Lets Do the Revolution

Donna Haraway's "A Cyborg Manifesto Science, Technology, and the Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century" (1985) promises the destruction of gender and minority otherness through technology. Her cyborg experience of being transgresses gender, racial, and sexual, and class boundaries. Maintaining that there is "nothing about being 'female' that naturally binds women" (519), Haraway argues for a technological reinterpretation of identity. Her cyborg person is understood "in terms of design, boundary constraints, rates of flows" (523), rather than "essential properties" (523). Her assumption that ideologies are changing via the "Informatics of Domination" seems correct, but do they constitute a revolution?

While composition of the self and one's relation to others is evidently changing, gender the essence of identity is not fundamentally altered. Her proposed reinterpretation is not the first; throughout history revolutions in identity have occurred. For example, knowledge and self-comprehension fundamentally changed with the introduction of the Gutenberg printing press in 1439. However, though the printed book and paper introduced many changes, it did not transgress gender. Rather gender, race, class, and sexuality found new homes in the recently textualized world.

These perceived divisions of identity and the "other" persist even as one's symbiotic relationship with technology grows. Until the technological boundaries and ontology surpass our human capacity of Being, there will be an "other," a minority, an excluded group.

Perhaps Haraway's overestimation of the Informatics of Domination arises from her intimate association of myth and tool. Maintaining that they "mutually constitute each other" (524), she misses the poetic nature of myth, and reduces it to the level of equipment. The poetry set work in myth simultaneously "moves the earth itself into the Open of a world and keeps it there" ("The Origin of the Work of Art," Heidegger), and sets the "self-secluding" earth back into its matter of "undiscloseable presence" ("The Origin of the Work of Art," Heidegger). On the other hand, in equipment, "material disappears into the tool" ("The Origin of the Work of Art," Heidegger); the earth is neither brought forward into the world, nor is it set further into self-concealing.

Tool cannot match myth, just as technology cannot match humanity. Humanity's artful and creative Being cannot be replaced and fundamentally revolutionized by new equipment. However, the trend of growing incorporation and use of technology to supplement oneself does signify a new stage. Gender, race, sexuality, and class will remain present and be a factor, but their boundaries will continue to blur, be rethought, and reemerge. Just as the Gutenberg book leveled some dichotomies, it created new ones still clung to today; these ideologies will disappear gradually until the new forms dominate.

I understand Haraway's attempt to bring up that the constraints we put on women are societal, and not physical, claiming "there is nothing about beig female that naturally binds women" however, from an evolutionary standpoint, actually there is, and I think by looking at humanity from an evoultionary look, we can begin to understand where sexism comes from. Men, their bodies are naturally built and strong, they are inherantly protective, their job from the beginning of time has been to hunt and provide for the family. Women, on the other hand, are the nuturers, we give birth to the children, therefore it is assumed that child care is our main job. The pure physicla truth behind our bodies is that men are, for the most part, stronger. I think these basic qualities of ourselves, although they have rapidly changed (women back in the workplace, successful careers after giving birth, no longer confined to being a housewife), I think are the core reasons there is sexism in society today, and perhaps a cyborg would not have those preliminary judgements placed on them, but I also think that a genderless world would lead to many other problems, because blurring the lines of sex between two cyborgs cold cause quite a racous in the homophobic community.