In the early 1990s, cyberfeminism surfaced as an arena for critical analyses of the inter-connections of gender and new technology – especially so in the context of the internet, which was then emerging as something of a “mass-medium”. Scholars, activists and artists interested in media technology and its gendered underpinnings formed networks and groups. Consequently, they attached altering sets of meaning to the term cyberfeminism that ranged in their take on, and identifications with feminism. Cyberfeminist activities began to fade in the early 2000s and the term has since been used by some as synonymous with feminist studies of new media – yet much is also lost in such a conflation. This article investigates the histories of cyberfeminism from two interconnecting perspectives. First, it addresses the meanings of the prefix “cyber” in cyberfeminism. Second, it asks what kinds of critical and analytical positions cyberfeminist networks, events, projects and publications have entailed. Through these two perspectives, the article addresses the appeal and attraction of cyberfeminism and poses some tentative explanations for its appeal fading and for cyberfeminist activities being channelled into other networks and practiced under different names.
© 2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston