Blog for the Gender and Digital Culture project, a study exploring the impact of digital media and communications on (gendered) relationships and interactions
I’m Lucy Shipley, a PhD student in Archaeology at the University of Southampton. I’ve always been interested in the way gender impacts on professional life- an interest that really started in seeing just how deeply feminist archaeology exposed both sexist working practices and sexist interpretations of the past. My doctoral research is focused on objects that for lots of people might seem pretty remote from this project- Etruscan pottery. However, what I’m interested in is how everyday objects such as (in my case) pots are really controlling our interaction with them through their physical form and the images they carry.
So in the same way that I’m fascinated by the way the shape of a mug forces you to use it in a specific manner by squishing your fingers into the handle and bumping your nose, I was hooked by the idea of exploring how digital media as a set of agents are promoting and enabling particular forms of behaviour. I’m also intrigued by the relationships being created between visual imagery and physical experience- on pots or online. The opportunity to examine how such responses to digital media are structured by individual gender identities is one that excites me- the space created by digital communications seems to simultaneously open up new areas for reinventing traditional gender identities, and yet reinforce gender stereotypes. As a twitterphile and blogger, I can’t wait to see what other users of social media think about the way our professional lives have changed since the advent of our “digital age,” and hear your views on the interface betweeen gender and digital culture.