Saturday, March 19, 2011

My sex robot: Gynoid revisited

My Sex Robot (documentary) follows three robot fetishists in their quest for cyborg love. One of the men featured in the documentary is Scott Maclean, a US construction worker who has been working on prototype robots since 2004.
As I viewed images of these mechanical bed mates, dressed in skimpy underwear and ready for action, I was prepared to be critical of men who, hurt by past relationships, unable to get a woman they really desired or unwilling to enter into a 'real' sexual relationship, resorted to having sex with cybernetic simulacrums.  I then remembered that in 2007 I'd seen the film Lars and the Real Girl (Craig Gillespie), which tells of Lars and his girlfriend Bianca, a mail order doll, purchased from the on-line Real Girl company and the entry of both into social norms. Lars, who has a myriad of personality disorders, creates a persona for Bianca, who he presents as paraplegic (she is always  in a wheelchair in public). It may be that Lars projects onto Bianca his own 'disability' albeit in a different form.  Surprisingly enough although Lars does not like being touched and generally spends much of his time alone in his room, his 'relationship' with Bianca enables him to overcome some of his social phobias until he no longer needs her as crutch for his own  lack. Since Lars does not have sex with Bianca, even though she was constructed for that purpose, we might ask whether his abstinence adds to existing negative stereotypes surrounding people with disabilities and in particular female paraplegics, who, rather than being viewed as asexual, incomplete and imperfect because of their limitations, engage in  everyday activities and enjoy sex with their partners.
In a post-feminist/posthuman world, perhaps instead of feeling threatened that women may be replaced by cybernetic counter-parts, like strange Stepford Wives totally subservient to their husband/boyfriends demands, we might consider instead the poor sex toy - used, abused and tossed in a corner when the man has finished with her!
I don't know that sex toys have come a long way since the Borghild Project, an initiative of Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler, who regarded the doll as an ” counterbalance” (or regulating effect) for the sexual drive of his stormtrooper; for they still appear to be about male desire for the perfect sexual partner.

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