After all, only a minority of people in the world are white guys. Only a minority of people with whom tomorrow will be made and shared are white guys. Only a minority of people in the world impacted by technodevelopmental changes are white guys. Only a minority of people in the world who are well informed and have important things to say about matters of technoscience are white guys. The relentless non-representativeness I have been documenting for months now over at IEET, supposedly the most "academic," "moderate," "respectable" of the membership organizations in the futurological Robot Cult archipelago, has long seemed to me to represent just one of the more obvious symptoms of the profound marginality of what I call superlative sub(cult)ural futurology. Perhaps Kirsti Scott's piece might represent a turning of the futurological tide at IEET?
Alas, no. Here is a representative passage in Kirsti Scott's ruminations on a Posthuman Feminism:
My understanding of cosmetic surgery has been opened up. Now I see it clearly as a technological choice that we have…. We have the power to take control of our bodies…. I had a great conversation the other day with a dear friend about how we both are really redheads on the inside. Neither of us are natural redheads, and we prefer different shades, but on the inside, we are redheads. This color on our heads expresses the person inside us that we know is there. Another dear friend loves heels like mad. It could be snowing or raining or she has to walk ten miles, but she is always in heels. This is an augmentation of her natural structure.
Lipo and breast implants and Botox needles and high-heels. Behold the post-human cyborg gods, puking out lunch in the toilet to keep that girlish figure! Turns out "The Future" is a late night informercial barking about boner pills and anti-ageing skim creams that smell like sour milk and make the skin of fourteen year spokesmodels look firm and smooth, just as you should have guessed it would be. Oh Brave New World that has such "feminists" in't!
Especially dispiriting, though hardly unsurprising, is to hear Scott declare that hers is a techno-feminism "indebted" to the work of Donna Haraway. I must say, as I have said before in response to another IEET futurologist George Dvorsky's comparable genuflection to Haraway in explaining his inspiration for his disturbingly anti-feminist "post-gender" manifesto (that manifesto starts with man was rarely more apt), one wonders if these Robot Cultists feel it necessary to actually read the work that presumably inspires their flights of fancy?
I think it is worth quoting Haraway herself on the reception of her famous Manifesto for Cyborgs:
There were some who regarded it as tremendously anti-feminist, promoting a kind of blissed out, techno sublime euphoria. Those readers completely failed to see all the critique. They would read things that for me are highly ironic and angry, a kind of restrained ironic fury -- they would read these things as my literal position, as if I was embracing and affirming what I am describing with barely restrained fury... I learned that irony is a dangerous rhetorical strategy... You assume reading practices that are the result of literary studies, biology, information sciences, political economy and a very privileged and expensive travel and education. It was a paper built on privilege, and the reading practices it asks from people are hard... I have had people, like Wired Magazine readers, interviewing and writing about the Cyborg Manifesto from what I see as a very blissed-out techno-sublime position.
It seems to me that Dvorsky and Scott are offering up almost flabbergastingly facile and superficial glosses on Haraway, affirming enthusiastically precisely the sorts of interpretations that concerned early socialist and feminist critics of the Manifesto who had likewise failed to see its ironies, but who at least had grasped how reactionary such literal and opportunistic appropriations were sure to be.
For more actual analysis of the glaring conceptual and political problems with these White Guys of "The Future" I recommend interested readers begin with my Condensed Critique of Transhumanism.