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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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