tbarker

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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    From The Stepford Wives to Ex-Machina: The Hypersexualization of Female Androids

    Discuss sci-fi’s use of technology to build "the perfect woman." Why are androids given a gender in the first place? Do androids have a sense of autonomy or are they content to be used as a semi-sentient sex toy? Is this a fetish or a case of misogyny? Why are male androids in film rarely given the same sexualized treatment?

    • Good question. It is like asking why GPS and computer voices are female. Probably because the creators were male. Male androids like Data are rarely sexualized. – Munjeera 4 years ago
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    • Like Munjeera said, a person's creations are often based upon their own ideal. Therefore it's more than likely that the original concept comes from a guy trying to be ambitious about his own personal desires. – Kevin Mohammed 4 years ago
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    • You can even go further back than The Stepford Wives. A great starting place would be Fritz Lang's 1927 film Metropolis, which also features a sexualized female robot. Also, if you're going to discuss these films, you must address that most of them were made to critique misogynistic views. Ira Levin, William Goldman, and Bryan Forbes have all gone on the record to stress that The Stepford Wives was intended to parody views of "the ideal women" upon being accused of sexism by people who didn't understand its satire. In Ex Machina, it's important to note how the film acknowledges the very tradition that you're addressing. Nathan specifically designs Ava to be sexually attractive to Caleb (even drawing inspiration from his porn searches), but the expectation is subverted when Ava uses her sexuality in tandem with her superior intelligence to outsmart both men and escape from the confides of their narrow patriarchal viewpoint (symbolically manifested as Nathan's mancave-esque research facility). Just because a female robot is sexualized, it doesn't mean that it's necessarily just to satisfy the sexual fantasies of the presumably male spectator. The films that endure are often those which were ahead of their times in addressing the social disparity between men and women. – ProtoCanon 4 years ago
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    • If only there were more of them! – Munjeera 2 years ago
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    Latest Comments

    I would argue that Gwen Stacy and, to an extent, Barbara Gordon’s treatment might still count as being pure examples of WiR, as their accidents were both used as a device to build on the male characters: Peter Parker learns that he needs to keep his two lives private, the reader learns that Commissioner Gordon could not be driven to a point where his morals could become corrupted.

    Women in Refrigerators: Killing Females in Comics

    I watched a Let’s Play of this a while back and haven’t really thought of it since, and this article has got me thinking about it more in-depth. It’s interesting that the first (and possibly most) Wendigos were psychiatric patients getting experimental treatment. Initially I had been annoyed at the portrayal of people with mental illnesses as literal monsters, but I’ve realized that this is more a Frankenstein situation: the real monster is the doctor using psychiatric patients to experiment with potentially dangerous drugs. While more barbaric, this is similar to how Josh, and many others, are treated in the medical world: slap a title on their illness, throw some drugs at them, and hope for the best. i think the real moral here is that mistreatment and misdiagnosis does more harm than good, and leads to a complete failure from the medical system. In this case, the failure led to turning people suffering with mental illness into monsters. In this way, I think that Josh had to have the same outcome as the other patients — either becoming a Wendigo or being eaten by one. It’s a tragic case of doing the same thing and expecting different results.

    On a slightly more optimistic side, I think as much as the player wants to help Josh, if you had been able to it would promote the belief that another person can save you from your mental illness. Which is a trope that desperately needs to be dropped from film and literature. As much as you can encourage someone to seek treatment, they have to take the first step to recovery, otherwise it won’t work out. Outsiders cannot save you from mental illness, you have to save yourself. Josh had stopped taking his medication and was ignoring his psychiatrist, at that point he really didn’t want to be helped. If he had survived, his parents would most likely put him back into treatment, and he would probably ignore it again.

    Until Dawn and Mental Health

    A lot of comedies tend to fall into the “revealing too much” category. The producers tend to put as many funny bits into the trailer as possible to make draw in viewers under the assumption that the rest of the movie will match the trailer, only to find out that the best jokes were in the trailer. This leaves viewers unimpressed, especially since most of the movies that fall pray to this have pretty weak plot lines, leaving nothing for the viewer to enjoy.

    Time to Trim Trailers? The Death of Surprise in Modern Hollywood