Online-Offline Cross Over

lifeonscreen1The crossover is place of crossing from one side to the other. You can easily notice it in our material body: the zebra cross, the bridge, the elevator, the stairs, the street, everything.

Let’s imagine our self – standing in one side of the street. In the other side of the street, we look out over one small candy store. Suddenly, we are tempted to visit that store, to buy one gram or more of candy (we are not on a diet, though).

So, we have to move our “body” to the other side of the street therefore we can reach that store. We have to use our legs or our tools, and force them to bring us to the other side of the street. We did that. Now, we are in the other side of the street. We are looking back to the place where we were – on the other side of the street. Now, it is empty. We are here now, on the other side of the street, where the candy store is.

That what will be happened in our physical world, where we cannot be presence in two places one at in time. There is a border in our physical world for our being and nothingness.  

Nowadays Internet has offering us another definition for “world” – an online world, virtual one, where we can have both our being and nothingness. We can present our self while being absent OR we can be absence while we are presence.

Those events are possible, but not as simple as it looked like. ☺

Let me say that in online world we have both multiple identities and zero identity outright. Like a man, name Brian who adopted a female gender in the online world then entered into a virtual lesbian relationship which developed into a real-life heterosexual affair (multiple identity) OR Richard who discovered a dark side that led to him becoming addicted to murder (but, in real life is he a murderer? Who is he? Will he dare to kill a person in his real life? – Zero identity).

In Brian case, I put my interest on GENDERSWAPING (the term for sex-changing disguise act in online world). See how Brian did that a pretty complex crossover! First, he moved himself into a female character by changing his sex role or sex identity, while his material body is STILL a man! That material embodiment (his body, including his penis) is still there while part of them is away (“moved” as a women). In our first case, it means that when we are there in other side of the street, as we look back to the starting point, we see that we are there – one at in time. Cyber-genderswaping enable a person to split their body (and personality) – both as a woman and as a man – in the same time.

Second one is about the discontinued crossover like what was happened in Richard case. Although as a persona at the keyboard Richard still can see his online identity – but in some degree, he would never ever spring to the real life to become a murderer as he wanted to be. He has either way both the real identity as Richard and the murderer. But those two identities are split, discontinued – because he refuses to become a murderer in his real life.

This amazing life in cyberspace become more interesting for women for they have unsplit online offline crossover. 

The fact that online word is second to none in its capability to serve interactivity for the users – in compare to other media technology. As Wood and Smith (2005) figure out doubtlessly that technology, especially Internet offer human to become the controller of every aspect of our identity for public consideration that has been possible before, including manipulating one’s identity through role-playing.

Turkle said (she is great author, i like her books!) that in the Internet, people can have new experience in becoming someone they’ve never been before: different gender, class, race, or other distinction (Turkle’s terms: depaysement). This new experience in online world, said Turkle – brings more benefit that suffer for the users. On line world liberate users from mainstream order in term of social pressure. No one will get your opinion down because of your normative physical attributes.

Dealing with many oppressive behavior for ages, Internet give women all over the world the possibilities to challenge their opressor by creating space whose rules are defined by women themselves. In cyberspace women can play and determine they role themselves: whether as a mom or a worker or a saint or a bitch or a girl or a whatever person they want to be – even more than one role one at a time. But, they dont have to discontinue one of they role while they are doing the other role.




For men cybersphere and realitysphere are somewhat different. They devide their live into cyber life and reality life and they don’t mix it. If they “switch on” the one life, then the other life should be “switch off”. But women don’t believe that. They build their own blog connecting their network within, but they’ve never felt enought. They don’t only communicate within the blog, they exchange their mobile phone number still or even despite the distance, women meet face-to-face.


So when they play the role as a girl in cyberspace, they will meet face-to-face as a mother, not to bother to hide their multiply identity. It is as if they are celebrating their freedom to create multiply identities and roles together with other women. Or maybe they’ve used to handle those kind of multitasking role? Ultimately, there is no limit for women in doing online-offline crossover. They know exactly their life experiences, they know exactly their own stories, and they know exactly how to free themselves from the oppression using the Internet.


16 February 2009




2 thoughts on “Online-Offline Cross Over

  1. Ada sebuah fenomena di Arab Saudi, dimana perempuan-perempuan bersuami strip off their clothes on the internet. Would these women display their multiple online identity over their multiple physical identity? I highly doubt it. I think it depends on how oppressed they are socially. I think, regardless of gender, the more oppressed an internet user is in the physical world, the more unlikely they will display their online identity physically.

    The border, I think, lies in the physical consequence of such unraveling. Kalau seseorang merasa sanksi sosialnya terlalu tinggi, maka dia akan punya isolated multiple identities. Tapi kalau sanksi sosialnya masih bisa diterima, maka multiple identitiesnya akan menjadi konsisten, offline ataupun online.

    Let’s discuss! I really like this article!

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