- The New “Dot.com Women”:Women Engaging Religious and Theological Discourse Online
A few years ago, I blogged about the new “Dot.Com Moms” for Ethicsdaily.com.1 It was a blog about “dot.com moms” who are now overtaking the endearing appellation of “soccer moms.” That term was once used to signify the multifaceted roles of a mother, particularly that of driver for her children’s activities. It is a fond term for moms who are constantly juggling duties as they busily drive their kids to various activities after school or on the weekends. However, the reality of motherhood is rapidly changing. Mothers are now working, staying at home, or doing both. Motherhood is demanding and requires a lot of time and know-how from mothers. Their evolving role in our world of technological change is allowing them to become more active on the Internet.
Mothers today are shopping, reading, blogging, chatting, and creating communities online. Mothers are influencing the world through the World Wide Web as we could have never imagined before. This crazed phenomenon is sanctioning [End Page 154] an opportunity for mothers to have a growing impact on the world today. Their presence online affects strategies of how one markets, how one sells, what one sells, what one blogs, and the list goes on.
With such an impact on the online community, I use the term dot.com moms as a way to describe the literate moms who are both feeding and consuming the Internet. They influence consumers’ purchases, clothing, holiday destinations, and even what books to read. Their presence online is affecting our culture and our modern understandings of religion. “Dot.com mom” isn’t just for mothers. It applies to all women who are shaping the economy, politics, and religious practices. The dot.com era is slowly changing the cultures around the globe.
Women have become movers of the Internet. They are redefining and molding the social and religious discourse by their presence online. As I engage in more theological work on the Internet, I have come to realize that the term dot.com moms needs to be more inclusive and perhaps replaced with dot.com women instead. As the garden of the Internet is blooming with an abundance of activity, we begin to redefine who we are as women. By endorsing the term dot. com women to encapsulate the essence of influence that women have over the Internet, we may be able to achieve this.
In many ways, it is becoming more and more essential for feminist theologians and religious scholars to reevaluate the Internet with rigor and force to help redefine themselves. In this light, Gina Messina-Dysert’s article is timely and crucial, as we live in a new era that involves digital communication, writing, reflection, and engagement. It creates a new context and encourages us to be more involved in this critical new development of feminist activism. There are so many scopes of resources and discourses that occur on the Internet. It is important that feminist scholars get on the Internet to influence the discourse, for if we miss out on affecting this discourse, we will leave it to others to define us in misleading terms.
As we imagine how we can improve our influence in this growing arena, we recognize that there are different genres of writing and media. Adam Copeland describes digital writing as “blogging, texting, online game playing, social networking, e-mailing, and so on.”2 These various digital genres need to be engaged by women, as we ourselves are in dire need to alter and contribute to the growing dialogue on cultural roles and religion.
Feminist scholars should seriously open the navigational possibilities of the Internet and explore ways to challenge the discourse on religion. As Messina-Dysert mentions in her article, it is important that we have these spaces to post and share our emerging voices. The Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion as [End Page 155] well as Feminism and Religion, WATER, and the Feminist Wire, are important partners of this dialogue who need to be engaged. I believe it is of the utmost importance that women and men...