrives on debit cards that allow the consumer easier access to their funds without withdrawing the physical bills and coins from their account. When looking at the receipts the merchant is taking it at face value that the money will be transferred to them. No longer is society dependant on a tangible thing such as paper currency. Checks work along the same principle that the value written on it is the value to be paid. There is no longer any need for physical contact in order for a transaction to take place.
The same principle can now be applied in social media. How? Online a person can present themselves however they deem fitting and it is up to the individual viewing the words to form a picture and determine if it is true or false. This is where persona becomes open to interpretation. Not only does the information presented become part of the deciding factor in believing someone, the prejudices and personality of the reader come into play.
In the article “Written in Blood”, Adi Kuntsman describes a scene that played out over a bulletin board, the members of which were Russian-speaking gays, lesbian, bisexuals, and transgendered who live in Israel. This particular thread is of note because so much is wrapped in it. Real World politics come into play when a new member joined the discussion. The user name of the new individual was “Daughter of Palestine” and her place of residence was listed at “occupied Palestine”. Most of the members of the site were Israeli or Russian in origin and began to question the new user’s validity. Due to the fighting in the area most were against her and suddenly a good majority of time was spent trying to decipher the origin of “Daughter of Palestine”. It became overly important to label her as a fraud and discredit her because of her heritage. After all, to most users of the site anyone claiming Palestinian descent was naturally a liar because of the racial bias of the area. The board users were accustomed to like points of view coming from others on the board and Daughter of Palastine challenged those views not only with her presence, but by presenting arguments to the contrary. (Kuntsman, 2008)
This is an extreme case of not believing what is presented, even when the user asserted her position, Daughter of Palastine had to prove herself over and over again. Doing so in a very tactful and educated way, until another user ‘borrowed’ her identity and started writing things that countered what the original said. Whether there really was a clone or if it was the first user playing around was never determined, and in the end the entire board was left more confused than when the thread started. (Kuntsman, 2008)
The example of “Written in Blood” shows what happens when a user is looked upon in suspicion. Due to the region and the politics it is understandable that such a thing could happen. However, one can be too trusting of information presented online.
A close friend of mine was using Internet dating sites. He met a woman that he grew very close to. She lived in a neighboring state so much of their conversations were done via telephone or e-mail. The two of them were becoming closer with each exchange. He went so far as to cancel a career opportunity because it would move him too far away from her; then, he asked to meet with her.
At this point the woman became very hesitant and uncooperative with information. She started telling my friend she was diagnosed with cancer and was not up for visitors or that the dates coincided with treatments. The stories became more and more grandiose as he tried to get closer to her. She kept him at arm’s length. Eventually, her stories collided and he found out the truth.
This woman was married, twice the age she claimed to be, and used her daughter’s photograph as a profile picture. She had drug my friend’s heart through a lot and left him unsure of where he stood in anything. He had opened himself up for this person only to have her make a fool of him. (interview, 2010)
It should not be overly surprising to see that in a 2007 survey done by Advertising Age that 61% of participants believed that online profiles are exaggerated. (Wheaton, 2007) As in the case of my friend there are people out there who lie and use the Internet deceptively toward their own ends.
This is not to be interpreted that everything presented in a profile is false. It just shows that some online profiles are exaggerated, or as one survey participant put it:
"As an avid Facebook user, I can fully attest that Facebook does not honestly reflect who we (college students) are; in fact, I would argue that it is the main reason we continue to use Facebook. We may start out using it as a social medium for connecting to friends, but the truth is, by the time we're that far in, we're hooked on the fact that it's about ourselves more than anything. … it’s entertainment that allows us to be as important and cool as we always thought we should be." (Wheaton, 2007)
This is a major point to be made: the Internet allows the individual to market themselves in ways the previously were unavailable. Unlike before, a writer can reach a mass audience through a web log or podcast. What had started as a few technophiles posting user-generated content, jumped to almost 48 million people or 35% of users in 2005. There is now a tool that allows people to express their thoughts, and thanks to small groups of followers, a blogger can feel the success that eludes them in real life. It is important to remember that this does not mean fame and fortune outside cyberspace. (Bulk, 2006)
As the amount of information expands a paradox begins to form in regards to privacy. The more information an individual places online, the more that individual becomes known. In regard to social networking sites, this becomes a concerning issue. When initializing a profile the sites ask for details ranging from name to birth date to hometown and contact information. It is important to remember how much this information opens an individual to the public realm. In addition, anonymity is removed with a picture. (Taraszow, et al., 2010) It is more concerning when viewed from the standpoint that younger users are disclosing this information without concern of consequences.
The case of the Sanders family in Washington state is just one example. The family had posted an ad on Craigslist to sell a diamond ring. They then arranged a meeting with a buyer in their home to view the ring. After everything was agreed upon three associates of the buyer came into the house and proceeded to ransack the house looking for other valuables. They then started to beat the wife and oldest child, at which point the husband tried to defend his family and was fatally shot. Thankfully, three of the four assailants have been arrested.(King 5, 2010)
Sadly, this is not the only story like this and serves as a warning. In no way are such acts new, but now it is easier to release personal data and open oneself up to become a possible target.
Online someone is always watching and when that is kept in mind there is a shift in the personality of the one posting. Just as a person shifts their demeanor when in public, a person changes their methods of conduct online. In their study, Gonzales and Hancock, (2008) studied the writings and a view of people’s personality when they thought they were writing on a public blog versus a text document. A shift in personality was clearly noted in this process. When the participant thought others were going to see the material, they were more extroverted in their statements. They were much more optimistic and open with details.
With the appearance of optimism and the details provided from users, we learn that Cyberspace is not going away and more information will be viewable as time goes along. Therefore, as a society those using it are becoming more aware of being watched and presenting themselves in a more public way. Could a shift back to etiquette be a possibility? This is not probable; however, when made aware that others are watching it is more likely that a person will think twice before posting something and reconsider the validity of the information they view.
Even though friendships can be formed online that would not develop without the Internet; the personality and human factor remain. Not everyone using the Internet is friendly. As in the case of my friend, he met with a liar who toyed with him for her own amusement; but, there are those who use message boards and network sites to find victims. ‘Don’t talk to strangers’ is what most parents tell children in the real world and then proceed to break that rule online. The Internet is not a safeguard from bad things happening to an individual; it is a tool that can be used positively or negatively depending on the personality and desire of the user. The same concept applies to every user out there which needs to be kept in mind each time a post is created or read. The individual needs to be aware of dangers that come with posting, while looking at how they present themselves to others. In this way it is no different than in the world outside of Cyberspace.

Works Cited
Gonzales, Amy L., and Jeffrey T. Hancock. "Identity Shift in Computer-Mediated Environments." Media Psychology 11.2 (2008): 167-85. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 1 May 2010. .
King 5 News, comp. "Craigslist Murder Victim Widow: 'This Was an Evil, Evil Act'" [Edgewood, Washington] 5 May 2010. Print.
Kuntsman, Adi. "Written In Blood." Feminist Media Studies 8.3 (2008): 267-83. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 1 May 2010. .
"Past Experience With Online Dating." Personal interview. 5 May 2010.
Snyder Bulik, Beth. "Web Celebs Leverage Their Online Identities." Advertising Age 6 June 2006: 6. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 1 May 2010. .
Taraszow, Tatjana, Elena Aristodemou, Georgina Shitta, and Yiannis Laouris. "Disclosure of Personal and Contact Information by Young People in Social Networking Sites: An Analysis Using Facebook Profiles as an Example." International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics 6.1 (2010): 81-101. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 1 May 2010. .
Wheaton, Ken. "What You Say." Advertising Age 5 Nov. 2007: 4. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 6 May 2010. .

Insight Girl

It is very easy to forgive others their mistakes. it takes more gut and gumption to forgive them for having witnessed your own.
~ Jessamyn West

Today would equal one of those days that should be shelved in a dark corner and never reflected upon again. It started really well. Then I checked my banking account and had to run out the door to deposit money because I had once again neglected things and gone red so thanks to the wonderful man in my life I was able to save myself from another fee for today.

Then I went to work. It was a typical day, the rain keeping a good portion of customers at bay. Curses on fair weather riders! Curses I say! This was only moderately bad. I was still kicking myself for the overdraft and not watching carefully. I've been insanely good for the last two years to the point of paranoia when it comes to the check book.

Then the call came in. I had ordered and sent off the wrong part to a customer. I felt so bad and had mucked everything up. Two points to this: one the customer assured me it was okay, he works in public relations and is used to this on a daily basis and he hoped I was not going to get in trouble with my manager and two, my manager basically looks at things as 'we are human, we make mistakes, apologize, fix, move on'.

What does this tell us? Everyone involved is okay with the situation and it has been resolved to everyone's satisfaction. So why do I continue to kick myself? Why does it bother me so much that I goofed and fixed a problem?

Maybe the conversation I had with a parental unit after work sheds some light. After explaining that I made a mistake and how I made said mistake, confusing model years and models, I get a reply of: What's going on? Why aren't you concentrating hard enough?

Really? Does it matter that I had actually fixed my initial mistake of almost ordering for a FLTR instead of a FLHX before the order was processed? No. Does it matter that the particular binder that I was looking at has 3 model years in it separated only by a sheet of orange paper? No. I should have been on top of it from the start.

This brief conversation shed so much light on things. I have always strove to do beyond what is humanly possible because one slip up gets just the slightest comment of criticism and it spirals me downward. I wonder how many people realize how off handed supposedly helpful/probing questions really rock people from their place of security...

The Girl Pays Tribute: Audrey Hepburn

I never think of myself as an icon. What is in other people's minds is not in my mind. I just do my thing.
~Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn was born May 4, 1929. I can think of very few actors or actresses that can or could match the beauty and grace that Audrey portrays on the silver screen. Her waif like look and classy demeanor just make her one of the most beautiful people to have lived.

But there was so much more to this woman! Her filmography includes 31 stunning films. Among which are Funny Face, My Fair Lady, and Breakfast at Tiffany's. She retired at the top of her game in the late 1960s, although she did do an occasional film in the following decades.

Yet, the masterpieces she left on film are nothing compared to the compassion and grace she had off the screen. In 1988, Audrey became a special ambassador to the United Nations UNICEF fund helping children in Latin America and Africa, a position she retained until 1993, when she passed away January 20th from appendicular cancer.

I was born with an enormous need for affection, and a terrible need to give it.
~Audrey Hepburn

The Girl's Over a Quarter Century Old!!!

I don't want to wake up half a century older; wanting to be a quarter century new.
~ Jimmy Newquist of Caroline's Spine

May 4th marks the beginning of the next quarter of my life! Yes, I ran around last year going on about being a quarter century old. Funny thing Dad was saying the same thing. I am certain most 25 year olds do not run around saying this...

So what does this mean? It's just a day after all. Well it is MY day! Birthdays return me to the mentality of a five year old. I get overly giddy and excited and can't wait for what the day will bring. I think this has to do with it being one of the few 'holidays' that does not have some form of negative connotation surrounding it. I have spent the last week overdosing on suspense.

Mind you, I have had what amounts to a week of celebrations. The boyfriend took me to the House on the Rock last week because I have wanted to go for so long. Yesterday he took me to see The Lion King. It was amazing! I got attacked by a giraffe, we were REALLY close to the stage. Because I have been so over eager, he moved tomorrow's events to tonight. Part of this is because he has Monday nights off and wouldn't have to rush everything between my getting done with work and him going to work. I think it was also because he feared I had let my expectations get a little too high and out of control and was uber afraid I'd be disappointed. What he does not know is, I do this all the time! I get bouncy excited about things and create insane possible outcomes. I know I do this and for that reason and rarely am surprised when reality does not match the fantasy. It comes from overactive imagination.

I think things are going well. I have taken to heart the lessons of the first 25 years and can dwell on them for a moment. I know what it is to be treated well by someone (finally), still learning to accept that I am allowed to be treated this way, the world will not end if I find happiness in some small way, speaking my mind and standing up for myself is far better than being a doormat, but class and grace will win out every time over selfishness and immaturity. I can take whatever life wants to throw at me and have the most kick ass support system a girl can ask for when I get out of the way and ask for help.

Really mind boggling fact, this means I have owned my bike half my life. I know some old school riders that can't even claim that! ~_^

Dreamer Girl

The feeling of inferiority rules the mental life and can be clearly recognized as the sense of incompleteness and unfulfillment, and in the uninterrupted struggle both of individuals and of humanity.

~Alfred Adler


Our unconsciousness is like a vast subterranean factory with intricate machinery that is never idle, where work goes on day and night from the time we are born until the moment of our death.

~Milton R. Sapirstein


The moon is high over the forest, but little light makes its way through the thick boughs of evergreens. The pack is running tonight. Their numbers are rarely the same sometimes seven, sometimes nine. It is always an odd number and they are never on the hunt. They are summoned.
The scene shifts. The shaman sits before a fire in a clearing. The smoke curls up into the inky blue night sky. A few stars are visible, but the shaman does not look up. He is waiting. He can hear the paws on the forest floor even at this distance.
The pack can sense they are close. They speed up managing to avoid every tree in their path, plunging through shallow streams effortless on their way to the shaman.
He waits patiently, never moving. Not even when they break into the clearing. The wolves study the shaman with disinterested yellow eyes. They do not wish to be here. Suddenly, the flesh begins to melt from the shaman and slowly his bones appear and he crumbles into nothing more than a heap of ivory.
Some of the pack begins to advance on the marrow filled treat. They may not be hunting, but they will not turn down such an invitation. Then those who do not wish to partake turn against their own to defend the bones. The defenders are often outnumbered and snarling and biting. If the succeed the shaman begins to regenerate. Slowly sinew and flesh knit together into a being. he takes a piece of burning wood from the fire and scares away the members of the pack that would have done him harm. Then he sits down with his defenders and the night fades away.
This was the dream I had over and over as a child. I usually woke up in a cold sweat when the shaman began to decay. It really was feature film quality. One night I forced myself to watch it all. That's when I found out about the pack dividing itself over the remains and the shaman's regeneration.
There always seems to be one dream that reoccurs to a person that is theirs to interpret. My dad had one with cats and spoiled milk; mine was the wolves.
I finally sat down and figured out what it all meant. Whether you believe in dream interpretation or not, I must say that I have only had the dream maybe twice after I figured out what it all meant. That's twice in near ten years after having it nightly or, at the very least weekly, as a young girl.
The shaman represented me as a whole. The pack: my self-image. The wolves that advanced on the bones were all my doubts and fears. Every part of me that beat me up and told me I was no good. That I should be swallowed hold and destroyed because there was no purpose for me. Every mistake I made in reality there was a voice in my head ready to devour me with criticisms. The defenders were that bit of confidence I always had, the last bit of hope. For a very long time that bit of me was outnumbered by the self-loathing. Finally, that part became stronger to the point it could overcome the adversary.
This dream was my mind's method of telling me to layoff myself. I needed to be scared witless in my sleep to see it, but eventually I did. I still hold myself to an overly high standard; just not nearly as bad as before. When I do start to get over bearing the dream will float to the front of my subconcious and remind me to back down for the time being.

Tourist Girl

We all have some taste or other, of too ancient a date to admit of our remembering that it was an acquired one.
~Charles Lamb

Sorry all for missing last week. Never found a moment alone with my keyboard. Classes are winding down and I should be focused on my last quizzes and papers, but right now I cannot. I am a week away from my birthday and as a present I was taken to the House on the Rock today.

I have spent the last four birthdays saying I will go to this attraction that has been practically in my backyard, just off the beaten path about 50 miles but close enough that there was no excuse. I'm sure that every place has that attraction that everyone that lives there knows about, yet never seems to get there. I was amazed at the number of people in Arizona that have never seen the Grand Canyon. It seems that if it's near you, you never go. Vacations are meant to get you away from the familiar, or if you're like my family, either set off for a destination and get lost or set off and get distracted by something else along the way.

So what is the House on the Rock? Just the most amazing example of what can go on in a visionary's head if left to their devices and allowed to follow through! This place is amazing! There's so much STUFF that you can't take it all in. I'm linking to the official site to get a better idea of things. This is a self-guided tour type thing. It is not a museum in the normal sense. The creator, Alex Jordan, collected things, and made a home for them on this rock. He created an entire house and incorporated the natural beauty of the area. There are trees growing out of the floor!

Far easier to just supply the info than babble:

During the 1940's, a man named Alex Jordan discovered a 60-foot chimney of rock in the beautiful Wyoming Valley. It was here he decided to build a house on the sandstone formation called Deer Shelter Rock. Jordan built the house as a weekend retreat and never intended it to be a tourist attraction. However, people kept coming to see the architectural wonder they had heard about. Jordan eventually started asking for 50 cent donations. That was only the beginning. The 14-room house is the original structure of what is now a complex of many buildings, exhibits and garden displays.

Alex was a collector all his life and enjoyed visiting museums; however, he did not want The House on the Rock to be a museum. He intended it to be much more than that. Though parts of the collections could have easily found their way into museums, The House on the Rock is more of a trip through the wild and fantastic imagination of Alex Jordan than a visit to a dusty, lifeless museum.

In December of 1988, Alex sold The House on the Rock to longtime associate Art Donaldson, a collector and a businessman who shared his broad interests. Alex remained at The House on the Rock as Artistic Director until his death on November 6, 1989. Art Donaldson continues to own The House on the Rock and builds on Alex's dream of expanding and entertaining visitors from all over the world. Alex continues to be in his own words, "Present but not voting".
(From: )

Why did I want to go here? Because I've heard about it for ages! This is one of the attractions my state has to offer that I've never gotten to see out side the 'Discover Wisconsin' programs on PBS that show the same footage year after year. Nothing can compare! In one morning/afternoon (it took us three hours to tour and one of the sections if closed right now even!) I got to see the world's biggest carousal (not a single horse head on it), a multitude of pneumatically control instruments so precisely designed to play that it knocks your socks off, the Infinity Room, a free standing hallway that is supported by one very thin cable, a very large squid fighting a whale, and learned a bit more about history.

I have a friend that has been going on about how crazy this guy had to have been to do this. I don't think she sees the full scope of it. There is a fine line between genius and crazy and in my opinion this is genius! This is what a person can do with initiative and drive. This is what can be done if you don't listen to what is supposedly normal. If someone were to try Alex Jordan's vision in today's world it wouldn't happen. Either the person would become discouraged because of everyone telling him/her that they are crazy or some major company would get involved breaking the enchantment. We tend to look down on people who follow their visions. Maybe the reasons is because too few people are willing to follow their own.

Essay Girl

You only live once- but if you work it right, once is enough.
~Joe E. Lewis
This is actually an essay I did for my Literature in Pop Culture Class. I am very thankful to Wilmaryad O'Scallas for his help in this paper and permission to use his words in this text. Not to mention assistance in the proofreading and editing. For more words from him, check out his blog: . The purpose of this paper was to identify a key component of life in this technological Internet age. I chose the concept of Identity on the Internet and how it is not necessarily such a form of escapism but a sense of true self. I lost 1 point on the project because I put on a cover sheet which is APA styling not MLA.
A Greater Sense of Self:
The Rise of True Identity Through the Internet
Who am I? is the question identity seeks to answer. It gives importance to the wielder who knows who they are and what they want. The Real World allows the formation of identity easily. The place where a person grows up, the people they surround themselves with are all factors to create a person. However, there is a part locked within that is still a part of the person but cannot be displayed for all the world to know. A sort of secret self that must remain hidden due to the social pressures of Real Life. The advent of the Internet, however, allowed for a greater sense of self and a place for the many facets of identity to shine brightly.
Initially the Internet was a form of escape. The user could log in and be who/what-ever they desired. Role-playing games are still an online pleasure and offer a chance to show off skills no longer available in the real world, such as the masculine man slaying hordes of demons. There is networking within the games and friendships are fostered. It is not the avatar that becomes known to other, but the person playing. (Roesler, 427)
Now there is a shift to this strategy. Instead of hiding one’s unacceptable traits, the Internet allows the creation of communities for those sharing the same interests or desires. The social pressures to establish and prove themselves real men is lifted from men, and women are allowed to get to know a person better before meeting them thanks to the Internet. (Roesler, 427) Individuals create themselves and are defined by others and this is what goes into the creation of identity, but how can identity be determined or measured?
Most research is staged. The participants know they are being watched. This means results will be inaccurate. Research has not been followed through as to how on-line identities emerge. (Giles, 465) It also takes time to establish one’s self within a community. The level of commitment to the research takes its toll and the research needs to use tiptoe around sensitive situations as to not implicate or prejudice themselves or the observed party. (McKenna, 62)
Web logs, or blogs, have become an integral part of the creation of identity. A new blog is created every second of every day. (Zamora) It is simple to create them and once the writer has made their point or wishes to dismiss the blog they can remove it or start another.
What has started this phenomenon? It is a need within the author. It allows the person to be the star of their own show. It also is a staging ground for identifying with others. When it comes to certain topics the Internet may be the only source to find like minded people. (Zamora)
This is true if the topic is especially controversial. There are blogs and newsgroups on nearly every topic from white supremacist to pro-anorexia to homosexuality. The Internet allows these people to gather. It also allows a place for those who do not have anywhere else to go.
As Wilmaryad O’Scallas, the author of the blog Gay Arab Guy put it:
I hate the word blog; it sounds awful. I write because there is no
way for me to express what's boiling inside me. I have distanced
myself from anybody who's ever called themselves a friend, because
most betrayed my trust or are simply gay-unfriendly.
Sharing my worries with my family is even more difficult. I live
in a Muslim Arab country where homosexuality is a dishonor that
threatens the tradition of honor preservation. So, even if my own
family is not very religious, they care about what people say.
Therefore, I can't simply confide in my mother or brothers when
I, for example, go through a heartache.
I write anonymously because I would be in trouble if somebody
who knows me happened to read my blog. In fact, if you are outed or
"unmasked" as being gay in my country, you can wish your peace
of mind goodbye.
(O’Scallas, interview 1/27/10)
Therefore, a more true personality is unleashed on the cyber world.
Of course, being open with one’s personality opens a larger risk of rejection. Haters emerge. These are people who disagree with the initial idea and ‘flame’ the author. Flaming is the use of abusive and often derogatory language toward another person. (Giles, 471) The anonymity, therefore, goes both ways. The author of the topic or thread has limited interaction with those who respond, and the flamer has the option of anonymity as well.
Whereas this situation may cause the individual to become more isolated and reclusive in Real Life, the online world allows a greater chance of support. Followers of a thread or blog can voice their opinion and often the flamer becomes flamed. (Giles, 471) The distance between people is suddenly narrowed; people living half a world away can now communicate and show support.(Talamo, 110) Research has also shown that the relationships formed on the Internet are real and many have reported that the online friends are just as important as those they see daily. (McKenna, 72)
One need only look to the article by Allucquere Rosanne Stone regarding case of Julie Graham/Sanford Lewin. Those within the social group that considered Julie a real person and loved her as a friend were crushed when they found out about the deception. (123-141) The human set of emotions does not necessarily need to meet or be near a person to form a bond.
The use of the Internet to shift personality and identity is also high. It is hard to change a Real Life personality. When friends, family, or co-workers see a shift in persona they can easily veto the change. Because of this rejection the person will revert to the way they were. The experiment has failed. (McKenna, 60)
However, in the Virtual World, new social scenes are established. In the process self-concept is allowed to change. The stereotypes that plague an individual in the real world are no longer enforced. The slate is wiped clean, so to speak.
The boundaries blur though, if a person enters a meaningful discussion online and finds the effects positive, more of those traits will show off-line. (Talamo, 111)
No matter the mask, the reality behind the person shows through. Hiding from inner truths is very difficult and the character has to be perfect in order for it to be maintained. This, however becomes consuming and, just as positive traits can change a person, negative ones can surface and create a new identity.
Mr. Bungle’s explanation of his actions in Julian Dibbell’s A Rape in Cyberspace : “I engaged in a bit of psychological device… It was purely sequence of events with no consequence on my RL existence.(167)” may seem to argue against the point of this paper, but it cements an aspect. There is a part within every person that they bring forward in the online world they would never do in Real Life. There are hidden desires that make up the identity and cannot be expressed. This is what was meant by a greater sense of self.

Works Cited
Dibbell, Jullian. "A Rape in Cyberspace." CyberReader. Joseph Opiela, 2005. 155-77. Print.
Giles, David. "Constructing Identities In Cyberspace: The Case of Easting Disorders." British Journal of Social Psychology 45.3 (2006): 463-77. Academic Search Complete. Web. 22 Jan. 2010.
McKenna, Katelyn, and John A. Bargh. "Plan 9 From Cyberspace: The Implications of the Internet for Personality and Social Psychology." Personality & Social Psychology Review 4.1 (2000): 57-75. Academic Search Complete. Web. 22 Jan. 2010.
O'Scallas, Wilmaryad. "Blogging in the Dark: Necessity of Anonymity." Online interview. 26 Jan. 2010.
Roesler, Christian. "The Self in Cyberspace." Journal of Analytical Psychology 53.3 (2008): 421-36. Academic Search Complete. Web. 22 Jan. 2010.
Rosanne Stone, Allucquere, ed. "In Novel Conditions: The Cross-Dressing Psychiatrist." CyberReader. Joseph Opiela, 2005. 123-41. Print.
Talamo, Alessandra, and Beatrice Ligorio. "Strategic Identities in Cyberspace." CyberPsychology & Behavior 4.1 (2001): 109-22. Academic Search Complete. Web. 22 Jan. 2010.
Zemora, Dulce. "How Blogs Have Changed The World." WebMD - Better information. Better health. 24 Apr. 2010. Web. 24 Jan. 2010. .

Biker Girl

All of us are watchers - of television, of time clocks, of traffic on the freeway- but few are observers. Everyone is looking, not many are seeing.
~Peter M. Leschak
It's spring!!! Finally. Well, hopefully, there have been snow flurries this week around here and I know there have been downright blizzards elsewhere, but by the sunshine streaming in the window I'm calling it spring and I'm going for a ride today!
I finally got my battery for my bike and it is time to ride. Problem is I have 150 mile drive before I can throw a leg over the saddle. This is kind of sad, but my apartment does not have a garage so Dad's is the safest place for my Black Angel.
There is one thing I am very thankful for and it is that Dad did not discriminate. He had always said that if he had boys they would have had Harleys when they turned thirteen; he had girls instead and Sis and I both got them. It is the most freeing experience to be out on the road and the sights seen can blow your mind. Officially, I have owned my bike half my life once my birthday hits in May, but I have not had a chance to log very many miles. Of course, if you look at the number of test rides and Dad's bikes I have become a pretty fair rider. A long way from running circle in the backyard.
So, today will be my first ride of the season!

(Yes, she is using her air cleaner cover to apply mascara)

The Caption of this Photo: Do this, Do that, Blah, Blah, Blah.

Saved Girl

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Colossians 4 v 12&13

It is the Easter season. I have mentioned before my religious background and it amazes me the relationship I kept with God while I had so many issues with the clergy. However, I never continued the story. I stopped going to church after my Confirmation (I am Lutheran so this was age 14-ish. It was actually the day before my birthday. So double party and presents!) When I moved to Arizona for school I found a church down there that helped keep me sane.

I saw a shift in the message. It was no longer force feeding me the laws of the Bible, but the ideas of Jesus' lessons. It is these lessons that make a world of difference. I had lived my life trying to adhere to archaic laws that are near impossible to follow. I was still missing the point though.

When I moved back home I did not seem t have time for church. It was only after the relationship with my ex ended and I was two-hundred miles from home that I decided to go back. That was where the above verses were brought to my attention.

I had it all so very wrong. I did not need to try so hard for forgiveness. I was forgiven! God had cleansed me long before my birth by sacrificing His Son! How did I go through so many years of Christian education and miss the most important message? I was missing the compassion part hardcore and it was not toward other people, but toward myself.

I still hold myself to an almost unreachable high standard. I feel no one else will hold me accountable if I do not and it is silly. Dad always tells me to 'let go and let God' and so far every time that I do, it has lead to the best parts of my life.

So this Easter season, as the chocolate bunnies are loosing their ears, take a moment to think about the other meanings to this day. I have my one and only Easter decoration out, an Easter bunny hand-sewn by my Great-Great Aunt Marie, who I last saw the Easter before she passed away.(Amazing woman,96 years old, she and Uncle Herbert were married 72 years!)

I know my readership is varied, that my religious views are not shared by everyone, and by no means am I out for conversion, I merely tell my story.

So today marks Good Friday, the day my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ died upon the cross. It is a symbolic marking considering the date changes every year and it seems to have snuck up on my this year. On Sunday the celebration of the Resurrection takes place and I will raise my voice to shout: He is Risen!

He is Risen, Indeed!

Poetry Girl #2

The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved...the ones who never yawn and say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.
~Jack Kerouac

Admittedly, I am kind of copping out this week. Spring showed her head for a couple of days and work has been 'balls to the walls' as it were. One thing about being in a season driven field of employ is that once the season hits it hits HARD! In the process a lot of things have hit the back burner, which included a paper for one class due last Friday that, thankfully, was extended to this Friday. Yup, I got next week's reading done before I did last week's writing. Explain that one! But that class has nothing more this week and my other class is exploring poetry. So in an attempt to gear myself up to the thought of writing a sonnet. (I am clueless, any pointers much appreciated) I am looking at some really old journals and putting up some old poems. A good portion may have been written in high school if not earlier.

Passing By

Raised voices with hurtful words
Resentful thoughts left unsaid
And I am left broken and confused
Everything I could want is in you,
But everything I need is left unseen.
Why have things changed?
We were meant to meet by chance.
Life hasn't been boring since.
Creditors are knocking and bills are piling
We have each other that should be enough.
Waiting for things to get better,
But not changing ourselves.
Nothing will change if we don't
Time has passed but life needn't pass us by

(Really, really glad that the person this was originally written for a)never saw it and b)is no longer in my life)

Wondering Why

Don't wonder why
Why I'm so serious...
Why I can't take a joke...
Why I'm angry...
The reason is simple...
No one understands
the complexity of me.
No one has offered
a shoulder to cry on.
an ear to listen with.
a heart to love me.
No one has broken the shell
I protect myself with.
No one has been there
to open up to.
No one has tried to understand
I can accept that.
Just don't judge me and wonder why.

(I find it interesting how true this still feels to this day. I have a very great set of friends that let me be myself but even among them I swear they only see certain facets of the whole)

Thoughts of Myself

Always wandering
Ever wondering
Thorough my consciousness.
Reading, writing,
Always fighting
Against a fate
assigned me
at an earlier date...

Lost Mission

A lost mission
of seeking
What eludes my sight
A mission of seeking
what is not meant to be

Are the Real

The feelings we feel
The voices we hear
The wounds that don't heal
Will you tell me,
Are they real?

The lessons we learn
The emotions stirred
The fires that burn
Tell me, again,
Are they real?

The creature within
The powers unfold
The life we live
Please tell me,
Are they real!?

So a brief selection of older poetry for your entertainment pleasure, let me know what you think and if you know how to write a sonnet PLEASE inform me. I'm at a loss...

Medicated Girl

Man should not strive to eliminate his complexes, but to get in accord with them; they are legitimately what directs his contact in the world.

~Sigmund Freud

The human body is amazing. There are so many little things that need to function correctly in order to be healthy and normal. When just one thing is out of balance the entire works are in shut down mode. We are in a time when a pill is the save all; end all.

So many little chemicals are compressed into small pills and if the concoction is just a touch off a person can spiral out of control. It can take several attempts to find the proper mix can take time. Time that the person taking the medication may not have.

My own experiences in medicine are relatively tame. However, it was enough to mess me up. I do believe that part of the reason I had so much trouble coping with everything that happened with my Ex had to do with some prescription changes. I was one of those girls that ended up having to take birth control pills an insanely early age- thirteen. It was either that or face a minimum of half a month of discomfort. In other words it was regulatory more than preventive. At the time there was no reason for it to be preventative.

The main components of these pills are estrogen and progesterone. The two main female hormones. The balance of these two help regulate more than just the reproductive aspect of the body. The mind is influenced and even the changing of a name brand to a generic can hold an effect.

It took me several years to finally find the right cocktail of hormones that worked. I felt a normal for the first time in a long time, just in time to move out of state. In an effort to save some money, since her insurance was out, my mom sent me three months of generic pills. I was on these when I had the incident that mentioned in Bleeding Girl. I did not put two and two together quite yet.

I went back to the name brand and everything settled again. It seemed fine. A number years passed before I had to change.

I had seen a counselor that perscribed a very low dose anti-depressant. It was the least they could give and for awhile it covered the depression, but it was not fixing anything. I felt like I was walking in a cloud. There was a new aspect to reality and I was not caring enough about the important things. I took myself off of the pills shortly after I realized what was going on.

Another reason I was put on the pill was on the off chance that they would help with my migraines. I had done the whole MRI/Cat Scan deal to find out that 1) I am allergic to scan dye and have not had a normal nervous system since and 2) I have a small cyst on a gland in my head. I had not received the news from the neurologist before my regular doctor told me. Problem was he basically told me the wrong information. Saying he did not think it was serious but I should look online to find out more! Yes, I am serious, my doctor told me to go to the internet for medical advice! That was the last time I went to him.

Then I lost my job and could not afford the name brand pills anymore. I could not go to my doctor because I lost all trust in him and my nurse practioner had quit. I had a temporarily solution and that was getting state aid. The only thing I qualified for was the reproduction program. The easiest method of finding a doctor or filling the perscription was Planned Parenthood.

They would not give me my perscription. Evidentally, Planned Parenthood has very intense rules about what they can or cannot perscribe. It did not matter that I had been on the pill for ages and it worked, they did not want to be held liable should something happen. I was on a dual hormone pill and because of my family history they would not allow it to happen. I took the pill they gave me and spiralled out of mind again.

I could not adjust to the pill. To much stress was going on for a medication change. I stopped taking everything. It was fairly risky and I was lucky to not end up pregnant with this move. It was the first time in ten years that my body was functioning solely on its own chemical compounds. It was AMAZING! I could function. I was myself for the first time.

I maintain the medicine free lifestyle. The most I take is the occasional antibiotic or Tylonal and after visiting a chiropractor my migraines are all but gone. I realized that my behavior was influenced by the chemicals levels, but I feared the potential of pregnancy and had to do something. There are very few options for non-hormonal birth control. I decided against going back on pills and settled for the one thing the state program would cover. However, once again I was failed by a doctor who did not use the correct IUD so I did end up with a slight hormone dose. Thankfully, it is light enough and direct enough that my mind can now work and I do not have the fears.

The Girl Takes a Step Back

Biographies are but the clothes and buttons of the man - the biography of the man himself cannot be written.

~Mark Twain

I love Twain. I think today's society lacks someone of his wit. Someone willing to say it as it is and everyone will except it because of who the source is. His fame did not change him really. There is a reason this quote stuck out this week though.

Last week's post caused a bit of trouble for me. Not horrendous trouble but it made me think about how I'm conveying things and how they are perceived. Truly the written word is a wonderful thing and is what elevates us in the hierarchy of creation, but there are certain things that only the vocal exchange of words can clarify. My boyfriend reads my blog. I guess that is now a past tense *read*.

Some of the things I said came across a bit stronger than I had intended, and it cast doubts on our situation. Something I desperately did not wish to do. I offered to stop Broken Girl to avoid hurting him or causing anymore misunderstandings. He told me to keep writing, but that he would stop reading and have me tell him everything myself.

There is a reason that I am posting this. This was the first time I came close to hurting someone with my words and I caution my dear readers to think of possible implications that may arise from their words. I have known that some of my content should certain people (mostly my parental units) read it could blow up in my face, but I never foresaw that I could jeopardize my relationship with a rare and wonderful man.

I am not the same girl that stars in most of the posts. She was a fragile, broken creature that I glued back together. The current Girl is stronger and learned. I just wish to impart the hard truths that I learned along the way to finding this, hopefully, happy beginning.

And if he does read this I hope he knows: I love you, baby!


Andrea Leigh

Girl Meets Boy The Final Act

Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experience.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

As said, I had promised to be done with him after the move. The job looked good and life was starting to get back to where it should be. I had to give in and claim bankruptcy or I would never recover but that one setback was not as bad as the last three years had been. Then he showed up.
He had been calling and I was trying to get him to go away, but there is still that part of your heart that says 'it can work'. Even when I knew we were long past it being good or healthy, I decided to give it a try. I was not dealing with the slacking anymore though. He had to contribute to the household. The fights during this time were worse than before. This coupled with having to lie about even talking to him, much less seeing him, made me a not good person to be around.
He started going out. The town we moved to was not very big. A major highway did run through it, but the downtown was pretty much abandoned to the locals. He made friends with some prison guards that lived around the area. He sold his car to one of them so he'd have some cash and bought another piece of crap car that had a million problems with it and came begging for money to fix it.
Again, he could not find a job.
The fighting intensified and there really was no spark left. I was miserable. He suggested moving in with one of his friends, the one who had bought the car. He thought that things could be worked out if we were apart. This did not sound like a bad idea.
I came home from work one day to an empty apartment. He was not there. His things were not there. I thought nothing of it, until I noticed something else was missing: the PS2 was gone. I am not sure if I mentioned this, but my ex loved to pawn things, usually my things. If he needed money it was far easier to pawn something present than to *gasp* work for it. I called the friend he had said he would stay with and the guy had not seen him in over a week. I knew he was gone. No note on the table. Nothing indicating what was going on. He was just out of there.
I should have been thrilled! Instead, I was devastated. I feel really bad for the Movie Gallery attendant that night. I had just rented a couple of games for the night. I had no PS2 anymore and my boyfriend had left me. I was a sobbing mess. She kindly gave me my money back instead of making me keep the games or take an in-store credit.
It was a Friday or Saturday and I couldn't stay in the apartment. I went to the closest tourist trap, because it assured anonymity. I wanted to be around people, but not have to interact too much.
I am not a party person. I do not drink and before that night I had never set foot in a bar alone except when a band was playing. I got adopted by a crazy drunk lady and her boyfriend. We ended up playing pool. The jukebox was all over the place. One minute it was Metallica to AFI then out of nowhere: ABBA's dancing queen.
I could read the bouncer's expression and made a comment about the switch. He was impressed I knew who AFI was! We talked some more and I whined and told my whole story to him. He was a sympathetic ear and I foolishly thought something could come out of it. Things did go a lot farther than they probably should have, and certainly farther and quicker than I had ever done things before, but I was a woman scorned. I was hurt and angry and not in control of my emotions or much of anything else.
A week passed before the phone call came. My 'boyfriend'/ex/the loser who abandoned me called. He had left to find work back where I had met him and this was the first time he found a phone. Ummmm.... Is it just me or don't most cities have more than one phone and it should be relatively easy to find said device. I wasn't going to have it. I told him we were done. I had 'moved on'. He hung up.
Nothing else ever happened with the bouncer. We talked every week that he was working. In a way he was a friend or he took extreme pity on me or wondered what the hell he got himself into when he met me. Doesn't really matter sense it was just a learning experience and helped as a catalyst to officially end things.
So that should have been it. There were maybe two more contacts with my ex.Driving the last nail in to the coffin. I finally said enough of the stupidity and stopped contact. Last year I sent him an email though. I wanted to rub it in his face how good my life is now. What a great job I have and stress free. All because he isn't in my life. It was shallow and petty, but it felt good. He had switched phone companies and I still had and old phone for it that I agreed to send to him. I had no use for it, so why not?
I also still had some clothes and other things around. I threw them in the box too. It was over a year since we had broken up. Why did I have these things lying around? Then I found my necklace half. There is a necklace that I have always wanted to share with my chosen other; it is two entangled dragons that form a heart. The dragons seperate and each partner gets one. I dropped my half in the box and a huge weight lifted from me. This was it. The last piece that held attachment and it was going.
I inquired if he got the package a week or so later. Part of me hoped he would say something about the necklace or other things. Why would I expect such a level of thought out of him is beyond me. Instead, he complained that I had sent the wrong phone charger with the phone. I had just given him an $80 after all the crap he had put me through and all the things he had stolen and/or pawned on me and he was bitching about a $10 charger! Guess some things never change. I never sent him the right charger. Never contacted him again.
This past week I looked in my email and realized I still had emails from him from 2007. I deleted them all. Didn't even bother to look at a single one. I could wish it never happened, but it did. I fell to my lowest point because of him and if I hadn't I would never be where I am now. Life does turn around and when you hit bottom, you see how good it is to be on top. ^_^

Girl Meet Boy Act I've Lost Count...

When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hold on.

~Thomas Jefferson

It's amazing when life gives you light bulb moments. You know those times in cartoons when the main character has a brilliant (or not so brilliant) idea and the image of a light bulb pops above their head? That's what I got one morning. I woke up and realized I was wasting life.

I had this kick ass education and skills to boot, and what was I doing? I was working at Victoria's Secret for $7/hr part time hoping for a minimum of 20 hrs a week. I had a best friend who cooed her daddy into buying a condo and moved out on me taking that touch of income away. I had a boyfriend that didn't remotely deserve the title. Creditors were calling on the hour and I had spent the night before hysterically laughing into the phone at one of them while smashing my head against the wall. Literally. There is no metaphor in that. I was literally trying to reenact the scene in One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest minus the helmet.

So what did I have left to lose? My house was in foreclosure and all my fancy talk in court papers was stalling the inevitable. I couldn't afford it. The only payment I could keep up on was my car and I had $600 in tax return coming. I had nothing holding me in place. It was time to move on and hopefully get better. I called my tech school and demanded a list of every dealership in the Midwest that was hiring. I was going to get back in my field. I didn't care how far away it was I was going to make it happen.

I got the list made a call and was asked when I could come for an interview. I answered that if I could get the gas money I'd be there in two maybe three hours. That was how long the drive would be. I called Dad and he loaned me the money; because I have the most wonderful Dad in the world and because he believed in me even if he didn't agree with my choice in mate. He had every reason not to on both accounts.

I made the drive and had an interview. Then I sat back and waited.

Notice what most this post has circled around? Me. Where was the boy? He had decided to try for work back where we had moved from. He had conned a friendship and money from a woman who he had met online. The two of them went to Las Vegas to pick up the car that he had left there. She paid to have it repaired and they drove back. Took her husband a few weeks to think they may have been screwing around while I had thought it the moment the plan was mentioned. Funny, I really didn't care anymore.

Part of me wanted to claim to still be in love, but that was just a naive part that was too stubborn to give it up.

A week passed and I got the call. The job was mine. One problem, I had no money to move, nor in the time of my two week notice to VS did I find an apartment down there. In partial luck, my mom worked for a Super 8 and I spent a week living in a hotel on the employee discount rate. Paid for by my parents. The $600 was finally in the bank and that was moving money.

Part of the agreement of Dad's help was I was done with the boy. No contact was to be had. I should have left it at that. I received a call of needing money. The tax return was in a joint account. He would use it and have it back in place by the time I needed it to move. How stupid was I? He took the money and it wasn't return when promised.

I made the move thanks to a furious father who pleaded that the repayment a complete removal of interaction. I agreed, but there was one last act to follow...

Cyborg Girl

This would be the article that I was having a heck of a time understanding. I'm sure there was a much better way of posting than this, since it is so bloody long, but I'm claiming naivity.

Donna Haraway, "A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century," in Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (New York; Routledge, 1991), pp.149-181.



This chapter is an effort to build an ironic political myth faithful to feminism, socialism, and materialism. Perhaps more faithful as blasphemy is faithful, than as reverent worship and identification. Blasphemy has always seemed to require taking things very seriously. I know no better stance to adopt from within the secular-religious, evangelical traditions of United States politics, including the politics of socialist feminism. Blasphemy protects one from the moral majority within, while still insisting on the need for community. Blasphemy is not apostasy. Irony is about contradictions that do not resolve into larger wholes, even dialectically, about the tension of holding incompatible things together because both or all are necessary and true. Irony is about humour and serious play. It is also a rhetorical strategy and a political method, one I would like to see more honoured within socialist-feminism. At the centre of my ironic faith, my blasphemy, is the image of the cyborg.

A cyborg is a cybernetic organism, a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social reality as well as a creature of fiction. Social reality is lived social relations, our most important political construction, a world-changing fiction. The international women's movements have constructed 'women's experience', as well as uncovered or discovered this crucial collective object. This experience is a fiction and fact of the most crucial, political kind. Liberation rests on the construction of the consciousness, the imaginative apprehension, of oppression, and so of possibility. The cyborg is a matter of fiction and lived experience that changes what counts as women's experience in the late twentieth century. This is a struggle over life and death, but the boundary between science fiction and social reality is an optical illusion.

Contemporary science fiction is full of cyborgs - creatures simultaneously animal and machine, who populate worlds ambiguously natural and crafted.


Modern medicine is also full of cyborgs, of couplings between organism and machine, each conceived as coded devices, in an intimacy and with a power that was not generated in the history of sexuality. Cyborg 'sex' restores some of the lovely replicative baroque of ferns and invertebrates (such nice organic prophylactics against heterosexism). Cyborg replication is uncoupled from organic reproduction. Modern production seems like a dream of cyborg colonization work, a dream that makes the nightmare of Taylorism seem idyllic. And modern war is a cyborg orgy, coded by C3I, command-control-communication-intelligence, an $84 billion item in 1984'sUS defence budget. I am making an argument for the cyborg as a fiction mapping our social and bodily reality and as an imaginative resource suggesting some very fruitful couplings. Michael Foucault's biopolitics is a flaccid premonition of cyborg politics, a very open field.

By the late twentieth century, our time, a mythic time, we are all chimeras, theorized and fabricated hybrids of machine and organism; in short, we are cyborgs. Ths cyborg is our ontology; it gives us our politics. The cyborg is a condensed image of both imagination and material reality, the two joined centres structuring any possibility of historical transformation. In the traditions of 'Western' science and politics--the tradition of racist, male-dominant capitalism; the tradition of progress; the tradition of the appropriation of nature as resource for the productions of culture; the tradition of reproduction of the self from the reflections of the other - the relation between organism and machine has been a border war. The stakes in the border war have been the territories of production, reproduction, and imagination. This chapter is an argument for pleasure in the confusion of boundaries and for responsibility in their construction. It is also an effort to contribute to socialist-feminist culture and theory in a postmodernist, non-naturalist mode and in the utopian tradition of imagining a world without gender, which is perhaps a world without genesis, but maybe also a world without end. The cyborg incarnation is outside salvation history. Nor does it mark time on an oedipal calendar, attempting to heal the terrible cleavages of gender in an oral symbiotic utopia or post-oedipal apocalypse. As Zoe Sofoulis argues in her unpublished manuscript on Jacques Lacan, Melanie Klein, and nuclear culture, Lacklein, the most terrible and perhaps the most promising monsters in cyborg worlds are embodied in non-oedipal narratives with a different logic of repression, which we need to understand for our survival.

The cyborg is a creature in a post-gender world; it has no truck with bisexuality, pre-oedipal symbiosis, unalienated labour, or other seductions to organic wholeness through a final appropriation of all the powers of the parts into a higher unity. In a sense, the cyborg has no origin story in the Western sense - a 'final' irony since the cyborg is also the awful apocalyptic telos of the


'West's' escalating dominations of abstract individuation, an ultimate self untied at last from all dependency, a man in space. An origin story in the 'Western', humanist sense depends on the myth of original unity, fullness, bliss and terror, represented by the phallic mother from whom all humans must separate, the task of individual development and of history, the twin potent myths inscribed most powerfully for us in psychoanalysis and Marxism. Hilary Klein has argued that both Marxism and psychoanalysis, in their concepts of labour and of individuation and gender formation, depend on the plot of original unity out of which difference must be produced and enlisted in a drama of escalating domination of woman/nature. The cyborg skips the step of original unity, of identification with nature in the Western sense. This is its illegitimate promise that might lead to subversion of its teleology as star wars.

The cyborg is resolutely committed to partiality, irony, intimacy, and perversity. It is oppositional, utopian, and completely without innocence. No longer structured by the polarity of public and private, the cyborg defines a technological polls based partly on a revolution of social relations in the oikos, the household. Nature and culture are reworked; the one can no longer be the resource for appropriation or incorporation by the other. The rela-tionships for forming wholes from parts, including those of polarity and hierarchical domination, are at issue in the cyborg world. Unlike the hopes of Frankenstein's monster, the cyborg does not expect its father to save it through a restoration of the garden; that is, through the fabrication of a heterosexual mate, through its completion in a finished whole, a city and cosmos. The eyborg does not dream of community on the model of the organic family, this time without the oedipal project. The cyborg would not recognize the Garden of Eden; it is not made of mud and cannot dream of returning to dust. Perhaps that is why I want to see if eyborgs can subvert the apocalypse of returning to nuclear dust in the manic compulsion to name the Enemy. Cyborgs are not reverent; they do not re-member the cosmos. They are wary of holism, but needy for connection- they seem to have a natural feel for united front politics, but without the vanguard party. The main trouble with cyborgs, of course, is that they are the illegitimate offspring of militarism and patriarchal capitalism, not to mention state socialism. But illegitimate offspring are often exceedingly unfaithful to their origins. Their fathers, after all, are inessential.

I will return to the science fiction of cyborgs at the end of this chapter, but now I want to signal three crucial boundary breakdowns that make the following political-fictional (political-scientific) analysis possible. By the late twentieth century in United States scientific culture, the boundary between human and animal is thoroughly breached. The last beachheads of uniqueness have been polluted if not turned into amusement parks--language tool


use, social behaviour, mental events, nothing really convincingly settles the separation of human and animal. And many people no longer feel the need for such a separation; indeed, many branches of feminist culture affirm the pleasure of connection of human and other living creatures. Movements for animal rights are not irrational denials of human uniqueness; they are a clear-sighted recognition of connection across the discredited breach of nature and culture. Biology and evolutionary theory over the last two centuries have simultaneously produced modern organisms as objects of knowledge and reduced the line between humans and animals to a faint trace re-etched in ideological struggle or professional disputes between life and social science. Within this framework, teaching modern Christian creationism should be fought as a form of child abuse.

Biological-determinist ideology is only one position opened up in scientific culture for arguing the meanings of human animality. There is much room for radical political people to contest the meanings of the breached boundary.2 The cyborg appears in myth precisely where the boundary between human and animal is transgressed. Far from signalling a walling off of people from other living beings, cyborgs signal distrurbingly and pleasurably tight coupling. Bestiality has a new status in this cycle of marriage exchange.

The second leaky distinction is between animal-human (organism) and machine. Pre-cybernetic machines could be haunted; there was always the spectre of the ghost in the machine. This dualism structured the dialogue between materialism and idealism that was settled by a dialectical progeny, called spirit or history, according to taste. But basically machines were not self-moving, self-designing, autonomous. They could not achieve man's dream, only mock it. They were not man, an author to himself, but only a caricature of that masculinist reproductive dream. To think they were otherwise was paranoid. Now we are not so sure. Late twentieth-century machines have made thoroughly ambiguous the difference between natural and art)ficial, mind and body, self-developing and externally designed, and many other distinctions that used to apply to organisms and machines. Our machines are disturbingly lively, and we ourselves frighteningly inert.

Technological determination is only one ideological space opened up by the reconceptions of machine and organism as coded texts through which we engage in the play of writing and reading the world.3 'Textualization' of everything in poststructuralist, postmodernist theory has been damned by Marxists and socialist feminists for its utopian disregard for the lived relations of domination that ground the 'play' of arbitrary reading.4 It is certainly true that postmodernist strategies, like my cyborg myth, subvert myriad organic wholes (for example, the poem, the primitive culture, the biological organism). In short, the certainty of what counts as nature -- a


source of insight and promise of innocence -- is undermined, probably fatally. The transcendent authorization of interpretation is lost, and with it the ontology grounding 'Western' epistemology. But the alternative is not cynicism or faithlessness, that is, some version of abstract existence, like the accounts of technological determinism destroying 'man' by the 'machine' or 'meaningful political action' by the 'text'. Who cyborgs will be is a radical question; the answers are a matter of survival. Both chimpanzees and artefacts have politics, so why shouldn't we (de Waal, 1982; Winner, 1980)?

The third distinction is a subset of the second: the boundary between physical and non-physical is very imprecise for us. Pop physics books on the consequences of quantum theory and the indeterminacy principle are a kind of popular scientific equivalent to Harlequin romances* as a marker of radical change in American white heterosexuality: they get it wrong, but they are on the right subject. Modern machines are quintessentially microelectronic devices: they are everywhere and they are invisible. Modern machinery is an irreverent upstart god, mocking the Father's ubiquity and spirituality. The silicon chip is a surface for writing; it is etched in molecular scales disturbed only by atomic noise, the ultimate interference for nuclear scores. Writing, power, and technology are old partners in Western stories of the origin of civilization, but miniaturization has changed our experience of mechanism. Miniaturization has turned out to be about power; small is not so much beautiful as pre-eminently dangerous, as in cruise missiles. Contrast the TV sets of the 1950s or the news cameras of the 1970s with the TV wrist bands or hand-sized video cameras now advertised. Our best machines are made of sunshine; they are all light and clean because they are nothing but signals, electromagnetic waves, a section of a spectrum, and these machines are eminently portable, mobile -- a matter of immense human pain in Detroit and Singapore. People are nowhere near so fluid, being both material and opaque. Cyborgs are ether, quintessence.

The ubiquity and invisibility of cyborgs is precisely why these sunshine-belt machines are so deadly. They are as hard to see politically as materially. They are about consciousness - or its simulation.5 They are floating signIfiers moving in pickup trucks across Europe, blocked more effectively by the witch-weavings of the displaced and so unnatural Greenham women, who read the cyborg webs of power so very well, than by the militant labour of older masculinist politics, whose natural constituency needs defence jobs. Ultimately the 'hardest' science is about the realm of greatest boundary confusion, the realm of pure number, pure spirit, C3I, cryptography, and the preservation of potent secrets. The new machines are so clean and light. Their engineers are sun-worshippers mediating a new scientific revolution

*The US equivalent of Mills & Boon.


associated with the night dream of post-industrial society. The diseases evoked by these clean machines are 'no more' than the minuscule coding changes of an antigen in the immune system, 'no more' than the experience of stress. The nimble fingers of 'Oriental' women, the old fascination of little Anglo-Saxon Victorian girls with doll's houses, women's enforced attention to the small take on quite new dimensions in this world. There might be a cyborg Alice taking account of these new dimensions. Ironically, it might be the unnatural cyborg women making chips in Asia and spiral dancing in Santa Rita jail* whose constructed unities will guide effective oppositional strategies.

So my cyborg myth is about transgressed boundaries, potent fusions, and dangerous possibilities which progressive people might explore as one part of needed political work. One of my premises is that most American socialists and feminists see deepened dualisms of mind and body, animal and machine, idealism and materialism in the social practices, symbolic formula-tions, and physical artefacts associated with 'high technology' and scientific culture. From One-DimensionalMan (Marcuse, 1964) to The Death of Nature (Merchant, 1980), the analytic resources developed by progressives have insisted on the necessary domination of technics and recalled us to an imagined organic body to integrate our resistance. Another of my premises is that the need for unity of people trying to resist world-wide intensification of domination has never been more acute. But a slightly perverse shift of perspective might better enable us to contest for meanings, as well as for other forms of power and pleasure in technologically mediated societies.

From one perspective, a cyborg world is about the final imposition of a grid of control on the planet, about the final abstraction embodied in a Star Wars apocalypse waged in the name of defence, about the final appropriation of women's bodies in a masculinist orgy of war (Sofia, 1984). From another perspective, a cyborg world might be about lived social and bodily realities in which people are not afraid of their joint kinship with animals and machines, not afraid of permanently partial identities and contradictory standpoints. The political struggle is to see from both perspectives at once because each reveals both dominations and possibilities unimaginable from the other vantage point. Single vision produces worse illusions than double vision or many-headed monsters. Cyborg unities are monstrous and illegitimate; in our present political circumstances, we could hardly hope for more potent myths for resistance and recoupling. I like to imagine LAG, the Livermore Action Group, as a kind of cyborg society, dedicated to realistically converting the laboratories that most fiercely embody and spew out the tools

* A practice at once both spiritual and political that linked guards and arrested anti-nuclear demonstrators in the Alameda County jail in California in the early 1985.


Of technological apocalypse, and committed to building a political form that acutally manages to hold together witches, engineers, elders, perverts, Christians, mothers, and Leninists long enough to disarm the state. Fission Impossible is the name of the affinity group in my town.(Affinity: related not by blood but by choice, the appeal of one chemical nuclear group for another, avidiy.)6


It has become difficult to name one's feminism by a single adjective -- or even to insist in every circumstance upon the noun. Consciousness of exclusion through naming is acute. Identities seem contradictory, partial, and strategic. With the hard-won recognition of their social and historical constitution, gender, race, and class cannot provide the basis for belief in 'essential' unity. There is nothing about teeing 'female' that naturally binds women. There is not even such a state as 'being' female, itself a highly complex category constructed in contested sexual scientific discourses and other social practices. Gender, race, or class consciousness is an achievement forced on us by the terrible historica experience of the contradictory social realities of patriarchy, colonialism, and capitalism. And who counts as 'us' in my own rhetoric? Which identities are available to ground such a potent political myth called 'us', and what could motivate enlistment in this collectivity? Painful fragmentation among feminists (not to mention among women) along every possible fault line has made the concept of woman elusive, an excuse for the matrix of women's dominations of each other. For me - and for many who share a similar historical location in white, professional middle-class, female, radical, North American, mid-adult bodies - the sources of a crisis in political identity are legion. The recent history for much of the US left and US feminism has been a response to this kind of crisis by endless splitting and searches for a new essential unity. But there has also been a growing recognition of another response through coalition - affinity, not identity.7

Chela Sandoval (n.d., 1984), from a consideration of specific historical moments in the formation of the new political voice called women of colour, has theorized a hopeful model of political identity called 'oppositional consciousness', born of the skills for reading webs of power by those refused stable membership in the social categories of race, sex, or class. 'Women of color', a name contested at its origins by those whom it would incorporate, as well as a historical consciousness marking systematic breakdown of all the signs of Man in 'Western' traditions, constructs a kind of postmodernist identity out of otherness, difference, and specificity. This postmodernist identity is fully political, whatever might be said abut other possible postmodernisms. Sandoval's oppositional consciousness is about contradic-


tory locations and heterochronic calendars, not about relativisms and pluralisms.

Sandoval emphasizes the lack of any essential criterion for identifying who is a woman of colour. She notes that the definition of the group has been by conscious appropriation of negation. For example, a Chicana or US black woman has not been able to speak as a woman or as a black person or as a Chicano. Thus, she was at the bottom of a cascade of negative identities, left out of even the privileged oppressed authorial categories called 'women and blacks', who claimed to make the important revolutions. The category 'woman' negated all non-white women; 'black' negated all non-black people, as well as all black women. But there was also no 'she', no singularity, but a sea of differences among US women who have affirmed their historical identity as US women of colour. This identity marks out a self-consciously constructed space that cannot affirm the capacity to act on the basis of natural identification, but only on the basis of conscious coalition, of affinity, of political kinship.8 Unlike the 'woman' of some streams of the white women's movement in the United States, there is no naturalization of the matrix, or at least this is what Sandoval argues is uniquely available through the power of oppositional consciousness.

Sandoval's argument has to be seen as one potent formulation for feminists out of the world-wide development of anti-colonialist discourse; that is to say, discourse dissolving the 'West' and its highest product - the one who is not animal, barbarian, or woman; man, that is, the author of a cosmos called history. As orientalism is deconstructed politically and semiotically, the identities of the occident destabilize, including those of feminists.9 Sandoval argues that 'women of colour' have a chance to build an effective unity that does not replicate the imperializing, totalizing revolutionary subjects of previous Marxisms and feminisms which had not faced the consequences of the disorderly polyphony emerging from decolonization.

Katie King has emphasized the limits of identification and the political/ poetic mechanics of identification built into reading 'the poem', that generative core of cultural feminism. King criticizes the persistent tendency among contemporary feminists from different 'moments' or 'conversations' in feminist practice to taxonomize the women's movement to make one's own political tendencies appear to be the telos of the whole. These taxonomies tend to remake feminist history so that it appears to be an ideological struggle among coherent types persisting over time, especially those typical units called radical, liberal, and socialist-feminism. Literally, all other feminisms are either incorporated or marginalized, usually by building an explicit ontology and epistemology.10 Taxonomies of feminism produce epistemologies to police deviation from official women's experience. And of course, 'women's culture', like women of colour, is consciously created by


mechanisms inducing affinity. The rituals of poetry, music, and certain forms of academic practice have been pre-eminent. The politics of race and culture in the US women's movements are intimately interwoven. The common achievement of King and Sandoval is learning how to craft a poetic/political unity without relying on a logic of appropriation, incorpora-tion, and taxonomic identification.

The theoretical and practical struggle against unity-through-domination or unity-through-incorporation ironically not only undermines the justifica-tions for patriarchy, colonialism, humanism, positivism, essentialism, scient-ism, and other unlamented -isms, but all claims for an organic or natural standpoint. I think that radical and socialist/Marxist-feminisms have also undermined their/our own epistemological strategies and that this is a crucially valuable step in imagining possible unities. It remains to be seen whether all 'epistemologies' as Western political people have known them fail us in the task to build effective affinities.

It is important to note that the effort to construct revolutionary stand-points, epistemologies as achievements of people committed to changing the world, has been part of the process showing the limits of identification. The acid tools of postmodernist theory and the constructive tools of ontological discourse about revolutionary subjects might be seen as ironic allies in dissolving Western selves in the interests of survival. We are excruciatingly conscious of what it means to have a historically constituted body. But with the loss of innocence in our origin, there is no expulsion from the Garden either. Our politics lose the indulgence of guilt with the naivete of innocence. But what would another political myth for socialist-feminism look like? What kind of politics could embrace partial, contradictory, permanently unclosed constructions of personal and collective selves and still be faithful, effective - and, ironically, socialist-feminist?

I do not know of any other time in history when there was greater need for political unity to confront effectively the dominations of 'race', 'gender', 'sexuality', and 'class'. I also do not know of any other time when the kind of unity we might help build could have been possible. None of 'us' have any longer the symbolic or material capability of dictating the shape of reality to any of'them'. Or at least 'we' cannot claim innocence from practicing such dominations. White women, including socialist feminists, discovered (that is, were forced kicking and screaming to notice) the non-innocence of the category 'woman'. That consciousness changes the geography of all previous categories; it denatures them as heat denatures a fragile protein. Cyborg feminists have to argue that 'we' do not want any more natural matrix of unity and that no construction is whole. Innocence, and the corollary insistence on victimhood as the only ground for insight, has done enough damage. But the constructed revolutionary subject must give late-twentieth-


century people pause as well. In the fraying of identities and in the reflexive strategies for constructing them, the possibility opens up for weaving something other than a shroud for the day after the apocalypse that so prophetically ends salvation history.

Both Marxist/socialist-feminisms and radical feminisms have simul-taneously naturalized and denatured the category 'woman' and conscious-ness of the social lives of 'women'. Perhaps a schematic caricature can highlight both kinds of moves. Marxian socialism is rooted in an analysis of wage labour which reveals class structure. The consequence of the wage relationship is systematic alienation, as the worker is dissociated from his (sic) product. Abstraction and illusion rule in knowledge, domination rules in practice. Labour is the pre-eminently privileged category enabling the Marxist to overcome illusion and find that point of view which is necessary for changing the world. Labour is the humanizing activity that makes man; labour is an ontological category permitting the knowledge of a subject, and so the knowledge of subjugation and alienation.

In faithful filiation, socialist-feminism advanced by allying itself with the basic analytic strategies of Marxism. The main achievement of both Marxist feminists and socialist feminists was to expand the category of labour to accommodate what (some) women did, even when the wage relation was subordinated to a more comprehensive view of labour under capitalist patriarchy. In particular, women's labour in the household and women's activity as mothers generally (that is, reproduction in the socialist-feminist sense), entered theory on the authority of analogy to the Marxian concept of labour. The unity of women here rests on an epistemology based on the ontological structure of'labour'. Marxist/socialist-feminism does not 'natur-alize' unity; it is a possible achievement based on a possible standpoint rooted in social relations. The essentializing move is in the ontological structure of labour or of its analogue, women's activity.11 The inheritance of Marxian humanism, with its pre-eminently Western self, is the difficulty for me. The contribution from these formulations has been the emphasis on the daily responsibility of real women to build unities, rather than to naturalize them.

Catherine MacKinnon's (198Z, 1987) version of radical feminism is itself a caricature of the appropriating, incorporating, totalizing tendencies of Western theories of identity grounding action.12 It is factually and politically wrong to assimilate all of the diverse 'moments' or 'conversations' in recent women's politics named radical feminism to MacKinnon's version. But the teleological logic of her theory shows how an epistemology and ontology - including their negations - erase or police difference. Only one of the effects of MacKinnon's theory is the rewriting of the history of the polymorphous field called radical feminism. The major effect is the production of a theory


of experience, of women's identity, that is a kind of apocalypse for all revolutionary standpoints. That is, the totalization built into this tale of radical feminism achieves its end - the unity of women - by enforcing the experience of and testimony to radical non-being. As for the Marxist/ socialist feminist, consciousness is an achievement, not a natural fact. And MacKinnon's theory eliminates some of the difficulties built into humanist revolutionary subjects, but at the cost of radical reductionism.

MacKinnon argues that feminism necessarily adopted a different analyt-ical strategy from Marxism, looking first not at the structure of class, but at the structure of sex/gender and its generative relationship, men's constitu-tion and appropriation of women sexually. Ironically, MacKinnon's 'ontology' constructs a non-subject, a non-being. Another's desire, not the self's labour, is the origin of 'woman'. She therefore develops a theory of consciousness that enforces what can count as 'women's' experience - anything that names sexual violation, indeed, sex itself as far as 'women' can be concerned. Feminist practice is the construction of this form of consciousness; that is, the self-knowledge of a self-who-is-not.

Perversely, sexual appropriation in this feminism still has the epistemolo-gical status of labour; that is to say, the point from which an analysis able to contribute to changing the world must flow. But sexual object)fication, not alienation, is the consequence of the structure of sex/gender. In the realm of knowledge, the result of sexual objectification is illusion and abstraction. However, a woman is not simply alienated from her product, but in a deep sense does not exist as a subject, or even potential subject, since she owes her existence as a woman to sexual appropriation. To be constituted by another's desire is not the same thing as to be alienated in the violent separation of the labourer from his product.

MacKinnon's radical theory of experience is totalizing in the extreme; it does not so much marginalize as obliterate the authority of any other women's political speech and action. It is a totalization producing what Western patriarchy itself never succeeded in doing - feminists' consciousness of the non-existence of women, except as products of men's desire. I think MacKinnon correctly argues that no Marxian version of identity can firmly ground women's unity. But in solving the problem of the contradictions of any Western revolutionary subject for feminist purposes, she develops an even more authoritarian doctrine of experience. If my complaint about socialist/Marxian standpoints is their unintended erasure of polyvocal, unassimilable, radical difference made visible in anti-colonial discourse and practice, MacKinnon's intentional erasure of all difference through the device of the 'essential' non-existence of women is not reassuring.

In my taxonomy, which like any other taxonomy is a re-inscription of history, radical feminism can accommodate all the activities of women named by socialist feminists as forms of labour only if the activity can somehow be sexualized. Reproduction had different tones of meanings for the two tendencies, one rooted in labour, one in sex, both calling the consequences of domination and ignorance of social and personal reality 'false consciousness'.

Beyond either the diff~culties or the contributions in the argument of any one author, neither Marxist nor radical feminist points of view have tended to embrace the status of a partial explanation; both were regularly constituted as totalities. Western explanation has demanded as much; how else could the 'Western' author incorporate its others? Each tried to annex other forms of domination by expanding its basic categories through analogy, simple listing, or addition. Embarrassed silence about race among white radical and socialist feminists was one major, devastating political consequence. History and polyvocality disappear into political taxonomies that try to establish genealogies. There was no structural room for race (or for much else) in theory claiming to reveal the construction of the category woman and social group women as a unified or totalizable whole. The structure of my caricature looks like this:

socialist feminism--structure of class // wage labour // alienation labour, by analogy reproduction, by extension sex, by addition race radical feminism - structure of gender // sexual appropriation // objectification

sex, by analogy labour, by extension reproduction, by addition race

In another context, the French theorist, Julia Kristeva, claimed women appeared as a historical group after the Second World War, along with groups like youth. Her dates are doubtful; but we are now accustomed to remembering that as objects of knowledge and as historical actors, 'race' did not always exist, 'class' has a historical genesis, and 'homosexuals' are quite junior. It is no accident that the symbolic system of the family of man - and so the essence of woman - breaks up at the same moment that networks of connection among people on the planet are unprecedentedly multiple, pregnant, and complex. 'Advanced capitalism' is inadequate to convey the structure of this historical moment. In the 'Western' sense, the end of man is at stake. It is no accident that woman disintegrates into women in our time. Perhaps socialist feminists were not substantially guilty of producing essentialist theory that suppressed women's particularity and contradictory interests. I think we have been, at least through unreflective participation in the logics, languages, and practices of white humanism and through searching for a single ground of domination to secure our revolutionary voice. Now we have less excuse. But in the consciousness of our failures, we


risk lapsing into boundless difference and giving up on the confusing task of making partial, real connection. Some differences are playful; some are poles of world historical systems of domination. 'Epistemology' is about knowing the difference.


In this attempt at an epistemological and political position, I would like to sketch a picture of possible unity, a picture indebted to socialist and feminist principles of design. The frame for my sketch is set by the extent and importance of rearrangements in world-wide social relations tied to science and technology. I argue for a politics rooted in claims about fundamental changes in the nature of class, race, and gender in an emerging system of world order analogous in its novelty and scope to that created by industrial capitalism; we are living through a movement from an organic, industrial society to a polymorphous, information system--from all work to all play, a deadly game. Simultaneously material and ideological, the dichotomies may be expressed in the following chart of transitions from the comfortable old hierarchical dominations to the scary new networks I have called the informatics of domination:

Representation Simulation
Bourgeois novel, realism Science fiction, postmodernism
Organism Biotic Component
Depth, integrity Surface, boundary
Heat Noise
Biology as clinical practice Biology as inscription
Physiology Communications engineering
Small group Subsystem
Perfection Optimization
Eugenics Population Control
Decadence, Magic Mountain Obsolescence, Future Shock
Hygiene Stress Management
Microbiology, tuberculosis Immunology, AIDS
Organic division of labour Ergonomics/cybernetics of labour
Functional specialization Modular construction
Reproduction Replication
Organic sex role specialization Optimal genetic strategies
Bioogical determinism Evolutionary inertia, constraints
Community ecology Ecosystem
Racial chain of being Neo-imperialism, United Nations humanism
Scientific management in home/factory Global factory/Electronid cottage
Family/Market/Factory Women in the Integrated Circuit
Family wage Comparable worth
Public/Private Cyborg citizenship
Nature/Culture fields of difference
Co-operation Communicatins enhancemenet
Freud Lacan
Sex Genetic engineering
labour Robotics
Mind Artificial Intelligence
Second World War Star Wars
White Capitalist Patriarchy Informatics of Domination


This list suggests several interesting things.13 First, the objects on the right-hand side cannot be coded as 'natural', a realization that subverts naturalistic coding for the left-hand side as well. We cannot go back ideologically or materially. It's not just that igod'is dead; so is the 'goddess'. Or both are revivified in the worlds charged with microelectronic and biotechnological politics. In relation to objects like biotic components, one must not think in terms of essential properties, but in terms of design, boundary constraints, rates of flows, systems logics, costs of lowering constraints. Sexual reproduction is one kind of reproductive strategy among many, with costs and benefits as a function of the system environment. Ideologies of sexual reproduction can no longer reasonably call on notions of sex and sex role as organic aspects in natural objects like organisms and families. Such reasoning will be unmasked as irrational, and ironically corporate executives reading Playboy and anti-porn radical feminists will make strange bedfellows in jointly unmasking the irrationalism.

Likewise for race, ideologies about human diversity have to be formulated in terms of frequencies of parameters, like blood groups or intelligence scores. It is 'irrational' to invoke concepts like primitive and civilized. For liberals and radicals, the search for integrated social systems gives way to a new practice called 'experimental ethnography' in which an organic object dissipates in attention to the play of writing. At the level of ideology, we see translations of racism and colonialism into languages of development and under-development, rates and constraints of modernization. Any objects or persons can be reasonably thought of in terms of disassembly and reassembly; no 'natural' architectures constrain system design. The financial districts in all the world's cities, as well as the export-processing and free-trade zones, proclaim this elementary fact of'late capitalism'. The entire universe of objects that can be known scientifically must be formulated as problems in


communications engineering (for the managers) or theories of the text (for those who would resist). Both are cyborg semiologies.

One should expect control strategies to concentrate on boundary conditions and interfaces, on rates of flow across boundaries-- and not on the integrity of natural objects. 'Integrity' or 'sincerity' of the Western self gives way to decision procedures and expert systems. For example, control strategies applied to women's capacities to give birth to new human beings will be developed in the languages of population control and maximization of goal achievement for individual decision-makers. Control strategies will be formulated in terms of rates, costs of constraints, degrees of freedom. Human beings, like any other component or subsystem, must be localized in a system architecture whose basic modes of operation are probabilistic, statistical. No objects, spaces, or bodies are sacred in themselves; any component can be interfaced with any other if the proper standard, the proper code, can be constructed for processing signals in a common language. Exchange in this world transcends the universal translation effected by capitalist markets that Marx analysed so well. The privileged pathology affecting all kinds of components in this universe is stress - communications breakdown (Hogness, 1983). The cyborg is not subject to Foucault's biopolitics; the cyborg simulates politics, a much more potent field of operations.

This kind of analysis of scientific and cultural objects of knowledge which have appeared historically since the Second World War prepares us to notice some important inadequacies in feminist analysis which has proceeded as if the organic, hierarchical dualisms ordering discourse in 'the West' since Aristotle still ruled. They have been cannibalized, or as Zoe Sofia (Sofoulis) might put it, they have been 'techno-digested'. The dichotomies between mind and body, animal and human, organism and machine, public and private, nature and culture, men and women, primitive and civilized are all in question ideologically. The actual situation of women is their integration/ exploitation into a world system of production/reproduction and com-munication called the informatics of domination. The home, workplace, market, public arena, the body itself- all can be dispersed and interfaced in nearly infinite, polymorphous ways, with large consequences for women and others - consequences that themselves are very different for different people and which make potent oppositional international movements difficult to imagine and essential for survival. One important route for reconstructing socialist-feminist politics is through theory and practice addressed to the social relations of science and technology, including crucially the systems of myth and meanings structuring our imaginations. The cyborg is a kind of disassembled and reassembled, postmodern collective and personal self. This is the self feminists must code.


Communications technologies and biotechnologies are the crucial tools recrafting our bodies. These tools embody and enforce new social relations for women world-wide. Technologies and scientific discourses can be partially understood as formalizations, i.e., as frozen moments, of the fluid social interactions constituting them, but they should also be viewed as instruments for enforcing meanings. The boundary is permeable between tool and myth, instrument and concept, historical systems of social relations and historical anatomies of possible bodies, including objects of knowledge. Indeed, myth and tool mutually constitute each other.

Furthermore, communications sciences and modern biologies are constructed by a common move - the translation of the world into a problem of coding, a search for a common language in which all resistance to instrumental control disappears and all heterogeneity can be submitted to disassembly, reassembly, investment, and exchange.

In communications sciences, the translation of the world into a problem in coding can be illustrated by looking at cybernetic (feedback-controlled) systems theories applied to telephone technology, computer design, weapons deployment, or data base construction and maintenance. In each case, solution to the key questions rests on a theory of language and control; the key operation is determining the rates, directions, and probabilities of flow of a quantity called information. The world is subdivided by boundaries differentially permeable to information. Information is just that kind of quantifiable element (unit, basis of unity) which allows universal translation, and so unhindered instrumental power (called effective communication). The biggest threat to such power is interruption of communication. Any system breakdown is a function of stress. The fundamentals of this technology can be condensed into the metaphor C31, command-controlcommunication-intelligence, the military's symbol for its operations theory.

In modern biologies, the translation of the world into a problem in coding can be illustrated by molecular genetics, ecology, sociobiological evolutionary theory, and immunobiology. The organism has been translated into prob-lems of genetic coding and read-out. Biotechnology, a writing technology, informs research broadly.14 In a sense, organisms have ceased to exist as objects of knowledge, giving way to biotic components, i.e., special kinds of information-processing devices. The analogous moves in ecology could be examined by probing the history and utility of the concept of the ecosystem. Immunobiology and associated medical practices are rich exemplars of the privilege of coding and recognition systems as objects of knowledge, as constructions of bodily reality for us. Biology here is a kind of cryptography. Research is necessarily a kind of intelligence activity. Ironies abound. A stressed system goes awry; its communication processes break down; it fails to recognize the difference between self and other. Human babies with


baboon hearts evoke national ethical perplexity-- for animal rights activists at least as much as for the guardians of human purity. In the US gay men and intravenous drug users are the 'privileged' victims of an awful immune system disease that marks (inscribes on the body) confusion of boundaries and moral pollution (Treichler, 1987).

But these excursions into communications sciences and biology have been at a rarefied level; there is a mundane, largely economic reality to support my claim that these sciences and technologies indicate fundamental transforma-tions in the structure of the world for us. Communications technologies depend on electronics. Modern states, multinational corporations, military power, welfare state apparatuses, satellite systems, political processes, fabrication of our imaginations, labour-control systems, medical construc-tions of our bodies, commercial pornography, the international division of labour, and religious evangelism depend intimately upon electronics. Micro-electronics is the technical basis of simulacra; that is, of copies without originals.

Microelectronics mediates the translations of labour into robotics and word processing, sex into genetic engineering and reproductive technologies, and mind into artificial intelligence and decision procedures. The new biotechnologies concern more than human reproducdon. Biology as a powerful engineering science for redesigning materials and processes has revolutionary implications for industry, perhaps most obvious today in areas of fermentadon, agriculture, and energy. Communicadons sciences and biology are construcdons of natural-technical objects of knowledge in which the difference between machine and organism is thoroughly blurred; mind, body, and tool are on very intimate terms. The 'multinational' material organization of the production and reproduction of daily life and the symbolic organization of the production and reproduction of culture and imagination seem equally implicated. The boundary-maintaining images of base and superstructure, public and private, or material and ideal never seemed more feeble.

I have used Rachel Grossman's (1980) image of women in the integrated circuit to name the situation of women in a world so intimately restructured through the social relations of science and technology.15 I used the odd circumlocution, 'the social relations of science and technology', to indicate that we are not dealing with a technological determinism, but with a historical system depending upon structured relations among people. But the phrase should also indicate that science and technology provide fresh sources of power, that we need fresh sources of analysis and political action (Latour, 1984). Some of the rearrangements of race, sex, and class rooted in high-tech-facilitated social relations can make socialist-feminism more relevant to effective progressive politics.



The 'New Industrial Revolution' is producing a new world-wide working class, as well as new sexualities and ethnicities. The extreme mobility of capital and the emerging international division of labour are intertwined with the emergence of new collecdvities, and the weakening of familiar groupings. These developments are neither gender- nor race-neutral. White men in advanced industrial societies have become newly vulnerable to permanent job loss, and women are not disappearing from the job rolls at the same rates as men. It is not simply that women in Third World countries are the preferred labour force for the science-based multinationals in the export-processing sectors, particularly in electronics. The picture is more systematic and involves reproduction, sexuality, culture, consumphon, and producdon. In the prototypical Silicon Valley, many women's lives have been structured around employment in electronics-dependent jobs, and their intimate realities include serial heterosexual monogamy, negotiating childcare, distance from extended kin or most other forms of traditional community, a high likelihood of loneliness and extreme economic vulnerability as they age. The ethnic and racial diversity of women in Silicon Valley structures a microcosm of conflicting differences in culture, family, religion, education, and language.

Richard Gordon has called this new situation the 'homework economy'.16 Although he includes the phenomenon of literal homework emerging in connecdon with electronics assembly, Gordon intends 'homework economy' to name a restructuring of work that broadly has the characteristics formerly ascribed to female jobs, jobs literally done only by women. Work is being redefined as both literally female and feminized, whether performed by men or women. To be feminized means to be made extremely vulnerable; able to be disassembled, reassembled, exploited as a reserve labour force; seen less as workers than as servers; subjected to dme arrangements on and off the paid job that make a mockery of a limited work day; leading an existence that always borders on being obscene, out of place, and reducible to sex. Deskilling is an old strategy newly applicable to formerly privileged workers. However, the homework economy does not refer only to large-scale deskilling, nor does it deny that new areas of high skill are emerging, even for women and men previously excluded from skilled employment. Rather, the concept indicates that factory, home, and market are integrated on a new scale and that the places of women are crucial - and need to be analysed for differences among women and for meanings for relations between men and women in various situations.

The homework economy as a world capitalist organizational structure is made possible by (not caused by) the new technologies. The success of the attack on relatively privileged, mostly white, men's unionized jobs is deaf to


the power of the new communications technologies to integrate and control labour despite extensive dispersion and decentralization. The consequences of the new technologies are felt by women both in the loss of the family (male) wage (if they ever had access to this white privilege) and in the character of their own jobs, which are becoming capital-intensive; for example, office work and nursing.

The new economic and technological arrangements are also related to the collapsing welfare state and the ensuing intensification of demands on women to sustain daily life for themselves as well as for men, children, and old people. The feminization of poverty-- generated by dismantling the welfare state, by the homework economy where stable jobs become the exception, and sustained by the expectation that women's wages will not be matched by a male income for the support of children-- has become an urgent focus. The causes of various women-headed households are a function of race, class, or sexuality; but their increasing generality is a ground for coalitions of women on many issues. That women regularly sustain daily life partly as a funcdon of their enforced status as mothers is hardly new; the kind of integration with the overall capitalist and progressively war-based economy is new. The particular pressure, for example, on US black women, who have achieved an escape from (barely) paid domeshc service and who now hold clerical and similar jobs in large numbers, has large implicadons for condnued enforced black poverty with employment. Teenage women in industrializing areas of the Third World increasingly find themselves the sole or major source of a cash wage for their families, while access to land is ever more problemadc. These developments must have major consequences in the psychodynamics and politics of gender and race.

Within the framework of three major stages of capitalism (commercial/ early industrial, monopoly, multinational) --tied to nationalism, imperialism, and multinationalism, and related to Jameson's three dominant aesthetic periods of realism, modernism, and postmodernism --I would argue that specific forms of families dialectically relate to forms of capital and to its political and cultural concomitants. Although lived problematically and unequally, ideal forms of these families might be schematized as (1) the patriarchal nuclear family, structured by the dichotomy between public and private and accompanied by the white bourgeois ideology of separate spheres and nineteenth-century Anglo-American bourgeois feminism; (2) the modern family mediated (or enforced) by the welfare state and institutions like the family wage, with a flowering of a-feminist heterosexual ideologies, including their radical versions represented in Greenwich Village around the First World War; and (3) the 'family' of the homework economy with its oxymoronic structure of women-headed households and its explosion of feminisms and the paradoxical intensification and erosion of gender itself.


This is the context in which the projections for world-wide structural unemployment stemming from the new technologies are part of the picture of the homework economy. As robodcs and related technologies put men out of work in 'developed' countries and exacerbate failure to generate male jobs in Third World 'development', and as the automated of fice becomes the rule even in labour-surplus countries, the feminization of work intensifies. Black women in the United States have long known what it looks like to face the structural underemployment ('feminization') of black men, as well as their own highly vulnerable position in the wage economy. It is no longer a secret that sexuality, reproduction, family, and community life are interwoven with this economic structure in myriad ways which have also differentiated the situations of white and black women. Many more women and men will contend with similar situations, which will make cross-gender and race alliances on issues of basic life support (with or without jobs) necessary, not just mice.

The new technologies also have a profound effect on hunger and on food production for subsistence world-wide. Rae Lessor Blumberg (1983) estimates that women produce about 50 per cent of the world's subsistence food.17 Women are excluded generally from benefiting from the increased high-tech commodification of food and energy crops, their days are made more arduous because their responsibilides to provide food do not diminish, and their reproductive situations are made more complex. Green Revolution technologies interact with other high-tech industrial production to alter gender divisions of labour and differential gender migration patterns.

The new technologies seem deeply involved in the forms of'privatization' that Ros Petchesky (1981) has analysed, in which militarization, right-wing family ideologies and policies, and intensified definitions of corporate (and state) property as private synergistically interact.18 The new communications technologies are fundamental to the eradication of 'public life' for everyone. This facilitates the mushrooming of a permanent high-tech military establishment at the cultural and economic expense of most people, but especially of women. Technologies like video games and highly miniaturized televi-sions seem crucial to production of modern forms of 'private life'. The culture of video games is heavily orientated to individual compedtion and extraterrestrial warfare. High-tech, gendered imaginations are produced here, imaginations that can contemplate destruction of the planet and a sci-fi escape from its consequences. More than our imaginations is militarized; and the other realities of electronic and nuclear warfare are inescapable. These are the technologies that promise ultimate mobility and perfect exchange-- and incidentally enable tourism, that perfect practice of mobility and exchange, to emerge as one of the world's largest single industries.

The new technologies affect the social relations of both sexuality and of


reproduction, and not always in the same ways. The close ties of sexuality and instrumentality, of views of the body as a kind of private satisfaction- and utility-maximizing machine, are described nicely in sociobiological origin stories that stress a genetic calculus and explain the inevitable dialectic of domination of male and female gender roles.19 These sociobiological stories depend on a high-tech view of the body as a biotic component or cybernetic communications system. Among the many transformations of reproductive situations is the medical one, where women's bodies have boundaries newly permeable to both 'visualization' and 'intervention'. Of course, who controls the interpretation of bodily boundaries in medical hermeneubcs is a major feminist issue. The speculum served as an icon of women's claiming their bodies in the 1970S; that handcraft tool is inadequate to express our needed body politics in the negotiation of reality in the practices of cyborg reproduction. Self-help is not enough. The technologies of visualization recall the important cultural practice of hundng with the camera and the deeply predatory nature of a photographic consciousness.20 Sex, sexuality, and reproduction are central actors in high-tech myth systems structuring our imaginations of personal and social possibility.

Another critical aspect of the social relations of the new technologies is the reformulation of expectations, culture, work, and reproduction for the large scientific and technical work-force. A major social and political danger is the formation of a strongly bimodal social structure, with the masses of women and men of all ethnic groups, but especially people of colour, confined to a homework economy, illiteracy of several varieties, and general redundancy and impotence, controlled by high-tech repressive apparatuses ranging from entertainment to surveillance and disappearance. An adequate socialist-feminist politics should address women in the privileged occupational categories, and particularly in the production of science and technology that constructs scientific-technical discourses, processes, and objects.21

This issue is only one aspect of enquiry into the possibility of a feminist science, but it is important. What kind of constitutive role in the production of knowledge, imagination, and practice can new groups doing science have? How can these groups be allied with progressive social and political movements? What kind of political accountability can be constructed to the women together across the scientific-technical hierarchies separating us? Might there be ways of developing feminist science/technology politics in alliance with and-military science facility conversion action groups? Many sciendfic and technical workers in Silicon Valley, the high-tech cowboys included, do not want to work on military science.22 Can these personal preferences and cultural tendencies be welded into progressive politics among this professional middle class in which women, including women of colour, are coming to be fairly numerous?



Let me summarize the picture of women's historical locations in advanced industrial societies, as these positions have been restructured partly through the social relations of science and technology. If it was ever possible ideologically to characterize women's lives by the disdnction of public and private domains-- suggested by images of the division of working-class life into factory and home, of bourgeois life into market and home, and of gender existence into personal and political realms --it is now a totally misleading ideology, even to show how both terms of these dichotomies construct each other in practice and in theory. I prefer a network ideological image, suggesting the profusion of spaces and identities and the permeability of boundaries in the personal body and in the body politic. 'Networking' is both a feminist practice and a multinational corporate strategy -- weaving is for oppositional cyborgs.

So let me return to the earlier image of the informatics of domination and trace one vision of women's 'place' in the integrated circuit, touching only a few idealized social locations seen primarily from the point of view of advanced capitalist societies: Home, Market, Paid Work Place, State, School, Clinic-Hospital, and Church. Each of these idealized spaces is logically and practically implied in every other locus, perhaps analogous to a holographic photograph. I want to suggest the impact of the social relations mediated and enforced by the new technologies in order to help formulate needed analysis and practical work. However, there is no 'place' for women in these networks, only geometries of difference and contradiction crucial to women's cyborg identities. If we learn how to read these webs of power and social life, we might learn new couplings, new coalitions. There is no way to read the following list from a standpoint of'idendfication', of a unitary self. The issue is dispersion. The task is to survive in the diaspora.

Home: Women-headed households, serial monogamy, flight of men, old women alone, technology of domestic work, paid homework, re-emergence of home sweat-shops, home-based businesses and telecom-muting, electronic cottage, urban homelessness, migration, module architecture, reinforced (simulated) nuclear family, intense domestic violence.

Market: Women's continuing consumption work, newly targeted to buy the profusion of new production from the new technologies (especially as the competitive race among industrialized and industrializing nations to avoid dangerous mass unemployment necessitates finding ever bigger new markets for ever less clearly needed commodities); bimodal buying power, coupled with advertising targeting of the numerous affluent groups and neglect of the previous mass markets; growing importance of


informal markets in labour and commodities parallel to high-tech, affluent market structures; surveillance systems through electronic funds transfer; intensified market abstraction (commodification) of experience, resulting in ineffective utopian or equivalent cynical theories of community; extreme mobility (abstraction) of marketing/financing systems; inter-penetration of sexual and labour markets; intensified sexualization of abstracted and alienated consumption.

Paid Work Place: Continued intense sexual and racial division of labour, but considerable growth of membership in privileged occupational categories for many white women and people of colour; impact of new technologies on women's work in clerical, service, manufacturing (especially textiles), agriculture, electronics; international restructuring of the working classes; development of new time arrangements to facilitate the homework economy (flex time, part time, over time, no time); homework and out work; increased pressures for two-tiered wage structures; significant numbers of people in cash-dependent populations world-wide with no experience or no further hope of stable employment; most labour 'marginal' or 'feminized'.

State: Continued erosion of the welfare state; decentralizations with increased surveillance and control; citizenship by telematics; imperialism and political power broadly in the form of information rich/information poor differentiation; increased high-tech militarization increasingly opposed by many social groups; reduction of civil service jobs as a result of the growing capital intensification of office work, with implications for occupational mobility for women of colour; growing privadzation of material and ideological life and culture; close integration of privatization and militarization, the high-tech forms of bourgeois capitalist personal and public life; invisibility of different social groups to each other, linked to psychological mechanisms of belief in abstract enemies.

School: Deepening coupling of high-tech capital needs and public educa-tion at all levels, differentiated by race, class, and gender; managerial classes involved in educational reform and refunding at the cost of

remaining progressive educational democratic structures for children and teachers; education for mass ignorance and repression in technocratic and militarized culture; growing and-science mystery cults in dissendng and radical political movements; continued relative scientific illiteracy among white women and people of colour; growing industrial direction of education (especially higher education) by science-based multinationals (particularly in electronics- and biotechnology-dependent companies); highly educated, numerous elites in a progressively bimodal society.

Clinic-hospital: Intensified machine-body relations; renegotiations of


public metaphors which channel personal experience of the body, particularly in relation to reproduction, immune system functions, and 'stress' phenomena; intensification of reproductive politics in response to world historical implications of women's unrealized, potential control of their relation to reproduction; emergence of new, historically specific diseases; struggles over meanings and means of health in environments pervaded by high technology products and processes; continuing feminization of health work; intensified struggle over state responsibility for health; continued ideological role of popular health movements as a major form of American politics.

Church: Electronic fundamentalist 'super-saver' preachers solemnizing the union of electronic capital and automated fetish gods; intensified importance of churches in resisting the militarized state; central struggle over women's meanings and authority in religion; continued relevance of spirituality, intertwined with sex and health, in political struggle.

The only way to characterize the informatics of domination is as a massive intensification of insecurity and cultural impoverishment, with common failure of subsistence networks for the most vulnerable. Since much of this picture interweaves with the social relations of science and technology, the urgency of a socialist-feminist politics addressed to science and technology is plain. There is much now being tione, and the grounds for political work are rich. For example, the efforts to develop forms of collecdve struggle for women in paid work, like SEIU's District 925,* should be a high priority for all of us. These efforts are profoundly deaf to technical restructuring of labour processes and reformations of working classes. These efforts also are providing understanding of a more comprehensive kind of labour organization, involving community, sexuality, and family issues never privileged in the largely white male industrial unions.

The structural rearrangements related to the social relations of science and technology evoke strong ambivalence. But it is not necessary to be uldmately depressed by the implications of late twentieth-century women's relation to all aspects of work, culture, production of knowledge, sexuality, and reproduction. For excellent reasons, most Marxisms see domination best and have trouble understanding what can only look like false consciousness and people's complicity in their own domination in late capitalism. It is crucial to remember that what is lost, perhaps especially from women's points of view, is often virulent forms of oppression, nostalgically naturalized in the face of current violation. Ambivalence towards the disrupted unides mediated by high-tech culture requires not sorting consciousness into categories of clear-sighted critique grounding a solid political epistemology'

*Service Employees International Union's office workers' organization in the US.


versus 'manipulated false consciousness', but subtle understanding of emerging pleasures, experiences, and powers with serious potential for changing the rules of the game.

There are grounds for hope in the emerging bases for new kinds of unity across race, gender, and class, as these elementary units of socialist-feminist analysis themselves suffer protean transformations. Intensifications of hardship experienced world-wide in connection with the social relations of science and technology are severe. But what people are experiencing is not transparently clear, and we lack aufficiently subtle connections for collectively building effective theories of experience. Present efforts - Marxist, psychoanalytic, feminist, anthropological-- to clarify even 'our' experience are rudimentary.

I am conscious of the odd perspecdve provided by my historical position - a PhD in biology for an Irish Catholic girl was made possible by Sputnik's impact on US national science-education policy. I have a body and mind as much constructed by the post-Second World War arms race and cold war as by the women's movements. There are more grounds for hope in focusing on the contradictory effects of politics designed to produce loyal American technocrats, which also produced large numbers of dissidents, than in focusing on the present defeats.

The permanent pardality of feminist points of view has consequences for our expectations of forms of political organization and participation. We do not need a totality in order to work well. The feminist dream of a common language, like all dreams for a perfectly true language, of perfectly faithful naming of experience, is a totalizing and imperialist one. In that sense, dialectics too is a dream language, longing to resolve contradiction. Perhaps, ironically, we can learn from our fusions with animals and machines how not to be Man, the embodiment of Western logos. From the point of view of pleasure in these potent and taboo fusions, made inevitable by the social relations of science and technology, there might indeed be a feminist science.


I want to conclude with a myth about idendty and boundaries which might inform late twentieth-century political imaginations (Plate 1). I am indebted in this story to writers like Joanna Russ, Samuel R. Delany, John Varley, James Tiptree, Jr, Octavia Butler, Monique Wittig, and Vonda McIntyre.23 These are our story-tellers exploring what it means to be embodied in high-tech worlds. They are theorists for cyborgs. Exploring concephons of bodily boundaries and social order, the anthropologist Mary Douglas (1966, 1970) should be credited with helping us to consciousness about how fundamental body imagery is to world view, and so to political language.

French feminists like Luce Irigaray and Monique Wittig, for all their differences, know how to write the body; how to weave eroticism, cosmology, and politics from imagery of embodiment, and especially for Wittig, from imagery of fragmentation and reconstitution of bodies.24

American radical feminists like Susan Griffnn, Audre Lorde, and Adrienne Rich have profoundly affected our political imaginations - and perhaps restricted too much what we allow as a friendly body and political language.25 They insist on the organic, opposing it to the technological. But their symbolic systems and the related positions of ecofeminism and feminist paganism, replete with organicisms, can only be understood in Sandoval's terms as oppositional ideologies fitting the late twentieth century. They would simply bewilder anyone not preoccupied with the machines and consciousness of late capitalism. In that sense they are part of the cyborg world. But there are also great riches for feminists in explicitly embracing the possibilides inherent in the breakdown of clean disdnctions between organism and machine and similar distinctions structuring the Western self. It is the simultaneity of breakdowns that cracks the matrices of domination and opens geometric possibilities. What might be learned from personal and political 'technological' pollution? I look briefly at two overlapping groups of texts for their insight into the construction of a potentially helpful cyborg myth: constructions of women of colour and monstrous selves in feminist science fiction.

Earlier I suggested that 'women of colour' might be understood as a cyborg idendty, a potent subjecdvity synthesized from fusions of outsider identities and in the complex political-historical layerings of her 'biomythography', Zami (Lorde, 1982; King, 1987a, 1987b). There are material and cultural grids mapping this potential, Audre Lorde (1984) captures the tone in the title of her Sister Outsider. In my political myth, Sister Outsider is the offshore woman, whom US workers, female and feminized, are supposed to regard as the enemy prevendug their solidarity, threatening their security. Onshore, inside the boundary of the United States, Sister Outsider is a potential amidst the races and ethnic identities of women manipulated for division, competition, and exploitation in the same industries. 'Women of colour' are the preferred labour force for the science-based industries, the real women for whom the world-wide sexual market, labour market, and politics of reproduction kaleidoscope into daily life. Young Korean women hired in the sex industry and in electronics assembly are recruited from high schools, educated for the integrated circuit. Literacy, especially in English, distinguishes the 'cheap' female labour so attractive to the multinationals.

Contrary to orientalist stereotypes of the 'oral primidve', literacy is a special mark of women of colour, acquired by US black women as well as


men through a history of risking death to learn and to teach reading and wridng. Writing has a special significance for all colonized groups. Writing has been crucial to the Western myth of the distinction between oral and written cultures, primitive and civilized mentalities, and more recently to the erosion of that distinction in 'postmodernist' theories attacking the phallogo-centrism of the West, with its worship of the monotheistic, phallic, authoritative, and singular work, the unique and perfect name.26 Contests for the meanings of writing are a major form of contemporary political struggle. Releasing the play of writing is deadly serious. The poetry and stories of US women of colour are repeatedly about writing, about access to the power to signify; but this dme that power must be neither phallic nor innocent. Cyborg writing must not be about the Fall, the imagination of a once-upon-a-time wholeness before language, before writing, before Man. Cyborg writing is about the power to survive, not on the basis of original innocence, but on the basis of seizing the tools to mark the world that marked them as other.

The tools are often stories, retold stories, versions that reverse and displace the hierarchical dualisms of naturalized identities. In retelling origin stories, cyborg authors subvert the central myths of origin of Western culture. We have all been colonized by those origin myths, with their longing for fulfilment in apocalypse. The phallogocentrie origin stories most crucial for feminist cyborgs are built into the literal technologies - teehnologies that write the world, biotechnology and microelectronics - that have recently textualized our bodies as code problems on the grid of C3I. Feminist cyborg stories have the task of recoding communication and intelligence to subvert command and control.

Figuratively and literally, language politics pervade the struggles of women of colour; and stories about language have a special power in the rich contemporary writing by US women of colour. For example, retellings of the stom~ of the indigenous woman Malinche, mother of the mesdzo 'bastard' race of the new world, master of languages, and mistress of Cortes, carry special meaning for Chicana constructions of identity. Cherrie Moraga (1983) in Loving in the War Years explores the themes of identity when one never possessed the original language, never told the original story, never resided in the harmony of legitimate heterosexuality in the garden of culture, and so cannot base identity on a myth or a fall from innocence and right to natural names, mother's or father's.27 Moraga's writing, her superb literacy, is presented in her poetry as the same kind of violation as Malinche's mastery of the conqueror's language -- a violation, an illegitimate production, that allows survival. Moraga's language is not 'whole'; it is self-consciously spliced, a chimera of English and Spanish, both conqueror's languages. But it is this chimeric monster, without claim to an original language before


violation, that crafts the erode, competent, potent identities of women of colour. Sister Outsider hints at the possibility of world survival not because of her innocence, but because of her ability to live on the boundaries, to write without the founding myth of original wholeness, with its inescapable apocalypse of final return to a deathly oneness that Man has imagined to be the innocent and all-powerful Mother, freed at the End from another spiral of appropriation by her son. Writing marks Moraga's body, affirms it as the body of a woman of colour, against the possibility of passing into the unmarked category of the Anglo father or into the orientalist myth of 'original illiteracy' of a mother that never was. Malinche was mother here, not Eve before eating the forbidden fruit. Writing affirms Sister Outsider, not the Woman-before-the-Fall-into-Writing needed by the phallogocentric Family of Man.

Writing is pre-eminently the technology of cyborgs, etched surfaces of the late twentieth century. Cyborg politics is the struggle for language and the struggle against perfect communication, against the one code that translates all meaning perfectly, the central dogma of phallogocentrism. That is why cyborg politics insist on noise and advocate pollution, rejoicing in the illegitimate fusions of animal and machine. These are the couplings which make Man and Woman so problematic, subverting the structure of desire, the force imagined to generate language and gender, and so subverting the structure and modes of reproduction of 'Western' idendty, of nature and culture, of mirror and eye, slave and master, body and mind. 'We' did not originally choose to be cyborgs, but choice grounds a liberal politics and epistemology that imagines the reproduction of individuals before the wider replications of 'texts'.

From the perspective of cyborgs, freed of the need to ground politics in 'our' privileged position of the oppression that incorporates all other dominations, the innocence of the merely violated, the ground of those closer to nature, we can see powerful possibilities. Feminisms and Marxisms have run aground on Western epistemological imperatives to construct a revolutionary subject from the perspective of a hierarchy of oppressions and/or a latent position of moral superiority, innocence, and greater closeness to nature. With no available original dream of a common language or original symbiosis promising protection from hostile 'masculine' separation, but written into the play of a text that has no finally privileged reading or salvation history, to recognize 'oneself' as fully implicated in the world, frees us of the need to root politics in identification, vanguard parties, purity, and mothering. Stripped of identity, the bastard race teaches about the power of the margins and the importance of a mother like Malinche. Women of colour have transformed her from the evil mother of


masculinist fear into the originally literate mother who teaches survival.

This is not just literary deconstruction, but liminal transformation. Every, story that begins with original innocence and privileges the return to wholeness imagines the drama of life to be individuation, separation, the birth of the self, the tragedy of autonomy, the fall into writing, alienation; that is, war, tempered by imaginary respite in the bosom of the Other. These plots are ruled by a reproductive politics --rebirth without flaw, perfection, abstraction. In this plot women are imagined either better or worse off, but all agree they have less selflhood, weaker individuation, more fusion to the oral, to Mother, less at stake in masculine autonomy. But there is another route to having less at stake in masculine autonomy, a route that does not pass through Woman, Primitive, Zero, the Mirror Stage and its imaginaw. It passes through women and other present-tense, illegitimate cyborgs, not of Woman born, who refuse the ideological resources of victimization so as to have a real life. These cyborgs are the people who refuse to disappear on cue, no matter how many dmes a 'western' commentator remarks on the sad passing of another primitive, another organic group done in by 'Western' technology, by writing.28 These real-life cyborgs (for example, the Southeast Asian village women workers inJapanese and US electronics firms described by Aihwa Ong) are actively rewriting the texts of their bodies and sociedes. Sumival is the stakes in this play of readings.

To recapitulate, certain dualisms have been persistent in Western traditions; they have all been systemic to the logics and practices of domination of women, people of colour, nature, workers, animals - in short, domination of all constituted as others, whose task is to mirror the self. Chief among these troubling dualisms are self/other, mind/body, culture/nature, male/female, civilized/primitive, reality/appearance, whole/part, agent/resource, maker/ made, active/passive, right/wrong, truth/illusion, totaVpartial, God/man. The self is the One who is not dominated, who knows that by the semice of the other, the other is the one who holds the future, who knows that by the experience of domination, which gives the lie to the autonomy of the self. To be One is to be autonomous, to be powerful, to be God; but to be One is to be an illusion, and so to be involved in a dialectic of apocalypse with the other. Yet to be other is to be multiple, without clear boundary, frayed, insubstantial. One is too few, but two are too many.

High-tech culture challenges these dualisms in intriguing ways. It is not clear who makes and who is made in the relation between human and machine. It is not clear what is mind and what body in machines that resolve into coding practices. In so far as we know ourselves in both formal discourse (for example, biology) and in daily practice (for example, the homework economy in the integrated circuit), we find ourselves to be cyborgs, hybrids, mosaics, chimeras. Biological organisms have become biotic systems, com-


munications devices like others. There is no fundamental, ontological separation in our formal knowledge of machine and organism, of technical and organic. The replicant Rachel in the Ridley Scott film Blade Runner stands as the image of a cyborg culture's fear, love, and confusion.

One consequence is that our sense of connection to our tools is heightened. The trance state experienced by many computer users has become a staple of science-fiction film and cultural jokes. Perhaps paraplegics and other severely handicapped people can (and sometimes do) have the most intense experiences of complex hybridization with other communication devices.29 Anne McCaffrey's pre-feminist The Ship Who Sang (1969) explored the consciousness of a cyborg, hybrid of girl's brain and complex machinery, formed after the birth of a severely handicapped child. Gender, sexuality, embodiment, skill: all were reconstituted in the story. Why should our bodies end at the skin, or include at best other beings encapsulated by skin? From the seventeenth century dll now, machines could be animated - given ghostly souls to make them speak or move or to account for their orderly development and mental capacides. Or organisms could be mechan-ized - reduced to body understood as resource of mind. These machine/ organism relationships are obsolete, unnecessary. For us, in imagination and in other practice, machines can be prosthetic devices, intimate components, friendly selves. We don't need organic holism to give impermeable whole-ness, the total woman and her feminist variants (mutants?). Let me conclude this point by a very partial reading of the logic of the cyborg monsters of my second group of texts, feminist science fiction.

The cyborgs populating feminist science fiction make very problematic the statuses of man or woman, human, artefact, member of a race, individual endty, or body. Katie King clarifies how pleasure in reading these fictions is not largely based on idendfication. Students facingJoanna Russ for the first time, students who have learned to take modernist writers like James Joyce or Virginia Woolf without flinching, do not know what to make of The Adventures of Alyx or The Female Man, where characters refuse the reader's search for innocent wholeness while granting the wish for heroic quests, exuberant eroticism, and serious politics. The Female Man is the story of four versions of one genotype, all of whom meet, but even taken together do not make a whole, resolve the dilemmas of violent moral action, or remove the growing scandal of gender. The feminist science fiction of Samuel R. Delany, especially Tales of Neveyon, mocks stories of origin by redoing the neolithic revolution, replaying the founding moves of Western civilization to subvert their plausibility. James Tiptree, Jr, an author whose fiction was regarded as particularly manly undl her 'true' gender was revealed, tells tales of reproduction based on non-mammalian technologies like alternation of generations of male brood pouches and male nurturing. John Varley


constructs a supreme cyborg in his arch-feminist exploration of Gaea, a mad goddess-planet-trickster-old woman-technological device on whose surface an extraordinary array of post-cyborg symbioses are spawned. Octavia Butler writes of an African sorceress pithug her powers of transformation against the genetic manipulations of her rival (Wild Seed), of dme warps that bring a modern US black woman into slavery where her actions in relation to her white master-ancestor determine the possibility of her own birth (Kindred), and of the illegidmate insights into idendty and community of an adopted cross-species child who came to know the enem' as self (Survivor). In Dawn (1987), the first instalment of a series called Xenogenesis, Butler tells the story of Lilith Iyapo, whose personal name recalls Adam's first and repudiated wife and whose family name marks her status as the widow of the son of Nigerian immigrants to the US. A black woman and a mother whose child is dead, Lilith mediates the transformation of humanity through genetic exchange with extra-terrestrial lovers/rescuers/destroyers/genetic engineers, who reform earth's habitats after the nuclear holocaust and coerce surviving humans into intimate fusion with them. It is a novel that interrogates reproductive, linguishc, and nuclear politics in a mythic field structured by late twentieth-century race and gender.

Because it is particularly rich in boundary transgressions, Vonda McIn-tyre's Superluminal can close this truncated catalogue of promising and dangerous monsters who help redefine the pleasures and politics of embodiment and feminist writing. In a fiction where no character is 'simply' human, human status is highly problematic. Orca, a genetically altered diver, can speak with killer whales and survive deep ocean conditions, but she longs to explore space as a pilot, necessitating bionic implants jeopardizing her kinship with the divers and cetaceans. Transformations are effected by virus vectors carrying a new developmental code, by transplant surgery, by implants of microelectronic devices, by analogue doubles, and other means. Lacnea becomes a pilot by accepting a heart implant and a host of other alterations allowing survival in transit at speeds exceeding that of light. Radu Dracul survives a virus-caused plague in his outerworld planet to find himself with a time sense that changes the boundaries of spatial perception for the whole species. All the characters explore the limits of language; the dream of communicating experience; and the necessity of limitation, partiality, and indmacy even in this world of protean transformation and connection. Superluminal stands also for the defining contradictions of a cyborg world in another sense; it embodies textually the intersection of feminist theory and colonial discourse in the science fiction I have alluded to in this chapter. This is a conjunction with a long history that many 'First World' feminists have tried to repress, including myself in my readings of Superluminal before being called to account by Zoe Sofoulis,


whose different location in the world system's informatics of domin-ation made her acutely alert to the imperialist moment of all science fiction cultures, including women's science fiction. From an Australian feminist sensitivity, Sofoulis remembered more readily McIntyre's role as writer of the adventures of Captain Kirk and Spock in TV's Star Trek series than her rewriting the romance in Superluminal.

Monsters have always defined the limits of community in Western imaginations. The Centaurs and Amazons of ancient Greece established the limits of the centred polls of the Greek male human by their disruption of marriage and boundary pollutions of the warrior with animality and woman. Unseparated twins and hermaphrodites were the confused human material in early modern France who grounded discourse on the natural and supernatural, medical and legal, portents and diseases -- all crucial to establishing modern identity.30 The evolutionary and behavioural sciences of monkeys and apes have marked the multiple boundaries of late twentieth-century industrial identities. Cyborg monsters in feminist science fiction define quite different political possibilities and limits from those proposed by the mundane fiction of Man and Woman.

There are several consequences to taking seriously the imagery of cyborgs as other than our enemies. Our bodies, ourselves; bodies are maps of power and identity. Cyborgs are no exception. A cyborg body is not innocent; it was not born in a garden; it does not seek unitary identity and so generate antagonistic dualisms without end (or until the world ends); it takes irony for granted. One is too few, and two is only one possibility. Intense pleasure in skill, machine skill, ceases to be a sin, but an aspect of embodiment. The machine is not an it to be animated, worshipped, and dominated. The machine is us, our processes, an aspect of our embodiment. We can be responsible for machines; they do not dominate or threaten us. We are responsible for boundaries; we are they. Up till now (once upon a time), female embodiment seemed to be given, organic, necessary; and female embodiment seemed to mean skill in mothering and its metaphoric exten-sions. Only by being out of place could we take intense pleasure in machines, and then with excuses that this was organic activity after all, appropriate to females. Cyborgs might consider more seriously the partial, fluid, sometimes aspect of sex and sexual embodiment. Gender might not be global identity after all, even if it has profound historical breadth and depth.

The ideologically charged question of what counts as daily activity, as experience, can be approached by exploiting the cyborg image. Feminists have recently claimed that women are given to dailiness, that women more than men somehow sustain daily life, and so have a privileged epistemo-logical position potentially. There is a compelling aspect to this claim, one that makes visible unvalued female activity and names it as the ground of life.


But the ground of life? What about all the ignorance of women, all the exclusions and failures of knowledge and skill? What about men's access to daily competence, to knowing how to build things, to take them apart, to play? What about other embodiments? Cyborg gender is a local possibility taking a global vengeance. Race, gender, and capital require a cyborg theory of wholes and parts. There is no drive in cyborgs to produce total theory, but there is an intimate experience of boundaries, their construction and deconstruction. There is a myth system waiting to become a political language to ground one way of looking at science and technology and challenging the informatics of domination-- in order to act potently.

One last image organisms and organismic, holistic politics depend on metaphors of rebirth and invariably call on the resources of reproductive sex. I would suggest that cyborgs have more to do with regeneration and are suspicious of the reproductive matrix and of most birthing. For salamanders, regeneration after injury, such as the loss of a limb, involves regrowth of structure and restoration of function with the constant possibility of twinning or other odd topographical productions at the site of former injury. The regrown limb can be monstrous, duplicated, potent. We have all been injured, profoundly. We require regeneration, not rebirth, and the possibilities for our reconstitution include the utopian dream of the hope for a monstrous world without gender.

Cyborg imagery can help express two crucial arguments in this essay: first, the production of universal, totalizing theory is a major mistake that misses most of reality, probably always, but certainly now; and second, taking responsibility for the social relations of science and technology means refusing an anti-science metaphysics, a demonology of technology, and so means embracing the skilful task of reconstructing the boundaries of daily life, in partial connection with others, in communication with all of our parts. It is not just that science and technology are possible means of great human satisfaction, as well as a matrix of complex dominations. Cyborg imagery can suggest a way out of the maze of dualisms in which we have explained our bodies and our tools to ourselves. This is a dream not of a common language, but of a powerful infidel heteroglossia. It is an imagination of a feminist speaking in tongues to strike fear into the circuits of the supersavers of the new right. It means both building and destroying machines, identities, categories, relationships, space stories. Though both are bound in the spiral dance, I would rather be a cyborg than a goddess.


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