“feminist_brevity_in_light_of_masculine_long-windedness”: Code, Space, and Online Misogyny
Feminist Media Studies, special issue on Online Misogyny
C+= (pronounced “C plus equality” or “see equality”) is an anti-feminist programming language hoax that provides one example of the hostility experienced all too often by nonmale, nonnormative identities online. As a case study, this programming language demonstrates how misogyny happens in digital contexts through claims to space. This “digital manspreading”—a concept I develop through this case—happens because online interactions are unavoidably embodied, material, and spatial. This case study and concept argue that feminist scholarship must move beyond studying online discourse or interfaces to interrogating how digital infrastructures themselves, especially as built and represented in code, participate in misogyny.
Fully Human, Fully Machine: Rhetorics of Digital Disembodiment in Programming
One way toward a more embodied digital rhetoric is through interrogating constructions of digital disembodiment. To make that case, this article examines one of the most famous esoteric or “weird” programming languages, which are not designed for any “real world” purpose, but as art, parody, or experiment. This language, named “brainfuck,” is notorious for its difficulty and uses challenges of mastery to assert a “true” (i.e. white, straight, masculine) programmer identity. As brainfuck reveals, a contemporary struggle to connect the effects of technologies with the people who create them can be sustained because their creators perform being machine-like themselves.
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