Fantasy Structures in Virtual Communities: The Perverted GaZe
Some psychoanalytic theorists of culture, notably Elliott (2000, 137–139) cautiously celebrate the imaginative fluidity of postmodernism as being a time of extraordinary creativity where everything is possible because of the seeming constructivist nature of the world. It seems as if reality can be reduced to information, a mathematical combination of —’s and +’s or 0’s and 1’s, which are digitally recombined to produce startling special effects, as if from these invisible codes a virtual world magically appears. The possibilities seem endless. Sherry Turkle (1995) and Allucquère (Sandy) Stone (1996) were both cautiously enthusiastic and optimistic that VR could provide alternative visions to the Symbolic Order that was in place. The ability of the console-player to take on various forms of identity in virtual communities in the various on-line chat rooms—MUDs (Muti-User Dimension, or Multi-User Dungeons), MOOs (MUD-Object-Oriented), and GMUKS (Graphical Multi-user Konversation)—released the subject from being limited by the symbolic encrusted forms of identity in RL. One could change sex/genders and personalities at will. Such bisexuality permits heterosexual men to explore their “feminine” side and women their “masculine” ones. Gays could pretend to be heterosexual women, lesbians could take the persona of heterosexual males. One can have as many avatars in as many chat rooms representing as many different sides as one pleases. “Tough” female characters in VR would be beneficial, as Inness (1999) would confer.
KeywordsVideo Game Virtual Community Chat Room Instant Message Obsessive Passion
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