Sex robots are coming! Well, they’re already here, but they’re kind of shitty. But our glorious industrial-technological society’s entrepreneurs are working on improving them, and their valiant efforts have recently earned the attention and, probably, admiration, of the tireless mainstream journalists. Here’s a Guardian piece.
The $30bn sex tech industry is about to unveil its biggest blockbuster: a $15,000 robot companion that talks, learns, and never says no
Reactions to these developments are fraught. In particular, female-shaped sexbots for men are prompting concerns. It’s a feminist issue, I guess.
What are they worried about? Is opposition to sex robots, on the part of women, motivated by fear of losing power in the heterosexual dating marketplace, due to availability of compelling, competing substitutes? Does it, then, boil down to resentful whining? That’s the common red-pill, manosphere, or MGTOW analysis, which we’ll give due consideration. But we won’t stop there. We intend to give a fair hearing to the feminists, and do a thorough job with our analysis!
Here’s an article from a feminist site: Sex robots epitomize patriarchy and offer men a solution to the threat of female independence by Meghan Murphy.
Interesting title. Patriarchy can apparently be epitomised by a situation that doesn’t even involve women, just men and machines. Who’d have thought it?
Sex robots don’t offer men “companionship,” they offer men complete dominance.
Don’t they offer ‘companionship’? Quote marks included. Of course, real companionship involves a real flesh-and-blood companion. These robots offer simulated companionship. And dominance? Well, yeah, that’s what machines are for. You buy it, you own it, you do with it what you will. I have ‘dominance’ over my toaster. I wouldn’t want it any other way, would you?
The issue of robots being mistreated by their owners is interesting, but that’s not Murphy’s point here. Her concern is the oppression of real women. So how are sexbots implicated in this? Apparently, they ‘reinforce an incredibly dangerous idea: that women’s bodies are only bodies, and exist only for men’s use.’
Is that true? Let’s suppose it is true. Sexbots ‘reinforce’ that bad idea. Blogs like Feminist Current presumably reinforce the negation of that idea: ‘it’s not the case that women’s bodies are only bodies, and exist only for men’s use’–a good idea! Our culture has both of these ideas, fighting it out. Which one’s gonna win? Which idea is the strongest?
Isn’t the feminist idea already decisively victorious? See: laws that protect women’s rights. Rape is illegal. But rapists still rape, so can’t we be reasonably assured that in the minds of those men, the feminist idea lost, and the bad idea won?
This psychological analysis seems simplistic. Rapists rape because they have bad ideas about women, reinforced by things in the culture? Surely an incomplete picture. But there’s probably some grain of truth to it.
Rape hasn’t been completely eliminated, so with this theory of rape, we see the logic of a feminist struggle for complete and total ideological dominance. We see the logic behind an uncompromising abolitionist stance against any supposed opposing idea-supporters, from porn, to sexist jokes, to sex robots. We note that feminists aren’t compelled to take the most extreme possible version of this stance, but they have this option.
It depends on how much stock you place in the ‘ideas determine human behaviour’ notion. Don’t genes have a big influence too? And what about free will? What about free expression, and the open exchange of ideas that creates a space where memes can interact and… well, you might be an optimist and believe that the good ones tend to prevail. You could take the opposite view, too.
Let’s get back to the robots.
Robots are slaves. The word ‘robot’ derives from the Slavic root word for slave. So sex robots are sex slaves–that’s how they reinforce crappy ideas about women, is it? These sexbots are built to the ideal of total subservience. From the Guardian story’s byline: the robot “never says no“.
But wait, why wouldn’t a robot be programmed to say no sometimes? Maybe this first generation artificial intelligence won’t, but later, wouldn’t a more compelling simulated companion have some pseudo-assertiveness programmed in? From Murphy’s essay: ‘These sex robots strike me as an MRA/gamer’s dream come true.’ I’m not an MRA. I am a gamer. And us gamers, we like a challenge.
Dating simulation games exist. I’ve played a bunch of them. The ones that have some worth to them are actual, honest-to-God, videogames. They have lose conditions. You don’t always get the girl. So I predict: sex robots of the future will have challenging modes, giving the user a way to roleplay in a more believable and interesting situation.
No matter what creators and fans claim about the harmlessness or social good of sex robots, they project very clear beliefs about what men deserve and what women are for.
A: ‘You’re communicating message x.’
B: ‘No, I’m not, I don’t support message x…’
A: ‘Yes you are, and yes you do!’
At this point, B (and everyone else) should realise further discussion with A on this matter is quite pointless.
The message is that sex is a thing men get from women or do to women, not a thing to be mutually enjoyed by two people.
As if those characterisations are mutually incompatible! As if there’s a correct construal, universal for all men and women!
Sex robots offer men the perfect solution to the feminist movement: If you won’t comply, we’ll create women who do.
Translation: given the understanding that sexual relationships are completely optional, if you won’t live up to my standards, we won’t get together. And we’ll find another outlet to solve loneliness and sex drive, but that’s none of your business, as we’ve already gone our separate ways. This is just whining, as per the red-pill characterisation of the envious anti-sexbot mindset.
The dream girl is, as always, not human.
Translation: your ideal, your standard, is not human. Jeez, not all men! Yes, I said it. Not all men. Some guys have terribly disordered standards. If you try to live up to them, you won’t be healthy. So what do you do? Decide what you’re looking for, try to date a bunch of people, see what sort of lifeforms are out there, understand that some folks are severely dysfunctional (watch out, you might be one. Maybe you need to sort yourself out), and some are just incompatible with you. You come to learn where your standards should be more flexible.
Seems to be working for me so far. (I got bored of dating sims, so I’m trying out the irl version now. Tinder makes it easy! At least in the opening stages.)
Here’s the proper way to think about sex robots: they are another medium of porn. The latest in addition to the set of pornographic cutscenes, videogames, poetry, cave-paintings, and so on. An entertainment robot is a combination of sculpture and interactive digital, audio (but not video)game. A sex robot is one with an added masturbatory aid mechanism. It performs the same core function as all forms of porn: exciting the libido, tricking your body into thinking it’s close to having sex, by stimulating the senses with the likeness of beautiful people in a sexual situation.
So, this brings us to anti-porn feminism. See the Untameable Shrews’ street art slogan: ‘refuse to date men who watch porn’. Well okay, good luck with that. On what grounds would I oppose the raising of standards like this?
They’re also spreading the knowledge of porn-induced erectile dysfunction. Looks like they’re targeting and appealing to the self-interest of dudes with that one.
How about: ‘refuse to date men who use sex robots’. I haven’t seen that graffiti anywhere. Why not? Nobody wants to date them anyway, so who cares, right? Sex dolls exist. Owning them is a joke, a shame. Will robotic enhancements change that? Nah. But they’ll put money into marketing campaigns to improve their image. To what extent will they succeed? They’ll have passionate and widespread opposition, from the feminists (cf. the Shrews poster with Hatsune Miku) to the right-wing memelords, the religionists and normies.
(In fiction we see general-purpose androids that just so happen to come with sexual functionality built-in. Is this a viable trojan horse strategy? Strikes me as implausible, due to the extra costs. But perhaps, genital add-ons could be a 3D-printed after-market extra feature. That seems hard to monetise, though.)
I didn’t mention dildos and vibrators cause that’s a complete red herring on this issue.
I’m not interested in using sex robots because, dude, seriously, obviously virtual reality companions will be vastly superior.