postmodernism, feminism, hypertext, rhetoric, cooking, recipes, Web sites, user-centered
This study explores the ways cookbooks and their rhetorical dimensions have been re-imagined using hypertext and Web technology. Using the tenets of postmodern feminist rhetoric and Web design theory, the study considers how commercial cooking hypertexts construct users' identities. Although hypertext is a potentially empowering technology, democratizing rhetoric and knowledge making practices, commercial hypertext often circumscribes agency formation and prohibits participation. Participatory, constructive hypertexts are difficult to design and costly to maintain. Of the three sites studied, Epicurious.com, BettyCrocker.com, and FoodNetwork.com, only Epicurious.com encourages meaningful communication between users and between users and designers. In many ways, Epicurious.com conceives of its users as active agents. Most of its content celebrates many knowledge making practices traditionally considered feminine and embodied. In contrast, BettyCrocker.com and FoodNetwork.com rely on closed, proprietary systems designs to maintain their authority. Users have little opportunity to participate as active agents. In small ways, however, users can begin to deconstruct the hypertexts, to resist the standards and strictures of expertly created recipes by reporting variations and opinions. The features that most reflect the tenets of a constructive feminist hypertext make possible some small movements toward agency.
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Applen, J. D.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Texts and Technology
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
McGrane, Heather Eaton, "Postmodern Feminism, Hypertext, And The Rhetoric Of Cooking Websites" (2007). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 3261.