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Representations of Race and Sexuality on Feminist Web Sites
Unformatted Document Text:  Representations of Race and Sexuality on Feminist Web Sites 17 (up from 19% in 1998) compared to almost 50% of white Americans. Usage for the Hispanic American population is lower at 23.7% (up from 16.6% in 1998). The only minority group with usage equal to that of whites is Asians with 49.4%. 29 The Digital Divide study did not address the usage of gay/lesbian communities on the Web, but other studies have shown that gay males are more likely to use the Internet and are courted as a gainful target market, while lesbians are not as well represented. While the tenets of hegemony and patriarchy are likely the primary culprits of under representation of minority interests on the Web, lack of general participation of minority groups online can contribute to a slower change process. No one site or organization can provide every necessary perspective, but the Web, in totality, can offer a forum for the expression of ideas and experience that was not present in previous media. For example, none of the three sites visited explored any alternate sexual expression, like transgender, or specifics within the lesbian culture, like that of the butch-femme relationship. The Web does provide other outlets for those interested in these topics and a wide range of diverse topics. The danger is that they can become marginalized to their own corners of cyberspace rather than brought to the mainstream. Gaining large Web audiences is an equally political process and the tenets of capitalism are potentially forcing out the egalitarian opportunities that the Web can provide by engaging in stereotyping under the guise of “target marketing” or by large media companies acquiring smaller, grassroots operations and changing their ideologies. Feminist discourse is no longer focused on a single issue, like suffrage or the Equal Rights Amendment, thus no singular rallying point is available to further women’s

Authors: Royal, Cindy.
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Representations of Race and Sexuality on Feminist Web Sites
17
(up from 19% in 1998) compared to almost 50% of white Americans. Usage for the
Hispanic American population is lower at 23.7% (up from 16.6% in 1998). The only
minority group with usage equal to that of whites is Asians with 49.4%.
29
The Digital
Divide study did not address the usage of gay/lesbian communities on the Web, but
other studies have shown that gay males are more likely to use the Internet and are
courted as a gainful target market, while lesbians are not as well represented. While
the tenets of hegemony and patriarchy are likely the primary culprits of under
representation of minority interests on the Web, lack of general participation of minority
groups online can contribute to a slower change process.
No one site or organization can provide every necessary perspective, but the
Web, in totality, can offer a forum for the expression of ideas and experience that was
not present in previous media. For example, none of the three sites visited explored
any alternate sexual expression, like transgender, or specifics within the lesbian culture,
like that of the butch-femme relationship. The Web does provide other outlets for those
interested in these topics and a wide range of diverse topics. The danger is that they
can become marginalized to their own corners of cyberspace rather than brought to the
mainstream. Gaining large Web audiences is an equally political process and the
tenets of capitalism are potentially forcing out the egalitarian opportunities that the Web
can provide by engaging in stereotyping under the guise of “target marketing” or by
large media companies acquiring smaller, grassroots operations and changing their
ideologies.
Feminist discourse is no longer focused on a single issue, like suffrage or the
Equal Rights Amendment, thus no singular rallying point is available to further women’s


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