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)
Or consider this review of Emily Gould’s book of essays, “And the Heart Says Whatever“:
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‘.
I’m not sure how to be fair, or to whom. But it does put me in mind of a conversation I had last night with a friend about pornography. It’s been years, honestly, since I looked at an issue of any of the following magazines, but here was how I described my impressions: Playboy
[NSFW] presented a fantasy of what a worldly, sophisticated, sexual man enjoyed while also trying occasionally to stimulate his other sexual organ, the brain; Penthouse
[NSFW] presented a kind of verite – it wasn’t ‘real’ but it reflected back images that go with the stories men tell each other about the sexual conquests they never really have; and [srsly I don’t have to tell you this is NSFW!] Hustler
goes around the bend towards a kind of mocking honesty about the messiness and averageness of sex. They’re all presenting fantasies about sex and about women. Some of those are presented qua
fantasies, others as realities you don’t live in. All of them probably set up unreasonable expectations for men and women alike about sex, sexuality and our bodies.
But the kind of psychological pornography that these women portray through a stylized ‘over-sharing’ combined with lack of insight is creating just as big of a problem. It’s setting unreasonable expectations for men and women about who they should be, how they should interact, what intimacy is, where boundaries lie, and what they fundamentally want.
Living and going out in New York, you can hear this cacophony of silence as people pantomime personas at one another but do not commune, hook up but do not connect, email/text/twitter/check-in but do not communicate. It’s deafening. And it hurts.
Posted by Farrah Bostic via email from reminds me of robots
this robot thing started as a passing comment and now is a whole thing. i use robots and robot-like ideas to explore things metaphorically. i advise you on how to use robotic style cues in your home decor and fashion. i find fun videos that remind me of robots, or rayguns, or rockets, and i show them to you.
but i couldn’t do it, you know, if you all didn’t so readily accept the Robot Thing. because without the acceptance and amusement you find in this passing comment (“I like things that remind me of robots”), i would never receive the bounty of gifts and links that you all bestow on me with shocking regularity.
herewith, a roundup from the last few weeks of Robot Stuff you, dear readers and good friends, have sent me:
an amazing animatronic show reel by John Nolan Films, courtesy of Mr. Sohler.
here’s an example of his work:
2. a poster from Istanbul, sent by Cagney. (this poster led directly to Cagney partying all night with Dr. K and Akon.)
3. then there was this story about The Robot Rodeo in Los Alamos, in which bomb squads in New Mexico took part in contests to demonstrate their proficiency in controlling remote controlled robots, sent to me by Mollie Ziegler Hemingway, who you should be following on Twitter and reading on the web because you could probably stand to experience other viewpoints and she writes beautifully (also sometimes she lets me play with her kids who are adorable!).
here’s my favorite bit:
The Robot Rodeo was held last week at a tech site at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
The three-day event offered hours of hands-on training at the controls of $225,000 robots used for bomb and hazardous waste detection and disposal.
Six teams guided robots through 10 challenges, including an obstacle course, simulated attacks, cooperation exercises and activities to test their ability to minutely control the robot, said Chris Ory, a member of Los Alamos lab’s hazardous devices team.
Controlling the robot was where pancake-making came into play.
Teams from the state police and Santa Fe Police Department controlled robots while watching video monitors from vehicles parked outside a small building where two judges sat, ready with syrup and butter to taste their pancakes.
4. my good friend Jeff sent me a comic strip demonstrating a deep understanding of robots. also, it made me laugh.
5. my mom likes to walk her dog in the woods behind her place, and one day she came upon this image, which she claims reminded her of a robot. may i remind you all that my mother is (A) highly creative, and (B) an Oregonian.
6. my brother also spotted something referencing robots, and sent it to me:
7. from lovely Jaime of Room for Young Ones, first, a subway poster I’ve been trying to get a decent shot of for months:
8. and finally, also from Jaime (via @ebertchicago), there is this video, of a robot that balances on a ball, proving yet again, that robots are better than me.