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ARTIFICIAL REFLECTIONS

Mechanized Femininity from L’Eve to

by Janice Dees English Honors Thesis University of Florida Fall 2010

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Introduction From Olympia to Hadaly, Maria to Helen O'Loy, Repliee to Aiko, Kusanagi to Lady

Gaga, the most influential representations of mechanized humanity have been women. Although outnumbering their robotic peers, these and remain mostly obscure and, unlike male , are endowed not with blocky bodies but explicit sexual signifiers which emphasize their physical and mental otherness. A global discussion about what a machine is, how it thinks, and what type of form it should have has been taking place for hundreds of years. The results have been the mechanization of femininity: an unofficial declaration through literature, film, and science that the female gender is synonymous with the artificial form.

Two distinct discourses surround the trope of the mechanical woman, one perpetuated by the world of legitimate science and its cultural mythologies and the other spearheaded by feminist authors, , and pop stars. The first discourse paints an image of the mechanical woman as a silent, obedient, controllable, sexual slave meant to serve her male master. This artificial woman, unlike her human female peers, is ideal due to her ability to perfectly reflect her male user's ego and desires, thus allowing the user to transcend a tainted world for one in which he alone rules. The second discourse posits the mechanical woman as a post-gendered rebel who revels in permeability and the blurring of once-stable and absolute boundaries between man and woman, human and machine, innocence and sin, and other binaries. This first celebrated by theorist Donna Haraway questions past ideologies of classism, racism, and sexism which inform modern futuristic aesthetics and technological myths while declaring that "femininity is always mechanical and artificial--as is masculinity" (Halberstam 454).

As Lerman, Mohun, and Oldenziel so keenly deduce, "gender ideologies play a central role in human interactions with technology, and technology...is crucial to the ways male and female identities are formed, gender structures defined, and gender ideologies constructed" (1). Dees 3

"Technology, like gender, is a construction situated firmly in cultural context" (1) as varied works of literature, film, music, and science from the eighteenth century to today attest.

Together, these cultural artifacts tell a story of how technology, once endowed with human form and voice, was inscribed with gendered notions of sentience and artifice which posited women as mechanical beings, a story which continues to be reinterpreted and vocalized from an amazing number of sources. From René Descartes to Alan Turing, Thomas Edison to David Levy, and

Donna Haraway to Janelle Monáe, the meaning of mechanized femininity and its implications have constantly changed, even as those who lay claim to objective, scientific authority have not.

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Chapter One: BEASTLY TRANSCENDENCE

In a way, René Descartes is the father of what is now called research. Eighteenth-century desist Descartes, famous declarer of "cogito ergo sum," devised a hypothesis which connected animals and machines and asserted that the animalian body is essentially composed of matter which operates through predictable, mechanical means. Human beings, however, were spared from this equation as Descartes cited mankind’s "rational soul"

(Descartes qtd. in Wood 7) as the characteristic which separated human beings from the irrational artifice of instinct-driven animals. Physician Julien Offroy de La Mettrie took this hypothesis one step farther in his book L'Homme Machine (The Man Machine in English) which

"stretched Descartes's beast-machine premise to include human beings as well" (Wood 7). La

Mettrie's work argued that living beings' bodies operated without the means of a soul and thus linked humanity with a spiritual void. Distinctly misanthropic, the book chastised humans, animalistic "perpendicularly crawling machines" (La Mettrie qtd. in Wood 15), for their arrogant attempts to exalt themselves to the status of soul-owning demi-gods. La Mettrie flung his teachings in the face of eighteenth-century theologians who painted humans as the anointed children of God and he would pay the price for it, constantly living in exile and fear of repercussion. La Mattrie's connection between the mechanical void and the human body, however, would continue onward to thrive well past his lifetime, transforming to mechanize what was considered the most beastly representatives of humanity: women.

Automatons and androids, mechanical humans, worked to exemplify La Mettrie's philosophy, but if , like instinct, was a figure devoid of logic, then what type of human would perfectly illustrate this irrational form? At first, this proved to be children.

Automatons built by Pierre Jaquet-Droz in 1768, Wolfgang von Kempelen in 1783, Johan Dees 5

Nepomuk Mielzel in 1824, and many others featured human children as complicated clockwork without the misanthropy extolled by La Mettrie. The popular eighteenth century image of the child painted young humans as an innocent ideal, a "blank slate" and "purest being" (Wood ix- xx). These embodiments of "all the perfection of an unsullied being" were ironically simultaneously imperfect and thus fallible, not fully-formed adults (Wood 126) who could thus be molded into any desired form. In this , the child was distinctly other, "not a person but a machine" (Wood 126), and thus the perfect form for early automatons. Children's connection to otherness was further solidified by famous automatons based on beasts like famous inventor Jacque Vaucanson's mechanical duck and its simulated digestive system of 1738 and

Kempelen's gear-driven, chess-playing foreign Turk of 1770. These automated beasts and children which simulated life were the technological wonders of their time and were exhibited to the wealthy elite of Europe to much amazement and delight.

One notorious scientific tall tale which emerged during the age of the connected the human-machine child to the beast-machine hypothesis of self-declared sentience expert René Descartes, further solidifying the body of the other as synonymous with machinery.

Descartes had an illegitimate daughter named Francine who died young, but one popular rumor suggested Francine had undergone a technological resurrection by the hands of her eighteenth- century philosopher father. While Descartes was aboard a ship headed to Sweden, the story goes, a pack of sailors wishing to see Descartes' mysterious daughter raided his room to find a crate containing a living mechanical girl, a moving doll. The so frightened the seamen that they threw it overboard lest the inhuman abomination curse their voyage. This story, this technological myth, would last long after Descartes' death, perhaps because it painted Descartes Dees 6 as a victor over death, as a man who has "defied mortality" (Wood 5) through the awesome power of science.

This technological myth of godlike transcendence through mechanical humans would continue onward in the nineteenth century but would be remolded into a new image of the innocent, ideal automaton from the human child to the human woman. Nineteenth century writers, artists, and scientists would have been heavily influenced by the Cartesian rationale which "equated instinct with automation" but, within a scientific and popular culture which very vocally extolled the inherent "animality of women" (Forrest 20), they would exchange the mechanical child for what was deemed a more fitting example of the instinct-driven, artificial other: woman. Thus, La Mettrie's mechanical misanthropy was renewed and resurrected as misogyny when, "in the shift from the real to the imaginary and from the playful to the destructive, androids ceased to be male and became, more often than not, female" (Wood xix).

This became especially tangible as artificial humanity took on a distinctly gendered, sexualized status in one erotic craze which swept bordellos in both Europe and America.

In her 2002 book Edison's Eve, Gaby Wood chronicles the curious resurgence of the

Pygmalion myth in the eighteenth century and the popular erotic plays of the sexual

Pygmalionist culture of the nineteenth century. The myth tells the tale of Pygmalion, a sculptor, who falls in love with his beautiful female statue Galatea which, to his delight, is brought to life by a sympathetic Venus. Following the onslaught of eighteenth century automatons, the Pygmalion myth "underwent an extraordinary renaissance" as it was praised and rewritten by many respected and influential European writers such as Diderot, Rousseau, and

Voltaire (Wood 16). This myth would take on a sexual overtone in the post-Industrial Revolution nineteenth-century Europe, however, as Pygmalionism moved from high-culture literature to Dees 7 lowbrow sexual practice. The original pygmalionism was defined by German sexologist Iwan

Bloch as "the love for and sexual intercourse with statues and other representations of a human person" (qtd. in Wood 138), a form of pygmalionism closely related to "necrophilia" (138), but it would find a new embodiment in Pygmalionism, the erotic practice in which men gained sexual satisfaction from watching "naked living women...stand as 'statues' upon suitable pedestals and are watched by the Pygmalionist, whereupon they gradually come to life" (Wood 139).

Pygmalion stripteases were not only performed in European brothels but in American ones as well, suggesting a near universal popularity of the sexual, artificial woman in the world.

"Among the most popular entertainments for men after 1840" in New York "theatres" (infamous houses of entertainment and prostitutes) were the erotic stripteases of "model artist[s]," also called "living statues" and "living female paintings" (Gilfoyle 127). These "first stripteases" of

Gotham usually followed biblical or classical stories, their scantily-clad or nude performers impersonating Venus and invoking Galatea as they changed their positions slowly (or stayed completely still), fully exposing themselves on a revolving stage while gradually coming to life

(Gilfoyle 127). Pygmalionism's models helped sexualize a vision of artificial femininity which, created by men, were silent, and thus ideal and found new life in two nineteenth-century works of literature which (literally and figuratively) transformed these living women into sexually objectified, ideal robots.

E.T.A. Hoffman's 1816 short story "Der Sandmann" ("The Sandman" in English) tells the tale of Nathanael, a young student haunted by unpleasant childhood memories who spurns his human lover Klara for his ideal woman Olympia (who is secretly a mechanical doll). Nathanael's days are full of bliss until he discovers the truth about his new lover's artificial body and he dies in a fit of violent madness. Hoffman's humorous yet dark tale pokes fun at the Romantic artists Dees 8 of his day who idealized women to a state of divinity while robbing them of their humanity and he paints the romantic Nathanael's death as a narcissistic self-destruction once his precious Echo is revealed to be a machine. By idealizing women as silent, passive beings made to reflect only his ego, Nathanael hopes to transcend banal humanity and reach the sublime. The poet, however, sows the seeds of his own destruction through the aid of the male gaze made powerful through technological voyeurism. Intelligent, outspoken, and binary-questioning Klara, however, is left to fulfill her own happy ending free of the protagonist's domination.

Throughout "Der Sandmann," Nathanael makes clear that an ideal woman should not be vocal or autonomous. To him, women are children and should remain "bright, dreamy, [and] childlike" (Hoffman 287), perpetually "gay and innocent" (291), a notion of women his lover

Klara challenged, however, with her analytical "intelligence and pedantry" (287). Displeased that

Klara would question his moments of brooding, poetic self-absorption, Nathanael asks Klara's brother to stop "giving her lessons in logic" (287) immediately. Because of her tendency to question Nathanael’s frequent moping with an understanding that is "clear and discriminating"

(291), Klara's feminine logic is described by those around her in unpleasant, inhuman terms; marking her as "cold, without feeling, and unimaginative" (291) and "among...inferior natures"

(292). Nathanael finds his ideal woman in those who possess no voice, thus finding true love in the automaton (and "splendid listener") (312) Olympia who can only speak "Ach! Ach! Ach!"

(300) and words which are "already recorded" (303) for her. This silence is especially ironic since Olympia is built as a pianist and a singer. Nathanael adores Olympia's lack of physical autonomy as well, admiring how she does not fidget like other girls when listening to Nathanael talk (302-303). This lack of autonomy is equated with a lack of vision when a fellow student chides Nathanael for falling in love with a "hopelessly stupid," "wax-faced wooden puppet" who Dees 9 could be deemed desirable only if her eyes were "not so completely devoid of life--the power of vision" (301).

It is through vision, after all, that Nathanael is able to draw away the curtains which block

Olympia "from every human eye" (298) through the form of Coppola's spyglass. Coppola, the aggravating Italian optician, hocks the autonomy voyeuristic vision affords, its power to objectify the viewed and strengthen the viewer, as he shouts, "These are my eyes, nice-a eyes!"

(296) Coppola intensely reminds Nathanael of the evil, hated engineer and scientist Coppelius, but he forgets this fear as quickly as he forgets Olympia's lifelessness thanks to the transformative power of voyeuristic technology. The spyglass is able to penetrate past literal and metaphorical veils, lifting the "murky veil over [Nathanael’s] life" (283) and, momentarily, the curtains which block Olympia from view. The first use of the spyglass instantly transforms life for Nathanael, enhancing him and the women he "surreptitiously" (299) views. "Never in his life

[has] he come across a glass that brought objects before his eyes with such clarity and distinction" (297), especially Olympia's glances which are now "inflamed with -increasing life" from the voyeuristic spyglass's "power of vision" (297). These spyglasses correct for

Nathanael what is otherwise obscured by nature, revealing the secrets of the viewed object's true, ideal being, such as when Olympia's facial features, somehow indistinguishable in bright candlelight, are revealed to be shooting a "yearning glance" (299) at Nathanael. Even aural sensations are uplifted by the spyglass. Olympia's once "shrill" voice becomes notes which have

"achieved absolute purity," "heavenly exultations" (299), when viewed from the spyglass. This technological tool of visual penetration into life's secrets offers something which Nathanael longs for most of all: transcendence. Dees 10

Rejecting Klara's and thus woman's "intelligence and independence to which [they] testify" (Kohlenbach 665), Nathanael chooses the Olympia, the "ultimate in feminine passivity and receptivity, infinitely preferable to the more masculine Klara" (Andriano 57). The combination of Olympia's feminine silence and Nathanael's visual autonomy allows Nathanael to reflect himself in Olympia's empty form, to fall in love with himself through the void of a gynoid, and finally achieve transcendence from the perceived terrors and trivialness of human life. Nathanael, falling in love with the quiet gynoid, finds his "whole being...reflected" in her

"deep soul" (Hoffman 300) and "discovers [himself] again" (302) in her "utter passivity and taciturnity" (303). Klara and Lothar earlier warn Nathanael against what they deem as the evil,

"mysterious power" of reflection which, acting as one's personal demons, attempt to "assume a shape that is supposed to be a reflection of ourselves" (286). These "phantoms of our own ego"

(286) can, when believed in, allow their "hostile influence" to make the reflected person hostile in reality (287). This reflection is marked as a privilege of men, however, as Klara laments that

Nathanael does not love her because he "does not understand" her (294), because he cannot, as he does with Olympia, reduce "everything to the same/masculine" (Parkin-Gounelas 108). "By sticking to his unattainable ideal," the clockwork perfection of Olympia, Nathanael the

"Romantic poet puts [Klara] the real woman in a false partition for which there is no escape"

(Kohlenbach 673). Nathanael cannot love Klara because, "in deviating from his idea of her, she fails to be an extension of his mind" (Kohlenbach 673). Because of this failure, it is Klara, not

Olympia, who Nathanael calls a "damned, lifeless automaton" (Hoffman 294).

Embracing Olympia, Nathanael proclaims she will "illuminate and transfigure [his] soul forever" (301) and endow him with a "higher, spiritual knowledge" (302) in the few reflexive, prerecorded words she does speak. Olympia's attentive silence will free him from the "jabbering Dees 11 banalities" (302) of mankind, "commonplace" (303) mundane vocality (so long as it is not his own), and "all of life" which is "only a dream and a presentiment" which leaves man a prisoner and plaything of fate (291). Klara warns Nathanael of this quest for transcendence, for supreme truth, by explaining that it was this same "illusory" desire for "higher knowledge" and scientific truth that led Nathanael's father completely "alienated from his family" (285) and led to his premature death. Nathanael's desire to become a god, however, trumps Klara's advice and, forgetting that "to gaze at [one's] reflection/soul for long is to lose it, as the Narcissus myth shows" (Parkin-Gounelas 109), Nathanael goes mad and dies soon after his mechanical love is revealed to be an empty artifice, a broken mirror. The connection between Nathanael’s childhood vision of his limbs twisted and reassembled in a doll-like manner and Olympia's metal form fragmented by Coppelius and Spalanzani suggests an equal mechanization of gender, of a destruction of binaries suggested by Klara's assertion that both good and evil forces dwell within humans, but Nathanael "fails to see the similarity" (Andriano 58). In trying to force his will into others via visual technological domination, Nathanael meets a terrible end. Klara, however, in refusing to accept binaries and refusing to "be inflated in the archetypal or reduced to the stereotypical angel" (Andriano 50), finds happiness as nobody's ideal mirror.

"Der Sandmann" also mocks the popular idealization of women in Romantic era ideology and artwork. Klara, the narrator confesses, "could not be considered beautiful" but

"[n]evertheless architects praised the perfect proportions of her figure, and painters considered her neck, shoulders, breasts almost too chastely formed," along with other flowery exaggerations of her body in fetishized fragments in the eyes of other Romantic artists (Hoffman 290). Poets in the story, outside of the realm of visual aesthetics, scoff at these descriptions of Klara as ridiculous and, as Kolenbach notes, dehumanizing. To figure a woman "as that which radiates as Dees 12 art from the artist's soul...disregards the female body and his beloved's independent existence,"

Kohlenbach argues (659). The goals of the Romantic artist are steeped in reflection of the male artist through the female subject, her body acting as an "inspiration...to bring to life the latent and allegedly celestial image which resides within the artist" (Kohlenbach 659). This reflection in art is meant for the transcendence of the male artist via the subjugation of the female object, because the ideal forces the artist to evade pain and "reality, if reality means to live with others as a social, sexual, and vulnerable being" (Kohlenbach 664).

Since the Romantic art world was mostly funded by the wealthy elite, this notion of transcendence through an ideal female vessel brought a classed ownership to the mechanical woman, especially as the short story was adapted to the high culture world of ballet. "Der

Sandmann" and "Die Puppe" (or "The Doll,” another story by Hoffman about a mechanical woman preferred over human females) would find life outside of the written page in the ballet adaptation of these works: Coppelia. Written in 1870 by Saint-Léon and Nuittier, Coppelia recasts Nathanael as Frantz, a playful village youth who spurns his human lover Swanilda for the mysterious (and much less sinister) inventor Coppelius's mechanical doll Coppelia. The ballet toys with the idea of a female robot as an ideal lover but, after assertive Swanilda shows Frantz the folly of his robot-loving ways by impersonating the obedient gynoid, ultimately abandons the notion.

Klara/Swanilda's happy ending and the mockery of the Romantic quest for the ideal woman in the short story and the ballet, however, cannot cloak the more sinister tones of misogyny hinted at in the end of "Der Sandmann" which connect women to an inherent artificiality. After news of Nathanael's demise from a life-like female 's deception reaches the town's villagers, they too begin to question the humanity of the women they love, oddly Dees 13 connecting femininity to artifice while simultaneously promoting a display of vocality, intelligence, imperfection, and physical freedom from the town's women.

Indeed, many lovers insisted that their mistresses sing and dance unrhythmically and

embroider, knit, or play with a lapdog or something while being read to, so that they

could assure themselves that they were not in love with a wooden doll; above all else,

they required the mistresses not only listen, but to speak frequently in such a way that it

would prove that they were really capable of thinking and feeling. (Hoffman 306)

This suspicion of women's inherent void would be proved true, however, when one European writer transplanted the mechanical woman into the hands of one American scientist to reimagine gynoids as perfected, angelic, mass-produced lovers.

In the late nineteenth century, no other man symbolized science and its potential for godlike power in the public mind than Thomas Edison. Edison's electrical inventions would astound the world, but it was his phonograph and its ability to seemingly "embalm [human] voices and remain immortal" (Wood 130), to overcome death (128), that would achieve an especially influential fame. The citizens of France would have surely marveled like the rest of the world at the inventions of the renowned "author of the future" (Wood 131), especially when, in 1877, Edison marketed a voice-activated mechanical doll, causing a "furor" amongst French consumers (Miller Frank 152). French author Auguste Villiers de l'Isle-Adam was alive during these exciting times of technological innovation and industrial revolution, and, when Edison's inventions came to be described with traditionally feminine adjectives such as "sensitive, delicate, fragile, beautiful, [and] curious" (Miller Frank 165), he must have surely made the mental connection between technology and women. Representative of this "shift in the representation of women during the late nineteenth century, a moment when women began to be Dees 14 associated more and more with machines, from the girls on bicycles" (Miller Frank 163) of the

Victorian England's New Woman to the ancient woman of Pygmalion brothel stripteases, is

Villiers' 1886 novel L'Eve Future (Tomorrow's Eve). L'Eve Future's tale of legendary Thomas

Edison and his ideal female android creation given voice through the refined, "delicate technology" (Miller Frank 166) of his phonograph exhibits this gendered shift in the representation of technology, of the mechanization of femininity.

Villiers' poetically misogynist tome revolves around the famous inventor Thomas Edison and his plan to build the perfect woman for a British aristocratic friend. Lord Ewald, a wealthy aesthete, visits Edison to reveal a woeful secret which has driven him to the brink of suicide.

Ewald has fallen in love with a beautiful, Venus-like opera singer named Alicia Clary, but her banal intellect and bourgeois aspirations severely undermine her flawless form. Alicia's imperfection is unbearable to the young, romantic socialite and Edison, determined to save his friend and past benefactor, offers to duplicate Alicia Clary in the form of a female robot named

Hadaly. Through the aid of his brilliant technological inventions, his somnambulist female assistant Sowana, and a drugged Alicia, Edison is able to achieve his goal and creates a duplicated but perfected mechanical Alicia in the form of Hadaly. The majority of the novel's action, however, lies in the heated arguments between the skeptical Ewald and the cynical technophile Edison over what defines a human, the difference between men and women, the existence of the soul within humans and machines, and the characteristics of an ideal woman.

Ewald holds human beings as irreplaceable and vastly superior to a mere mechanical doll, but

Edison's arguments, which seek to disprove women's sentience, convince Ewald to accept a perfectible machine over an imperfect female beast. Ewald leaves with Hadaly on a ship back to Dees 15

England but, in a tragedy similar to Descartes' mechanical daughter's demise, Ewald loses his gynoid lover to a fire at sea and lives the rest of his life filled with longing and despair.

Villiers makes it clear in a preceding section of the novel entitled "Advice to the Reader" that his depiction of Thomas Edison is not based on fact but on his "mystique" as the "Sorcerer of Menlo Park" (as he was popularly called in the press) and not the then-living engineer

(Villiers 3). Villiers' true subject, then, is the mythology which surrounds science and technology and, as the novel reveals, the discourses on gender they produce. He insists that a "personage of this legend" whether alive or dead "belong[s] to the world of literature" (3) and thus connects the objective world of science to the subjective world of culture. In this light, Villiers' novel displays how, as Donna Haraway argues, "science is a cultural practice and practical culture"

(Modest_Witness 66). Gender, technology, and culture are all intertwined in a myth-making system which inevitably affects the lives of living people, especially as L'Eve Future paints a futuristic in which silent, subservient, mass-produced gynoids will offer their male masters transcendence from the imperfect beastliness of human women.

Edison views women as children, animals, artifice, and the void, essentially as everything that is the opposite of Descartes' rational man. Women, Edison explains to Ewald, have an

"animal nature" (63) and "fatal[istically]," like beasts, are "programmed at birth and for life" to

"obey blindly the obscure urgings of their malignant essence" (111). Because women are "less remote in REALITY from the animal species than [men]," then men are endowed with an absolute authority over women in the same way that men "clai[m] these rights over other members of the animal kingdom" (112). This authority includes even the power of death over the female "species," "inflicting[ing] a summary execution...without the least scruple or form of legality" (113) on any woman whom he deems a threat. L'Eve Future also connects women to the Dees 16 perceived stupidity and otherness of children (the models of early automatons) as Ewald shouts,

"A woman! Isn't she just a child troubled by a thousand anxieties, subject to influence from every direction?" (30) Edison scoffs at the idea of any "consciousness" within a woman (85) and challenges Ewald to "find a scruple more of that vital vacancy or void in the glance of Miss

Alicia Clary" than in her robotic copy (160). Women's lack of rational sentience, however, does not mean that they are unaware of this fact, Edison explains, as seen in the rarity of female friendships. "Name me two women who were friends in all of human history," Edison demands of Ewald (85-86). "The thing is impossible. Why? Because each woman knows her own mental emptiness too well to be the dupe of another" (86). By turning Alicia into a gynoid (as well as replacing all women with robots), Edison can finally "transfigur[e] [her] instinct into pure soul"

(187).

When first presented with Edison's proposal, Lord Ewald cannot believe that a gynoid, whether based upon his Alicia or not, could even be considered self-aware or sentient, as anything other than a complicated toy. Edison seeks to relieve Ewald's misgivings by explaining the inherent empty artificiality behind the so-called soul-owning beings he calls "women."

Human women, through the vanity of makeup, baubles, and clothes, in bringing "chemical laboratories into their boudoirs" (123), are more artificial than androids. In a fashion similar to

Hadaly's control buttons disguised as jewelry, Edison explains that living women are also controlled through artifice, have "rings [which] one must press" (81). As Alicia Clary walks through Edison's abode, her blue dress gives off sparks as a testament to this artifice (Forrest 23).

Edison's words are not the only force which characterizes women as verbally, intellectually, and spiritually absent. L'Eve Future's female characters' own words and actions contribute to their debasement. Alicia, in her insipid bourgeois sensibilities, utters phrases so Dees 17 wretched, uncouth, and banal that "only a God can forgive and wash [them] in the blood of His redemption" (Villiers 171). The destructive lust of Evelyn Habal leaves her victim's widowed wife, Mrs. Anderson, into a cataleptic coma, but even when Mrs. Anderson becomes Edison's skillful assistant in this somnambulist state, she is revealed at the novel's end to actually be a silent vessel, a tool for eloquent supernatural forces of the "Ideal" (211) and Edison who

"project[s] [his] will" into her (209). A later animated Hadaly reinforces Edison's findings by declaring that it is the human woman who is truly a void, "the living girl who is the phantom"

(204). It is Edison's robotic creation, he insists, and not a human woman who can truly be called sentient because a woman's "pitiful ego can't animate anything, because within its absurd, mulish entity there's no faculty for forming the only sentiment that can complete a real human being"

(179).

In L'Eve Future, it is only when women are silenced, both physically and mentally, that they are able to let their inherent void be filled with a superior male ego and the divine forces of the sublime. Hadaly's lungs are composed of two golden phonographs which are inscribed with

"the thoughts of several geniuses" (154), "all knowledge deemed by male subjectivity worth knowing and preserving" (Forrest 27). Thus, Hadaly's phonographs act as an "instrument of the repression of the feminine in the text" (Miller Frank 171) ironically constructed by the hands of

Thomas Edison, "the father of the phonograph," who ultimately teaches women to "shut up"

(Wood 135). Hadaly's prerecorded words, Edison explains, will not be used to guide any conversation between herself and Ewald but will, instead, be used only to reflect and compliment the thoughts of her owner. However, obedient, attentive silence is marked as preferable to programmed vocality as Ewald expresses approval for Hadaly's amazing and un-Alicia-like Dees 18 ability to "kee[p] her mouth shut" (Villiers 197) and thus wonderfully "devoid of all thought"

(41).

By filling the mechanical void of women with one's own self, to reflect one's and only one's thoughts and desires, Edison promises male users of female androids not only an ideal beauty but a lover completely under their control. "The use to which an object is put changes both its name and its nature," Edison declares (63), insinuating that once problematic human women are reconstituted in a masculinist scientific framework, they can be transformed into the ideal woman. This transformation offers complete authority and control. Edison assures Ewald that Hadaly will never leave him because she is made without the capacity for choice, for autonomy: "Her heart never changes; she hasn't got one" (154). In order to achieve this absolute control over body and mind, one's mechanical woman must be a complete reflection of one's ego.

Edison's "statue" waits not only for "Pygmalion its creator" (151) but also a Narcissus to make her his immortal, mechanical Echo. Gynoids will offer a solution to human women (whose so- called consciousness acts as a "negation" of men) by reflecting any male desire in becoming

"whatever spiritual affinity [a user's] melancholy suggests to [him]" (133).

This reflection is further facilitated via the notion that women are inherently artificial and thus essentially an accumulation of parts, thus perpetuating a fetishized view of femininity in

L'Eve Future. The first instance of this in the novel is the female arm on Edison's work table described in parts (or "soft and precious fragment[s]") as a "delicate wrist," "pale hand," and

"slender fingers" (17). Both Alicia and Hadaly's bodies are also described in fragments. Ewald waxes poetic about Alicia's "masses of brown hair," the "seductive oval" of her face, her

"rosebud" mouth, "glow[ing]" lips, lashes, loves, nose, feet, voice, and scent (29-30). Underneath the "veracity, poignancy, and authority" of the "medical gaze" (Forrest 29), Edison dissects Dees 19

Hadaly's body limb by limb, her physical components, movements, and organs, and explains their operation Ewald in excruciating detail. Hadaly is sectioned off even further by the novel's chapter titles: "Flesh" (Villiers 150), "Rosy Mouth, Pearly Teeth" (153), "Hair" (161),

"Epidermis" (162), and "Equilibrium" (144). Evelyn Habal, Edison's representative figure of the destructive "vampi[ric]" (113) sexuality of women, is also "reduced to the sum total of her effects" and declared to be "nothing more than her cosmetics, her prosthetics, [and] her ornaments" (Forrest 23).

Finally, Hadaly's clothes, shipped to Edison in a chest, act as a collection of fetishized feminine frills to complete her transformation into the perfect woman. The thieves who steal

Edison's chest are disappointed to find that it contains only women's clothing, jokingly making a

"minute inventory" amongst themselves in specific detail of the vast number of clothes: "a new dress of blue silk, yes, absolutely new; a pair of lady's shoes, of the same shade; some stockings, extremely sheer, a box of perfumed gloves, an ebony fan with some intricate carvings" (Villiers

184), and so on and so forth. The manner in which ideal women are described by Edison and his fellow "modern Pygmalions" as a "sum of manageable, impeccable, sexualized parts" renders the fetishized female fragments as "more woman than the android" (Wood 141-142). These items operate as the final stroke of reflection, the "underlying structures of fetishism: the denial of sexual difference, the effacement of female specificity in favor of a revised image of the female that mirrors male desire" (Miller Frank 156). Thus, this fragmented fetishism not only reflects the male creator's ego but contains chaotic, mysterious femininity into a perfectible list.

Also, to reduce the complexities of gender into controllable, replaceable, perfected parts is to essentially solve the mystery of woman through, in L'Eve Future, the rationality of science represented by Thomas Edison. The metaphor of removing the many veils and shadows which Dees 20 obscure Hadaly's ideal form (a popular motif used throughout the novel) "points to the gender specificity of the quest for transcendence acquired through science and technology" (Forrest 18) and how Edison, through the "power of the discourse of science...and medicine" (Forrest 34), replaces "uncertain knowledge of woman" with "certain knowledge of the machine" (Forrest 34).

Ultimately, in L'Eve Future, transcending the mystery of woman is the key to the transcendence of the male spirit, a process made possible by the wonders of the "amazing" (Villiers 11) scientific advancements of men. Nature, with her "loud logical rings of Reason" (196), is marked as the enemy of happiness and transcendence and an evil force which tries to seduce foolish men into choosing the organic over the mechanical, the real over the ideal. Nature, however, can be corrected and transcended in L'Eve Future.

Edison's new, mechanical Eden is founded on the removal of the "corrupt and corrupting nature" of women (Forrest 32): her reproductive system. Woman's uterus, marked as the "site of contagion, of lust, and of animality" in nineteenth-century medical narratives (Forrest 27) of the female body, "serves as a constant reminder of mankind's link to animals and...of his social responsibilities" (Forrest 35). The removal of Hadaly's reproductive organs alludes to the novel's headlining biblical figure Eve who, "flawed by carnality, prevents man from going beyond the flesh to achieve another plane, a higher spiritual register" (Forrest 22) as previously desired in

"Der Sandmann." Thus, this quest to return to an innocence once tainted by woman leads to the

"gender specificity of the machine" (Forrest 22) as man's chosen vehicle for spiritual transcendence and redemption. Without this feminine symbol of disease, animality, and responsibility, the male user of the sterile mechanical woman can finally transcend his humanity and his seemingly uncontrollable sexual desires to reach sublime godhood. Hadaly and her gynoid sisters are meant to facilitate a spiritual transcendence for men (Forrest 27), however, and Dees 21 not a sexual one as seen in Edison's description of Hadaly's self-defense system. If any man approaches Hadaly with impure, sexual thoughts, Hadaly can wield a vibrating, electric knife to prevent the fiend from satisfying his base desires.

However, if one cannot correct or transcend nature's evil, one can destroy it. The only human women Edison praises in L'Eve Future are mothers whose willing self-destruction of their reproductive organs benefit rational man by "allow[ing] them to think" (Villiers 86-87). Even mothers, these gracious martyrs, however, can be potentially replaced by the offspring of science, Edison implies, as the inventor comments that wives are "necessary to perpetuate the human race" only until "a new order of things comes in" (164). In an earlier version of L'Eve

Future, this "new order of things" prophesized by Edison is clarified as mass gynocide, "the extinction of all female life" (Forrest 30), through the wonders of his masculinist science:

"Twenty serious men, working ten years, with me, and I destroyed Woman! Forever!" (Villiers qtd. in Forrest 30) After all, to witness and love the ideal is to favor the murder of imperfection.

As Hadaly explains to a frightened Ewald, "The man who has looked on an Android as you looked on me has killed the woman within him" (Villiers 203), thus indirectly fulfilling Ewald's wish to "see Miss Alicia dead" (46). To Hadaly, the "Ideal" is an all-powerful biblical force which "when violated never pardons, and no man mocks the divinity unscathed" (203), leaving him permanently marked like Moses after viewing God's back. Thus, the robotic woman's ideal beauty is an awesome product of science in L'Eve Future and nothing short of divine. Once desired and created by man, it is something to which no human woman can compare and a power no mere mortal man can ever hope to escape.

Edison makes it clear to Ewald that, because of this inherent imperfect artificiality, all women are essentially uniform and interchangeable and thus prime targets to be technologically Dees 22 perfected and mass-produced. "[O]ne single thing contains the essential soul of all the others,"

Edison explains, adding that "a single woman contains, for the man who loves her, the souls of all other women" (137). Hadaly reinforces this notion when she tells Ewald that she has "so many women in [her], no could contain them all" (199). Male desire is the only element needed to make any woman exist within Hadaly (199), giving Ewald or any man an unlimited choice of women when they are the proud owner of a gynoid. Edison believes that this combination of customizable, unlimited choice and absolute control over women through technology will "no doubt" (147) lead to future factories which will produce ideal women by the thousands and thus satisfy every imaginable heterosexual male desire.

Edison assures Ewald that this desire to "projec[t] [his] will into another" (209) is not just a product of industrial assembly-line ideologies but a desire fulfilled in all relationships between human men and women; that all which is called love of another is merely the love of one's reflected ego. "In short, it's this objectified projection of your own soul that you call on, you perceive, that you CREATE in your living woman, and which is nothing but your own soul reduplicated in her," Edison explains (68). This potential for narcissistic reflection in another is the most acclaimed quality of Hadaly, the ideal woman. After she takes on Alicia's likeness,

Hadaly begs Ewald to "reinforce [her] with [his] self" and will thus, "like a true" (and ideal) woman, be only what he desires her to be (199). Even ideas, the proof of knowledge and sentience, exist "only in terms of the mind that reflected it" (14), Edison declares and connects this mental reflexivity to the "vital reflexive spirituality of God" (24). Women can be molded and changed by this projection of ego, Ewald suggests, as he ponders how women's "thoughts might soon be changed by love...until they [become] the reflection of [his] own" (30). This love of self, Dees 23

Edison insists, is the foundation of all human interaction with the world, making admiration in things as only that which we "can...recognize of ourselves in them" (180).

This combination of absolute control and total reflection of self through means of a mechanical woman will create gods of men in L'Eve Future. "I promise to raise from the clay of

Human Science as it now exists, a Being made in our own image," Edison revels. He further connects the creations of masculinist science to the power of the divine as he shouts that Hadaly and all other gynoids (whose "perfect resemblance[s]" require the same Biblical seven days of creation) (152) will be to human men "WHAT WE ARE TO GOD" (64). After all, as is pointed out numerous times in L'Eve Future, mechanical women in their ideal beauty and control they offer to men are more akin to angels than human beings. Angels, like robots, are "hermaphrodite and sterile" (Swedenborg qtd. in Villiers 144) and Hadaly's programmed remarks are described as "harmonious" "celestial conversations" (Villiers 131). The novel's chapter titles work to strengthen this link between gynoids and the divine as Hadaly is described as "The Eternal

Female" (143) who gives "Angelic Aid" (198) and engages in conflict referred to as "Struggles with the Angel" (196). Edison makes this connection explicit when, while explaining the inner workings of Hadaly's metallic and electric body, he momentarily stops to shout, "she is an angel...if indeed it's true, as the theologians teach us, that angels are simply fire and light!" (144)

And who would want to be a mere human, anyway? L'Eve Future asks the reader.

Edison's "violent shrieks of despair" over the disappointments of the human world paint human life as a shallow existence (143). The image of initial humanity, specifically of the inelegant female human body and its grotesque "first physical manifestations" as a fetus in the womb, would cause "most lovers [to] feel their passion melt away," to find what they once thought was love as now "lugubrious," "absurd," and "inconceivable" (130). Human vocality and originality Dees 24 is also a sham, Edison insists, since "[e]very human occupation has its repertoire of stock phrases--within which every man twists and turns till his death" (138). Individuality is also marked as utterly overrated, since "novelty is the one thing that disenchants us" (135). If all relationships with women are transactions in which each man has "rings [he] must press" (81) to get what he wants, then romantic love between humans is a "malady," Edison argues (123).

Facing the despair that is humanity, how could one refuse the transcendence which the

Ideal, the sublime form of Hadaly, offers? Hadaly herself is the most insistent upon calling

Ewald to this status of godhood. Within a long speech to Ewald, the completed Hadaly describes the Earth (and all worldly things) as a "temptress which will always deceive [him]," a "glacial planet which still circulates the renown of its ancient punishment through Space!" (197) Hadaly confesses that she is of otherworldly origin and actually one and the same with the magnificent, male Ewald. Ewald, Hadaly explains, will "someday know" that she and her fellow "celestial beings," angels, who disdain the imperfect human world, are of "[his] own sort" (198). Knowing this, Hadaly begs Ewald to choose her over human women and thus "make [himself] a god"

(199), an offer he at first struggles with but then overwhelmingly accepts as he agrees with her that the "will of a single individual outweighs the whole world" (201). At the end of L'Eve

Future, the reader would not be shocked to find that Ewald, torn from his angelic gynoid and the divinity she offered, would live the rest of his life in abject misery. His tragic fate speaks firmly to the reader that human women are worthless in the face of the wonders science can create and, if possible, should either be abandoned, killed, or perfected in order to achieve this ideal.

The life of the real Thomas Edison, when considered alongside Villiers' legacy of literary mechanical misogyny, hints at a potentially realized version of L'Eve Future's scientifically perfected woman. During his lifetime, Edison allotted a male nickname to his wife and any of his Dees 25 daughters who helped him in his laboratory. "" was the name Edison gave his daughter

Marion and he referred to his wife Mina as "Billy." Edison would continue to call them by these male names in person and in letters until his dying day, a habit which implied that if women were to enter the realm of science, Edison would be sure to remind them that it was a masculine space in which the feminine was foreign and something which must be substituted with a masculine identity. Edison's advertisements and writings also helped to reinforce L'Eve Future's notion of human women waiting to be perfected by technology. One early advertisement for

Edison's phonograph depicts a beautiful woman holding a dove as she listens attentively to

Edison's Home Phonograph. The ad asserts that female vocality (especially in regards to singers like Alicia Clary) could be perfected through (masculinist) science in text which declares: "The

Edison Phonograph--The Sweetest Singer Can Learn From It."

Electricity could also be used to perfect women and their minds, as in a 1912 article for

Good Housekeeping written by Edison entitled "The Woman of the Future." Edison's article declared that time-saving household products would finally allow women the freedom to think; an amazing achievement considering, as Edison wrote, "[d]irect thought is not at present an attribute of femininity" and how, intellectually, woman is "centuries, ages, even epochs behind man" (qtd. in Wood 147). Edison even produced a talking female mechanical doll, sending agents to scour the world for "the ideal body parts for the ideal doll" (Wood 151), but his venture proved to be financially unsuccessful. Ultimately, despite any failures, Edison believed in his own mythology; that he could indeed be the "father of perfect humans" by "breeding a race of mental prodigies" (Wood 148) through his godlike inventions. These technological final solutions which aimed to perfect the imperfect (to correct the beasts which La Mettrie chided for calling themselves humans) would echo far past the lips of both the fictional and the real Thomas Dees 26

Edison throughout the twentieth century. In its wake, a new, global war would emerge between conflicting mythologies with mechanized femininity at the center of it all; a battle between those who posited the mechanical woman as a deadly sexual threat, a gender-bending rebel, and a mass-produced vehicle for profit.

Dees 27

Chapter Two: FEMBOTS AMONG US

What lies behind the silhouetted shadow, that thin veil? the wealthy men of must wonder as they watch a svelte female form take the stage. She frolics her nearly-nude body upon a fountain supported by exotic, dark-skinned men, fellow purveyors of otherness, writhing as the wealthy white men crowd closer and begin to pant. As her body begins to twist and her dancing becomes more frantic, the men appear to the camera as mere eyes full of visual desire, hungrily objectifying and consuming the woman's image. Finally, the woman's performance reaches its climax and the men, once calm, collected agents of finesse and grace, are ripped from any semblance of civilization or privilege as they, in a tuxedoed mass, swarm the fountain to grasp at her flesh. All the while, the feverish Freder, the son of Metropolis' patriarch, connects two images within his prophetic dream: a woman, a harlot draped in vestiges of bodily pleasure, and deadly sin, the destroyer of mankind. Who, other than a woman, is this purveyor of destructive lust? The stake's flames burn the flesh of the once-dancing woman to reveal what she truly is: a robot; an empty, threatening artifice.

These are just a few of many powerful images behind Fritz Lang's Metropolis, his 1927 cinematic masterpiece which transformed the trope of the mechanical woman from a figure of salvation and transcendence for the wealthy elite to a sexual force of death and damnation for rich and poor alike. The film was originally based on the novel of the same name by Thea von

Harbou, a novel strongly influenced by Villiers' L'Eve Future (Huyssen 203) which, although nodding to the original work in the relationship between and metal beauty, twists the mechanical woman's potential for spiritual salvation of the rich into salvation of the rich from the working class. In this light, Metropolis acts as a film which does not present a simple futuristic or modernistic scenario of the early twentieth century, but instead creates a "dynamic Dees 28 between old and new" (Jordanova 190) concepts of mechanical femininity from both the nineteenth and twentieth century. Even when altered by the lens of German Expressionism, futurism's aesthetics are heavily influenced by past ideologies. Fritz Lang's adaptation of his wife's novel into the visual medium of film worked to further transform the trope of the mechanical woman from its 19-century literary roots, locating gynoids as visual sexual objects.

When combined, these dual visions of mechanized femininity remold the once asexual gynoids of "Der Sandmann" and L'Eve Future, technological vehicles for male transcendence, into sexual objects whose fearsome potential for subjectivity must be dominated and controlled. Thus, although capitalism and its profit-over-people principles are marked as the enemy by the film,

Metropolis' true danger is autonomous female sexuality.

As Huyssen argues, women, by their otherness (204) and especially their "explosive sexuality" (213), present a threat in Metropolis to patriarchy no matter whether they are virgin, worker, or whore (214). Therefore, these women must be subdued and controlled in a tangible and visual way via the form of programmable, controllable mechanics into subservient technological reflections of the will and desires of their male masters (Huyssen 205). This violence proves to be more than symbolic, however, as the human Maria is "subdued and exploited" (Huyssen 205) in a manner similar to the drugged Alicia Clary in L'Eve Future so that the robotic Maria may attain a pleasing facade of life. Even this transformation, however, does not completely rid women of their sexual threat, and the film offers resolution only through the death of either body or volition as seen in the robotic Maria's witch-hunt-esque burning at the stake and the human Maria's suddenly listless, powerless form (Huyssen 214). Although vision can be the gateway to chaotic lust, as seen in Robot Maria's bawdy dance, vision can also be used as a tool of control and domination over female sexuality and the working class, robbing Dees 29 both of their autonomy and subjectivity. Vision within Metropolis operates within power structures first identified by theorist Laura Mulvey in its conflation with either the objectifying male gaze which, like Rotwang building robo-Maria, puts together and disassembles the female body (Huyssen 208-209) or as "technological and social control" over the working class

(Huyssen 210). Other than the technology of robotic replacement, the conquering eye of science, similar to the eyes which feast upon Robot Maria's flesh, acts as a means of control of women.

Scientist Rotwang investigates and invades Maria's secret underground caverns, kidnapping her to technologically clarify and modify her in the bright lights of his laboratory.

Although the film posits the exploitation of the working class as the basis for Metropolis' dystopian setting, Rutsky interestingly suggests that it is "the split between [the] poles" of gender which makes the film dystopian (228). After all, it is a massive flood, the deluge of water and feminine symbol which suggests fluidity and permeability, which is used as Fredersen's dastardly deathstroke to the working masses. Any potential for a blurring of gender, class, or body boundaries is destroyed, however, along with the riotous Robot Maria. The shaking of hands between Fredersen and Grot visually asserts a return to innocence for Metropolis and its citizens as stable, impermeable, absolute roles of hierarchal power are firmly realigned with the elite as the head of the city, the workers as the hands, and woman as the pure, emotional, irrational, and, once again, powerless heart of the city. No such happy ending would be offered to Fritz Lang, however, who would later leave his wife and flee a Germany wrought in political turmoil. Lang escaped the horrors of Nazi eugenics and the absolute control over body and mind they strived to create in order to bring about Aryan perfection, but what Lang could not escape, however, was his monstrous mechanical woman, a figure which, bound for change once more, would spread beyond his native shores and live long past his death. Dees 30

Metropolis, the most expensive film of its time, was moderately successful in Europe, but, upon reaching American shores, was recut and edited to the point of nearly being unrecognizable from the original piece. A similar edit would occur to the trope of the mechanical woman, the artificial feminine threat of Metropolis, when transplanted onto American shores and into American minds, taking on a far less chaotic form and finding a new master in the hands of the working and middle classes. Lester del Rey's 1938 scifi short story "Helen O'Loy" first exhibited a transition of mechanized women from potential threats to male power to potential submissive, ideal sexual slaves. Helen O'Loy, short for Helen of Alloy (and an allusion to the deadly, war-starting beauty of Helen of Troy) is a female robot custom built by two young

American men, Dave and Phil. Before building Helen, the two young engineers experience a romance with two human twin sisters, setting the foundation for the story in its implication of the interchangeability, uniformity, and mass-production of women (as well as a historical foreshadowing of cloning). Unlike Hadaly or Robot Maria, however, Helen is built by two members of the working class (both disdainful of the upper class) in the hopes of building a more efficient robot maid, a robot with human emotion. She is at first built with "no emotions, no consciousness of self," (del Rey 43) but is soon, in a fashion similar to Hadaly's golden phonographs, inscribed with masculinist notions of intelligence and sentience, "thoughts of consciousness and awareness of life and feeling [fed] into [her] auxiliary memory coil" (44). A sentient woman, however, proves to be an emotional of "chaos" (42) as Helen begins to become obsessed with her creator Dave, crying at all hours when he rejects her devotion, but conveniently spending the rest of her time preparing meals and performing chores for him. Helen loves shopping and broods just "as any normal girl might" (50), but, despite Dave's visions of her as a "super-efficient house-keeper" (47), she longs for emotional and physical love as his wife. Dees 31

Dave, although not "a prude" (47), initially dismisses the idea of sex with a robot. "A man wants flesh and blood, not rubber and metal," Helen sighs to Phil (48).

It is only after a confrontation between Dave and Helen in which he "[gives] her a thorough lecture on the folly of her ways" lasting three hours about "her situation in life"

(presumably one of servitude as a woman and a robot) and "the idiocy of stereos" (47) (her only connection to the outside world within her imposed domesticity) that the female robot suddenly improves in behavior. Helen becomes "as sensibly silent as a man" during a fishing trip (50) and becomes an obedient, "genius" cook and servant, thus finally exhibiting "all the good points of a woman and a mech combined" (49). Now Phil and Dave no longer doubt the possibility of

"homo mechanensis as the perfect type" of being, the perfect type of woman (43). Soon Dave overcomes his distaste for love and sex with robots and marries Helen who becomes a "lovelier bride" and "sweeter wife" than any human woman could possibly hope to be (51). The story ends as Dave moves to a "fruit ranch" (49) with Helen, the engineer returning to the innocence of the garden to live happily ever after with his perfect, mechanical Eve.

These themes of female robots as ideal, subservient lovers and perfected women, however, would not fully resurface for another twenty years, but the trope of the mechanical woman certainly emerged as both sex object and technological threat within 1940s and 1950s

American culture with force. During WWII, American women's fashion magazines advertised hairstyles named after machines of the ever-present war as a way to show support for the fighting troops. Women's locks were permed and pinned into hairstyles named the "middy" and the

"Victory Roll,” referring to naval men and airstrike strategies. The most notorious example of this connection between mass death and female sexuality is "Gilda," the American military's nickname for the atomic bomb derived from glamorous actress Rita Hayworth. Human women Dees 32 during this time became technological hybrids, chimerical models of feminine beauty, war, and death similar to Robot Maria's mechanical sexual threat, but here subdued and encased within a nationalistic narrative of war.

In the post-war era, however, this trend did not end but greatly expanded with the boom of commercialism and consumerism. Marshall McLuhan noticed this prevalent "marriage of sex, death, and technology" (McLuhan 24) within popular American culture and keenly connected it to robotic women. In his 1951 piece "The Mechanical Bride," McLuhan examines the "dominant pattern...of sex and technology" (24) in the popular press, magazines, and advertising of post-

WWII America. McLuhan argues that ads which link femininity to mechanical artifice hock a

"view of the human body as a sort of love-machine capable merely of specific thrills" (26), of women as mass-produced, consumable sexual products. "Ads like these," McLuhan notes, "not only express but also encourage that strange dissociation of sex not only from the human person but even from the unity of the body" (25). In 1976, two decades after McLuhan's perceptive critique, this trend would continue in an advertisement for the Crouse group which hocked a similar vision of scientific and national progress in the guise of femininity as it compared a nuclear power plant to a "beautiful woman" who always gets her rest, keeps her figure, visits the doctor, and performs other beauty-sustaining actions as a "perfect example of preventative

[mechanical] maintenance" (qtd. in Caputi 507). This schizophrenic, paradoxical image of female sexuality as both desirable and fearsome, as both pleasure and demise, is reminiscent of

Metropolis. However, instead of the destruction of human women, as seen in Lang's film, a new solution to autonomous female sexuality would emerge from a blossoming consumer culture in the mass media outlets of television, film, and art to contain this multi-faceted threat in the form of a subservient, manageable, mass-produced sexual product. Dees 33

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, British mathematician, scientist and government employee Alan Turing was exploring the link between gender and artificial intelligence and performing a marriage between machines, women, and sentience in post-WWII England. Turing believed that "a machine that acted intelligently, that could fool someone into thinking it thought," could be regarded as sentient (Miller Frank 160) and created an "Imitation Game" in

1950 to test the veracity of his claims. The game involves three players: a man, a woman, and an interrogator of either sex. Since all three players are visually and physically separated from each other in different rooms, the interrogator can only ask the other two subjects questions to determine their gender and, at the game's conclusion, label one as a woman and the other as a man. The answers to the interrogator's questions would all be typed so as to provide no visual or aural clues whatsoever to their gender. Turing's final complication of the game, however, leads to ambiguous connections between femininity and machinery. The end of the game directs for a surreptitious replacement of one of the subjects with a computer in order to test the interrogator’s ability to distinguish between artificial intelligence and human intelligence. "We now ask the question, 'What will happen when a machine takes the part of A [the man] in this game?' Will the interrogator decide wrongly as often as when the game is played between a [human] man and a woman? These questions replace our original 'Can machines think?'" Turing asks his peers

(Turing qtd. in Miller Frank 160-161). However, the more accurate question, as the Imitation

Game suggests, is this: Does gender affect the ability to think, to be sentient?

Turing's twist on classic Cartesian logic, to suggest artificial intelligence and a woman's sentience as one and the same, led Alicia Miller Frank to posit Turing's Imitation Game (or the

Turing Test as it is now called) as synonymous with the comparison of the inherent similarity between women and machines in Villiers's misogynist L'Eve Future (Miller Frank 161). And Dees 34 rightfully so. Indeed, just as L'Eve Future declares that a woman's soul is indistinguishable from the "vapor that rises from a battery" (Villiers 163), Turing's test, in commanding specifically that a woman must be compared with a machine in an attempt to fool the interrogator, to prove the machine's operating sentience, is to put "woman and the machine...in the position of the other"

(Miller Frank 161), combining them in both body and mind.

However, Judith Halberstam, when considering Alan Turing's personal life and career, comes to a different conclusion on the Turing Test in her piece "Automating Gender."

Halberstam posits Turing as a radical figure whose "sexual guessing game," used as a control to his test for artificial intelligence, worked to connect both gender and computer intelligence as

"imitative systems," marking "the boundaries between female and male...as unclear and unstable as the boundary between human and machine intelligence" (Halberstam 443). Halberstam further considers Turing's homosexuality in regards to his test and his early demise; a secret which made him as "incontrovertibly Other" (444) as a woman. Turing's career, first started by fighting eugenics and genocide by decoding Nazi communications for the British military, was halted after his superiors discovered his hidden sexuality. Facing prison time, Turing chose hormone treatment, the military ironically pumping his body full of estrogen in order to eliminate his sexuality which linked him to women and their permeable bodies and marking him an "unfit keeper of state secrets" (Halberstam 444). Halberstam connects this fear of homosexuality with a fear of femininity, especially if, as Turing's work suggested, women and homosexuals, like machines, could acquire full autonomy and thus challenge "the hegemony of white male authority" (444). Thusly, like Halberstam concludes, this fear of "homosexual traitors" solidified the image of the machine as essentially feminine, quickly leading a conversion of that threat to manageable seduction (444). Dees 35

Miller Frank's vision of Turing as a misogynist twentieth-century L'Eve Future Edison and Halberstam's image of Turing as a radical martyr for his gender-role-questioning test are equally valid. Perhaps, in a fitting testament to Turing's test, our ambiguity over what Turing's test represents (either misogyny or gender rebellion) echoes the blurred, once-stable and absolute notions of humanity and machinery his test sought to prove, leaving at least a spark of the revolutionary in its wake. Turing, however, would not be able to comment upon this connection even as his body, then exhibiting female breasts, suggested bodily mutability and gender fluidity.

Turing would end his life by ingesting a cyanide-laced apple, abandoning his work on artificial intelligence and the different discourses surrounding gender and technology it offers to future generations of scientists. Interestingly, the Turing Test tests not only the link between human and artificial intelligence but also one's own views on gender and sentience. Depending on which interpretation one chooses of the Turing Test (either only women are machine-like or both men and women are machine-like via gender performance), one's technological views and creations, whether scientific or not, are bound to be affected.

As the cultural landscape of mid to late-twentieth century America changed rapidly, so too did the trope of the mechanical woman begin to change, splitting into two distinct discourses of what the marriage between femininity and technology could mean. One, perpetuated by popular television and film, labeled the ideal woman as a subservient, mechanical sexual product while the other, spearheaded by feminist and theorist Donna Haraway, posited the mechanical woman as a feminist cyborg finding pleasure and freedom through permeability, fusion, and blurring of once stable and absolute binaries. Over the next four decades, the image of the vapid woman needing to be reprogrammed by men ala "Helen O'Loy" was best represented by the short-lived television program My Living Doll (1964-1965) in which a Dees 36 scientist's gynoid creation must depend on her male psychologist guardian to constantly guide, protect, and correct the attractive robot in the male-dominated public sphere from her many social and intellectual faults and foibles in order to make her the perfect woman. Cartoon robot maids like Irona from Richie Rich and Rosie from The Jetsons worked to strengthen the link between female servitude and mechanical bodies.

Perhaps no twentieth-century decade witnessed a greater film revival of the mechanical woman more than the 1980s when the Pygmalion myth was once again invoked but transformed in a handful of popular films, giving the power of artificial life to all men, young and old, rich and poor. Weird Science (1985), Mannequin (1987) (as well as its sequel Mannequin: On the

Move in 1991), and Cherry 2000 (1987) are all films which feature customizable, artificial, ideal women born from the marriage of heterosexual male desire and popular consumer electronics solely to being sexual satisfaction to their creators through either their own bodies or those of other women. In Weird Science, two male teenage nerds use their home computers (hooked up to a Barbie doll, another form of ideal artificial femininity) to create a tangible, living woman

(named "Lisa" by the boys) to teach them how to be cool and to lead them to sexual maturity.

Lisa's male-made beautiful, sexually ideal body is marked as the key to this transcendence as the teenage Edisons of Weird Science play with her breast size to reach her ideal physical measurements and (like Hadaly or Helen O'Loy) install her brain with all knowledge authoritative male subjectivity deems valuable.

In Mannequin, stock clerk Jonathan imbues life to an ancient Egyptian-woman-turned- mannequin "Emmy" whenever he alone looks at her artificial body. Jonathan soon falls in love with Emmy and, through her stiff poses, he finds financial success. The film ends in a reversal of

L'Eve Future's tragic end as Jonathan rescues his artificial lover from certain destruction, Dees 37 allowing the two to live happily ever after. In Cherry 2000, a short-circuited limited-edition

Cherry 2000 model female sexaroid causes protagonist Sam Treadwell to abandon the sex doll store and face the dangers of a post-apocalyptic United States in order to regain his technological vehicle for sexual transcendence. Within these films, mechanical women are products, goods which are easily mass-produced and consumed, no longing for personal pleasure or autonomy within their beings. A glimmer of the past trope of the mechanical woman as chaotic harbinger of doom can be seen in the 1990 film Eve of Destruction whose fembot antagonist, bent on nuclear destruction of the planet, shouts "I'm sensitive!" as she shoots down police officers and seduced men. Eve of Destruction’s lack of financial and critical success, however, marked the end of the Metropolis-era mechanical woman as threat and worked to reinforce the image of the subdued, subservient fembot-product in its stead.

The kitschy film Making Mr. Right (1987) served as a cinematic counterpoint to other

80s fembot films and their artificial-female-lover ideologies as well as a rare example of a male android acting as the love object to a human woman. Making Mr. Right suggests an equal mechanization of both genders within a genre which firmly favored fembots. An awkward John

Malkovich, in no way the popular male physical ideal, portrays the robot Ulysses built in the image of his scientist creator. This does not stop the film's female protagonist, however, from forming a relationship with him, sex included, but, in a fashion highly dissimilar to about robotic female lovers, the Ulysses android exhibits free will. The android expresses his thoughts and feelings freely, questions his surroundings, and consensually sleeps with other women. At the end of the film, it is the cold, inconsiderate, misanthropic creator who is deemed mechanical, suggesting one's humanity is not biologically determined but is defined through one's actions and beliefs. The film works to suggest that one's Mr. Right must not always be Mr. Dees 38

Perfect and insinuates that satisfying relationships are built on equal autonomy of body and mind for all involved. Making Mr. Right, however, would remain a rare and mostly unknown contrast to the dominant image of mechanized femininity in not just popular film but popular art as well.

In a fashion reminiscent of the influence of "Der Sandmann" on the high culture world of ballet, art in the 1980s and 1990s would become affected by popular discourses surrounding technology, mingling with lowbrow pornography and popular culture when focusing on the modern vision of the mechanical woman as sexual vessel. Japanese illustrator and artist Hajime

Sorayama released his self-descriptive 1983 Sexy Robot collection of artwork to warm reception and made multiple contributions to the sexual, violent world of the American cult hit Heavy

Metal magazine and film franchises. Sorayama’s work depicts the robotic woman as erotic product in illustrations which feature gynoids posed and dressed as pornographic pinups. His robotic women submissively expose themselves to the viewer, assuring the male viewer no harm will come to them as they visually penetrate impermeable metallic flesh. In the 1990s Sorayama would contribute to the legitimate world of in his award-winning Sony Aibo robot dog design and, in 2001, restake his claim in the world of pop culture by designing the cover for

Aerosmith's Just Push Play . Swiss artist H. R. Giger (also a contributor to Heavy Metal magazine) is also no obscure artist. His first two published art collections, Necronomicon (1977) and Necronomicon II (1985), received international acclaim upon their release, leading to his famous work in the popular Alien film series of the 1980s and dozens of album covers for musicians spanning the past three decades. Giger's works portray human women, cyborg women, and gynoids in macabre, sexual symbiosis with aliens and machines. The female subjects of his paintings are often silenced by large metal phalluses, choked into submission as they are penetrated, connected, and dominated by chain-like wires. Vocality and freedom are not the Dees 39 tenets of Sorayama and Giger's influential mechanical femininity, its only purpose for existence to supply heterosexual male pleasure and power.

Feminist science fiction, however, has offered an alternative vision to the mechanical woman, the technological other, as a silent bastion of sex and servitude. ' novel The

Female Man (1975) follows four women who live in vastly different parallel worlds but who meet to discuss and compare societies which keep gender in separate, impermeable spheres and those whose societies flourish upon gender fluidity. Octavia Butler's novels, such as Kindred

(1979) and the Petternist series (1978), "interrogat[e] reproductive, linguistic, and nuclear politics in a mythic field structured by late twentieth-century race and gender" (Haraway,

Simians 179). Anne McCaffrey's collection of short stories The Ship Who Sang (1969) questions the physical boundaries between humans and machines through the handicapped protagonist who gains a new sense of identity, bodily freedom, and political power by fusing her organic body with a space ship. While these works questioned absolutist, essentialist notions of what kind of bodies define men and women, human and machine, one novel directly challenged the prevalent narratives of ideal, silent, and sexually subservient mechanical women of art and pop culture and became one of the most recognizable and famous explorations of mechanized femininity. The

Stepford Wives (1972) by Ira Levin revolves around a town's community of married men who, dissatisfied with their imperfect human wives, conspire to replace them with robotic copies. As the female protagonist unravels the mystery of the mechanical invasion of the body snatchers, readers (and viewers of its popular film adaptation) are shown a not-so-subtle critique of the narrative of the silent, programmable, subservient fembot as the preferred, ideal woman. Also questioned is the revived cult of domesticity raging against second wave feminism with its depiction of ideal wives and ideal women as passive, subservient sex objects who must always Dees 40 submit to their male husbands/masters. Although Levin's novel was the most vocal about how the mechanization of femininity offered real harm to human women, another writer would work to reshape hopeless paranoia over the soul-erasing power of phallocentric technology into a far more insightful critique of technoscience and exploration of its liberating potential.

Donna Haraway's "A Cyborg Manifesto" published in her book Simians, Cyborgs, and

Women in 1985 would do the most to redefine the trope of the mechanical woman as a vessel for radical transformation. Haraway's manifesto, unlike former critiques of mechanical femininity like The Stepford Wives, explores how technology can be used as a tool for gender oppression as well as how the trope of the mechanical woman can be reclaimed from scientific and futurist narratives and reformed by women. This latter interpretation posits technology-fused bodies as a metaphoric feminist tool to combat gender oppression through its tenets of flexibility, permeability, and opportunity to reimagine the self in terms separate from boundary-building binaries. Haraway's vision of a cyborg woman, a metaphor for what she believed to be the embodiment of a new form of feminism, stems from a view of "mind, body, and tool" as "very intimate terms" (Haraway 165) and acknowledges how "[s]ex, sexuality, and reproduction are central actors in high-tech myth systems" (as seen in past surrounding myths of mechanical women from nineteenth and twentieth-century literature, film, and consumer culture), influencing and "structuring our imaginations of personal and social possibility" (169). In her position at the near end of the twentieth century, Haraway declares that "boundary-maintaining images," notions of separate, absolute realms, "never seemed so feeble" and paints attempts inside and outside of the feminist movement to attain a sense of totality in identity, of a

"common language," or "perfectly faithful naming of experience," as flirtation with imperialism

(173). Dees 41

Haraway's playful cyborg, who does not succumb to the seductive myths of "organic wholeness through a final appropriation of all the powers of the parts into a higher unity," finds

"pleasure" (150) in fusion (and confusion) between man and woman, human and animal, human and machine, and other binaries. Robots and automatons, once innocent, ideal creatures made in the "tradition of reproduction of the self from the reflection of the other" (150) to satisfy a

"masculinist reproductive dream" (152) are reformed in Haraway's ideology into bisexual, post- gendered beings devoid of boundaries, free of masters, and "completely without innocence"

(151). The cyborg is "resolutely committed to partiality, irony, intimacy, and perversity" (151), a humor and perspective which views opposing binaries combined in all parts of life. Haraway's cyborgs are thus permeable beings and, like "ether [and] quintessence" (153), they constantly shift from one identity to the next, thus subverting the presumably constant, authentic identities of Western thought (176).

Modern technoscience, Haraway argues, far from following the Enlightenment myth of linear scientific progress, is still dominated by traditional gender roles (169). The creations of modern science, in their catering to a notion of a woman's body as a pleasure-making product, a

"private-satisfaction-and-utility-maximizing machine" (169) as Haraway describes, link modern robotics to past notions of female subservience and sexual objectivity. Haraway's cyborgs question supposedly stable categories of gender, humanity, and identity, and ultimately shun the notion of women as innocent, ideal, subservient sex dolls and sexual, mechanical threats and grasps, in its stead, the potential for a "feminist science" (173) free on an essential view of humanity as wholly organic, completely of the flesh, absolutely of one nature, homogenous and containable. Haraway connects wholeness to a longing to "be God" but marks this aspiration as an "illusion" of absolute control (177). To be other, however, is "to be multiple, without clean Dees 42 boundary, frayed, insubstantial" (177), a cyborg wishing not for domination and stability but for fluidity and the freedom it offers.

Haraway's cyborg manifesto acts as the cornerstone of a new, separate discourse surrounding mechanized femininity, its implications of blurred boundaries and gender freedom in stark contrast to discourses of women as sexual mechanical threats subdued into subservient robotic sex dolls. Haraway's cyborg ideology, although supported in 1990s feminist science fiction like Amy Thomson's Virtual Girl (and later in twenty-first-century pop stars as discussed in the last chapter), could not beat the vocality of its opposing discourses in the powerhouse networks of corporations whose marketing promotes the commodification of women, both human and artificial, on a global scale.

At the dawn of the twenty-first century, three multi-million dollar ad campaigns emerged from the Western market using robotic women as their spokespersons. Implications of absolute patriarchal authority, ideal silent mechanized women, renewed Pygmalionism, and the equation of woman and product abound within these advertisements, invoking McLuhan's marriage of sex and technology but now divorced from any hint of death (for heterosexual men, at least). From

2005 to 2010, Heineken, Svedka vodka, and Phillips undertook massive advertising campaigns featuring sexy female spokesrobots that each "tap directly into stock fantasies of complete female subservience" (Waldman). Like falling dominoes, one company's success caused the next company to gamble with the same fembot motif (Waldman), eventually bringing mechanized femininity into a new realm of objectification, subservience, and commodification within the global marketing mainstream.

In 2005, Swedish vodka company Svedka combined forces with advertising agency

Amalgamated to create Svedka_Grl, a futuristic sexy female robot from 2033 who, although Dees 43 lacking a digestive system, highly recommends Svedka vodka (Waldman). Like females used in alcoholic advertisements in the past, Svedka_Grl commands an alluring figure comprised of very large breasts, long legs, and a cinched waist as well as high-heeled shoes permanently fused into her feet. In the ads, the fembot poses in positions that emphasize her female features, holding or caressing a bottle of Svedka vodka as she gazes seductively at the viewer. The text featured in every ad depicts a futurist fantasy of life transformed into constant partying, sex, alcoholic consumption with a wink of pleasurable humor, as in one ad which reads: "Svedka: The Choice of the Stem Cell Baby Boomer Generation in 2033."

In one ad, Svedka_Grl is living it up at a party in 2033, the other partygoers scantily clad in barely-there lingerie. The partiers (including a holographic woman in a Lady Liberty outfit clad only in a thong and pastees) bump and grind on one another as Svedka_Grl holds hands with another woman, both of them brandishing martinis. The tagline of the piece reads "Svedka: The

Future of Adult Entertainment,” but what exactly is this brave new world? The answer may be found in the flags being waved in the party-goers' hands. The flag, enlarged in another Svedka ad, is presumably the new flag of Svedka_Grl's country in 2033. A white eagle of liberty, wings spread (read: spread-eagled), with two huge human breasts holds a whip and handcuffs in one claw and a martini glass in the other, all emblazoned on a blue background accompanied by red and white stripes.

The image that Svedka is trying to sell through these ads is of a bisexual, sexually- empowered female who is the future made manifest in her mechanical form and fancies. Her alcoholic tastes should be followed since she is futuristic, progressive, embodies an ideal female form, and promotes a sense of humor. On the contrary, Svedka_Grl, due to her lack of sensory organs for drinking or sex, is a silent object of sexuality with no enjoyment of what the ads claim Dees 44 she partakes in. Her actions help only to hypersexualize women, mock the female body, and posit sex as a (false) dichotomy of submission and domination. The imagery of sexual domination and mockery in the flag, mixed with the literal objectification and powerlessness of female sexuality in Svedka_Grl, creates a bitter cocktail of sexual exploitation and control of women, mechanical and human alike, in the future imagined by Svedka. The campaign has been very successful in the United States, causing the company to be bought up for $384 million

(Waldman). New York and L.A. have already been targets for new ads (Hall), including ads which played off of the potential of a female president in the 2008 American presidential race.

"Put A Fembot in the White House" the ad reads, suggesting that, instead of voting for Hillary

Clinton or Sarah Palin, American voters should go for what Svedka must consider the ideal female candidate: Svedka_Grl, the sexy, unfeeling mechanical woman for the new millennium.

Inspired by Svedka's success, Heineken, the Dutch beer company, launched their own version of mechanized femininity to promote their new DraftKeg product. The Heineken commercial, premiering in the summer of 2007, depicts a vampy female robot who opens up her abdomen to reveal a Heineken DraftKeg. After she taps the keg and pours a cold glass of beer, the android clones herself into three forms and dances as the Heineken emblem appears on the screen. The article has raised many eyebrows in the advertising community, but it caused Bob

Garfield of Advertising Age magazine to claim it to be "most sexist beer commercial ever produced" (Garfield). The gynoid, he argues, is the visual embodiment of degrading misogynistic jokes which paint the perfect woman as one who is quiet, sexually satisfies men, and serves beer.

He explains that the robot, in an idealized female form, opens up her abdomen to reveal no womb or reproductive organs but instead a frosty Heineken DraftKeg. After this beer birth, he continues, the fembot manages to clone herself into three identical forms that gyrate for the Dees 45 pleasure of the presumably male viewer. Garfield claims that Heineken has "reduced half the world to a man-servicing beer tap" and concludes with a warning that female consumers won't swallow what Heineken's serving (Garfield). Although Garfield claims Heineken to be the ultimate purveyor of marketed misogyny, a new contender, this time in the realm of hygiene, is arguably more suited for the title.

In the heels of Heineken's DraftKeg commercial, Phillips unleashed their advertising campaign for their new Moisturizing Shaving System, a razor that dispenses Nivea For Men shaving conditioner during operation. The commercial for Phillips's new razor presents a futuristic vision of man's relationship with technology and its purpose (Lilley). In it, an obviously female robot awakens in a futuristic bathroom, prepares it with fresh towels, and inserts the Phillips razor into a perfectly-shaped slot into her hand, allowing the head of the razor to sit in her palm. When a nearby shower activates, a naked man (presumably her owner) walks into the water and begins to bathe. The gynoid then, in a very sexual manner, approaches the man and begins to caress his face with the razor, shaving as she moves. When she is finished, the man walks away, admiring the closeness of the shave as the robot watches, in awe, the razor eject from her palm and float in midair. Whether the fembot is an accessory to the razor or vice versa, the commercial does not specify, but the viewer can be certain that it is the male consumer who is the master and subject and the mechanized woman who is the subservient object.

The accompanying website for the product solidifies its not-so-subtle message of male dominance via feminized machinery. When one visits the website (Robotskin.com), the viewer is given an introduction about the product which revolves around the pleasurable futurism depicted in the commercial. "With the arrival of grooming robots, the relationship between man and machine evolves to an intimate new level" the text declares ("Intro"). These grooming robots are Dees 46

"technology that understands the human form better than we do ourselves" ("Intro"). The first line, in its use of the word "intimacy," clearly sets a romantic tone for the female grooming robot while the second line proposes that these female grooming robots can better understand (and therefore satisfy) the male body than any man or woman could. The website features a link to three mini "webisodes,” video clips that depict a male narrator (presumably the same owner from the commercial) in the future who, having been framed for a crime, uses his grooming robot to elude the authorities and attract women for sex. These three webisodes make it apparent that the grooming robot, his subservient female tool, allows him to sexually control all women, including those in authority that he inevitably dominates.

The promotional webisodes are split into three parts: "Frame Up," "Transformation," and

"Pursuit" ("Episodes"). In "Frame Up,” the grooming gynoid's high level of sexuality and servitude is depicted without subtlety through shots of her and other scantily-clad women submissively pouting for the viewer. The narrator's gynoid is soon stolen, but, after months of saving, he simply replaces her by buying another one in a department store, suggesting the interchangeability and artificiality of all women. In "Pursuit,” the narrator proclaims "Change the body and the mind will follow" ("Pursuit") in reference to his shave, but the line, when applied to the image of him with the android in his shower, suggests (in a fashion similar to Villiers's L'Eve

Future) that changing the female form into a subservient android will allow the female mind to follow. The tale proceeds as the one woman with authority in the three webisodes, a female police officer, is fooled into believing she has any sexual power. "The trick was to make her think this was her idea," the narrator smiles as she traps him in order to have sex with him

("Pursuit"). When she begins to seduce the narrator, handcuffing him, the narrator twists her doctrine of legal rights into a declaration of male sexual privilege. In lines thought by the Dees 47 narrator, he reestablishes that he is the one who deserves pleasure and power: "I have the right to feel good. I have the right to do what I want" ("Pursuit"). Although the episode ends with an image of him in handcuffs, the narrator has made it obvious that he, the man, will always be the one in control.

In the fall of 2007, Phillips manifested its website's ideals as it "dominat[ed]" (Campanale) the CBS Outdoor train station, the largest train station in the Netherlands, with displays of their new RobotSkin ad campaign. As one recording of the display shows, hanging triangulated billboards, backlit framed advertisements, and towering window decors are posted in every blank space of the station. The pièce de résistance, though, is displayed in the middle of the station: real women, dressed in skin-tight leotards designed to resemble the grooming robot, moving in quick mechanical spurts. In a revival of nineteenth-century Pygmalionism striptease, groups of men stand near the display, both nervously and boldly ogling the women as they pose on rotating pedestals. Other groups of men wander towards the all-female group of sales representatives who give them information about the product and offer them a trial run. "Feel different" each ad proclaims to every man from every angle of the station. As for how Phillips thinks women should feel, the rotating fembot impersonators and saleswomen silently provide an answer: silent, subservient machines.

As seen in the advertisements by Svedka, Heineken, and Phillips, mechanical women idealize the attributes which these marketers and their targeted heterosexual male consumers believe human women should have. The Svedka-promoting Svedka_Grl is sexually promiscuous, comical, and daring, but she also objectifies women, mocks their body, and feels no physical pleasure. The Heineken android is a beer-yielding, sexual servant for men whose feminine threat is subdued in her lack of reproductive organs. Phillips' RobotSkin commercial and website, in Dees 48 their joint depiction of women both of flesh and machine, send a message that women are inferior to men and easily replaceable. Although human in form, females in the RobotSkin world are tools, prey, and sexual objects as disposable as any Phillips product. Traditional boundaries between men and women, human and machine, slave and master are upheld by these ideal gynoids, supporting a vision of mechanized femininity far different from the binary-blurring attributes of Haraway's cyborgs and far more similar to the machine-minded, pleasure product female bodies of film, art, and advertising which, inspired from nineteenth-century fembot models, had dominated the twentieth century. As these ads clearly show, this discourse has grown only stronger, more vocal, more visual and more visible in the twenty-first century and, when combined with renewed interest in successfully completing the Turing test, a discourse which has emerged in the world of modern, authoritative science.

Dees 49

Chapter Three: MAD SCIENTISTS AND REAL DOLLS

"There's no doubt that within a few years substrata like this one will be fabricated by the thousands; the first manufacturer who picks up the idea will be able to establish a factory for the production of Ideals!" (147) -Thomas Edison, L'Eve Future (1886)

"He is envisioning robots as essentially interchangeable with people. The problem is, a robot programmed to fall in love with a person is essentially a fancy inflatable doll." -Joel Achenbach, Review of David Levy's Love and Sex With Robots (2007)

"It's just a still beauty that, like, you know, is incorruptible," Davecat explains to the camera in the BBC documentary Guys and Dolls. His still and thus innocent beauty is his

RealDoll named Sidore, a culmination of Davecat's self-proclaimed childhood adoration of mannequins and the inanimate. RealDolls are life-sized, silicon-based dolls resembling humans and meant for sex sold by Abyss Creations in San Marcos, California. Although the company sells several male sex dolls, the vast majority of the company's products are female sex dolls which come in various forms. Their breasts, vaginas, hair, skin, faces, and other body parts are entirely customizable and made-to-order and each model of doll is assigned a human name.

French maid, school girl, and Playboy bunny costumes along with high heels, elf ears, and lingerie for the dolls are sold by Abyss Creations as fetishistic accessories. RealDolls are advertised as "'the perfect woman'" (Levy 247); perfect because, as two works show, they are always ready and available, because they provide all the benefits of a human female partner without any of the complications involved with human relationships. Via numerous interviews with outspoken RealDoll users, BBC documentary Guys and Dolls and Meghan Laslocky's

"Love in the Age of Silicone" article delve in depth into the underground world of RealDoll sex and the underlying ideologies of misogyny, sadism, and control held by a, if not large, then very vocal portion of sex doll users. This chapter explores not only the emerging and expanding culture of artificial sex dolls but also their connection to robotic women and how the vocality of Dees 50 these misogynist RealDoll users is mirrored in the world of authoritative science which both legitimates and bolsters the image of mechanized women as silent, controllable, mass-produced sex slaves.

The RealDoll users interviewed state plainly that conventional relationships between humans are hollow transactions made for the commodity of sex and are ultimately intensely unsatisfying. RealDoll user Gordon admits to the camera that people see him as a "cold, insensitive cynic," but he can't shake his belief that "relationships with humans are always temporary." "The politics of relationships aren't exactly fun most of the time," comments another user, "--most of us tolerate it ONLY because the physical part is the pay off" (Laslocky 22). This dissatisfaction with relationships, however, extends into a resentment, distrust, and hatred of human women. "All the [women] I've met, they just want to use somebody," Gordon declares.

The few sexual encounters he has had with women have been tainted with fear; fear of catching a disease, impregnation, or whether "she's been had by a hundred different guys" like a "chewed piece of meat" (Guys and Dolls). The human women these men meet "dee[m] irrelevant" their status as "superhero[es]" (as one user bemoans), but RealDolls, with their convenient "removable tongues," are not like human women (Guys and Dolls). Ironically escaping empty pleasantries of commodified romance by making love to capitalism's wares, these men find they can finally relax and declare: "It's all about what I want now" (Guys and Dolls).

The allure of absolute control offered by RealDolls is frequently noted by their dedicated users. Unlike real women, he explains, Davecat's RealDoll, a void "with no variables" and thus

"always a constant," is "an anchor to me because I know what to expect" (Guys and Dolls).

RealDoll user Gordon notes that even though he enjoys sex with his doll, his "peace of mind" from the knowledge his doll will never lie to him or use him (like real women, he says) is "even Dees 51 better." Smiling with satisfaction as he poses with his collection of guns and sex dolls, Gordon proclaims having a RealDoll is "almost like being your own god, being in your own world." If

RealDolls are ideal women because they "don't have needs beyond those that [their users] imagine" (Laslocky 17), then can their treatment by humans truly be called love?

Perhaps sadism, "largely about power and control" (Laslocky 25) over a lover's body, and not love is what defines the relationships between RealDoll users and their property. This is certainly what gives "divine pleasure" to Lord Ewlad in L'Eve Future as he considers his ability to both kill and revive Hadaly at the slightest whim (Villiers 82). During their many interviews, the Guys and Dolls documentists and Laslocky uncover frequent reports of RealDolls sent for repair with brutal, sexually violent injuries, including dolls' vaginas and anuses reduced to "giant gaping hole[s]" (Laslocky 19). Another report entails "two garbage collectors who found a

RealDoll hacked to pieces in a dumpster" (Laslocky 18). "Sex in itself is almost like a violent act," argues one RealDoll repairman or "doll doctor," "but the dolls," like women, are conveniently, "made for...physical abuse" (Guys and Dolls). In this light, RealDolls, "with their torn breasts and mangled genitals," are "speechless vessels of violence" (Laslocky 2), manufactured victims of a sexual sadism meant to penetrate and alleviate the mystery of Woman in order to "invade [her] not only sexually but metaphysically" (McLuhan 26).

Outside of their RealDolls, these interviewed men are not happy. Many of the men live unsatisfying, isolated lives, alienated from (or devoid of) friends and family, working in unfulfilling careers. Some confess that a human woman would be preferable to a sex doll, but regret that it would be a "fool's errand" to try and attain one. "The dolls provide zero companionship," confesses RealDoll user Michael, and, as one repairman adds, the dolls are essentially "a very high form of masturbation." Photography, as seen in user Everard's many Dees 52 hours spent posing and shooting his collection of RealDolls, is one route users take to "give the dolls life." Other users like Michael, in a fashion similar to Thomas Edison's "ideal body parts" doll investigator (Wood 151), revels in the hunt for the best, organic, life-giving accessories for his dolls. "Swedish pubic hair," Michael sighs with pleasure in one boutique. But it is users like

Gordon who relish the opportunity to, like Lord Ewald, "become a god" (Villiers 199) who favor the RealDolls over human partners, blissful in a world in which they alone rule.

Largely resembling nineteenth-century literary gynoids in ideological build, RealDolls and their sex doll siblings will soon mimic them in body as well. RealDolls are planned to feature wireless that create facial expressions (Laslocky 27), mechanic Michael

Harriman has created a female sex doll with a programmed artificial heart beat and internal body temperature adjustments (Levy 245), and Honey Dolls, a Japanese brand of sex dolls, feature the same breast-squeezing voice-activation mechanism ("Honeydolls...") featured in scientist Le

Trung's Project Aiko android ("Aiko the Female..."). Far from starting an underground sexual phenomenon, these sex dolls, mechanical or not, are quickly entering mainstream sexuality in a very public way. Parlors which allow hourly rentals of sex dolls like 's Lala and Doll no

Mori are becoming popular in Japan (Chapman), especially since owners find that, "unlike employing people, everything [they] make becomes a profit" (Kimura qtd. in Levy 251-252).

With the powerful incentive of profit at the helm, shop owners and likeminded entrepreneurs wishing to skirt any nation’s legal restrictions of prostitution will most likely continue to mechanize and rent out their sex dolls in order to satisfy an ever-growing culture of technological lust.

However, turning real women into beautiful, subservient cyborgs instead of purchasing mechanical substitutes doesn't require a large mental leap as recent popular technology suggests. Dees 53

The electronics company Apple, with its bitten apple logo suggesting both the "artificial as paradise" (Caputi 514) and Turing's deadly fruit (Halberstam 445), is inadvertently playing a part in actualizing mechanized femininity. Apple's extremely successful iPod digital music player exemplifies how a machine can evolve to become an idealized part of a woman. Through the product's initial advertising campaign, its physical design, highlighted against featureless silhouetted human figures, has become instantly recognizable to millions. Although not marketed as such, the iPod's physical design emits a subtle sexual tone through its nipple-like clickwheel and often silicone, rubber, or vinyl covers (called "skins") which resemble prophylactics

(Bowers).

Making this subtle connection more tangible, the company LoveHoney has produced the iBuzz, a vibrator that connects to an iPod or mp3 player in order to create in-sync sensual stimulus. This handheld musical sexuality may now soon be seeking to not just pleasure the female body, but inhabit it as well. BT Laboratories analyst Ian Pearson has announced plans on producing an mp3-player breast implant (Goldberger). One breast would hold the entire digital music collection while the other would hold a player, all controlled by a Bluetooth panel worn on the wrist (Goldberger). Pearson has stated that breast implants "might as well do something useful" other than just provide "decorati[on]" (qtd. in Goldberger), insinuating that artificial female body parts must not only please men but be infused with technology to gain their full and ideal potential.

The philosophy of RealDoll users and the tenets of technology which promote the merging of women and machines have found a welcome home in the world of legitimate, authoritative science. Although robotics engineering and artificial intelligence research is still a maturing science, the (vastly male) population of scientists developing and creating working androids have Dees 54 defied national and linguistic borders to agree on one thing: robots should be women. Whether it be America's Roxxxy the sex robot, China's Rong Cheng "beauty robot" (CHINAdaily), Korea's

EveR-3 and EveR-4 robot duo, or, from Japan (the international leader of robotics), Saya the android receptionist, Mamoru the "elder-care" robot (Hall), the marriage-performing I-Fairy, the

HRP-4C "fashion fembot" (ABC News), the Miim fashion robot, or the waltzing MS DanceR robot, the overwhelming majority of androids being produced are in the form of women and created for traditionally passive, feminine activities and careers like teaching, fashion, nurturing, secretary work, and sex. The line of Japanese and Repliee androids created by Hiroshi

Ishiguro and Le Trung's Project Aiko fembot are the most well-known out of their many mechanical contemporaries. Leading the acceptance of what seems most likely to be a fembot future is artificial intelligence researcher David Levy and his 2007 book Love and Sex With

Robots. Together, within the realm of authoritative science, Ishiguro, Trung, Levy, as well as other robotics researchers and engineers, work to legitimize objectifying and misogynistic views of women while promoting the image of the ideal mechanical woman as a silent, subservient reflection of the typically heterosexual male user's thoughts and desires.

This modern scientific movement of mechanical women, however, has not gone unnoticed by the eye of contemporary pop culture, as seen in an episode of the popular sitcom The Office in which Michael Scott, about to jump to his death, is lured from the roof of Dundler Mifflin by what is also offered to suicidal Lord Ewald in L'Eve Future: a mechanical woman. An excited employee assures Michael they will give him a "Repliee Q1expo female robot," a product "only available in Japan" ("Safety Training"), to make his life worth living again. Scientific American

Mind reporter and artificial intelligence researcher Robert Epstein would probably agree with the

Dundler Mifflin employee. In his article covering 's Repliee Q1expo android, Dees 55 entitled "My Date With A Robot," Epstein becomes a shivering mass of lust as he waxes poetic about the future day when scientists will "marry a host of emerging technologies to create an intelligent entity that has it all: the body, the mannerisms, and the intellect" (Epstein 70); in short, to create the perfect (mechanical) woman. "[T]he world's most attractive android" (Epstein

68) and the closest to embodying these futurist hopes is Repliee, one of the most well-known advanced androids from the Actroid android series created by Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro, director of the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory at Osaka University in Japan. The startlingly realistic android is endowed with slight movements and physical details which allow her to communicate with humans in a far more natural way than her robotic peers. Interestingly,

Ishiguro's initial female android was based upon his young daughter, a present fact which reflects the past rumor of Descartes' mechanical daughter Francine and also invokes the ideal innocence of eighteenth-century automaton children. However, after his daughter met her robotic replicant and dissolved into tears of fright from viewing her "moving corpse" (Ishiguro qtd. in Epstein 73),

Ishiguro decided to model his androids after older, alternate visions of ideal femininity.

Epstein's numerous evocations of sexual and romantic language as he meets and interviews

Ishiguro and his creation makes it apparent that, even though she is not intended for sex,

Repliee's chosen gender inherently makes her a sexual object. He notes how "lovely" she was on his "date,” how she gave him "butterflies," and how only the coldness of her silicone skin quelled his "urge for kissing" (Epstein 71). When Epstein discusses the future of androids with Ishiguro, he immediately leaps to the potential for perfection, asking the professor when exactly he thinks the "perfect android" (73) will be created. Ishiguro follows the script of scientific sexual fantasy by instantly exploring the possibilities of a robotic "spouse" (qtd. in Epstein 73), but deflates

Epstein's grand expectations by denying a robot's potential to become "completely human" (qtd. Dees 56 in Epstein 73). Epstein, however, through his role as a former conductor of the "first real Turing

Test" (70) with Joseph Weizenbaum (professor and creator of Eliza, a female-named computer program which acts as therapist to users by reflecting back their expressed thoughts), has been determining with his peers what is "completely human" throughout his entire career. His insistence upon an "inevitable" inclusion of "visual cues" (70) into an A.I. research model which once relied purely on teletype to demonstrate intelligence, combined with his persistent description of Repliee's pleasing physical appearance, redefines the sentient being as a strictly programmable (and thus intellectually reflective) sexual object. Although her movement is limited, Epstein believes his "lovely humanlike female" which speaks "only prerecorded messages" is "compellingly human" (71). Epstein, through this connection, legitimates and modernizes past literary and pop culture desires for ideal, female robotic mates mass-produced and "ready for dating" (Epstein 68).

Solidifying connections between subdued female sexuality and robots only suggested by

Epstein and Ishiguro is "the perfect woman" (Trung qtd. in Iggulden), android Aiko. First started in 2007, Project Aiko is the name of independent Canadian engineer Le Trung's fundraising campaign to finish his detailed, anatomically correct working female android named Aiko. The perfect victim for any sadist, "Aiko is the first android to mimic pain, and to react to it," Trung boasts on the Project Aiko website, reasoning that this ability would make his android valuable to anyone needing to be nursed ("Home"). With her ability to read, move, recognize colors and faces, and answer queries, Le also suggests that Aiko could tutor children, operate an information desk, give directions, and help security at airports. Another role Aiko can fulfill is that of a "companion" ("Faq"). Multiple sensors on her breasts and vagina allow her to feel touch and her BRAINS software can be re-designed so Aiko can experience a robotic orgasm. Aiko Dees 57 can even flirt on command, Le insists, allowing a user to set the software so she can "play 'hard to get' or 'straight to the point'" ("Faq"). While not fiddling with Aiko's wiring or carting her around in frilly, tight-fitting maid and nurse outfits, Trung nurtures his artistic side through photography of his electronic beloved. The Project Aiko website features a gallery of photographs of Aiko posed in pornographic and domestic positions, scantily clad in lingerie as she washes windows. Truly, in Trung's eyes, this combination of silence, servitude, and sexuality makes mechanical Aiko an ideal female lover.

Satirical newspaper The Onion spoofed the erotic nature of these obviously masturbatory advances in robotics in a 2006 "article" titled "Scientists Say Lifelike Pleasure-Bot Nowhere

Near Tested Enough" which describes a group of fictional MIT students who deride the reporter for suggesting that their mechanical sex slave would ever be programmed with free will.

Artificial intelligence researcher and author David Levy best exemplifies this selfish, sensual, and increasingly vocal side of authoritative science in his 2007 pleasure-bot-promoting book

(and successful Ph.D. thesis) Love and Sex With Robots: The Evolution of Human-Robot

Relationships. Most scientists wouldn't open up a chapter of their book with a quote from egotistical shock jock Howard Stern, but Levy doesn't want his readers to think of him as a typical scientist. Levy, after all, does "not believe that it will take more than a decade for sexual applications of artificial intelligence and robotics to become mainstream research topics" (271).

In an echo of Alan Turing's artificial intelligence test, Levy offers a situation to the reader in which he or she discovers that "instead of a newly found human lover" being at the other side of a sexual "haptic interface" connection, there was "a robot, a sexual robot programmed with the knowledge of countless experiences lovers and all of the world's sex manuals" (291-292). Would the reader truly "know the difference" (292) between a human and a robot or, as Levy's tome Dees 58 almost exclusively explores, between a human woman and a robot?

Levy does not neglect to inform the reader that love and sex with robots is the culmination of past longings for ideal artificial mates within Western science, literature, and society at large. "Having robots take on the role of partner in relationships with human beings is a natural continuation of the trend in robotic research and development," Levy argues (304).

Fully aware of past productions of ideal artificial female partners, citing Parisian Pygmalionists and "extremely convincing replicas of the female form" (179), sex dolls which lacked "only"

(and, perhaps, ideally) "...the power of speech" (Schwaeble qtd. in Levy 179) as examples of

"how much pleasure a mere doll can bring its owner, through the simple expedient of being a nonactive partner in an orgasmic experience" (Levy 187). These sex dolls, as popularized/scandalized in La Femme Endormie (and mechanized in L'Eve Future) "can be employed for all possible sexual artificialities, without, like a living woman, resisting them in any way" (Block qtd. in Levy 180). Levy sees these early sex dolls as models for the direction modern and future robotics and posits this as the complete realization of ideal, "nonactive," silent, customizable mechanical partners, something which the reader must understand as unstoppable progress. "Is it a far cry from titillating nineteenth-century French fiction to mid- twenty-first-century sexual robots?" Levy asks the reader (181). "[T]his book," Levy declares,

"aims to convince any skeptics among you that this transition will indeed materialize" (181).

Echoing the tenets of McLuhan's "Mechanical Bride," Levy argues that "the foundation for positive changes in attitude to sexual robots is the marriage of sex and technology," something which Levy (erroneously) believes has only started in the "closing years of the twentieth century" (289). The litmus test for this progress of the union of sex and technology?

Pornography, the leader and invisible hand(job) of the market which, according to Levy, Dees 59 influences "some of the most important technological developments within the consumer- electronics industry" (289). What Levy does not acknowledge, however, are the fierce debates surrounding pornography's possible links to objectification, violence, and misogyny.

To help define what would be desirable and attainable in a sexually objectified computer,

Levy lists the results of a psychological survey conducted by David Bass at the University of

Michigan about what actions are most effective in influencing the sexual decisions of a potential heterosexual mate. Women ranked "good sense of humor," sympathy, and good manners as the top three desirable traits of a potential male partner (189), but Levy notes that the results of the surveyed men, although very similar to the women's list, omitted the acts of touching and expressing opinions, considering them as displeasing when performed by a woman (190). The men's list also adds a treasured attribute not featured on the women's list: "telling him things that he wanted to hear" (190). These men in Bass' survey, in their dislike of touching and expression of strong opinion, paint a picture of an ideal female partner as someone to be touched but not someone who has the audacity to exhibit the same autonomy as him in a want to touch back, someone who must be silent when it comes to their innermost thoughts and strongest convictions. These men regard female vocality as important only when used as a tool of reflection of their ego, a mirror for their male partner's thoughts and ideas to elevate his sense of self. Although Levy doesn't mention any golden phonographs, he suggests the equivalent when he declares the manufacture of these desired female traits a "straightforward task" once science has created gynoids which have "reached the necessary level in their" (lack of) "conversational skills" (190).

Like the men of Bass' survey, Levy finds it difficult to imagine a robotic future outside of his own preferences and privileges. When discussing the concept of positive transference to Dees 60 further convince the reader of his claims (as well as other instances in the book), Levy uses only a heterosexual male view of sexuality to illustrate various psychosexual theories. "Examples of positive feelings also abound," Levy explains, "and might be more closely related to sexuality: a dazzling girl who sat in front of a boy in their high-school algebra class, inspiring his sexual fantasies, or a sexy teacher whose slit skirt and abundant cleavage were similarly inspirational"

(190). Levy’s inability to sympathize leads him to make technology a reflection of his own desires, as seen in Levy's quotations from author John Sulen's article on transference and computers. Sulen argues that absolute control is the most valuable result positive transference (or reflection) offers in regards to relationships between androids and their human users. As Sulen explains: "What makes computers especially enticing targets for transference is that they are

VAGUELY human and PROGRAMMABLE to be whatever we make them out to be" (qtd. in

Levy 191). "Thus," Levy concludes, "the concept of transference to computers has rapidly become a discussion of computers as sex objects, complementing our analysis of the reasons for having sex (with people)" (i.e. emotionless sex for men and "virtual love" for women) (183-184)

"and the inference that the same reasons mostly apply to having sex with robots" (192). Thus the control over simulated humans and the ability to project one's ego into a void which computers offer will give sexually objectified robots the power to fully satisfy human users in ways human lovers (human women) cannot.

Sexually objectified female computers, unlike human women, will be controllable in mind, body, and spirit, Levy suggests as he lists further reasons why sex with robots (or, specifically, love and sex between human men and female robots) is "inevitable" (22). With the same cold, Enlightenment-era rationality of scientists and surgeons who "cured" "hysteria" by routinely removing a woman's uterus and ovaries (Forrest 27), Levy solves the biological Dees 61 mystery of woman by turning her into a manageable, subservient, sexual artifice. Gynoids will be trouble-free since they are devoid of chaotic STDs, pregnancy, periods, or other feminine messiness. "With a robot prostitute," or robot wife, as Levy believes is also possible, "the control of disease is implicit--simply remove the active parts and put them in the disinfecting machine"

(Levy 300). This element of absolute control inherent within the programmable features of robots will not just replicate women but perfect women, even near-artificial fallen temptresses, as Levy notes, "simply because their emotions will be programmed into them to be part of them, instead of being make believe affections acted out by a prostitute with little genuine enthusiasm for the need to convince" (207). These programmable, mechanical sex dolls can become virtually anything and anyone in Levy's eyes. Like Hadaly who contains "so many women within [her] no harem could contain them all" (Villiers 199), Levy's future fembots can be any woman and all women, giving the user a form with the looks of "Marilyn Monroe (or whoever his lust desires), with the brainpower and knowledge of a university professor and the conversation style of a party-loving teenager" (Levy 208).

Traditional relationships between humans in Levy's argument are, after all, merely

"transaction[s]" which leave men "tied down or had other demands placed on them" (211). Men, however, can transcend these burdens and attain "freedom," the power to "avoid any necessity to indulge in games in the pursuit of a sex partner," and gain complete control over their partner's body and mind through "the ideal sex partner” (211): the robot. Unlike human women, "[y]ou don't have to buy it endless meals or drinks, take it to the movies or on vacation to romantic but expensive destinations," Levy salivates (211). Instead, a robot "will expect nothing from you, no long-term emotional return, unless," of course, "you," the all-mighty user, "have chosen it to be programmed to do so" (211). This desire for mechanical flesh, however, is ultimately women's Dees 62 fault. "People have been saying for a long time that men have lost their desire for real women,"

Kim Myung Gun explains in a citation by Levy (qtd. in 251). Although Levy notes that many women shoulder "the overzealous sexual demands" of men (274), he does not explore or question these unrealistic expectations but, instead, continues to proselytize to the reader how, through science, heterosexual men can finally find complete sexual satisfaction and control.

Although women are often to blame for their own imperfections, Levy does not leave them out of the hope of purchasing an ideal male mechanical mate. Levy assures his heterosexual female readers that male sex robots will be talented in love-making like their female counterparts but can also display "virtual love" (184). Placating the desires of Bass' surveyed women, Levy insists that male sexbots will have a sense of humor, albeit "not wonderful jokes," if they, in the future, cannot surpass the programming of the existing pun-making computer program JAPE

(189) (whose name comes uncomfortably close to a combination of "joke" and "rape"). Levy believes women will warm up to sex robots the same way women use vibrators, especially since

Levy, ever phallocentric, believes a women must "think vibrators" if she wishes to receive "the most incredibly, amazing, fantastic orgasms" of her life (220).

Levy continues onward to make the mistake of equating female use of vibrators to male use of sex dolls, failing to acknowledge the vastly different ways the two products are marketed and consumed. Masturbatory aids like RealDolls are molded into an entire human being, human names and personalities included, and are marketed as "the perfect woman" (Levy 247). Sprung from the misogynistic faux-disease "hysteria," vibrators initially served as a way to place the power over a woman's orgasm into the hands of the same "medical profession" (220) which regarded women's reproductive organs as centers of disease (Forrest 27). Vibrators, in contrast to sex dolls, remain as small sex toys, not entire human beings, and are not sold as the ideal mate. Dees 63

Vibrators are not even given the same status as human beings in their marketing, sold with animalian model names like "The Stallion" and "The Jack Rabbit" which posit women's sexuality as beastly or, like the female sex aids "Invader," "Probe Plus," and "Thrillhammer," a void to be beaten, filled, and conquered. Sex toys for men, however, like RealDolls and the male vibrator

"Venus," tie male sexuality to an ideal humanity and the divine.

The high cost of future robots, Levy notes, must not deter poor women (who, by their gender, accept technology at a slower pace) (296) from embracing sex with robots, especially since men's increasing "unwillingness...to marry" or even to stay in long-term relationships will leave them without a choice (296). According to Levy, it is far better for women to "engage with a sexbot--always willing, always ready to please and to satisfy, and totally committed" (296) than to die alone as stubborn, Luddite prudes. Regardless of what happens to women, Levy insists that sex robots (at least for rich, heterosexual men) will make the world of the future a sexual paradise. These sex robots (as beautiful and sterile as the fembot/angels of L'Eve Future) will "turn receptive students into virtuoso lovers" (Levy 307), help those lacking in self-esteem, social skills, or physical prowess due to disability (212), and provide therapy through sexual instruction to frustrated married couples and the sexually unskilled (307-308). Like Thomas

Edison's dreams of perfecting humans through his inventions (Wood 148), Levy's sex robot futurism bears the taint of technological eugenics. "Many who would otherwise have become social misfits, social outcasts, or even worse," Levy explains, "will instead be better-behaved human beings" (304), thus finally ridding the world of sexual undesirables. After all, human beings "often do not know what they really want or need," and so easily purchasable sex robots,

Levy notes, "intuitive" skills installed by intelligent scientists, will predict and deliver what the sexual consumer truly requires (302). Dees 64

But if sentience can exist within that which merely seems to be sentient (Levy 11-12), would there be ethical consequences of purchasing and keeping what would essentially be a mechanical slave? Levy ponders over imagined problems of robot discrimination (304) as well as violations of mechanical bodies via robo-rape (310), but, although admitting that robots could be considered as having their own form of consciousness (305), Levy concludes that the benefits of mechanical neo-slavery for human users outweigh the potential for abuse (309). If there is any remaining guilt about "ethical obligations" to robots, Levy notes, there are always roboethics conferences in Europe to make the final legal and moral decisions for all (310). At the end of

Love and Sex With Robots, Levy's conscious is clear, satisfied with his vision of ideal, wombless,

Heineken-esque female robots providing "great sex on tap for everyone, 24/7" (310). Despite his intentions, Levy's work reveals, to the contrary, that class and gender restrict who will be invited to the technological orgies of tomorrow, especially when a limited few hold the power to decide what is or is not sentient when the prospects of consumption, control, and profit are at stake.

Levy joins and expands upon the implications of Epstein and Trung's works, vocalizing at the dawn of twenty-first century the acceptance of a scientific landscape filled with researchers constantly building female androids and animating them with misogynist cultural myth.

No mad scientist can exist without his detractors, however, as seen in one obscure 2006 short story which, like feminist science fiction of the past, comments directly on the robot as an object of both male and female sexual fantasy. Acclaimed author Joyce Carol Oates, noted for her many works which question narratives of presumed mastery, explores the sexuality of control and ownership within the commodified, mechanized femininity Levy and his peers promote, its connections to past models of female oppression, and the violence it can inspire in the short story

"EDickisonRepliLuxe." In the story, Mr. and Mrs. Krim, a bored husband and wife, decide to Dees 65 buy a RepliLuxe, a robotic historical figure, to help them transcend their mundane lives. The

Repliluxe's are replicants not only in artificial body but in artificial mind as well. "What the

RepliLuxe is, technically speaking, is a brilliantly rendered mannikin empowered by a computer program that is the distillation of the original individual, as if his or her essence, or 'soul'--if you believe in such concepts--had been sucked out of the original being..." explains the store manager (Oates 43). Interestingly, in addition to resembling her soul, the RepliLuxe Emily

Dickinson's lack of civil and legal rights (65) reflects the same limited status of women in

Dickinson's nineteenth-century America, especially in the popular perception of their status as only half-human, semi-sentient beings. In a fashion similar to the fetishized accessories of

Hadaly and RealDolls culture, the Krims prepare for their new gynoid's arrival by purchasing a slew of nineteenth-century houseware items and furniture for Emily's use, only to discover that their new mechanical companion, however dressed or accommodated, is not so willing to bend to their will.

After its arrival, the Krim's find that the robotic Dickinson acts just like the real one, secluding herself from company at all possible times and silently loathing their presence.

Ironically, its silence (infuriating to the Krims) marks her not only as an ideal woman of the nineteenth century but, as RealDoll users and likeminded scientists suggest, also an ideal gynoid.

However, the robotic Dickinson, like the human Dickinson, takes this imposed silence and imposed otherness (as both a robot and a woman) and subverts it, transforming it into a vehicle for vocality through its poetry. Although the Krims initially refer to EDickinson simply as a machine, a spiritual void, they eventually find themselves unable to deny Emily a soul and refer to the robot "as her, and not it" (56). This transformation in perspective, however, does not shield

Mr. and Mrs. Krim from the lust of possession, of absolute control, over their now-sentient Dees 66

"property" (65).

After thinking of "[h]ow completely Emily Dickinson belonged to her" (53), Mrs. Krim uses her remote control to put the robot into a "Sleep" mode so she can quickly peek at her hidden poems. Mrs. Krim steps closer to the limp robot, reveling in the sensuality of her face, the

"seductive" power of its mechanical hum (53), until almost "stooping suddenly, impulsively, and kissing her friend on those lips!" (54). Near the end of the story, a drunk Mr. Krim "empowered by the authority of possession" (69) breaks into Emily's room and attempts to rape her. As Emily cries and tries to fight him off, Mr. Krim can only think of how "he had a right to this; he’d paid for this" and how if they had bought a "virile male artist" robot like he had wanted instead of a gynoid then "this wouldn’t be him, and so how was he to blame?" (69). Mr. and Mrs. Krim's dilemmas, Oates’ story insinuates, spring from the same desire for sexual domination, possession, and sadism of the highly gender demarcated realms of nineteenth-century literature and society. Only loneliness, an enveloping element of "EdickinsonRepliLuxe," is what Oates suggests awaits those looking for transcendence and sexual satisfaction within futurist fantasies of robotic rape.

Ironically, modern sex doll users and scientists' robotic ideologies eerily echo the same notions of transcendence and god-like control via possession of ideal female androids hocked by nineteenth-century literature like L'Eve Future and "Der Sandmann." Together, their artificial companions and scientific creations work to continue, realize, and legitimize a shift in perspective of mechanized femininity started in the 1950s from a deadly, robotic threat to a commodified, mechanical paradise in which women are easily purchased, the perceived inconstancy of their sexuality scientifically subdued and contained for mass consumption.

Playful jabs from The Office and The Onion and critique from "EdickinsonRepliLuxe" serve to Dees 67 illustrate how, far from being "modest witnesses" (Haraway, Modest_Witness 32) of science, these researchers and engineers exhibit "worldly, materialized, signifying, and significant power"

(Haraway, Modest_Witness 51) of profit-minded scientific and industrial institutions which posit the female body as a "kind of private satisfaction-and-utility-maximizing machine" (Haraway,

Simians 169). Despite their proclaimed intentions, these members of authoritative, modern technoscience cannot escape "the inevitable dialectic of domination of male and female gender roles" (Haraway, Simians 169) within their futuristic narrative of salvation through sex robots.

This connection becomes especially tangible when one considers Project Aiko creator Le Trung's new pet project. Trung, while not photographing his "perfect woman," continues to muse over the possibilities of future androids, noting that he is currently designing an android that can read aloud and sing to mimic "artistic human things" ("Faq"). The name of this project? "It will be called 'Project EVE'," Trung informs ("Faq"); a robotic Eve of the future.

Dees 68

Chapter Four: TIP ON THE TIGHTROPE: CYBORG AND ARIAS

Cyborg Animes

"Any woman of the destructive sort is more or less an Android, either morally or physically--in that case, one artifice for another, why not have the Android herself?" (123) -Thomas Edison in L'Eve Future (1886)

"The cyborg is a creature in a post-gender world; it has no truck with bisexuality, pre-oedipal symbiosis, unalienated labour, or other seductions to organic wholeness through a final appropriation of all the powers of the parts into a higher unity." (150) -Donna Haraway, "A Cyborg Manifesto" (1985)

Major Motoko Kusanagi is not pleased with the target of her assignment. In "Android and

I," an episode of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (the television series inspired by the

Ghost in the Shell and films), female cyborg Major Kusanagi of elite government agency

Section 9 must lead her team in a hunt for the person responsible for the mass suicides of

GA07_JL or "Jeri" androids, a line of Real-Doll-esque sex robots. "For someone to buy a robot and try to turn it into his fantasy ideal girlfriend--it's so sexist! I don't like it," Kusanagi sighs to her subordinates (“Android and I”). She further connects these ideal sex dolls with slavery, blasting their users' tendencies to "lock them in the house and force them to cook and do laundry" ("Android and I"). What exactly is it, other than sexual slavery, which is most alluring about female androids? The answer can be found in the episode "Cash Eye" in which Kusanagi must infiltrate a club of wealthy men who share a fetish for female sexaroids. Seducing her target, Kusanagi surmises the true allure of sex dolls to its users, asking the man if he would like to "make love to [her] body while it's empty" as she uploads her mind elsewhere ("Cash Eye").

He commends her on her insight into the ultimate desire of men with his tastes, their wish to make love to a void, and Kusanagi instead agrees to leave herself "as still as a statue" to satisfy his carnal cravings ("Cash Eye"). Kusanagi, however, is lying and exploits the neo- Dees 69

Pygmalionist's following rush of lust to electronically incapacitate him and complete her mission.

Moments like these are rare in Japan's popular culture depictions of female cyborgs. The vast majority of manga and anime (such as Hand Maid May, Steel Angel Kurumi, and others) typically present mechanical women as passive and subservient, using their technological powers only for the pleasure of men. Around the beginning of the 1990s, however, several female cyborg figures emerged in Japanese pop culture to challenge traditional visions of what mechanical women could and could not do, be, and say. In Revolutionary Girl Utena: The

Adolescence of Utena, princely female fencer Utena Tenjou abandons a world of "living corpses," a world of incest, rape, abuse, and death, by transforming herself into a car to mechanically transport herself and her lesbian lover Anthy Himemiya into a land where they have power to "revolutionize the world" (Revolutionary Girl Utena). CLAMPS' series takes place in a Japan filled with ideal, beautiful "persocoms" or androids (most of which are female) which have replaced humans as perfect, obedient, programmable lovers. Although often performing for the heterosexual male gaze, Chobits' sentient female persocom Chi longs for a lover who will accept her imperfect, unprogrammable (and, as it's revealed at the end, sexually impenetrable) form. In the year 2000, director Rintaro fused 's Metropolis- inspired manga and Fritz Lang's masterpiece to create a film which posited robots as the abused working class. The female android Teema (presented as "simultaneously feminine and masculine, strong and vulnerable" like Tezuka's original gender-switching robot) (Chi Hyun Park

63) leads the robots at first in revolt against their human oppressors but ultimately chooses love over destruction. Most of all, though, Alita of Battle Angel Alita and Motoko Kusanagi of Ghost in the Shell deviate from the "coy, hypersexualized female characters that populate most manga Dees 70 and anime" (Chi Hyun Park 63). Both series entail cyborg narratives which explore "control of the body and body boundaries" as an "important mode of anxiety" (Orbough 443) as well as the

"binary oppositions of sex and gender" (Orbough 448). Together, these works play off the traditional trope of mechanical femininity and its equal potential as either destructive threat or sexual servant, reshaping it into a vehicle of radical change and power for women, cyborg and human alike.

Yukito Kishiro's Battle Angel Alita series (originally titled GUNNM in Japan), a manga published in 1990 (and currently planned for adaptation into a live action film by Terminator director James Cameron), provides an alternative reading of female cyborgs in Japanese popular culture. The setting is a Metropolis-esque dystopian world in which the rich ruling class dwells within Tiphares, a floating city of wealth, whose trash and debris falls to earth to form the

Scrapyard, the world of the working class. Alita is a scrapped cyborg found within a trash heap and rebuilt by the kindly Dr. Daisuke Ido, a former Tipharean now living in the Scrapyard as a cyborg doctor and bounty hunter. As Alita, an amnesiac, explores an extremely mechanized and violent world where often the only organic matter within humans are their brains, she struggles for a sense of identity, power, and purpose within a mostly male terrain and seeks to avenge and, eventually, alleviate class tensions. Kishiro’s work uses German heavily for naming Alita's battle attacks, alluding not only to the story's Metropolis influence but also to "Der Sandmann" when a nineteenth-century sex doll named Olimpe kills her master when he declares her feelings as artificial as her body. The series also features numerous strong, black female characters (many of whom are Alita's allies), a rarity within a national popular culture which often either ignores or negatively depicts people of color. Dees 71

Questions about what defines humanity and quests for personal freedom abound in the text and mirror earlier works which revolve around mechanized women. Dr. Ido originally wishes to raise Alita as an innocent, ideal daughter, but Alita rejects the fetishized, frilly dresses of traditional femininity he offers her. "I'll behead as many criminals as it takes--for you, child.

Splash me with blood--but you must remain pure, unsullied...as you are in my dreams!" a frustrated Ido shouts at Alita (Kishiro 37). She shouts back, "YOUR dreams! But what about

ME!?" (37) After Alita becomes a hunter-warrior (a cyborg bounty hunter) and gains a new, powerful "Berserker" body, Dr. Ido muses "I wonder if attaching a 'Berserker' body has affected her mind" (118), but Alita reassures him that changing her body will not cause her "substance [to change] with form" (Villiers 32). The ruling Tiphareans who insist upon the superiority of their fully organic forms as justification for their oppression of the Scrapyard poor eventually discover that their brains have been ritually removed by their city's supercomputer at age 19 and secretly replaced with computer chips. This new knowledge causes mass violence and suicides amidst a population which cannot accept an integration of human and machine.

Alita (unlike other female characters in the series) does not perform for the heterosexual male gaze and possesses a staunch autonomy, changing professions from bounty hunter to sports player to pop star whenever she deems fit. Certain technology, however, is presented as potentially harmful to women when a replicant of Alita (created by the Tiphareans to breed working-class distrust of Alita) meets B.B. Buick, a war photographer whose dark past is revealed to the reader. Photographs of raped, mutilated corpses of women the page as

Buick recounts his previous life as a twisted serial killer with a fetish for photographic evidence of his crimes. Standing in front of the awesome power of the armed replicant Alita(/Robot

Maria), however, his longing to visually objectify overrides his rational fear of her strength. Dees 72

Buick snaps away, comically asking for her "measurements" (Kishiro 168) (ala typical sexist fashion journalism), before the replicant quickly kills him. As the title of the work denotes, Alita is often referred to in angelic terms, the Scrapyard citizens describing her as an "angel of death"

(168) due to her famous battling abilities. Unlike former destructive mechanical women(/ideal angels), however, Alita uses her power to fight (and kill at times) criminals who view life as worthless and murder peaceful men, women, and children at whim.

The series originally ends with a message of fleshy essentialism, a return to innocence and unity, and a definition of humanity located firmly in the organic, all products of Kishiro's

"mental fatigue" (Kishiro qtd. in Morgan) and firm dismissals of the Harawinian aspects of his cyborg narrative. Alita sacrifices herself to thwart a maternal computer system (depicted in hologram as a quaint grandmother in a shawl) gone awry and is reborn, emerging from a flower's pod, as a fully-flesh woman to be embraced by her fully-human boyfriend. Kishiro, unsatisfied with this conclusion, began an alternate ending to Battle Angel Alita in 2001 entitled Last Order, a story which further blurs the line between genders and humans and technology, reinvoking

Haraway’s cyborg ideals while abandoning his earlier themes of innocence and essentialism. In

Last Order, Alita, having died in a bomb explosion, finds herself remade from her brain cells by the insane Dr. Desty Nova. She also discovers that he has multiplied her artificially into number- named clones. No two Alitas are alike, however, destroying any notions of biological or mechanical destiny (while also invoking ) as they claim their own names and personalities. One Alita clone, Sechs, defies gender as a static status by claiming the mechanical body and identity of a man. When Alita later learns in Last Order that her brain has in fact been replaced with a computer chip, she falls into a deep despair, believing her connection to her human friends gone, and dies but soon recovers, mechanically resurrecting herself as an Dees 73 enlightened warrior of unparalleled strength. She declares firmly to Dr. Nova and all of her enemies that one's actions, and not one's body, are what defines one as human, thus further demolishing gendered notions of sentience and artifice and essentialist views of fully-organic humanity. In this vital about-face, Alita marks herself as a binary-blurring rebel who does not need the labels of scientific authorities to define her place in the world.

Far more influential and popular than Battle Angel Alita both nationally and internationally are 's Ghost in the Shell films and television series. Ghost in the Shell, although a

Japanese film, is very much a global cultural product. It was "the first anime film to be partially funded from outside Japan" (Ruh 127) and garnered greater financial success (Ruh 121) in

American theaters than in Japan, cultivating a cult fan base on an international scale. Based on the manga by , but lacking the "sexualized fetishization of the female body"

(Ruh 134) of the original comics, the first Ghost in the Shell film makes subtle use of themes and images from L'Eve Future to redefine the mechanical woman as a "source of strength, culture, and empowerment" (Ruh 135). The figures of the robot, the cyborg and their predecessor, the doll, are re-examined in the Ghost in the Shell universe, their roots dissected and claimed false, their perfections founded within the void, and their true, mutable nature as one, to invoke

Haraway, "completely without innocence" (Simians 151).

The film's plot centers on Major Motoko Kusanagi, a cyborg operative of powerful government agency Section 9, and her simultaneous quests to capture and confront the enigmatic

Puppet Master, a master hacker who manipulates citizens' cyberbrains to fulfill uncertain motives, and to determine whether she can truly call herself human. Kusanagi's world of 2029 is an urban, Asian landscape in which the "advance of computerization...has not yet wiped out nations and ethnic groups" (Ghost in the Shell). Kusanagi is presented as strong, intelligent, and Dees 74 beautiful (although not performing for the male gaze) (Chi Hyun Park 63), but her body, owned by and operated for others, is "inserted into a hierarchy in which she has little choice but to participate" (Ruh 131), leaving her feeling deeply confined and longing for freedom.

Ghost in the Shell acts as a reimagining of Villiers' L'Eve Future, sharing many of the same themes of a quest for transcendence through technology, but transforming them in the film's use of a female cyborg protagonist and preference for fusion with an artificial other over complete mastery. Ultimately, "the inversion of gender roles, the valorization of the post- gendered subject, and the reduction of the sexual specificity of the material body" (Silvio 64) casts Mamoru Oshii's Ghost in the Shell as a film which embodies Donna Haraway's cyborg ideals in modern depictions of the mechanical woman. Like Lord Ewlad, Kusanagi exhibits suicidal tendencies. In order to feel hope and "as though [she] could change into something else"

(Ghost in the Shell), Kusanagi scuba dives in her spare time although one malfunction would mean death for her heavy, manufactured body. As Kusanagi delves deeper into the Puppet

Master case, a voice speaks from within her but her mouth does not move at will. The voice quotes a passage (the same used in "Der Sandmann") from Corinthians (also invoking L'Eve

Future in its usage of veil and reflection imagery): "What we see now is like a dim reflection in a mirror, but soon we shall meet face to face" (Ghost in the Shell). Kusanagi is both fascinated and mortified by the Puppet Master's victims, the ways in which their memories, personalities, and identities, all categories which were once considered sacred, stable, and constant are rendered, via their cyberbrains, entirely mutable (and oftentimes not according to their will). As she fights a large tank in one scene, cascading bullets destroy stone artwork depicting genealogical trees

(the name Hominis etched at the top), symbolically destroying former biological notions of creation, reproduction, identity, and mankind. Dees 75

A sense of permeation and reflection is invoked within the film in multiple instances through the use of rain and water, especially in one gorgeous scene in which Kusanagi is traveling through the city by boat to meet with Section 9. It is raining and the alleyways are becoming flooded, light and water becoming one in numerous reflections of the electronic, Hong

Kong-esque cityscape. Kusanagi sees herself (or someone with her same body) dining at a restaurant and once again as a mannequin displaying fashion in a boutique. This long scene, accompanied by a haunting Japanese chant describing a god descending for a wedding, is

"significant insofar as [the reflections] serve as cinematic parallels for the story's thematic focus on the tropes of identity and selfhood, and for its preoccupation with the precariousness of an individual's boundaries" (Cavallaro 198). It's a world "clearly imbued with a sense of otherness that seems remarkably feminine" (Napier 115) in its potential for permeable fusion, of fluid selves.

In a scene highly reminiscent of Lord Ewald's first meeting with the completed Hadaly,

Kusanagi dives into the Puppet Master's body and is confronted with a lengthy speech from the being about electronic transcendence and the infinite vastness of the internet. Themes of permeability and blurring of identity abound here as well, Batou asking the Major: "Are you going into him or is he coming into you?" (Ghost in the Shell) When Kusanagi asks why she was chosen amongst all others, the mirror motif of the Bible, L'Eve Future and "Der Sandmann" is once again invoked but interestingly reversed in subject from the voice of the organic to the voice of the artificial: "Because in you I see myself as a body sees its reflection within a mirror."

Kusanagi, like Ewald, longs for the freedom and transcendence the Infinite (represented by the internet and the Puppet Master) offers but, unlike Ewald who chooses to "become a god"

(Villiers 199) by taking on a robot lover (by containing, marrying and mastering the other), Dees 76

Kusanagi longs for a "path out of the self" (Napier 114) by allowing the other to permeate herself as the Puppet Master fuses with her; to blur her notions of self and control, so that she may transcend physical and political boundaries.

Gender is largely inverted and blurred in the film through the role of the Puppet Master.

Although inserting itself into a female MegaTech body (the same company which built

Kusanagi's body), the Puppet Master speaks with a male human voice. During Kusanagi's dive into the Puppet Master, the switched perspectives (the Puppet Master's voice comes through her mouth and vice versa) denote "the dissolution of Kusanagi's identity and personal boundaries" and a "baffling dislocation" as the viewer is encouraged to perceive the situation through the

Puppet Master's perspective rather than Kusanagi's (Cavallaro 190). Although in the original manga Kusanagi awakens post-fusion with the Puppet Master to find herself with the body of a man, in the film she awakens to find herself in the body of a woman, an important change considering keeping her original sex defies "the traditional Buddhist idea that a woman has to be reborn as a man before she can reach enlightenment" (Ruh 136). Ultimately, Ghost in the Shell

"question[s] not only the fixed categories of the machine and soul but also the basic notion of what it means to be 'normal'" (Napier 114). Kusanagi's journey to transcendent freedom thus also subverts Ewald's attempts at godhood in her refusal to accept absolute categories of self and identity.

The covert references to L'Eve Future and Donna Haraway's "A Cyborg Manifesto" of the first Ghost in the Shell film become increasingly overt in its sequel film Innocence. The sequel

(also directed by Mamoru Oshii) heavily explores the connection between gender oppression and technology, the implications of love with dolls and robots, the unstable boundaries between humans and machines as well as the real and imaginary, and "the impossibility of establishing Dees 77 innocence" (Orbough 437) in either dolls, cyborgs, or humans. The film opens with a direct quote from Villiers's L'Eve Future with Edison discussing notions of mechanical romance:

"Since our gods and our aspirations are no longer anything but scientific, why shouldn't our loves be so, too?" (164). Batou and Togusa are now partners in Section 9 since Major Kusanagi's disappearance, but Batou insists she still acts as his "guardian angel" (Innocence). Together the two investigate a string of murders revolving around Locus Solus, an android-producing company whose "#2052 Hadaly Type" sex gynoids have been destroying themselves during use while uttering the same phrase: "Help me!" (Innocence)

Batou and Togusa visit a forensics detective who goes simply by Haraway (whose physical appearance and attitudes towards machines make it plain to the viewer that she is inspired by

Donna Haraway) who comments upon robothood as she gives them her findings. Haraway and

Togusa initially butt heads over the idea of mechanical free will and sentience in whether the gynoids have committed suicide (as she claims) or "self-destruct[ed]" (as he claims) (Innocence).

"Unlike industrial robots, the androids and gynoids designed as 'pets,' weren't designed along utilitarian or practical models," Haraway explains. "Instead, we model them on a human image, an idealized one at that." Haraway further muses on the nature of artificial humanity, positing children's dolls not as toys depicting a surrogate for a human child, but (channeling early designs for innocent, ideal automatons) as an acknowledgement that "raising children is the simplest way to achieve the ancient dream of artificial life" (Innocence). Batou raises the old rumor of

Descarte's robotic daughter Francine, but Togusa, a father, is troubled by Batou's ideas that

"death is a precondition of life for a doll" and Haraway's musings on the otherness, the inhumanity of children in their "lack of conventional identity and...free will" (Innocence), and quickly pleads Batou to leave with him. The scene's end suggests Haraway's position is Dees 78 victorious over Togusa's defensive essentialism and insistence upon innocence. The scientist pulls back the upper half of her cyborg face to reveal numerous optical hookups and thus a human body more akin to the fragmented gynoids which surround her and the blurred boundaries between human and machinery, self and other, they imply.

The idea of reflection (especially in regards to the ideal mechanical woman) so heavily extolled in L'Eve Future is deemed suspicious and dismantled by Kusanagi, Batou, and Togusa within Innocence. "It's no use to blame the looking glass if your face is askew," Batou tells

Togusa in an elevator. "The mirror is not an instrument of enlightenment but of illusion," Togusa retorts. As Kusanagi-as-gynoid battles Locus Solus' murderous Hadaly Type gynoids, Kusanagi muses, "Who can gaze into the mirror without becoming evil? A mirror does not reflect evil, but creates it. Thus a mirror bears a glimpse, but not scrutiny." These statements reflect a change between the relationship between the subject and the mirrored, something more enigmatic and alluring when coming from the voice of the artificial other in the first film, but here, located within networks of objectification and murder, it is regarded as an object of deception and evil.

Batou and Togusa further illustrate blurred boundaries between sentience and the void, humans and the mechanical, as they track down the mercenary hacker Kim. Kim's Locus Solus stronghold, a sprawling mansion composed of glittering visual labyrinths alluding to the mansion of the 1914 novel of the same name, is a location which facilitates the same implications between what "life and death can communicate in order to remain one within the other, one in spite of the other, what they are indefinitely" (Foucault 76). Kim, his mechanical body a cross between a corpse and a doll, discusses the popular form of the ideal artificial lover. "That would mean replicating humans by breathing souls into dolls. Who'd want that? The definition of a truly beautiful doll is a living, breathing body devoid of a soul," Kim muses. "Perfection," he Dees 79 explains," is possible only for those without consciousness, or perhaps of infinite consciousness.

In other words, for dolls and gods," later adding animals to the list.

As their conversation continues, the characters paint the fear of the void as a highly gendered phenomenon. While a wind-up servant automaton from Japanese antiquity serves the three tea, Kim expands upon the effect dolls have upon human beings, i.e. their "sensation of vacancy" (Villiers 61): "[Dolls] make us feel the terror of being reduced to simple mechanisms and matter. In other words, the fear that, fundamentally, all humans belong to the void."

(Innocence) Within a film which focuses heavily upon the female mechanical ideal via gynoids, and especially as the following scenes feature Batou fighting off hordes of killer "Hadalys,”

Kim's statement insinuates a terror not only of the void of the doll, but also the terror of the void of women. In this light, their gender serves as a container for the fear of humanity's inherent void by patriarchal forces which, afraid of identifying themselves with empty artifice, make women convenient targets for exclusive mechanization. Edison's argument that "it isn't the living woman who seems to you the doll" (Villiers 64), the equation of only women to the mechanical void, however, is visually dislodged in Innocence as both Batou and Togusa (brain-hacked by Kim) begin to envision themselves as stuttering, clunking, empty mechanical dolls.

The origin of the "Help me!" pleas and the secret behind Locus Solus' financial success is eventually revealed by Kusanagi (partially downloaded via satellite into an empty gynoid) and

Batou to be young human girls, kidnapped by the Yakuza and transported to Locus Solus, whose

"ghosts" or souls are mechanically "dubbed" onto the sexaroids, giving the sex dolls a hint of life

(Innocence). The young girls become doll-like and brain-dead as a result of the soul-dubbing process, eventually causing their original bodies to die, a fact suggesting that the idealization of sexual robots presents real harm to human girls. L'Eve Future's powerless, silent women are once Dees 80 again invoked as a young girl rescued by Batou from the dubbing process tells him of her friend

"Soana" (the name of Hadaly's somnambulist soul-animator in L'Eve Future) who, already at stage five, can no longer speak or hear anything. After Batou expresses pity for the gynoids who died in suicidal explosions in order to save the kidnapped human girls, the rescued girl bursts into tears shouting, "But I didn't want to become a doll!" "Blessed are those who have voice,"

Kusanagi concludes; blessed, she suggests, due to the pity and love bestowed upon those possessing vocality and not, like silent animals, murdered and consumed.

Together, Battle Angel Alita and Ghost in the Shell present a potential for the trope of the mechanical woman to be reassembled and redefined within restrictive mediums (like anime) which typically offer nothing but silence and sexual objectification for women of all forms. Their transformations of Metropolis and L’Eve Future into vehicles for questioning misogynist narratives are especially radical within Japan’s booming robotics industry which so often produces gynoids which reflect the sexist ideals hocked by Levy and his scientific peers. Another restrictive medium in the twenty-first century, specifically the world of Western pop music, would become the location for an even more visible reinterpretation of the trope of the mechanical woman as a small but immensely famous group of female singers would wield Alita and Kusanagi’s vital vocality in order to avoid destruction, to gain freedom from oppression, and become fellow transformers of silent, subservient gynoids into binary-blurring radicals.

Cyborg Arias

"Irony is about contradictions that do not resolve into larger wholes, even dialectically, about the tension of holding incompatible things together because both or all are necessary and true. Irony is about humour and serious play. It is also a rhetorical strategy and a political one... At the center of my ironic faith, my blasphemy, is the image of the cyborg." (149) -Donna Haraway, "A Manifesto for Cyborgs" (1985) Dees 81

"By definition, a pop star is manufactured." (2) -Vanessa Grigoriadis, "Growing Up Gaga" (2010)

At first glance, it sounds like a joke. Why did crawl across the floor, scantily-clad in lingerie, to lap milk out of a china dish as images of a cat's shadow and machines flash back and forth? Simple. Because, in her words, "pussy rules the world" ("Madonna: Behind the

American Dream"). In 1989, Madonna's "Express Yourself" was, at $5 million, the most expensive music video made by any artist at the time. A retelling of Fritz Lang's

Metropolis, "Express Yourself" features Madonna wooing the working masses (or, to be specific, the muscled mass of one handsome worker) as she shifts between the roles of temptress, sexual slave, and crotch-grabbing, macho-garbed preacher of female self-respect on the pulpit of the mechanical Moloch. Although some deemed the lyrics of the song ("What you need is a big strong hand to/lift you to your higher ground") and Madonna's celluloid near-nudity as problematic for an anthem meant to empower women, Madonna, the mutable leading lady of the

Western pop world, would choose Metropolis and its themes of class struggle for her proclamation to women to not "go for second best, baby/Put your lover to the test," a lover who would make them feel like a "queen on the throne" ("Express Yourself"). The song advises the listening woman to distrust fetishized objects of wealth and romance (roses, sports cars, satin sheets, etc.), to have her significant other "start with [her] head" when it comes to her heart

("Express Yourself"), but however liberating or revolutionary the song wishes to be, Madonna, in the vein of the original Metropolis, promotes a fleshy essentialism of femininity and humanity in "Express Yourself." Madonna claims the video contains a message about how both genders contain features of one another ("Madonna: Behind the American Dream"), but she draws the line at the body. She is never roboticized and the video's happy ending features her chosen male Dees 82 worker leaving the realm of the machines to frolic with Madonna in a return to the garden, a return to innocence, leaving the viewer with the impression that Madonna's only true power springs from the desires of men. Thus her fusion between feminism and Metropolis becomes merely a mode of seduction with all roads leading to Madonna's bed.

Ten years later, the Icelandic singer Björk, an artist typically described as a "pixie" (Naylor) and "goddess" (Bartlett), shed these two feminine personas in the music video for her single "All is Full of Love." Although similar to objectifying pornography, Björk's "All is Full of Love" video complicates typical exploitation of lesbianism for the male gaze by presenting a permeable mechanical love and selfhood devoid of male creators/masters. Björk is presented to the viewer as a singing robot under construction by several large machines, but like Kusanagi's mechanical birth scene in Ghost in the Shell, the construction underway on the Björkbot "gives no sense of human agency being involved" (Napier 107) and thus connects her more to Haraway's originless cyborg than Edison's fetishized Hadaly. As she sings sweetly to the viewer that one "will be given love," she meets another Björk robot ("All is Full of Love"). The two kiss and caress each other, water pouring in and out of their joints, both strongly mechanical and permeable, but elude the heterosexual male gaze as the song's lyrics suggest not only a recognition and love of the mechanical within the self but a reinvention of what mechanical women can represent. The lyrics which chide the listener whose "phone is off the hook," whose "doors are shut," further suggest permeability in their insistence that, if one wishes to have love, both men and women must open themselves up to penetration, to let down one's mastery of boundaries to fuse with the other.

Björk, however, would return to writing songs about and videos depicting nature, but, three women in the twenty-first century would embrace the female cyborg aesthetic and work to Dees 83 expand and refine the radical message of empowerment and fluidity of the mechanical woman first toyed with by Madonna and Björk.

Together, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, and Janelle Monáe, three cyborg pop feminists, transform the trope of the mechanical woman à la Donna Haraway into a vehicle for blurring binaries and achieving a vocality traditionally denied to gynoids of the past. In 2007, after erupting onto the BET Awards stage garbed as Robot Maria from Metropolis, R&B superstar

Beyoncé revealed her robot-armed, cyborg alter-ego Sasha Fierce to the pop music world. The video for her hit single "Diva" best represents her transformation of the traditional trope of the mechanical woman. Beyoncé, posing robotically amongst golden fembots, equates cyborgs with the powerful, autonomous vocality of divas (the "female version of a hustler") and, ideally, all women as she asks the viewer, "Where my ladies up in here that like to talk back?" ("Diva")

Beyoncé ends the video by suggesting that traditional visions of ideal, artificial femininity are passé as she ignites a car trunk full of silent mannequins in a fiery explosion. Beyoncé, however, achieves her most radical interpretations of mechanized femininity alongside fellow mega- popstar Lady Gaga in the two music videos for their tech-based double-hits "Video Phone" and

"Telephone." Both videos for the songs explore the ways technology affects hierarchies of power between men and women, a phenomenon earlier exemplified by Edison's phonograph which was posited as a tool to perfect female vocality in advertisements and in L'Eve Future's fembot's golden lungs. It is a powerful cultural effect of technology which Haraway describes in her cyborg manifesto as a force wrought by "communications technologies and biotechnologies

[which] are the crucial tools recrafting [human] bodies," "embody[ing] and enforc[ing] new social relations for women world-wide" (164). Dees 84

In "Video Phone," Beyoncé poses seductively for the viewer as men with video cameras for heads (suggestive of equal gender artificiality after the fembot-heavy "Diva" video) record and photograph her every move. As she changes into different outfits for the camera, Beyoncé subtlety questions stable notions of gender and otherness as she dons a shirt which depicts an alien wearing earrings made of both the male symbol and the female symbol, suggesting an equal potential for otherness between genders and gender fluidity. Beyoncé further complicates her technological objectification by transforming into the infamous Bettie Page to invoke the pin- up's "supreme self-possession...[and] pleasure in facing the camera lens squarely" (Zacharek), returning the male gaze with her feminine masquerade. The singer is later joined by Lady Gaga in "Video Phone" and the two continue to perform for the heterosexual male gaze while simultaneously critiquing it as Beyoncé becomes the goddess Diana, hunting and shooting arrows at camera-headed men as punishment for their objectifying gaze, while Lady Gaga acts as her gun-wielding partner. Beyoncé and Lady Gaga further critique the domination of men through technology in the video for "Telephone," but this topic will be discussed later in order to first explore the most visible mouthpiece of radical cyborg femininity: Lady Gaga.

Her fashion has been described as "technology" (Ross qtd. in Friday Night With...), her public accent a "combination of Madonna as Madge and robot" (Grigoriadis 1), and her lyrics as an "effortlessly global" "Esperanto" (Grigoriadis 2). Lady Gaga has emerged at the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century as the most famous living pop singer in the world and also as an undeclared pop feminist cyborg. Lady Gaga (real name Stefani Joanne Angelina

Germanotta) has cited Queen's "Radio Ga Ga" as the source of her stage name (Grigoriadis 5), the video for which features the members of Queen flying in cars within footage of Fritz Lang's

Metropolis. It seems fitting that Lady Gaga, whose many songs and videos play off mechanized Dees 85 femininity, would draw inspiration from Queen's song, especially in the light of her gay rights activism. Freddie Mercury's secret homosexuality and death from AIDS (a disease fiercely demonized during his lifetime) marked him as a threatening other, a status that is connected with the destructive, feared sexuality of Metropolis's Robot Maria when, in the video for "Radio Ga

Ga," the completion of the fembot results not in the face of the human Maria but, instead, reveals

Freddie Mercury's singing facade serenading his radio. Like Alan Turing, who killed himself after a career of blurring boundaries between humans and machines, Freddie Mercury died as a feared other due to his sexuality which challenged traditional gender norms. Lady Gaga invokes and reappropriates this legacy of the feared boundary-blurring robot/woman/homosexual in her name and her art, vocalizing what these former men of machinery had to keep silent.

There are, of course, problematic aspects of Lady Gaga. She has admitted to starving herself

("pop stars should not eat") (Gaga qtd. in Grigoriadis 1), has both rejected and embraced feminism, and is conventionally beautiful in being white, thin, and fairly attractive, but has used her often defacing and sometimes bloody fashion to "complicate what are otherwise conventionally sexualized performances" (Baur). By becoming a "mutant, a cartoon" with a sense of humor (Grigoriadis 2), she works to critique the masquerade of femininity, utilizing it

"self-consciously in order to reveal...the performative activity of gender and sexual identities"

(Robertson 13). Lady Gaga revels in rumors that she is a hermaphrodite (distancing herself from her predecessor Madonna, who "wouldn't pretend she has a penis") (Grigoriadis 2) and purposefully plays with her gender fluidity, posing as a male model named Jo Calderone in Japan

Vogue Hommes in 2010 (in a piece entitled "Elegant Mechanics" no less). With Lady Gaga, opposing binaries once considered absolute are blurred and crumbled, "bring[ing] down the walls Dees 86 between high and low culture" (Moralde) as well as the walls between man and woman, human and machine.

In three of her most popular music videos, Lady Gaga finds herself in situations in which men try to use technology to deny her freedom but, by repurposing the perceived artificiality of her body into a powerful cyborg, she foils their attempts and regains control over her life. Thus, these videos critique the technological objectification, exploitation, and domination of women by men while also presenting cyborghood and the fluidity (of gender, sexuality, and self) it offers as a step towards personal freedom and power for women. In her "Bad Romance" video, Gaga emerges from capsules marked "MONSTER" (inadvertently alluding to L'Eve Future's claim that

"a woman who's lost all her stupidity" is monstrous) (Villiers 39) to dance wildly until pulled away from her threat as an uncontrollable other by women who strip her against her will and force her to perform for black-clad, golden-jawed men who signify gendered physical and economic power. Sexually objectified, she dances suggestively for the men as they use futuristic technology to bid on her like a slave at auction. $1,000,000 for Gaga, the computer screens read.

When placed in her master's chamber, however, Gaga, expected to seduce and beguile, refuses to become a neo-slave at the hands of her technologically-savvy master by using her otherness, her beastliness (as represented by her bat-shaped hair and flowing bear skin gown), her gendered artifice as a tool to defy oppression. Gaga causes the room to explode into flames, reveling in the destruction of her cell and her master while her mechanical breasts emit sparks. Finally, she's a

"free bitch, baby" ("Bad Romance").

In "Paparazzi," a riff on "Hitchcock and his voyeuristic sensibilities" (Moralde) and her first cinematic video (rolled credits included), Gaga, after being set up as prey for the paparazzi's exploitative gaze and almost murdered by her Swedish boyfriend, is "reborn as the robot from Dees 87

Fritz Lang's Metropolis" (Grigoriadis 8). The robotic Gaga, however, hobbles clumsily on crutches as she begins to dance (a playful twist on Robot Maria's bawdy striptease), dead bodies of human women flashing on the screen. Gaga has described the theme of the video as the price of fame (Slomowicz 2), and the numerous shots of beautiful women "draped in couture and exquisitely posed and framed" (Moralde) along with Gaga's initial fall ("Beautiful!" the paparazzi shout as they photograph her bleeding head) serve to clarify the price of fame, and the price of the objectification of human women for profit, as death. Gaga, however, defies this death sentence through her cyborg status. "We're plastic but we'll still have fun!" she shouts as she regains control over her body and poisons her abusive boyfriend while donning "Mickey

Mouse/geisha-robot" (Moralde) fashion, but her escapades are stopped when she is swiftly captured and sent to prison. In the video, Gaga's plasticity, her permeable artifice, is marked as her tool for self-transformation and self-salvation from the technological containment wielded by the exploitative and death-wielding cameras of the paparazzi. She uses this fluidity to reclaim the power of vision once wielded by oppressive men like "Der Sandmann"'s Nathanael, Metropolis's

Rotwang, and Battle Angel Alita's B.B. Buick for her own purposes, as emphasized in the song's lyrics which paint Gaga as a powerful photographer on the prowl. Draped in film in one shot,

Lady Gaga (both literally and metaphorically) refashions the trope of the mechanical woman through her own repurposed cinematic medium (music video) to reclaim her freedom from those who would trap it within a celluloid death.

We reunite with Lady Gaga as she is hauled to her cell in the "Telephone" video, the completion of the cyborg pop duo's (Beyoncé and Lady Gaga's) double tech-based singles.

Rumors of Gaga being a man/transvestite/hermaphrodite are fodder for tongue-in-cheek jokes, leading to one of her guards saying "I told you she didn't have a dick." "Too bad," the other Dees 88 replies. In the prison yard, Gaga (shirking what could be conventional lesbian exploitation) kisses and caresses butch inmates (one of which is played by gender-bending performance artist

Heather Cassils) but is soon bailed out by Beyoncé. Together, the two invoke the mirror/reflection motif of traditional mechanized femininity and label it as untrustworthy: "You know Gaga, trust is like a mirror. You can fix it if it's broke," starts Beyoncé, "--but you can still see the crack in that motherfucker's reflection," finishes Gaga. As they drive, Beyoncé and Gaga sing about obsessive boyfriends who try to monitor and control their movements by constantly calling and texting them on their cellphones. Together, the singers fight this technological domination by fusing with machines (telephones are fused into Gaga's hair and polygonal hat and she counts to three in Metropolis-reminiscent German) and exploiting their "hyperbolic feminization" (Baur) (their female masquerade) to go on a murderous rampage of bad boyfriends and "innocent" bystanders, but the dynamic duo's bloodshed suggests, as Haraway says, that no one is completely innocent (Simians 151). After finally finding freedom from prison and technological control, Gaga and Beyoncé defy L'Eve Future's claim that there have never been

"two women who were friends in all the course of human history" (Villiers 85) as they pledge to lead a beautiful future together. In a final reappropriation of traditional feminine machinery, the friends (à la Thelma and Louise, but this time remaining alive) escape the law in Kill Bill's Pussy

Wagon.

While on her Monster's Ball tour of 2010, Lady Gaga unveiled a new piano ballad titled

"Future Love," her most refined reinvention of Madonna and Björk's message of love and empowerment infused with Harawinian cyborg ideals. Played (perhaps intentionally) ironically as an acoustic number with either a female or male mannequin prop in tow (representing equal artifice between genders), "Future Love" presents a world of liberation, mechanization, and Dees 89 blurred binary boundaries. Traditional symbols of masculinity and femininity are switched ("If he's the moon, then I'm eclipsed" along with Gaga's powerful "rocket ship") and Gaga's feminine artifice (so reviled and deadly in L'Eve Future) here promises infinite, thriving territories ("My mascara runs in constellations for you, dear") ("Future Love"). Gaga admits that she isn't an artificial vessel of ancient masculinist knowledge ("I know I'm no Nostradamus") like Hadaly or

Helen O'Loy, but explains that she, a woman, can still be "working on engineering," ("Future

Love") using Haraway's "feminist science" (Simians 173) to make her own future.

The chorus, featuring her "Poker Face"-famous stuttering, plays with the Cartesian notion of women as the opposite of language, ending in a clear declaration of not only strong female sexual desire but a promise of happiness in a mechanical world and language of love: "I want a fuh-fuh-fuh-fuh-future love." "Will you be my fuh-fuh-fuh-fuh-future man? I want to fuh-fuck you as hard as I can." As Gaga sings about "love and art and the future" in "Future Love," she aspires to send her message of post-gendered, mechanical love to all the word (Gaga qtd. in

Grigoriadis 1). To "make one person believe in that moment," she explains to an interviewer,

"would be worth every salt of a No. 1 record" (Gaga qtd. in Grigoriadis 1). After describing her own "mechanical heart" and her body's absorption of (false) dichotomies (it features both blonde hair and a brunette heart), the song climaxes in shouts about her lover's form: "He's so unreal, he's a mannequin," "a synthetic, plastic, robo-man," "He's a robo-hunk, my mechanic guy."

Screaming in exultation, channeling Nathanael of "Der Sandmann" but looking into eyes filled with life instead of a "death[ly]" (Hoffman 293) void, Gaga revels in her lover's returned mechanical gaze: "And I'm stuck in his metal robo-eyes! His robo-eyes! My future guy!" It's a lovely vision of a future much different than that proposed by Levy and his scientist peers; a future where humans, monsters, and cyborgs can, by redefining oppressive discourses, create a Dees 90

"genuine, memorable space for [themselves] in the world" (Gaga qtd. in Grigoriadis 2) no matter their gender, sexuality, or class.

Beyoncé and Lady Gaga's songs and music videos counter the silencing of feminine subjectivity first popularized in nineteenth-century literature which "presents women singers as figurations of lack, as mirrors that echo male desire" (Miller Frank 166) and replace it with a distinctly feminist vocality and agency. This vocality separates them from other pop star peers like singer whose new cyborg aesthetic uses the image of the mechanical woman in the traditional mode to emphasize a silencing of female voice and thought. The video for her first single off her 2010 Bionic album, titled "Not Myself Tonight," features a leather-clad

Aguilera alternating between dominating and submitting to potential male and female lovers.

Aguilera poses seductively for the viewer in various revealing outfits but, unlike Beyoncé and

Lady Gaga in “Video Phone,” she does not challenge her sexual objectification by returning the male gaze. The video’s labored attempts at radical sexuality, banal lyrics, and typical exploitation of lesbianism reveal an empty version of female sexual power and the same tired, conventional markers of female objectification of past music videos. “Not Myself Tonight,” like

Madonna's "Express Yourself" video, keeps men and women, master and slave, humans and machines, within safe, predictable, and separate realms without the message of liberation hocked by Madonna. If women indeed are meant to "wear many hats" and overburden themselves for the sake of others, as Christina Aguilera explains (qtd. in "Christina Aguilera Goes..."), the singer does nothing to question this, just like the dominant image of her gagged, blindfolded, confined form from "Not Myself Tonight" exemplifies. Although Beyoncé and Lady Gaga critique these traditional visions of silent, mechanical women in terms of gender, they both neglect to address Dees 91 how race factors into futuristic fembot narratives, an element which singer Janelle Monáe explicitly questions in her work.

"I travelled to the future," Janelle Monáe declared in a 2007 interview, "and I am here in the past to discuss with you the true nature of androids and human beings!" (qtd. in Ewing) Out of all her peers using cyborg and robotic imagery in their songs and music videos, Janelle Monáe is the most vocal about her mechanical inspirations and ideologies. Having grown up in a poor, urban landscape of a drug-addled city in Kansas, Monáe felt an affinity with the central message of Fritz Lang's Metropolis. "It's a black and white German expressionist film, but it represents what we're still going through," Monáe claims, "It's about the battle between the haves and the have-nots" (qtd. in Hoard). Metropolis has served as the theme for both of Monáe's soulful R&B rock (2008's Metropolis: The Chase Suite and 2010's The ArchAndroid) and revolve around a female android named Cindi Mayweather within a reimagined Metropolis who has committed a crime by falling in love with a human man named Anthony Greendown. Cindi's flight from her would-be captors, her search for freedom, and her undying cyber love are underlined by a radical reinterpretation of the mechanical, and the African American, woman.

Janelle Monáe's music serves as a vehicle for exploration of traditional visions of mechanized femininity, taking aim at the racial implications behind conventional futurism

(which often uses white as its representative color of untainted technology) and insinuating through the android Cindi Mayweather (whose white metallic flesh must use a hologram to create dark skin) not only how light-skinned women are presented as the ideal in modern robotics but also how "'women of color' might be understood as a cyborg identity" (Haraway,

Simians 174). Monáe's cyborgs and androids are synonymous with the black community, a community which Haraway describes in her manifesto as "never [having] possessed the original Dees 92 language, never told the original story, never resided in the harmony of legitimate heterosexuality in the garden of culture" (175). Monáe explicitly expresses her enforced otherness by oppressive forces in the song "Violet Stars Happy Hunting!!!" "I'm an alien from outer space/I'm a cybergirl without a face, a heart, or a mind/(I'm a product of metal, I'm a product of the man)/See, I'm a slave girl without a race (without a face)/On the run cause they hate our ways and chase my kind/(They've come to destroy me)," begins Monáe's song from

Metropolis: The Chase Suite. Her status as an African American woman, a double other whose threat is subdued in the form of ideal (white and subservient) female beauty, makes her a "slave girl without a race," but Monáe/Mayweather works to escape this slavery by questioning mechanized gender and race in her fashion, songs, and music videos.

Monáe uses her ever-present black and white fashion, her "uniform," of her public persona to offer a visual homage to her mother and father, a janitor and a postal clerk, as well as the working class in general (Monáe qtd. in Hoffman 32). Monáe's fashion reappropriates both racist images of black servants and lawn jockeys (as seen in her many tuxedos and equestrian- inspired clothes) while her android savior Cindi Mayweather subverts and transforms Flannery

O'Conner's "Artificial Nigger[s]" (1955) which act as "agent[s] of grace" for whites (Oates,

Where I’ve Been 343) into agents of salvation for themselves. She hopes to turn these racial stereotypes of the past (especially those popular during Metropolis-era 1920s) into a medium for

"redefin[ing] the stereotype of young African American females" (Monáe qtd. in Peisner 64),

"empowering people to wear what they like" and to "redefine what a woman can wear" (Monáe qtd. in Hoffman 32). Monáe explicitly marks these reappropriations of racist stereotypes as defiance against the control enforced upon the other in the form of the mechanical woman.

"There's going to be a point in time where the android is going to be the other; homosexuals were Dees 93 the other, black people were the other, and the android will be the other. Man has to build these robots because man has to be in control," Monáe explains (qtd. in Zaeh).

This obsession with control (and the contrasting longing for freedom) is especially apparent in "Many Moons," Monáe's first music video and short film. The video opens with futuristic

Metropolis' annual android auction. Cindi Mayweather is set to perform while dozens of other androids (all identical to Cindi) are having their bodies pushed and prodded into various outfits.

The vast majority of the bidders and those of power (whether the Metropolis Polis, the auctioneer

Sir Lucious Leftfoot, or the Punk Prophets) are men, squabbling amongst one another for ownership of the androids as they begin to parade themselves down the catwalk. "We're dancing free but we're stuck here underground," sing the androids, some as mere heads and torsos being groomed for the runway. "We long for freedom," they continue, and tell the listener: "You're free but in your mind, your freedom's in a bind.” The android sale merges a fashion show with a slave auction, implying futurism's potential for neo-slavery when human beings (specifically women) are mechanized and sold as interchangeable products.

During the auction/concert, black and white images and news footage from the past are played behind Cindi Mayweather, coming to the foreground as she begins her "Cybernetic

Chantdown,” a list of violent conflicts, diseases, and those considered imperfect, impure or rejected. The list makes direct references to race and gender ("Black girl, bad hair/Broad nose, cold stare") and connects them to the imagery of cyborgs and androids ("Plastic sweat, metal skin/Metallic tears, mannequin") and imposed restrictions on their freedom ("Cybergirl, control," "White House, Jim Crow"). In conjunction with the flashing images of historical turmoil, Janelle Monáe asks the viewer to consider the atrocities of the past when imagining the paradisiacal atmosphere of consumption which futurism presents, to look backwards to Dees 94 understand one's dreams of what will come. The "Cybernetic Chantdown" ends with Cindi

Mayweather in her raw, uncloaked form, her white mechanical components showing as a mushroom cloud explodes in the background, ending the long list's connection between racial oppression and oppression of women via technology with the specter of utter death and destruction. Cindi suddenly begins to erupt in an electric seizure, her voice singing a chilling lullaby as she floats on a stream of electricity, clouded by visions, until falling back to the stage as (McLuhan-invoking) mechanical brides surround her crumpled, malfunctioned body.

Echoing Lady Gaga's imprisoned feminist cyborg radical, Monáe's music video for her next single "Tightrope" reunites the viewer with Cindi Mayweather confined in a mental institution.

The video opens with a title card describing the place Cindi Mayweather has been taken to for rehabilitation: "The Palace of the Dogs," an asylum, where "[d]ancing has long been forbidden for its subversive effects on the residents and its tendency to lead to illegal magical practices"

("Tightrope"). "Are the people there mentally ill? I can't really say," Monáe has testified, refusing to categorize her world as absolutely real or fictional. "I've actually signed a contract with The Palace of the Dogs," she explains, so she "can't talk about what exactly goes [on] there but [the "Tightrope" video] is a true experience and re-enactment" (qtd. in "Janelle Monáe: The

Meaning..."). Opening with Wes Anderson-esque credits, "Tightrope" depicts a sanitarium from the 60s or 70s (vastly different from the futuristic auction hall for the rich and powerful from

"Many Moons"), a nurse rolling a cart of pills to those whose subversiveness has deemed their confinement necessary. Tall figures in dark robes patrol the hallways, but Cindi and her fellow tuxedoed inmates are able to evade their captors' mirrored faces (the spectre of narcissistic reflection) and dance the Tightrope, a dance which resembles a "balancing act" (Monáe qtd. in Dees 95

"Janelle Monáe: The Meaning..."), and other soul-era good foot dance moves as they celebrate vocality though both song and the body.

Like "Many Moons," the lyrics of "Tightrope" express a desire for freedom from oppression ("When you get elevated/They love it or they hate it/You dance up on them haters/Keep getting funky on the scene/While they jumpin' round ya/They trying to take all of your dreams/But you can't allow it") but this time through the image of the powerful, vocal, dancing android body ("But I'm another flavor/Something like a terminator/Ain't no equivocating/I fight for what I believe"). Even when apprehended by authorities and quickly detained, Cindi Mayweather is empowered by her dance and gains the power to walk through walls of the asylum's confining cells. In its expressive dance routines and liberating lyrics, the music video for "Tightrope" challenges past versions of ideal artificial femininity which emphasize the beauty of stillness as well as deride women who, like L'Eve Future's "unbearable

[female] creatures," "gesticulate too much" (Villiers 131). Here, in the asylum which harkens back to past medical and scientific institutions which sought to perfect women's imperfect minds and bodies, Monáe/Mayweather reclaims and transforms her body, her physical otherness, into a source of vocal, autonomous movement and power. Furthermore, the institution’s prohibition of

“magical practices” is gleefully violated by its black mechanical inmates who follow Monáe’s command to “put some voodoo on it” (“Tightrope”), illustrating Monáe’s reappropriation of the image of the magical negro via the appropriation of the magic of scientific myth. By floating balls, walking through walls, and performing an illusory dance with her fellow prisoners in the asylum, Monáe appropriates scientific magic famously wielded by the “Sorcerer of Menlo Park” and his peers through the technology of her black android body to find personal empowerment and freedom from oppression. This dancing community of android inmates, like Haraway's Dees 96 cyborgs of color, opposes the controlling surveillance of "high-tech repressive apparatuses" and promotes a "strongly bimodal social structure" (Haraway, Simians 169); a community built not on divisive boundaries of inherent difference but on fluid, permeable selves. When considered alongside Monáe's constant blurring between man and woman, human and machine, imagination and reality, "Tightrope" is an anthem which rejects binaries, commanding the listener to "tip on the tightrope," to avoid falling into any firm, constant categories, in order to be truly free.

Alita, Kusanagi, Beyoncé, Gaga, and Monáe together reinvent the trope of the mechanical woman, positing the machine in Harawinian terms not as an "it to be animated, worshipped, and dominated," an other to be controlled, but as "an aspect of [human] embodiment" (Haraway,

Simians 180) more similar to the technological, imitative gender performance of Halberstam's

Turing Test than L'Eve Future's Hadaly. Keenly aware of the discourses surrounding mechanized femininity and the aesthetics of futurism, these female anime cyborgs and pop stars

"mis/recognize themselves" in the discourse and thus "acquire the power, and the responsibility, to shape that discourse" (Haraway, Modest_Witness 50). It is appropriate, then, that female singers have reappropriated the image of the ideal, silent mechanical woman, to regain a vocality originally stolen from L'Eve Future's Alicia Clary, thus "[taking] back the limelight from women" like Paris Hilton and Jessica Simpson "who made their careers admitting they had nothing to say" (Grigoriadis 2). "By virtue of their hybrid status" (Graham 308), these figures' films, comics, songs, and music videos work to "refigure [the] terms, contents, and reach"

(Haraway, Modest_Witness 50) of what is considered the ideal artificial woman. These works mock notions of impermeability between self and other (Graham 308), destroy notions of inherent innocence and silent sexual subservience, mark reflection as suspicious at best, and question the oppressive and binary-building aspects of past and present technology and futurism. Dees 97

Their vision of the future tips on the tightrope of division, expressing in both voice and body inconstant, powerful, permeable selves, robotic men and women promoting equal, mechanical love for all monsters and divas, humans and cyborgs.

Conclusion

What does the future hold for the mechanical woman? To those who wish for a harem of sexually subservient gynoids like David Levy, to regain innocence through an angelic mechanical mate is to achieve unity and godlike control. For these users, "[t]o be One," as

Haraway argues, "is to be...powerful, to be God," but it is certainly a godhood which is an

"illusion" (Simians 177), an artificial reflection. For those who subscribe to the radical interpretation of mechanized femininity, one which does not offer absolute control and power, is to choose to be other, "to be multiple, without clean boundary, frayed, insubstantial" (Haraway,

Simians 177), to forever change. Whichever discourse remains the most vocal, the mechanical woman will most certainly remain a mutable figure. As the myths surrounding gender and technology continue to intertwine and reproduce in the future and futurist discourses, there will always be potential to cross boundaries, to question what defines the human mind and body, in the continuing story of the mechanical woman's simultaneously good and bad romance.

Dees 98

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