Wednesday, April 18, 2007


The New York Times has an interesting article on the rise of the Fembots, or as writer Daphne Merkin describes them: "Android Beauties."

Android Beauties are gorgeous women that seem to have nothing whatsoever in common with the rest of the human race. Women who are so polished and tall and blank that surely they were churned out from a factory somewhere on the backside of the Gamma Quadrant.

"The Platonic ideal of beauty is now as it never was: more humanoid than human, more the product of an art director’s digitalized pastiche of desirable features than a naturally occurring phenomenon," says Ms. Merkin.

In other words, cylons.

Cyborgs. Fembots.

The Fembots seem to get taller, and thinner, and smoother, while their eyes and lips and heads get bigger and bigger and their expressions get more and more vacant. They look like they were not born, but extruded. They seem to be from an entirely different species than the average lady you see on the street.

And they are horrifically juvenile. Child-like in their vacancy (though what healthy happy child looks vacant?), the Fembots have appropriated the visual cues of infancy--the big head, the big eyes, the round pouty mouth and grafted them onto attenuated adult female bodies. A mixed message indeed, and one which I shall let Ms. Merkin explain further, as she has done so far more fluently than I could.

Now, I'm all for the artifice of fashion and the fashion of artifice, but I do find Fembots to be pretty scary. Sure, they appear powerful, but it's a Terminator sort of power, the kind that crushes all before it. You might want a Fembot for a girl-friend, but I'm not sure you'd want one for a mother. The Fembots make the Robot-Maria from Metropolis seem downright cozy.

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