The Trouble with Gender

In her piece 'Women and Children First' Laura Miller discusses the reasons for which considering digital media a new frontier represents gender on the internet incorrectly. Frontier evokes images of strong males exploring an unknown territory accompanied by the weaker, dependent, women and children. True, the demographics show that the internet population is dominated by males but our definition of male and female as it applies to the physical world is very much broken down, according to Miller.
Clearly the way in which people interpret body on the internet differs. However, it is indisputable that the way in which we communicate with people is detached from our true physical bodies to the extent that a person can represent themself as having completely different physical attributes. Miller considers her body to be "a site of heightened vulnerability" (RDC, 218) in the 'real' world but she says that on the internet she has no body. I'm going to have to disagree with this statement. Though we have no body on the internet we still experience the internet through our bodies and our understanding of body as well as gender roles. The body is a complicated entity to describe because it represents both something very tangible and understandable and something extremely abstract, the mind. The body is in many ways an expression of the mind. The way we dress, how fit we are, how we wear our hair are all reflections of the mind's concept of ideal body. In my opinion the two are inseparable. People want to use other's bodys to interpret their minds or personalities but it also works the other way. We have no body but the one created by the minds of others but I'd argue that this interpretation is just as important if not more important than what we actually look like.
Miller talks about the Net as an almost idealistic space in which gender can be blurred, in that people can pose as the opposite sex and potentially question the way in which we conceptualize gender on the whole. But is the idea of people who are physically male posing as women really showing that gender roles can easily be cast off as Miller claims (RDC,219)? I think more than anything it shows how solidified gender roles are. We believe that someone is male or female simply based on the way in which the behave, the things the say, the personality the adopt. People still have the same expectations for genders that they do in the real world and I think this is because we have this tendency to define people in far too dichotomous means. We want to people in either category when in reality gender is a far more complicated concept than that. It is a combination of sex, personal identity, and how rest of the world describes you, which presents yet another complication of which component is the most important to identity.
This is something I can't really come to a conclusion on though the idealist in me wants to say how we view ourselves is our true identity.
The fact that we'd even describe a man as posing as a woman on the internet shows that our definition of gender is still very varied. While it is a concept most closely tied with gender because that is the easiest characteristic to interpret is it not also possible that that same man could be considered to be posing as a man when his gender is really female? What does that even mean that his gender is really female? Yet again the impossibilities of this dichotomy. It is terrible difficult to discuss gender in any manner but a binary one because we consider that there are physically two sexes (also not completely true). We are raised forming schema of male and female behavior that we use to communicate with and understand others. Even if we have no true body on the internet we still have this intrinsic desire to gain an understanding of people through familiar means often tied to the physical body. It is a vessel we cannot escape and arguably one we do not truly wish to.