Eve Shapiro – Gender Circuits: Bodies and Identities in a Technological Age


Routledge, ISBN-13: 978-0415996969, 248 pages, February 9, 2010, English
How technologies are shaping and affecting our body has been often discussed in terms of “representation” and identity. Eve Shapiro is a sociologist researching the dynamic relationship between identity, embodiment and community, mainly within North America. In this book she’s able to investigate various aspects of the definition of gender through a number of different technologies. From the modification of female muscles induced by the intensive use of high heels to the tremendous impact of biotechnologies, the author discusses number of politically relevant questions like: did the development of body modification technologies lead to contemporary transsexual identities? To understand the different scenarios we found in the text a few useful highlighted definitions of new words, like “somatechnics”, a term that is used to express the idea that the body is always known and shaped through the technologies of a particular society. Moreover Shapiro ranges from the analysis of how gender was historically defined to the technologies developed to foster “gender conformity” (the corset, for example). She also investigates of how gender is shown, changed and negotiated online. Here the representation of the self is dispersed and multifaceted with a number of consequences, including the so-called “Proteus effect” connected to the perception of our own avatar. With accessible language, brilliantly avoiding the typical slang abuse of gender studies, this book is pleasant and informed writing.