My reaction to Donna Haraway’s ‘Cyborgs Manifesto’

This blog is my reaction to reading Donna Haraway’s cyborg manifesto.

When I first read Haraway’s Cyborg manifesto I was immediately shocked and confused. It was hard to even understand what a cyborg was never mind how it came to cross with socialist feminism.The concept confused and bewildered me especially as Haraway had written this back in 1983. Her thought process must have been considered out of this world and simply crazy back then. Who – especially back then -would ever come to think that humans could be hybrids with technology?

Even in today’s world many may think this is a wild idea. But really when do you see a person with out a phone or tablet in their hand? Technology had evolved so quickly and radically in the last 30 years it would be interesting to see where we will stand in 30 years time. It would also be interesting to hear what Haraway would say about cyborgs now. My initial reaction of confusion then quickly began to morph into fear and worry. What will the world become if we were to become cybernetic organisms as Haraway predicts ?

To Haraway, Cyborgs will level the playing field in terms of equality. This is when I began to understand what Haraway means when she mentions the cross of a cyborg with a socialist feminist. Cyborgs – this hybrid of machine an organism – will eventually equalize the world. There will no longer be just male or female, there will no longer be racism, sexism etc. Haraway’s cyborgs joins everyone without judgement. It resets the world into an innocence that it may have been born with, as children are. Today’s world is the best time for the idea of cyborgs as now, we are the most accepting as we have ever been. We now find it easier to accept the idea of something that we may find ridiculous. Of course we still have extremists who rebel and fight against many new things but there will always be those who are willing to listen and accept. Maybe this is what Haraway meant by humans becoming cyborgs.

Haraway predicted that as we now declare animal rights which put the needs of animals in line with the need of humans, we will branch out to technology as we have with animals. Haraway also aims to expel the boundaries between the physical and non-physical. The example she uses is of television and light technology. She explains how it blurs the lines between physical and non physical as you can see it right in front of you but you cannot touch it.

We are slowly becoming more accepting of a persons sexuality, feelings and what will make them happy. It wasn’t that long ago that women weren’t allowed vote and had to quit any job they had as a result of marriage and people of colour couldn’t sit on the same bench as a white person. Even today we are still advancing as we have only recently legalised gay marriage in Ireland (YAY for the Irish !) it is now considered crazy to have ever rejected these ideas as we have become accustomed to life as it stands now.  These neanderthal ways of thinking have long changed and what we consider crazy or obscene now may be normal in twenty years.

Overall I found this reading confusing yet intriguing.


(1) Donna Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto

(2) Human Vision Image by Franz Steiner


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