1st Edition

Intimacy on the Internet Media Representations of Online Connections

By Lauren Rosewarne Copyright 2016
    258 Pages
    by Routledge

    270 Pages
    by Routledge

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    The focus of this book is on the media representations of the use of the Internet in seeking intimate connections—be it a committed relationship, a hook-up, or a community in which to dabble in fringe sexual practices. Popular culture (film, narrative television, the news media, and advertising) present two very distinct pictures of the use of the Internet as related to intimacy. From news reports about victims of online dating, to the presentation of the desperate and dateless, the perverts and the deviants, a distinct frame for the intimacy/Internet connection is negativity. In some examples however, a changing picture is emerging. The ubiquitousness of Internet use today has meant a slow increase in comparatively more positive representations of successful online romances in the news, resulting in more positive-spin advertising and a more even-handed presence of such liaisons in narrative television and film. Both the positive and the negative media representations are categorised and analysed in this book to explore what they reveal about the intersection of gender, sexuality, technology and the changing mores regarding intimacy.

    Introduction  1. The Market Economy of Love  2. The Authenticity of Online Intimacy  3. The Desperate and the Dateless  4. Online Deception, Offline Disaster  5. Seeking Stimulation Online  6. The Quest for Kink  Conclusion


    Lauren Rosewarne is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Melbourne, Australia. She is the author of seven books, most recently Cyberbullies, Cyberactivists, Cyberpredators: Film, TV, and Internet Stereotypes, and specializes in gender, sexuality and popular culture.

    "Lauren Rosewarne is among our most daring and adroit explorers of the sexual scene, always poking at the edges, the margins, to reveal how mass media have constructed our experiences. By ranging across a variety of media representations, from online dating to cyberporn, Intimacy on the Internet tells a new story of the Internet’s impact on love and sex. Neither exclusively brave new world nor solely a haven for lonely and dangerous perverts, it’s all of that, and a lot more." --Professor Michael Kimmel, Stony Brook University, Author of Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era

    "Simply put, this is the best book I’ve read in some time! I couldn’t put it down when I started reading it. This work addresses an exceptionally timely topic in an extremely comprehensive, yet parsimonious fashion. It is meticulously researched, and Rosewarne artfully succeeds in placing numerous depictions of the subject matter from popular culture into a tremendously solid scholarly framework. This book is destined to make a substantial contribution to profession literature in a number of fields including sociology, psychology, and cultural studies. However, the best feature of this book is that it is well-written and enjoyable! The writing style makes it accessible to a variety of audiences. Not only will advanced scholars in a number of social and behavioural sciences find it useful, I strongly believe that undergraduate students would benefit from reading the book. Additionally, the non-academic reader with an interest in this topic would find the book just as enjoyable." --Professor Keith F. Durkin, Ohio Northern University, Co-Author of Sociology: Beyond Common Sense

    "Lauren Rosewarne’s latest book, Intimacy on the Internet, breaks considerable new ground as she documents, through extensive scholarship, how the new technologies are extending and shaping human sexuality. Drawing on research in the behavioral and social sciences, and building on her own comprehensive reviews of emerging themes in movies and TV, she describes the fascinating relationships among technology, popular culture, and the Zeitgeist. Her writing style displays an energetic directness and a colorful vocabulary, and the book will be very well-received by both general readers and scholars in the field." --Dr. Patricia Wallace, Johns Hopkins University, Author of The Psychology of the Internet

    "Intimacy on the Internet is a brilliant exploration of how screen narratives represent online dating, net-porn consumption and cyber-sex. Drawing on a on an rich archive of filmic scenes, Lauren Rosewarne shows how technophobe sentiments structure stories that describe attempts to find online romance as pitiful attempts of unlovables and unfuckables to turn their fate around. On the other hand, we see how cybersex nurtures kinky fantasies of erotic fulfillment. Intimacy on the Internet provides fascinating insights into the world of visual stories on cyber sex and cyber romance." --Dr. Christian Klesse, Manchester Metropolitan University, Author of The Spectre of Promiscuity: Gay Male and Bisexual Non-monogamies and Polyamories

    "This book masterfully explores one of the most fascinating and controversial issues about digital lifestyles. By providing important insights into how contemporary media portrays intimacy in cyberspace, it reveals not just our underlying fears about the Internet, but also our hidden anxieties about connecting deeply to others. This book is a must-read for anyone who seeks to understand intimate relationships in the age of technology." --Professor John Suler, Rider University, Author of Psychology of the Digital Age: Humans Become Electric

    "While there have been many books discussing cybersex, online dating and internet pornography, Intimacy on the Internet: Media Representations of Online Connections is one of the first scholarly monographs to analyse how these activities have been represented in film and popular culture. Rosewarne offers insightful and lucid critiques of how media representations acknowledge that contemporary society is using the internet to facilitate greater intimacy but yet codes these activities as problematic or even deviant. Written in a lively and accessible fashion, Intimacy on the Internet will be extremely useful for media scholars keen to engage with the complexities and nuances of how online interactions are framed in popular film and television." --Dr. Niall Richardson, University of Sussex, Author of Transgressive Bodies: Representations in Film and Popular Culture

    "In Intimacy on the Internet, Lauren Rosewarne is offering a complete, wide-ranging and thorough analysis of the ways in which the technologically mediated search for love and connected has been depicted in popular culture, including television and film. In this exhaustively researched survey, she examines the meanings behind this phenomenon – as it is understood by participants and society. In doing so, she explores questions of authenticity and meaning, and raises intriguing questions about what it means to commodify these relationships or to ‘shop’ for an intimate partner online. Despite the weighty subject matter, this analysis is eminently readable. It serves a valuable function in calling our attention to the ubiquity of these practices today, as well as what she refers to as the normalization of what were previously fringe behaviors. Her analysis of stock types of characters in online dating also sheds new light on how we think about threat in cyberspace, through calling attention to the character of the cyberbogeyman." --Professor Mary Manjikian, Regent University, Author of Threat Talk: the Comparative Politics of Internet Addiction

    "Intriguing and readable, Intimacy on the Internet critiques the consumerism of choice and marketisation of the self, while problematising the ‘normal’. Drawing on contemporary popular texts, Rosewarne challenges the false dichotomies of being online versus offline, the real and the virtual, the contrived and the serendipitous. She unpacks online flirting, dating, and sex alongside the tension of ‘browsing from the safety of your home’. The detail, depth and analysis of Rosewarne’s research results in a significant contribution to the field as she cautions around the miseducative nature of contemporary texts that exacerbate the gap between the real and the fictional. Through extensively mapping the online quest for intimacy via screen fiction, Rosewarne has produced essential reading, not only for scholars in the fields of media studies, communication and popular culture." --Dr. Nicola F. Johnson, Federation University Australia, Author of The Multiplicities of Internet Addiction: the Misrecognition of Leisure and Learning

    "By looking at all sorts of media, Intimacy on the Internet gives us an entertaining, readable and comprehensive guide to the ways in which online sexuality and dating are seen in Anglo-American culture." --Associate Professor, Harry Cocks, University of Nottingham, Author of Classified: The Secret History of the Personal Column

    "This is a very interesting book that clearly depicts how online intimacy is expressed in our culture. This book is such an enjoyable and informative read." --Professor Aaron Ben-Ze’ev, University of Haifa, Author of Love Online: Emotions on the Internet

    "Professor Rosewarne’s Intimacy on the Internet makes two very important contributions to the knowledge base in this area. First, her work replicates earlier research about online relationships and raises our confidence in our findings; and, second, her media based perspective further broadens future research possibilities with a frank and open discussion into the topics of pornography and masturbation - often skirted by more conservative inquires. This is a much better than average academic read." --John C. Bridges, PhD, Author, The Illusion of Intimacy

    "A thoughtful, thorough look at a complex, timely topic. Rosewarne’s insights add strong, robust material to a burgeoning field of scholarship. Very impressive." --Assistant Professor Ashley M. Donnelly, Ball State University, Author of Renegade Hero or Faux Rogue: The Secret Traditionalism of Television Bad Boys

    "Lauren Rosewarne’s Intimacy on the Internet is a thorough and thoughtful examination of the ways in which current media depict the major aspects of intimate cyber relations. It is an informative compliment to empirical work on this topic." --Professor Emeritus Richard C. Sherman, Miami University

    "Intimacy on the Internet provides an instructive and provocative look at the depiction of on-line relationships in popular media. Tracing across various genres, from romantic comedies or horror films, Rosewarne examines the complex relationships between romance, sex, and technology as depicted in contemporary popular culture. Readers of this work will gain a valuable new perspective on this pervasive motif in both film and television." --Professor Kendall R. Phillips, Syracuse University, Author of Projected Fears: Horror Films and American Culture

    "Lauren Rosewarne makes a strong case that true intimacy can not only be sought, but also achieved, via the Internet. It is particularly striking that the virtual paths to emotional and sexual fulfillment she explores run parallel to the cyberspace-based tracks followed by those who seek intimate connection with the world of militant ideas all too often of the most extremist sort. Love can emerge out of bits and bytes; so too can terrorism." --Professor John Arquilla, U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, Co-Author of Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime, and Militancy and In Athena’s Camp: Preparing for Conflict in the Information Age