Since the start of time, gender roles have been crucial to society. Gender in a way assigns roles for individuals. In most cases, how they identify to a specific gender will set a precedent for them to follow for the rest of their lives. Those who choose to deviate from their expected roles in society are looked down upon. For the most part, we are accustomed to this idea that society expects women to act differently from men. While it is not a quite battle, nor a submissive one, for what is it worth, people have still found a way to identify themselves within these boundaries.
However, identifying themselves does not mean that they are obedient to a certain set of expectations. Yet, we find ourselves surrounded by movies, music, etc. that paint women as this submissive individual. This paper will explore the gender roles in movies regarding robots and computers. In this paper, it will explain the way gender is perceived and how aligns with societal expectations. This paper will discuss three movies and the way gender is portrayed in relation to the computers and robots. However, within the paper, it will discuss the views of multiple scholarly articles regarding this subject.
The role of gender in artificial intelligence tends to mimic beliefs from the past, even though artificial intelligence represents a movement toward the future. While these movies present advanced technology that can interact with humans, understand any command, and do everything a human can do, there are still traces of gender inequality. In the article Electronic Eros: Bodies and Desire in the Postindustrial Age, Claudia Springer explains “the love affair between humans and machines” (Springer). Springer’s choice of diction sparks an interest in this topic because she describes the relationship as a love affair.
By explaining it as a love affair, it automatically makes the individual think of a relationship between two people involving feelings. Within her article, Springer references to multiple movies that depict what she describes as “techno-erotic imagery” (Springer). Springer brings up a point within her article that this paper will elaborate further on as it discusses the movie. As Springer explains, when we watch these movies about artificial intelligence we are intrigued by the steps taken to give us an insight to the future.
This aspect of the movies is intriguing to us, which will cause us to overlook the gender inequalities. While we may see a robot that can do anything a human does, it is most of the time a woman. In fact, the robot is a woman that in one way or another will fall in love with a man. After the robot falls in love with this man, she will listen to anything he tells her, because she is a robot and he is a human, she must obey him. While the opposing argument to this statement will explain that the movie is simply depicting a human and a robot to describe the roles.
However, while that may be an argument against one movie. it does not explain the reasoning behind most movies. Again, there is an underlying portrayal of gender inequalities that is manipulated by emphasizing that these movies are only about robots and humans, which distracts the audience from the role of gender. In a Cyborg Manifesto, Science technology, and social- feminism in the late twentieth century, Donna Haraway explains that a cyborg is ” a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social reality as well as a creature of fiction” (Haraway).
This is a very important part that this paper hopes to elaborate upon. These artificial movies that contain these robots and computers, they do not seem to be fully machine. In fact, within each robot in each film there is a sense of humanistic appeal. For instance, the robot will be depicted as obedient, but has hair similar to that of a human, eyes that are similar to a human, and therefore cannot be looked at as a complete machine. Haraway explains this aspect of movies very interestingly when she writes,” Cyborg ‘sex’ restores some of the lovely baroque of ferns and invertebrates” (Haraway).
Haraway expresses that once these movies incorporate robots and human have some sort of sexual relationship, it is depicting an idea of the past. Once a movie illustrates this type of story between a human and a robot, they are referencing to a time when men would have sex with women and they had no choice but to obedient. I find this to be very hypercritical of the movies. Movies about artificial intelligence should seek to guide us to the movement to the future. This means that if they incorporate a relationship between a man and a women, regardless if a robot or not, the move should respect the social order.
By respecting the social order, it means respecting and acknowledging that a women is not merely a sexual tool for a man. A women’s role is not to be obedient to a man, and sadly most of these artificial intelligence seem to emphasize this inequality. In order to understand the importance of what has been discussed, this paper will illustrate it through three different movies from three different times. The first movie to be discussed is Videodrome, a movie that was released in 1983. The overemphasized theme in Videodrome is sex.
While the movie is trying to depict O’Blivion’s ultimate goal to show that television will eventually take over people’s lives and will dictate every aspect of their life somehow. However, that goal is overlooked at times because of the fact that sex is everywhere within this movie. The movie explains how by watching this Videodrome, one will form a tumor and become controlled by Bianca, who is taking over the program that killed her father. However, it is ironic that the program that Bianca is in control of is one that revolves around sex.
Also, Nicki, who is dating Max, gets sexually aroused when they watch an episode together. This is another instance where the movie is depicting women a weak and submissive to sex. In fact, when Max finds out that the show is run from Pennsylvania, he encourages Nicki to audition for the show. Again, the film depicts Nicki as a weak individual who is seemingly obsessed with sex. Lastly, another instance where women are depicted with a negative connotation is when the pornographer that Max gets in contact with to find out the truth about Videodrome, is a female.
Even though this movie was aired in the 1980’s, and gender roles was not something set in stone at the time as much as it may be now, this type of movie sets a precedent that other movies may follow. When analyzing the role of women in this movie, it portrays women in a peculiar light. In the movie it shows that when people watch the movie they form a tumor and are controlled by Bianca. People tend to watch this program because it revolves around sex. So, the movie is trying to illustrate that women are only powerful when they are expressed as sexual objects, either in the act, or seducing others to have sex with them.
It is only through sex that women have power over men. While Videodrome is not the only instance where we see women depicted in this type of light, it does set a precedent for movies to follow, such as Eve of Destruction. This movie aired in 1991. The underlying theme of this movie is the undercover operations within the United States Military. In this movie, EVE VIII is created by Dr. Simmons. EVE is a robot by nature but looks a human, which adds a humanistic appeal to her being because her skin looks the same as humans.
Initially, EVE is created to be part of the military. However, during a robbery in a bank, she is damaged. This robbery was damaging to EVE as a robot because she began having access to all this information that Dr. Simmons had programmed her with. It is in this instance that the movie ties in the theme of undercover operations within the military because EVE begins to access extremely awful memories. Unfortunately, the movie reveals EVE as a robot that seeks to destroy anyone that tries to stop her.
The movie changes focus and the new goal is to eliminate EVE. This movie is interesting in the way it illustrates EVE. When we usually think of women, we think of them as those who create birth, we don’t usually think of them as destroyers because of their biological nature. However, one can see that control and submission is underscored throughout the entire movie. Regardless if EVE is evil or not, the control is in the hands of her programmers. While they did paint EVE as this extremely intelligent robot that they had to out