This talk builds on the current project of Sarah Sharma, “the sExit,” which is concerned with the gendered politics of exit. It begins by taking account of a wide range of masculine exit fantasies that cross the political spectrum. sExits appear in the geopolitical, technological, and intimate spheres. The sExit lurks in nationalist movements (Brexit), the spread of sex robots, digital detox programs, Men’s Rights activism, and even some strands of autonomist Marxism.
While taking stock of the penchant for exit, specifically how it moves through and organizes the social body, Sarah Sharma suggests that sExit poses a significant problem for feminist politics. The exit is perhaps neither necessary nor possible as a form of feminist action. Yet, entertaining feminist exit as a political strategy has become an intensified site of anxiety and increased labour. Even so, Sarah will argue that this masculinist culture of sExit poses some unique possibilities for techno-feminist resistance. Specifically, sExits have opened up the possibilities of a what she will outline here as a feminism of the broken machine. This is a sort of feminism that cannot flee the scene, but neither can it be plugged back into this gendered dynamic.
Sarah Sharma is Associate Professor and Director of the McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto. She thinks alongside such feminist theorist as Judy Wajcman, Donna Haraway or xenofeminist as Helen Hester. Sarah is currently working on a new project that explores the gendered politics of exit and refusal, or what she terms “the (s)Exit”, within contemporary techno-culture.
Her monograph In the Meantime: Temporality and Cultural Politics published by Duke University Press was awarded the “2014 National Communication Critical Cultural Division Book of the Year.” In the Meantime intervenes in the popular sentiment that the world is speeding and argues the explanatory power of speed-up is less an accurate depiction of the contemporary moment than it is an ideological discourse itself. Working against this myopic focus on speed up the book introduces a new approach to time and locates how temporality operates as a key relation of power structured at the intersection of a range of social differences.