Cyborgian-goddesses and Post-body Feminism

The articles by Haraway, Puar, and Scannell offer feminist commentary on the idea of cyborgs, goddesses, nature, the unnatural, and the cyborg-goddess. To begin my understanding of cyborgs and  feminism, I read Haraway’s article that explores cyborgs as a post-gender, monstrous world. Cyborgs directly go against notions of innocence, that women have historically been subjected to, and nature, in the Western sense. In the Western world, the gender binary is naturalized and cyborgs can work against this, rejecting nature in this sense. Haraway states that gender may not even be a global identity, supporting the theory of cyborg unity.

Bodies are “maps of power and identity,” but cyborg feminist theory breaks down the idea of a body, which is seen as natural. Cyborgs are a way to escape out of oppression and the naturalized world, thus giving cyborg unity an empowering technology.

I want to point out that Haraway uses two terms in her essay: goddess, a “naturally” beautiful female being and cyborg, a post-human machine. In the conclusion of her essay, she states that she would rather be a cyborg than a goddess, possibly suggesting that the two are separate and one may be superior than the other. Puar, however, challenges this. Puar talks about how contemporary feminism has been rooted in discourses and theories of difference, such as intersectionality. The term “women of color” employs a discourse of difference, in relation to white feminists, and defines identity. However, Puar questions if this is productive. Instead of operating through difference Puar challenges the practice of disaggregating and separating which in effect, calls Haraway’s popular phrase into question. Haraway states that she would rather be a cyborg than a goddess, but Puar’s response to this by concluding his essay with: “but why disaggregate the two when there surely must be cyborgian-goddesses in our midst?” I think this question is great because it highlights the complexity of how we understand feminism/identity and how this understanding is not going to result in an end-all, encompassing idea: it seems as if it will always be in a state of flux (unless, maybe, there becomes a post-gender society).

Scannell builds on Puar’s cyborg-goddess, taking a more concrete approach by examining big data bodies and techno-capital, specifically in New York City police. The cyborg-goddess takes on the nonhuman attribute of an object, like the “logic of algorithmic governmentality.” Scannell argues that data-driven policing produce social objects that favor neoliberalism. Governments through datalogic reduce the human world to numbers and digits which requires them to distinguish between “life and nonlife.”

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