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A feminist subversion of gender binarism on cyborgian grounds through a critical analysis of cyberpunk fiction: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Marge Piercy’s Body of Glass

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2019
Göksu, Deniz
The aim of this thesis is to explore the transgressive role of cyborg as a posthuman subject in feminist cyberpunk fiction in destabilizing the socially constructed binarisms concerning humanness and gender stereotypes in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Marge Piercy’s Body of Glass. With the fall of Humanism, the taken-for-granted assumptions of Enlightenment mindset have begun to be unsettled by posthumanists. The problematization of what it means to be human set the ground for elucidating the artificiality of phallogocentric categories and thereby transgressing the borders of conventional dichotomies. In “A Manifesto for Cyborgs”, Haraway challenges binary oppositions and advocates a new fusion of identity. Her cyborg theory not only facilitates a territory for the discussion of humanness, it provides a new space for feminists to articulate possibilities of liberatory identity formations and escaping the heteronormative stereotypes of the patriarchal discourse as well. Regarded as the first science fiction novel and identified as a proto-cyberpunk novel, Frankenstein presents the relationship between the Western male scientist Victor and the posthuman monster in a subversive fashion which enables a cyborgian reading of the nineteenth century text from the lenses of a twenty first century reader. Similarly, Piercy’s work combines the elements of the cyborg theory with feminist agenda of revisionary mythmaking based on the relationship between Avram Stein and his cyborg Yod with reference to Frankenstein. The juxtaposition of these works enables insights about the possibilities of subverting binarisms that serve to exclude women from technoscientific areas.