Athena Talks
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Athena Talks

No, sex dolls aren’t going to end rape

They antagonise the worst attitudes towards women

I’m not just saying this because I find them creepy.

I read something incredibly unnerving the other day. Someone had written an article about a sex robot being ‘molested’ at a tech fair. I don’t really know where to begin on this one. As a biological anthropology student, this is particularly disturbing alongside my research and behavioural data.

Shall we begin the lecture? I’ll put it in short points and try to avoid hardcore jargon so it is easier to get the jist.

Is this what ‘woman’ is?
  1. You can’t ‘molest’ an inanimate object. Using that language belittles and desensifies the psychological and physical distress of real women who have been or are being groped or harassed. Which brings us to…
  2. Men making the ethical connection between a doll and a human being. The understanding and association of a living woman as a piece of silicon is disturbing. Giving it names, complaining about ‘hurting’ ‘her’ and even giving her personality traits is pygmalion to the point I would advice you to see a psychiatrist. Your relationship with women being one where you have to create, completely control and own one illustrate deep level dehumanisation.
  3. Ownership of a ‘woman’, even in the form of AI or modeled mannequins. I’ve written on and researched the objectification of women and again and again, we see men who desire to have complete control over a woman demonstrate a tendency towards sadistic behaviour, homicidal thoughts and behaviours and destructive actions. Violence towards women, and of course murder, leans heavily towards concepts of control and ownership over women and women’s behaviour. Advanced AI only flares up an acceptability in this belief.
  4. Sex (although not orgasm) isn’t about having a perfect partner who you do not have to compromise with or pleasure. Sex is a bonding activity, even in the context of an escort activity. Understanding, concern and empathy for your sexual partner is essential to the act. Mentally making the connection between a woman and something that looks and feels like a woman means that you are consciously making the decision to override these vital elements to a very vulnerable act.
  5. It is extremely damaging to how men percieve women on a wider level than just sex. By the age of about 11, most girls have learnt that there is more to womanhood and femininity than dressing up a doll, putting her in the dollhouse and brushing her hair. Men tend not to have had the processal detachment from a doll at that stage, so reaching adulthood and still feeling an emotional, romantic connection with a doll is damaging to wider attitudes to femininity. Women can say no to you. Dolls can’t. Women can have flaws, anger, emotion, imperfections and a relationship with you. Dolls can’t. These are all essential factors that, when overlooked, can heavily damage gender relations and interactions.
  6. Exploring sadistic behaviours on a doll won’t stop them being carried out on real women. One of the things sadists psychologically ‘get off on’ is the physical pain and emotional distress their subjects (not always victims, important distinction) experience. This cannot be achieved convincingly with an inanimate object, even with AI. Thus, while somewhat being able to relieve sexual frustration, sadist will still seek these activities with living partners. This can surface as homicide, severe GBH and rape. Saying they will ‘end’ the need for sexual attack or gendered homicide is to misunderstand the sexual needs of a sadist.
  7. Replacing women with sex dolls with AI is impossible.Even the most advanced AI won’t be a real woman for the simple reason that it was created to be sexually appealing and in love with you. The process of bonding, forming trust, mutual interests and experiences is overwritten for a bit of silicon immediately saying ‘I love you’ and ‘you are so sexy’ to a balding, dad bodied old man who hasn’t spoken to a woman since 1974. Being able to programme interests, likes and wants fundamentally goes against what a relationship is.
  8. Creating sex dolls of celebrities and women without their consent is obviously dangerous. This creates a fictitious relationship with a human that was not consented to or acknowledged. This could enflame stalking behaviours, obsession and as I have mentioned before, fantasy sadism.
  9. I’m not saying sex dolls should be banned. They’ve existed for thousands of years. I’m simply saying that we should, as psychologists and anthropologists, be more wary of them than we appear to be.
My body should not be appropriated to satisfy sexual fantasies

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Madelaine Lucy Hanson

Madelaine Lucy Hanson

26 year old with an awful lot to say about everything. Opinions entirely my own. Usually. madelaine@madelainehanson.co.uk

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