introduction
Lessons and methods from eBay
twingles33 uses listings, profiles, and additional features in a manner similar
to other eBay members and helps construct the site, participants, and con-
sumerism. Her narrative reflects how eBay markets and facilitates commu-
nity, links families and corporations, uses categories to control what can be
seen and sold, organizes gender and sexuality on the site, and mandates work
from members. twingles33 asks the viewer, “Got to have that Barbie?!” and an-
swers her own inquiry by self- presenting as a Barbie collector.1 As with “most
Barbie? collectors,” her “collection grew to” its “very own room,” which her
three boys call “Barbie? Blvd.” and they “tell their friends ‘don’t go in there’”
or she will make them “dress Barbie.” Her narrative about the interlinked
pleasures of identity production and consumption, which can be accessed
through eBay, are problematized by the untraditional gender and sexuality
positions that get culturally associated with collecting and the question marks
that are sprinkled through the commentary. These punctuation marks probe
her statements even though they are probably an html misreading of the
Barbie trademark sign. Such nascent evaluations indicate some of the ways
eBay functions and help me study members’ listing and posting practices.
The question marks and descriptions of out- of- control collecting in
twingles33’s description trouble cultural mandates for women to order their
lives and bodies and indicate that her feminine doll spaces jeopardize her
sons’ masculinity. Her sons fear being made to dress Barbie up and being
clothed like the doll. Since her Barbie Boulevard has become a “highway
under constuction,” she is going to sell her “items on the Internet highway”
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