When first reading Global Frequency by Warren Ellis, the chapter “Big Wheel” immediately grabbed my attention. Within the chapter we face the topic of feminism in technology.
In “A Manifesto for Cyborgs,” Donna Haraway writes, “a cyborg is a cybernetic organism…a creature of reality as well as a creature of fiction. Social reality is lived social relations, our most important positional construction, a world changing fiction. The international women’s movements have constructed “women’s experience,” as well as uncovered or discovered this crucial collective object. This experience is a fiction and fact of the most crucial, political kind” (Haraway 7). I apologize for such a long quote but I feel as though Haraway’s idea and Ellis’ chapter “Big Wheel,” hold a great deal of parallelism. Before I dive into Ellis’ let us first unravel Haraway’s statement. Haraway claims that a cyborg is a creature of reality, as well as fiction. Then, Haraway goes on to explain that the “women’s experience” is also a work of fiction and fact. This makes me wonder, is Haraway eluding to the idea that women and cyborgs are not so different, and possibly even similar? The reason I find this relatable to “Big Wheel” is because in the chapter we see a woman who is a member of The Global Frequency who is part cyborg, due to the fact that she has a mechanical arm. Although this moment in the text may not be of huge significance to the theme of women and technology, I felt as though it was definitely an interesting moment of similarity between the two texts.
Another example of the relationship between women and technology in the chapter “Big Wheel” are the graphics used to depict the women on this given mission. Before I go into explaining this idea, I would like to go back to Haraway’s text. Within her essay she refers to a phrase “radical feminism.” In her text she explains how radical feminism pushes the idea of sexism by explaining how women are objectified for their sexual allure, and being thought of as sexual objects. Haraway writes, “MacKinnon argues that radical feminism necessarily adopted a different analytical strategy for Marxism, looking first not at the structure of class, but as the structure of sex/gender and its generative relationship, men’s constitution and the appropriation of women sexually,” she continues by this known concept by saying, “sexual objectification, not alienation, is the consequence of the structure of sex/gender. In the realm of knowledge, the result of sexual objectification is illusion and abstraction…she owes her existence as a women to sexual appropriation” (Haraway 18). In my opinion Ellis uses graphics which
push away this concept of radical feminism and the idea of a women’s worth being defined by sexual objectification. Ellis does so by showing the women as strong-minded, muscular, aggressive, and bold. Two of the women specifically–one having short hair, and the other having her hair slicked back, and both their bodies are drawn to look similar to some of the men, rid these characters of virtually any femininity. Furthermore, they also appear to be stronger than some of the men in this chapter. I found this to be and interesting aspect. I feel as though Ellis is pushing the gender boundaries immediately in this book by removing the ability to sexualize the female characters. Showing that women too can be strong and authoritative. For me these were two examples of how the topic of feminism in technology has already appeared in Global Frequency.