a message from talythiastarseeker
oh gurl, you sure know the way to my heart!
Talkin ‘bout robot ladies is where my feminism and the transhumanist in me have a filthy threeway with my past as an english major and the result is a bloated self-indulgent word baby. Wow that is a weird metaphor, let’s all agree to ignore that and move on to these, my favourite female synthetic beings:
- GLaDOS from the Portal series - oh man do I ever love GLaDOS. She is so cold and passive aggressive and manipulative and unintentionally hilarious. Literally my favourite thing about her is that she is a liar. She lies CONSTANTLY and it is THE BEST because at first you don’t realize she’s lying to you, you don’t even realize she’s anything other than an automated voice, but then her lies get more sinister and you start to realize the extent of her manipulations. And she doesn’t just manipulate you (well, Chell, but same diff) because it’s necessary to get you to keep testing, often she tells lies just to fuck with you. She just likes to fuck with your head, and that fact is so surprising and unexpected that it manages to be straight-up DELIGHTFUL. Lying and manipulation are her only real means of control. And then in the second game her manipulations are motivated more by revenge/spite, but the reveal about her formerly being Caroline adds yet another layer to her, and I could go on and on and ON about her arc throughout the second game and her relationship with Chell but I will restrain myself. GLaDOS is the villain (the most perfect villain of all time!!) but she is by no means evil. She was just programmed that way.
- Rachael and Pris from Blade Runner - Blade Runner is one of my favourite sci fi movies, but woooow do the female replicants have a bummer of a time. Both Rachael and Pris are so tragic. Neither of them have ever had control over any part of their lives, and when they do gain some measure of control they are so lost that they immediately find someone who can tell them what to do. For Pris that person is Roy, but Rachael has no one to turn to but Deckard. She is part of a system that is so adept at stripping her autonomy away that she literally cannot handle having power over her own life and her own choices so she finds Deckard and gives that power to him. Aaaand I think we all remember what happens then. :( This movie is not exactly happy but it is a really awesome examination of the consequences of social control, particularly as it applies to women.
- Number Six from Battlestar Galactica - primarily Caprica Six, but I love basically all iterations of Six. Actually I really like all the Cylons (BSG was great at creating complex and three dimensional antagonists, that’s for damn sure), but Six is my favourite. I mean yeah, she is basically responsible for genocide. But she is also heartbroken and isolated and trying to figure out which parts of her are real. Man, I’m due for a re-watch of this show.
- Major Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell - I’ve written like 700 words on this before, but my favourite thing about Motoko is how she resolves her identity crisis: she doesn’t know who she is, so decides to make herself into something totally new. I really really love that she (the movie version of her anyways) isn’t sexualized—which is SUPER RARE for literally all cyborg/robot women—but is really brawny and has a fairly masculine face, and then in the end becomes a completely androgynous transcended being. The anime version is completely different, but in an equally excellent way; there’s (kind of, the metaphysics gets dense) less of a Cartesian mind/body duality in the show, and the Major specifically says she inhabits the body she does because she likes being female, because that specific model lines up with her innate sense of self. Her feminine exterior is a reflection of her feminine interior, and that’s not biological determinism, it’s a very specific choice she has made. In both cases Motoko refuses to be defined by outside forces and I love her for it. <3
Wow that is a lot of words. Is it obvious I like talking about fictional ladies? Now you know never to ask me questions (IM KIDDING I LOVE YOUR QUESTIONS TALY MORE QUESTIONS ALWAYS <3).