Gender Technology: Identity in the mobile life

I’ve been wrestling with the idea of identity for the past couple days now. I was lucky enough to see what identity in the context of Christianity looks like this past weekend with a retreat to a ranch in Port Orchard, Washington. But as I learned about myself I wondered –  I wondered how such a simple word like identity can cause so much curiosity in so many aspects of my life –  from gender, faith, race, class and status; all these things are connected to each other in a mobile identity and mobile life.

So I decided to research and through all that digging I created a powerpoint discussion and wrote a reflection about some of the things I’ve learned.

For example, I am female and am 21% less likely to own a mobile devices than men. My simple identity as female not only affects how I carry myself in real life but it also affects my mobile life as well. My use of technology though my mobile devices an be viewed as an act of corruption to nature because the Western thought is that women are considered the guardians of nature.  (Caria Ganito).

However, if I merely look at mobile devices their design and packaging it seems as though I am meant to own a mobile phone and use it constantly. Phones are pink their packaged in light pastel colors, and even stylish with “purse-styled” or “wallet-styled” cases. With the way the device is packaged you would think that it reinforces traditional gender roles. Well it does, according to one of the first studies by Rakow & Navarro, it significantly reinforced roles, especially the role of women as mothers. More recent studies showed that men will act out their traditional gender identities with activity, technological appropriation, and being more likely to explore new functionalities and features on the phone. With women they acted out their traditional identities through dependency, domesticity, and the tendency to focus on communicational functions of the phone.

This is all very intriguing and makes me think of a simple app called “Motivational Quote Wallpapers.” Bare with me here, this app is literally just a plethora of photos that you can use to personalize your background. If you decided to read more about gender technology from (Caria Ganito) you will read that women are far more likely to personalize their phone, contacts or wallpaper. This app is just another tool for women to reinforce the idea of gender technology.


Social interaction with your tethered self

I believe we all want to interact with those around us. We all want to be a part of each others lives, but do we actual do that well?

There have been many videos that have surfaced on Facebook or Youtube about being tied to our phones.


There have even been amazing photo collages that depict when and how much we look at our phones. Eric Pickersgill showcased this idea with his collection called Removed.

Most of the time when we are on our phones we are communicating with our friends or families. However, what happens when we create a whole new life? Second Life is an online game that offers users the possibility of an online parallel life (including a virtual body, wardrobe, real estate, and paying job).

People can be who they want to be, always dreamed of being, or their self. This online social interaction can be a nice break from the mundane worries of the real world. In the chapter Always-On/Always-On-You:The Tethered Self, Maura a a thirty-seven-year-old housewife from the Boston suburbs, finds Second Life as pleasurable escape from the routine of her life at home with two toddlers.

‘‘I know it gives me something of a reputation, but there are always new people. I don’t stay in relationships long.’’ Maura continues: ‘‘There is always someone else to talk to, someone else to meet. I don’t feel a commitment.’’ People who have deployed avatars on Second Life stress that the virtual world gives them a feeling of everyday renewal. ‘‘I never know who I’ll meet,’’ Maura says.