Gynoids. Pleasure models. Fembots. Bionic women. Borg queens. Stepford wives. Sometimes they’re hot. Sometimes they’re fierce. And yet sometimes, they all start to look the same.
When’s the last time you saw a female robot who didn’t appear to have a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.7? Other than Rosie, the robot maid from The Jetsons. This powerful portrait of London-based plus-size model Bea Sweet by digital artist Benedict Campbell (previously on Coilhouse) confronts that question head-on.
It’s great to see a sexy, strong robotic woman who isn’t rail-thin, to imagine a future where robot designers craft something other than Barbies and Kens, or one in which robots design themselves in a way that discards the expectations of their human forbearers. And yeah, loving this doesn’t mean letting go of a deep adoration for Bjork’s All is Full of Love, or, for that matter, Takashi Itsuki’s bruised bondage robot amputees. There’s room for all those things.
A few quotes from Donna Haraway, author of The Cyborg Manifesto:
- “We are all chimeras, theorized and fabricated hybrids of machine and organism; in short, we are cyborgs.”
- “A cyborg is a cybernetic organism, a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social relations, our most important political construction, a world-changing fiction.”
- “The cyborg would not recognize the Garden of Eden; it is not made of mud and cannot dream of returning to dust.”
- “Cyborg writing must not be about the Fall, the imagination of a once-upon-a-time wholeness before language, before writing, before Man. Cyborg writing is about the power to survive, not on the basis of original innocence, but on the basis of seizing the tools to mark the world that marked them as other.”
- “It is no accident that the symbolic system of the family of man – and so the essence of woman – breaks up at the same moment that networks of connection among people on the planet are unprecedentedly multiple, pregnant, and complex.”
- “The cyborg is a kind of disassembled and reassembled, postmodern collective and personal self. This is the self feminists must code.”
- “I would rather be a cyborg than a goddess”