Identity politics enter a new phase of complexity on the network. As things now stand, users work within a politics of performativity, rather than essences, although some may choose to "perform" a particular "essential" role, e.g., I might self-consciously position myself as a white U.S. American woman ( Yes i am !).
Although most netters use their own names and legal identities, many choose "handles," and some netters have several such identities. I know women who use gender-neutral or masculine-sounding handles on the net for a variety of reasons. (The one most usually given is that one gets more respect that way.) A colleague of mine in sociology used an electronic bulletin board to extend class discussion in a class concerned with race and ethnicity, in which the participants were racially mixed. She reported that participants, often choosing to be anonymous, were able to discuss issues much more freely—not simply because their names weren't known, but because their racial/ethnic identity could be acknowledged or ignored (or perhaps even disavowed) post by post