Type of Thesis
Dr. Annjeanette Wiese
Dr. Paul Gordon
Dr. Katherine Eggert
As the technology behind androids and other forms of gendered artificial intelligence develops rapidly, it is necessary to investigate how culture imagines the narratives of feminized androids in order to unpack the gendered logic of their aesthetics and narratives. Using representations of android women in the films Ex Machina(2015), Ghost in the Shell(2017), and Blade Runner 2049(2017), this paper will explore the ethics and implications of how femininity manifests in android women, and how their post-human artificiality puts pressure on traditional separations between gender and sex. Utilizing the work of theorists such as Simone de Beauvoir, Donna Haraway, Judith Butler, and Laura Mulvey, this paper will examine the revolutionary potential of androids to reveal the culturally constructed origins of sex and gender. On the other hand, the sexualized and gender-stereotypic narratives, bodies, and representations of android women in these films point towards a culture with deeply restrictive conceptions of femininity. The overwhelmingly male control of android women within these films makes these restrictions and representations particularly problematic. Considering the structural male domination of both the film and robotics industries, the problem of the male gaze controlling the bodies, narratives, and representations of android women also has real-world applicability. While some of these films might be variably self-aware of this misogynistic content, and use their narratives to frame it critically, the ultimate lack of any android women outside male control or strict gender binaries fails to imagine any alternative possibilities and restricts our culture’s imagination of the future.
Bruce, Iona, "Android Women and the Body Electric: Sex and Gender in the Post-Human Worlds of Film" (2018). Undergraduate Honors Theses. 1768.