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Kara, The Female Robot

on April 1, 2012

How Offensive. I thought that the Kara video was so insulting to ALL women.  But what is even more enraging about the video is that subjugated female robots (or enslaved women in general) who are at the will of the domineering man in control,  is such a common theme.  Though the graphics in this video were great, I vehemently did not like the themes in it.  First of all, one of the themes that I got from this video is that women are replaceable, not by another woman or a man, but by a machine.  Some of the ways that I came to this conclusion was because Kara seemed to possess the ideal female characteristics.  For example, not only was Kara docile, but she seemed to be programmed to be okay with doing the household/ domestic chores around the house and to be used for sexual purposes.  Is this the way men view women?  Are such characteristics the only positive things about women?  Are human women so futile, expendable and ineffectual that men feel entitled to substitute females with a replica that comes custom made with ideal attributes?

The other reason I found this video very degrading to women was because it depicted the idea of women’s dependence on men.  For example, Kara’s literal existence is dependent on the male operator. In addition to that is the idea that only when Kara agrees to be compliant, not to complain and not to cause any problems does the operator consider putting her on the shelf.  Furthermore, one must not forget that Kara is a product which implies the idea that women can be bought and sold.

But the main reason that this video is so bothersome, is the fact that, as someone mentioned in class, the subject matter of this video is nothing new.  The theme of a female robot, who comes fully prepared with ideal features, who can by bought and sold and is more or less compliant and dependent on men, is a topic that we have seen before.  I just wait for the day when male robots, who take orders from women and are there to please the every need of a woman, becomes a common theme.


3 responses to “Kara, The Female Robot

  1. I just wait for the day when male robots, who take orders from women and are there to please the every need of a woman, becomes a common theme.

    And herein lies the problem. As a woman, who or what are you waiting for? Is simple turnabout really what you are after? You have clearly stated problems about the attitudes behind the Kara tech demo video, and yet you conclude by hoping for a reversal of the wheel’s direction.

    How are you then different from the men that are doing the oppressing (both virtual and actual)? Perhaps you feel that exploitation is a human right that should be extended to everyone? Or is there perhaps something completely different that could emerge if these technologies were used in non-sexist ways and to tell stories that aren’t sexist at their core.

    I think all your observations were passionate and spot on. But the real question is: given access to these resources of visualization, storytelling and distribution, what would you really want to say?

    • younghea says:

      I have no idea what I would do if I had those resources, but i think guys should see how negatively women are portrayed in the media and now i guess in technology. Maybe some guys don’t even realize that their doing it, but when women, like Kara, are portrayed in such a way, these images work to keep women submissive and in their place. Furthermore, why is siri a girl and not a guys voice?

      • Hm. Well. Too bad for women in the 21st century I guess. So long as women don’t know what they’d do with such resources, men will keep doing what they do… which is a problem because it perpetuates the stereotypes and the same old story structures from one generation to the next.

        Now, on another hand, I don’t think you’d assert that this tech demo “keeps you in your place,” right? Or is it more symbolic?

        Siri is a female voice because all the psychological testing done on Americans says that we want our robots female… for exactly the reasons we’re discussing here. Most American GPS voices are female.

        This is apparently a cultural thing, because German GPS systems use male voices (apparently, drivers don’t like to hear orders from women).

        However, this being the virtual age, you can easily change Siri’s voice to that of a man by adjusting the phone’s settings.

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