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Health (London). 2004 Jan;8(1):33-59.

Illness and Internet empowerment: writing and reading breast cancer in cyberspace.

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  • 1City University of New York, USA.


The Internet is now a site where women with breast cancer both read and write about the illness, and in doing so negotiate identity and definitions of situation in disembodied space. Cyberspace has been imagined as a liberatory realm where women can transgress gender roles, invent selves and create new forms of knowledge. This study explores the personal web pages of women with breast cancer with an interest in exploring the issue of 'cyber-agency' or empowerment in cyberspace. I suggest here that women's web pages might offer potentially critical opportunities for women's knowledge-making in relation to what are often highly political aspects of the body, gender and illness. However, the Internet is not an inherently empowering technology, and it can be a medium for affirming norms of femininity, consumerism, individualism and other powerful social messages.

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