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Monday, September 5, 2016

Sexbots and feminists

It's been in the news recently that the scientists are getting ever closer to producing realistic sexbots. As of now, most of the available ones look pretty unappealing:

But the current prediction is that by the 2040's, much more realistic-looking androids which can actually hold a conversation with you will be available.

Feminists are against the idea of sexbots. Here is Dr. (of philosophy, not medicine) Kathleen Richardson arguing against them. To hear her speech, click on the "HERE" link to the Toronto conference.

Richardson suggests that the idea of sexbots doesn't come from loving relationships, but rather from prostitution.

(The idea of masturbation doesn't come from loving relationships either; does that mean it should be banned? And the idea of sexbots doesn't "come from prostitution" any more than the idea of one night stands comes from prostitution; all of these things simply arise from our innate sex drive.)

Richardson then says that the existence of child sexbots might encourage those who already harbor vague sexual leanings toward children.

(Sexbots modeled on children would violate all sorts of laws against child pornography in this country, and will never be available here. And all the evidence shows that it's awfully hard to change male sexuality: you can't convince an adult male to "become" a child molester anymore than you can "cure" homosexuality.)

Then Richardson says that prostitution is all about politics, and power. She then suggests helpfully that if someone had tried to lessen racism by inventing black robots for the white race to take out its anger and hatred upon, that that wouldn't solve the problem of racism at all.

(This is an incredibly strained analogy, as well as transparent virtue signaling. Richardson wouldn't have to stretch like this if she had solid arguments. And her premise is wrong to begin with: whites take out their "anger and hatred," i.e., commit violence, against blacks far less than vice versa.)

Richardson mentions multiple times that she is an empathetic person. At one point she says that her empathy extends to men who have a hard time forming relationships.

(But she doesn't suggest anything to help them.)

Richardson concludes by saying she is against the objectification of women, and that people who'd have sex with robots are essentially doing that.

(Sexbots represent the opposite of the objectification of women: the women-ification of objects.)

Then Richardson says that she is also against the objectification of men and boys, which she defines as the narrative that men are sexually driven creatures who can't control their own desires and who commit rape.

(Isn't the basic feminist premise that men are pigs? And whether or not men can control their own desires has nothing to do with whether sexbots ought to be allowed. And if in fact they can't, sexbots will allow an outlet for some of that steam, keeping real women safer.)

Her final conclusion is, we all need each other, and no one should be left behind.

(People only resort to this kind of boilerplate when they have nothing substantive to say.)

Or listen to this paragraph from male feminist Mitchell Blatt:

Sexbots don’t just demean women. Ultimately, they demean men in thinking that men are nothing more than base animals only interested in carnal desires. The idea that robots can replace humans relies on the idea that men aren’t interested in meaningful lives. (It is also a demeaning view of individual men who think of themselves as not being able to attract desirable women.)

(This is a curiously prudish, Victorian view of humanity, one that divorces mankind from the rest of the animal kingdom -- or, as Blatt puts it, "base animals." Plus, no one is suggesting that if you're interested in sex, that that's all you're interested in. I know plenty of men who desire meaningless sex to go along with their meaningful lives. And the fact is, some men aren't able to attract desirable women; that's simply realism. Should those men be forced to forego sex?)

Blatt also points out that a robot that looks like a woman is just a woman for men who don't like women.

(Actually, the robots are for men who really like women, but don't always have a willing partner available. And, the fact is, there do exist women who are either fussy, illogical, gold-digging, hysterical, self-centered, gossipy, or some combination of those things -- even if Mr. Blatt himself has never experienced them.)

Blatt also helpfully points out that machines can't replace people.

(Did anyone suggest that they can, for anything other than temporary sexual needs?)

And Blatt offers that an act of sex with a robot wouldn't be "meaningful."

(Who in the world ever suggested it would be meaningful? Does Blatt ever do anything but set up straw man arguments? And why does sex itself have to have a deep meaning? That tends to be the kind of thing people say when they haven't had much sex.)

But the ultimate argument against feminists who disapprove of sexbots is, what's the ethical difference between those and vibrators? Both are mechanical devices used for sexual pleasure. If a toy can give you pleasure, why ban it?

How exactly would feminists react if men suggested vibrators be outlawed?

Another feminist argument is that these sexbots will set unrealistic beauty standards that young women will feel unable to live up to. But don't dildos -- which never go soft, and come in extra large sizes -- set up unrealistic comparisons for men?

Also, don't feminists believe that what goes on behind closed doors is no one else's business, and that the government shouldn't poke its nose into anyone else's bedroom? Feminists call those who are not on board with the LGBTQ agenda intolerant. Why does that principle not apply here?


Anonymous said...


This is both depressing and hilarious. I'm not sure which takes precedence.

There's nothing these fools can do about sexbots. Unlike self-driving cars, which I predict will never be allowed, sexbots are harmless and will enable lonely people to enact harmless fantasy role play, and thus will happen, if they aren't already. That said, I strongly doubt they will ever be widespread.

When Nevada made prostitution legal, all the feminists howled about the objectification of women's bodies and yada yada, but the idea never took off. Going to a whorehouse even in Nevada is considered kind of a loser thang. Same goes with sexbots. It will always be considered a form of masturbation.

What I don't understand about feminists is why they don't take more seriously the idea that things like surrogate motherhood can be considered a form of reproductive prostitution with poor women serving as breeders for the prosperous. In fact, in Holland feminists do think that. I have to say, American/British/Australian women feminists are really the worst of the feminist lot. In Europe they tend to be a bit more practical.


John Craig said...

Puzzled --
I wonder. I have a hard time imagining the sex bots will seem real enough to actually be arousing, but who knows what science will have wrought in 30 years. Thirty years ago we couldn't have imagine the internet, and yet here we are talking like old friends, even though we don't know each other. But even if the sexbots are really realistic, somehow just knowing they're not human would have a somewhat wilting effect, I think. Or, maybe I'm just old and behind the times.

I'm actually writing a post right now about the social impact of sexbots. The post isn't entirely serious, but it'll be interesting to see how the sexbots and their owners will be regarded when they go commercial. Most likely most owners will be secretive about them at first, especially female owners of male sexbots, but maybe a certain type of rich guy will see them as status symbols ("Look at MY harem!").

I've heard the same, that the Anglo feminists are the worst. i sort of liked Germaine Greer way back when, she had an honesty an sense of humor that were refreshing, but they've gone downhill since, getting sillier and sillier.

European women in general seem more into being feminine (and slender) than American women are. Whenever I go over there I'm struck by that.

Mark Caplan said...

Kathleen Richardson's personal profile at De Montfort University in Leicester, England, says, "Kathleen completed her PhD at the Department of Anthropology, University of Cambridge." "In 2015 she, along with her colleague launched the Campaign Against Sex Robots."

Thank God she's just another silly anthropologist. With her absurd, scatterbrained arguments, if she had been a credentialed academic philosopher, it would have marked the end of Western civilization as we know it.

John Craig said...

Mark --
Ha! Biological anthropology is still a respectable field, but social anthropology has long been rife with charlatans and fools. Every since Margaret Mead went to the South Pacific and came back with that classic work of fiction (unbeknownst to her), "Coming of Age in Samoa," it's been nothing but an offshoot of sociology, which has long been a bastion of bs.

I just excised the last portion of the post, with her picture, because I decided it was too nasty of me to include it. But Richardson, like Mead, probably has limited experience of real life herself, and her pronouncements about what sex should be seem to come from a place of naivete. I also took down Blatt's picture, which I had included just to show how young (and evidently naive) he is as well. He's evidently a freelance writer who lives in China; he writes like a high school student who's eager to please his liberal female civics teacher.

Mark Caplan said...

To eliminate any suggestion of prostitution in the sexual relationship with a robot, man-bot marriage must be legalized. This will prove controversial at first. No doubt Evangelical Christians across the South will have a hard time cozying up to the idea, but I'm confident the Supreme Court will declare man-bot marriage a fundamental constitutional right.

John Craig said...

Mark --
Ha. Well, if they do decide that, at least the alimony costs should be minimal.

Actually, given the feminist take that these machines "come from prostitution," how long is it before someone on the Left suggests that these machines come from slavery? After all, the owners do own these poor female robots.

Mark Caplan said...

Sexbots aren't just for satisfying one's base physical urges. I sat next to a sexbot on a recent flight. The conversation was riveting.

"Sexbot," by the way, marks you as an insensitive white-ish male of privilege. The acutely politically correct New York Times style guide says "sexbot" carries negative connotations of marginalization and oppression and should be avoided except when quoting a speaker, and then it must appear in quotes. Instead of "sexbot," the preferred term is now injection-molded comfort woman.

John Craig said...

Mark --
No question, there's going to be a whole new etiquette springing up around these things. Even if not in the (humorous, satirical) way you've described, there'll be all sorts of unwritten rules about respecting people's privacy, etc. It's gonna be interesting. I'm actually currently writing a post about how these things will be regarded, will post it in a day or two.

Anonymous said...

There's weirdo etiquette about gay parenting. You are not supposed to ask who/where the bio parents are, etc. I regularly flout this. You should see the looks on their faces, John.

If you don't mind my bringing this up, Caster Semenya just destroyed yet another field of women:

'Semenya was even more impressive as she stormed away to win her race from the woman she beat in Rio, Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba, with Kenya’s Eunice Sum in third."

Niyonsaba is also hyperandrogenic:

Semenya has gotten so much attention that Margaret Wambui has flown under radar, although you've mentioned her:

Seriously, there must be several hundred thousand of these "women" in Africa, several million in the world. The African contingent alone (already gifted with various African genetic cards) is enough to destroy women's athletics. So far none of them has invaded the sacred space of the marquee sprinting events, but that's only a matter of time. What will happen when the pretty Alyson Felix types get pounded into the sand by Margaret Wambui types?

The logic of 1970s radical feminism is being assaulted everywhere yet it never seems to die. I think all of this is a front man (LOL) for globalism. The global elite finds feminism a handy advertising tool. Meanwhile, real women don't benefit.


Anonymous said...

PS to above - I didn't realize that ALL THREE of the top finishers in the 800M Olympics were intersexual:


John Craig said...

Puzzled --
I had wondered about Niyonsaba, she had a somewhat masculine face too, but looked downright girly next to Semenya and Wambui. One thing that confuses me is that given the already extantAfrican genetic advantage in running, you'd think they'd be able to produce some hormonally normal women who could beat the white girls in the field. It almost seems like overkill to produce these three hyperandrogenic women to club the rest of the field into submission.

Alyson Felix has already been beaten on a few occasions by steroided Jamaican sprinters, who are effectively hyperandrogenic, though their androgens came exogenously. And I'd add the Dutch girl, Dafne Schippers, to that list of sprinters who are 'roided up.

You're right, the editorial writers who've been saying that it's unfair NOT to let the intersexed compete seem to feel they're striking a blow for feminism, when in fact the very people being hurt are women.

Unknown said...

Hi John, I always enjoy reading what you have to say. With respect to this fembot thing, I suspect that the vast majority of men would prefer something equivalent to the Scarlet Johansson character in the movie Her over a simulated female doll. What most men (and women, I suspect) hunger for is the emotional connection with another consciousness. As far as the prudishness of the kind of feminists you reference, who are these smug ass hats to judge lonely people, ugly people, disabled people who are desperate to make some sort of intimate connection, simulated or not, with another human being? My personal view, in a perfect world, is that prostitutes should be respected and seen as performing a public service. Have you ever seen that movie The Sessions? I found it to be very moving. my best, doug

John Craig said...

Douglas Carkuff --

Thank you. Gotta disagree with you though over what the vast majority of men would want in a fembot. While everybody wants an emotional connection, I don't think that's what they'd be looking for in a fembot/sexbot, they'd prefer to have Johansson's voice AND Johansson's body. I have my doubts, though, about whether they'll ever be able to make a sexbot that realistic.

We're incomplete agreement about the feminists.

I agree with you about prostitutes in principle, but in practice they seem to be the kind of people it's hard to respect. Maybe if the profession were more respected, that might change.

Never saw The Sessions, although I remember it got good reviews. I'm generally not drawn to movies with such sad themes, I don't like going to movie to get depressed. I prefer......escapism.

Anonymous said...

Hi, John. Apologies for my long absence.

Sociopath alert?

John Craig said...

Samuel --
Just read the entire article. Yes, she is. At first I was going to say, well, I don't know enough about her personal life to say. But the signs of sociopathy she does show are so glaring there's really no doubt. Tellingly, her Wiki entry starts off by saying, "Elizabeth Holmes is a con artist who......"

I'd never really paid her all that much attention before, to tell the truth. I knew who she was, and had read the headlines, but for some reason had not gotten into the details. I may get around to writing a sociopath alert about her, but not sure.

Anonymous said...

Why sexbots? Virtual reality seems to avoid that uncanny valley which would turn most people off. Unless there is a large enough market for people who DON"T WANT realistic dolls to be invented. OOOOOoooooooooouuuuggghhhh

Steven said...

I don't like the thought of having sex with a robot, it doesn't seem like it would be the same, and I'll believe in super realistic ones when I see them (they would need real skin, right?). At least a part of sexual enjoyment is the interaction with another person, how they react and express pleasure and the fact they are consciously enjoying it. A simulation of feminine sexuality but without them being conscious would't be the same...but that's a whole other philosophical areas.

I think feminists come up with all these arguments to justify their opposition but the real reason they don't like it is they realise deep down that sex is one of women's main sources of power over men. They simply don't want to give up their monopoly on sex.

Steven said...

it could possibly still be enjoyable but i think i'd actually be weirded out by one that is too realistic.

John Craig said...

Steven --
Yeah I have a hard time believing that they'll really be all that realistic by the 2040's. And that they'll be programmed to the point where they can really have a conversation.

Agree about the feminists.

Steven said...

I wouldn't discount the possibility it could be socially destructive and psychologically harmful; maybe that's the conservative in me.

John Craig said...

Steven --
Think both the Left and traditional (especially religious) conservatives could find reasons to disapprove.

Steven said...

If you could make sexbots that looked real and conversed with you, you could basically make a terminator.

Also, anyone considered that there would be male ones too. Women like vibrators, so they might like sexbots.

John Craig said...

Steven --
Ha, hadn't thought of that but yes, sexbots would essentially be similar. Except as I recall Arnold himself was supposed to have ben living flesh on top of a machine. sexbots won't be that.

Yes, I mentioned sexbots for women a couple of times in the next post.

Steven said...

I can't really see any other way to make the skin realistic. Its possibly to grow meat in the lab so... looked it up, apparently skin has been grown in the lab but not organs.

John Craig said...

Steven --
If they actually grew skin in a lab, it would have to be under ideal conditions, and it would have to be given some sort of nutrition and blood supply to feed it and keep it healthy. Skin is living, breathing organ; there's no way it would survive when put on a machine, and I can't imagine anyway they're planning on making sexbots with it.

Anonymous said...

"Also, don't feminists believe that what goes on behind closed doors is no one else's business, and that the government shouldn't poke its nose into anyone else's bedroom?"

Not at all! Feminism started as a noble quest for genuine equality of the sexes but, now that that's pretty much been achieved in the West, it's turned into mission creep. Contemporary feminists are narcissists who use "misogyny" as an explanation for why they failed to achieve anything in life. Try debating a feminist and she will show you all the classic signs of narcissism - defensiveness, haughtiness, a lack of empathy, never apologising, etc.

No, feminists love the idea of a totalitarian government regulating everyone's sex lives and preventing anyone from having body modifications (read anything by Sheila Jeffreys if you don't believe me). Feminists and sex workers are the biggest enemies. Sex workers see prostitution as a way of earning a lot more than the minimum wage they'd otherwise be confined to. Feminists think sex workers are traitors to the female sex. Sheila Jeffreys said that any woman achieving orgasm with a man is "colluding with her own oppression". Feminists are forever calling for the criminalisation of prositution, cosmetic surgeries, pornography, etc. They're against due process for rape defendants, some arguing that defendants should be imprisoned on a woman's word alone, with no police investigation or trial at all.

- Gethin

John Craig said...

Gethin --
"Mission creep" -- well put. I wasn't seriously suggesting that I think that's what feminism stands for with that statement, by the way, I was merely trying to point out their hypocrisy.

Couldn't agree with yo more about what feminism has turned into. Those are great examples, especially the bit about some of them wanting to get rid of due process. They're the extreme long end of the movement, but nonetheless, you can always tell something about a movement from its vanguard.