sexbots are common scifi gags.
just wanted to let that sentence sit there for a minute. how are you feeling? okay if i continue? good.
seriously, we’ve seen a lot of them, they’re an old idea – as a reminder, here are some:
The Stepford Wives, of course
Pris, from Blade Runner
Fembots, from Austin Powers
Various, from the mind of Joss Whedon
right, now you’ve got the proper context.
the thing is, there are a lot more Echos than there are Roxxxys. we see them all the time. “the culture” is in awe of them, patronizes them, uses them, throws them away and then creates a new one. the modern sexbot is the Girl As Empty Vessel. and this idea, while something that has been projected at girls for years and years, is now something that girls are projecting back. it’s been accepted as The Way To Be, and we judge young women on how good they are at pulling it off.
Consider this interview with Megan Fox:
Fox says outrageous things. She takes sexy pictures. She looks good on film. But she doesn’t try to pull at your heartstrings by pretending to bare her soul. She doesn’t attempt to demystify herself through overexplanation. She doesn’t try to really prove anything to you. She just gives you what she thinks you want and keeps the important stuff for herself. (Interview)
After nearly a decade of New York life she is sadder but, she insists, no wiser. “I can look back and recognize the things I’ve done and said that were wrong: unethical, gratuitously hurtful, golden-rule breaking,” she writes. But “I would be lying if I said I was a different person now. . . . I would do it all again.” She seems to think this is a brave and honest stance, and maybe it is, but it’s also unpromising Is there nothing she would reconsider? At times she comes across, confusingly, as a character in a coming-of-age novel — but alas, no novelist arrives to explain her to herself. (NY Times Book Review)
[again, emphasis mine]
What troubles me about this phenomenon is not merely the lives and futures of the women who participate in it, but in how we assess them and what they represent. Megan Fox is known for being the hot chick in the Transformers movies, an Angelina Jolie wannabe, a sometime bisexual, a girl with tattoos… oh wait, after the Angelina Jolie remark, the rest is redundant. The trouble is that when she tries to do something else, we can not turn away from the sexbot she maintains for our benefit. And you see this in criticism of her other work:
“Cody’s underdeveloped writing and Kusama’s ambiguous direction are further stymied by Fox’s own inconsistencies as an actress, and her own off-camera status as an A-list fetish object. While she sufficiently did what was expected of her in the Transformers movies, she hardly exceeded expectations, and did herself no favors by condescending to the franchise that made her a household name—especially since she’s done nothing else thus far to justify the world’s interest in her.” (Cinematical)
That’s some cold shit.
And what about Emily Gould? In the end, she seems to be reduced to two no doubt oversimplified sketches. The first, an image that is invoked in the opening sentences of many of the reviews of her book. The second, a characterization of her time at Gawker, and her subsequent departure, as a public ‘mental meltdown‘.