Originally posted on Cyborgology
Recently I saw an episode of TLC’s “My Strange Addiction,” (lets not go into how exploitative this show is) and was first introduced to a man named Davecat. Davecat is a man with a synthetic partner, a growing trend where people marry anatomically correct, fully functional, mostly silicon, lifesize sex dolls. I call them sex dolls because they are clearly created in the image of a sexualized female ideal (i.e., small hips, large breasts, busty lips, flawless skin, long legs).
Now this is just the latest trend in a long list of what many would call “strange” new types of marriage unions. For instance, a few years back I remember a young man in Japan marrying a Nintendo DS character, and there is Zolton, the man who married a robot he built for himself, and the young man in Korea who married an anime character on a body pillow.
Synthetic partners appear to be a growing trend, or else these relationships have simply become more visible as of late. There are several companies now specializing in these types of synthetic, lifesize dolls. There is Sinthetics brand, which appears to specialize in the pornstar variety (i.e., unnatural proportions and exotic features), and there is RealDolls, made famous by the BBC Documentary “Guys and Dolls”, and the countless, extremely creepy, celebrity sex dolls you can buy at most adult stores.
Now these trends play into what some have called “robot fetishism,” or “technosexuality.” According to the Wiki, this fetish is based on a sexual attraction to humanoid robots, or to humans dressed up like robots. We can see these sorts of anthropomorphic portrayals of humanoid robots in Svedka advertisements, in several popular anime series, and in music videos.
But what does it mean when the majority of media representations of robot fetishism are from a male perspective? Are the majority of cases actually male or is this simply a case of phallogocentrism? And why are women’s bodies so often portrayed in sexualized robot form? What does this tell us about our culture, gender, and sexuality? Finally, how has human sexuality changed as a result of these sorts of technological advancements?
Although some claim that humans react to real dolls because of our instinctual desires for abnormal, idealized, “freakish” proportions, much like an Australian jewel beetles reacts sexually to beer bottles. I personally think robot fetishism may stem from a desire for control and passivity in one’s partners. Though this is clearly not the case for all individuals with synthetic partners (I am sure many people are just lonely and tired of searching for a partner), it appears to clearly be the case for men like Gordon Griggs.
But there does seem to be a preponderance of males with female synthetic partners and a minority of females with male synthetic partners (Though they do sell male Real Dolls, after all). What does this tell us about gender, power, and culture? I would argue that this overwhelming male bias stems from male privilege, or the belief that men are entitled to females as sexual partners. Tiring of rejection and refusal from human lovers, many men turn to synthetic ones.
Watching some of the interviews with RealDoll owners contained in the BBC documentary lends me to come to this conclusion. The men contained in the film, from socially-awkward loners to jilted lovers, all seemed to have psychological issues stemming from alienation and the inability to achieve societal expectations in coupling. Several of the men had girlfriends when they were younger, but had since become recluses unable to talk to women. Other men were simply controlling and abusive, and turned to synthetic partners because they “can’t say ‘no’” like living women can.
In conclusion, I find myself lamenting the liberatory possibilities of Haraway’s “Cyborg Manifesto”. Rather than seeing the coupling of human and machine as something which frees us from various forms of oppression (e.g., gender, race, age, infirmity), I see the phallogocentrism of robot fetishism in the mass media as myopic, exploitative, and reinforcing of existing gender oppressions. Namely, these trends reinforce the objectification of women, male sexual entitlement, and controlling behaviors in men.
Dave Paul Strohecker (@dpsFTW)
David Paul Strohecker is a fourth year PhD student at the University of Maryland in College Park. He studies cultural change, conflict, and social theory, with an emphasis on the role of the media, consumer behavior, and deviant subcultures.
3/19/2014 05:17:39 am
Yeah, totally dude, let's have these men inflict their misogynistic fantasies on real women instead of toys.
3/9/2016 12:21:50 pm
how much this doll cost?
3/28/2016 11:57:19 pm
I am .100% behind brother Dave Strohecker (Stroked her Cave, Her Darkest Cove) all the way. One needn't spend 8 years in colleges to deduce the lowest common denominator motivating a certain demographic choosing to study the diverse conflicting opinions and hypothetical guesswork of others drawn to the field of psychology in the noblest of tasks in the valiant lost cause of cobbling up Any type of foundation for an even more unstable framework upon which no two rational people could ever agree to dub substantive in basis or reliable in structure to form the edifice of psychology as a scientifically cohesive element both in explanation of it's ideal's or as a reputable tool tool in healing people gullible enough to believe that anyone with the same disorders and lack of successfully having them dealt with drove them to the delusions of studying the same broken system might lead them to heal themselves enough to call themselves Doctors and therefore capable of charging a days wage to sit for 50 minutes saying, "How does that make you feel"? And, "What have you done that hasn't worked yet and what do you plan to do next"? People have been talking to one another for millenia. When did it become worth $200.00 per hour? You and i both enjoy and make home made bread. Once a week we get together for coffee and exchange a loaf or two for variety. Equal rate of exchange, agreed? Then why do i owe you $100.00 on completion of our visit? Yeah, im talking about whores here, Davy. Did you know it's not against the law to have sex for money? Nope. If it were there would be more orange as the new black as every wife and gf could be arrested, n'est pas? It is only against the law to SAY you are doing it for money, verdad? It's a given a woman is selling her bread. Crack is so addictive for the dopamine rush the same yet much higher than that released during sex. So much so that the dealer wants everyone to try it. Hell, give it too them free for a while on speculation. You know the return on investment is so staggering by repeat business that only an idiot wouldn't give samples. Then when the hook is set, Bam! Make em work for it!!! Same with women. She can even act like she doesn't want to get married so he will suggest it thinking in house shebamm. Why did my gf get a 6 month rx of birth control and only take it the first night making a big show of it in my presence, doctor student boy? An R.N. with two degrees, Texas Tech and Univ.North Texas. TTU had a good student run radio station, KTXT. North Texas was better and the loyalty showed in the KUNT bumper stickers. After Lily set the hook, baby and marriage, guess what? After saying I Do, she promptly started sayin I Don't as you so support her right to choose when to begin in that asspect. Im not saying she was a beautiful Cuban bisexually overly promiscuous anorexic bulimic cutter compulsive liar narcissistic chronic therapy mpd pid did cluster b hysteric schizo affective non empathetic abusive thrill seeking daddy's girl mother hating no childhood memory at all suicidal sociopsychopathic type A ladder climber sexually manipulative helpless innocent acting church going preacher bangin predator posing as a housepet. Because you would run off and dig up some random feminist funded obscure unscientifically verifiable loosely conducted propaganda pointing up men having a problem being raised by her type then burned often enough to know they're not getting enough bang for the buck and display the maladaptive behavior of no longer wanting or expecting Lucy to hold the football as you so lucidly pointed out. Tho i never once cheated or bought a doll nor pornsurfed in our 13 years together and paid 1500 a month to while she and her new bf made 10,000/month combined as he and she abused my three sons who went thru countless er trips from broken bones and overdose, over 12 drug rehabs, psychologists as your esteemed self, AA, NA, jails, juvie, community service, special ed etc, i take responsibility for trusting your ilk, church people, CPS, legal system etc... You will do well in this system DP. She lived with her psych prof at Texas Tech. Got that grade. ..
You mean after all that hoopla you didn't know how to put on a condom? It's laughable how dick heads complain about being 'hooked' when they are supposedly the strongest sex as in 'not' the weaker sex. So what's holding you guys back from strapping on the old phallic raincoat? Females have a natural chrome towards childbearing. So just that fact within itself should cause every sperm bearing male to whip out the Trojan, maybe even wear one full time considering their individual will to prevent the 'tool' from creeping out on its own. Stop blaming the tire when it can not inflate itself. Words are cheap. Actions are what make the MAN.
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