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Our Bodies, Our (Virtual) Selves

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dc.contributor.advisor Hanrahan, Nancy Weiss Wolf, Karen L.
dc.creator Wolf, Karen L. 2010-04-21 2010-06-15T14:21:11Z NO_RESTRICTION en_US 2010-06-15T14:21:11Z 2010-06-15T14:21:11Z
dc.description.abstract In Second Life, the body is both created and performed. In some ways, Second Life identities are even more telling than offline identities, given that all elements are defined by the user. This study investigates three intersecting elements of selfhood in Second Life: first, the differences (or lack thereof) between constructions of identity in Second Life and actual life; second, the ways in which users express a gendered self in a realm where everything, even gender and genitalia, is infinitely mutable; third, whether Second Life's virtual body allows participants to move away from restrictive notions of gender, or reinforces a narrow conception of gender that is grounded in the body. Using interview data, content analysis, and participant observation, this thesis concludes that Second Life simultaneously reifies gendered bodily ideals while allowing individuals to explore their own gender and sexuality within these ideals. Gendered body norms are further narrowed by an environment where bodies are constructed by individuals invoking the cultural meanings of appearance.
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.subject cyberculture en_US
dc.subject virtual body en_US
dc.subject embodiment en_US
dc.subject gendered bodies en_US
dc.subject cyberfeminism en_US
dc.subject Second Life en_US
dc.title Our Bodies, Our (Virtual) Selves en_US
dc.type Thesis en Master of Arts Indiviualized Studies en_US Master's en Individualized Studies en George Mason University en

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