Shift-F2: Female-to-Female Intimacy Offline and Online (Krasnoiarsk and Novosibirsk cases)

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Tatiana Barchunova


The major question discussed in this paper is how various social media and environments influence the patterns of cathexis (as used by Connell). The paper is focused on young Siberian women who develop intimate relations with other women and who do not necessarily have a lesbian identity. The online and offline forms of communication and their impact on the patterns of sexual and non-sexual intimacy are discussed. The offline communication sites comprise mass media, clubs and cafes, public shows (concerts, movie shows and festivals), private homes, and outdoor communication pads. It is shown that for leisure providers and commercial media (such as free shopping guides) tolerance towards same-sex intimacy is a part of their consumer-friendly policy. For those women who are reluctant to publicly expose their same-sex intimacy and/or identify themselves as lesbians the public offline communication sites seem to be inappropriate. Therefore, many of them switch to the Internet to look for partners and friends. The Internet communication sites analyzed in the article cover dating sites and individual online mediated resources. The first stages of the Internet communication facilitated anonymity and gender masquerade. However, recent developments show that the efficiency on the Internet communication sites depends on identity exposure. The need for communication efficiency has produced the effect of what the author of the paper calls “virtual coming out.”

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Tatiana Barchunova

Novosibirsk State University, Novosibirsk, Russia