Cyberfeminism resisted easy definition and, as the manifesto showed, there were multiple iterations and conflicting notions of what it was—and was not. By 1997, the movement was running into trouble. Haraway and Butler’s texts had called for the dissolution of gender and racial hierarchies, but it was increasingly clear that cyberfeminism had failed to address race at all.
What’s more, the notion that the internet could be employed as a categorically liberated space proved to be too optimistic. It was following the Cyberfeminist International in Kassel that Wilding mounted an important critique of the movement. “The Net is not a utopia of nongender,” she wrote in Where is the Feminism in Cyberfeminism. “It is already socially inscribed with regard to bodies, sex, age, economics, social class, and race.”
The cyberfeminists, Wilding claimed, had failed to actively interrogate the biases entrenched in cyberspace. “Being bad grrls on the internet is not by itself going to challenge the status quo,” she went on. “Cyberfeminism presents itself as inclusive, but the cyberfeminist writings assume an educated, white, upper-middle-class, English speaking, culturally sophisticated readership,” Wilding and Maria Fernandez wrote in the book Domain Errors: Cyberfeminist Practices.
The movement’s advocates may have been bold and brazen, but while purporting to move beyond hierarchal divisions, Wilding felt that they had, unwittingly, reinstated them. She extended her practice to explore the intersection of feminism with other technologies beyond the internet, such as biotechnology—the next frontier for gender discrimination. She founded subRosa, an art collective that critiqued the racial and gender biases in assisted fertility and genetic engineering.