Shade's research, although not linguistic in nature, is useful to provide a background into women's roles in constructing the Internet. She begins by reviewing research on gendered uses of various communications technologies, including the telephone, radio, and television. She discusses cyberactivism and feminism, as well as public policy determining women's access to the internet. She cites a case study of women in China and internet access implementation and concludes with a discussion of whether women are merely consumers targeted by merchants or active citizens in an online sisterhood (discussions that we have held in class as well).
In this essay, Frederick examines the question of whether computer-mediated communication is truly a democratic utopia where feminist values can flourish. By studying data from 2 newsgroups, alt.feminism and soc.feminism, she demonstrates that discrimination and exclusion/hostility can continue to occur, even in a supposedly inclusive and politically feminist context. She concentrates on the ethos of the newsgroups as the basis for constructing either a welcoming or distancing communication arena. My interest in this article stems from this notion of ethos because I think that it a highly influencing factor which combines with inherent linguistic features of women's speech to produce a speech community. I believe that any future discussions of the social structure of online communication must address ethos as well as linguistic differences in order to prevent factionalization or balkanization of men and women online, much as one might approach a dialog about multiculturalism and the internet.