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CJB CyborgSexualities-Haraway Baudrillard And Gender,

CJB CyborgSexualities-Haraway Baudrillard And Gender,

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Published by Clayton Benjamin

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Published by: Clayton Benjamin on Dec 05, 2011
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Cyborg Sexualities: Haraway, Baudrillard and the HyperrealGender Break Down
Clayton BenjaminWrit 5001December 13, 2009Clayton Benjamin1
 
Abstract
This paper is meant to be an exploratory examination of Donna Haraway’s 1985article, “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist Feminism in the LateTwentieth Century.” Haraway suggested that cyborgs were postmodern organisms thatoffered a pathway to the emancipation of modernist hierarchies. Her article introducedCyborgs as a new field of study. Academics have written a proliferation of articles abouttheir ontology. However, recent studies have proved that instead of negating modernistconstructions of race, class, gender and sexuality, the cyborg has reproduced andreinforced those constructions. There is a gap within their research, which relies heavilyupon modernist theories. The objective of this paper is create a new framework throughBaudrillard’s ideas of the simulacrum, upon which cyborgs can be freed of socialconstructions.
Personal Narrative
The seminal fluid splashed into her, the egg received. The outside world intrudedinto her belly. I had been conceptualized. My mugshot captured onto the sonogram, my penis gendered. My masculinity transcribed. I rushed out the canal on a sea of amnioticfluid and snip went the scissors to the umbilical chord. The bright fluorescent lightcreating blue hints upon my “white” flesh. Wrapped and coddled in blue. A smiley facescreen-printed upon the first machine woven cotton that enclothed my body. Then thescissors snipped again, they shed part of my body for me; a Christian aesthetic to beforever tattooed/tabooed. Then came the syringes, sticking and probing my body, creatinga being that would outlive any virus, contagious bacteria and death. I was no longer thesperm, the egg, I was no longer me. I’d been birthed, transformed, I’d become their cyborg, I’d become the hyper-human. I am now a binary product to be studied,ethnographed, copied, fit into boxes, scanned and rescanned; a product for iterativedesign, for market research for mass consumption. A simple line of binary code. A cog inthe wheel of the machine.
Introduction
The idea of the cyborg is a relatively new and interesting concept. Many theoristshave used the cyborg as a metaphor for a posthuman being. The metaphor began in 1985when Donna Haraway published her first draft of “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science,Technology, and Socialist Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century.” The manifesto wasmeant to give a new framework for social feminism, to break from modern phallogecentrism and reveal a pathway for a new cyborg ontology (Bernardi 155). Sheweaved the myth of the cyborg preceding the rise of the internet, wirelesscommunications and web based advertising and marketing. Her ground breaking ideaswere to collapse individual identities for a new profound being; a cyborg. She defined acyborg as, “a cybernetic organism, a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of socialreality as well as a creature of fiction,” (Haraway 149). She argued, in order to subvertthe cross-sectionality of race, gender and class, women must refrain from a unified frontClayton Benjamin2
 
and understand the flexibility of their status. She states, “this chapter is an argument for  pleasure in the confusion of boundaries and for the responsibility in their construction,”(150).To Haraway, identity cannot be determined through the modern term “woman.”She acknowledges that modern binary body politics, where identity can only be definedthrough the “other” (Toffoletti 84), is unsuccessful at creating a united front for opposing patriarchic and racist separations. By example, women of colour are used as an exampleof cyborg myth. Compared to a white woman, a woman of colour is read as “not white.”Compared to a black man, a woman of colour is read as “not man.” The woman of colour’s identity is consistently two fold, first by gender, then by race. Because thewoman of colour can no longer embody one defined identity, she has transgressed the boundaries of identity, and is subject to both misogyny and racism. By exemplifyingwomen of colour, Haraway argues the modern term “woman” is no longer applicable tocreate a socialist feminist movement “[G]ender, race, and class cannot provide the basisfor belief in ‘essential’ unity,” (155). In modernist thought, an identity can only beunderstood through its opposition. “There is nothing about being ‘female’ that naturally binds women,” (155). She advances this argurment through the myth of the cyborg.The cyborg denies phallogocentrism of the modern era by divorcing itself completely from the ideology that created it. “Cyborgs…are the illegitimate offspring of militarism and patriarchal capitalism, not to mention state socialism. But illegitimateoffspring are often exceedingly unfaithful to their origins. Their fathers, after all, areinessential,” (151). Two key concepts emerge from this statement; that in order to createa new framework for feminism, past structural perspectives do not translate onto the newrole of the cyborg, and the cyborg will not reproduce the same structured environmentsthat preceded it. In this statement Haraway is encouraging a separation from pastfeminism which relied on a Freudian, Marxist and capitalist ideology and lead todefinitions of the “other” in regards to sex, class, gender and sexuality.Furthermore, Haraway compares and contrasts the old hierarchical constraints of science with what she calls a new network, “informatics of domination,” (161). The“informatics of domination” consists of thirty-three different suggestions ranging fromthe political sciences to the biological sciences. It is her intention here to suggest the newnetworked world the cyborg inhabits. In modernity, the sciences held ties to the ‘natural.’Sex was for reproduction and eugenics was the breeding of humans for advanced gene pools. In Haraway’s postmodern world, the sciences are no longer interested in the‘natural,’ but instead in the network of existences. Therefore, in postmodernity, sex andeugenics is instead labeled population control and genetic engineering. The “informaticsof domination” is intended to bring out the irony in the old hierarchy and demonstratethat, “no ‘natural’ architectures constrain system design,” (162). The first item onHaraway’s list is representation, which according to Jean Baudrillard is the second order of simulacra. For Haraway’s “informatics of domination” representation has becomesimulation, Baudrillard’s third and final order of the simulacra.Simulation, according to Jean Baudrillard, is the removal of the origin fromrepresentation into a new realm of simulacrum:Clayton Benjamin3

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