The alliance between posthumanism and technology has opened a way for feminist critics to perceive embodiment not as a biological determinant essentialising the human body as natural and organic, but rather as the intertwinement of intelligent machines and humans. By highlighting Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of the rhizome and Haraway’s notion of the cyborg to bear upon Jeanette Winterson’s novel The PowerBook (2000), this paper aims to demonstrate how the text deals with the notion of the human, alongside practices of embodiment central to the organisation of gendered and sexed identities. The writer’s use of cyberspace depicts a posthumanist world, where the boundaries of physical and non-physical worlds become blurred. Likewise, the protagonist, Ali/Alix, is represented as a posthuman subject, whose body becomes a plane of immanence, by being in a state of constant flux. With the destabilization of any essentialist perception of the human body, it argues that the novel refuses any demarcation between human/non-human, nature/culture, male/female, gender/sex, real/virtual or organism/machine.
cyborg feminism, rhizome, posthumanism, embodiment, Jeanette Winterson