Informed by a cyberfeminist standpoint, this paper explores the role of cyberworlds and virtual tourism in providing less constrained and more liberating traveling experiences for women. More specifically, through interviews with a group of Iranian women traveling in a virtual world known as vTime, this work discusses whether and how virtual tourist experiences allow women to overcome their travel-related constraints and pave the way to forms of self-determination and emancipation. In contrast, several feminists hold utopian and dystopian views regarding the benefits of the Internet and technology for women’s empowerment, and the findings of our study point to a rather complex and less encouraging scenario. Virtual tourism in cyberspace allows Iranian women to overcome constraints affecting their traveling experiences. Nevertheless, it is far from a liberating experience as women’s self-expression and activities are restricted and limited by patriarchy-driven concerns about surveillance, legal consequences, harassment, social stigma, and western dominance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas