Wajcman Chapter 3&4

With the innovation of the internet, a new found sense of community connectivity and social capital is enhanced. Although it is argued that with the introduction of the television families began to enclose themselves indoors and disconnect with the outside world, reeking havoc on the unlimited sociality of public life. Even with the possibility of unlimited choices and freedoms across the Internet many scholars and particularly feminists have expressed their concern regarding the way women are still controlled under the realms of virtual reality, and whether the internet can break away from the original patriarchal (white males – pornography) feelings to include all diversities (women). Cyberfeminists view the internet as a positive innovation for the woman-machine relationship, with the ability to empower women in our male dominated world in which technology once strictly benefitted. Wajcman also reviews the idea of virtual gender through texts by Plant, claiming that cyberfeminism has an optimistic view of the future role of women based on identity, empowerment, agency and pleasure. Wajcman believes there is a tension between a feminine vision of cyberspace and its definition as a privileged space – that is, the metaphor of cyberfeminism articulated as an alternative to the construction of female identities. Further questioning cyberfeminism’s potential to change gender relations in a virtual world.

Ch 3&4 Definitions:

The Network Society – Internet is the technological basis for a new form of society (p.60).

Network Individualism (communities of choice) – social pattern, not a collection of isolated people/ people build their realities online and offline based on their morals, personal values and interests (p.60)

Internet – creates ‘real virtuality’/ replacing standard foundations with virtual and changeable environments

Castall’s four-layers of the Internet – a) techno meritocratic culture b) hacker culture c) virtual communitarian culture d) entrepreneurial culture

Shaw-Garlock Article: Erotic Automata and Love Dolls

For centuries the concept of men’s surrogates has transformed the sex toy industry from perfected sculpted women to life like plastic blow up dolls. Shaw-Garlock explores the historical developments of the “female machine” from the Classical era to modern day sex dolls. Sexual surrogates for men, often take the form of love dolls utilized for sexual pleasure among men were first written about in Japanese literature in the late seventeenth century (formed out of tortoiseshell or leather). The Golden Age of the Automaton (1848-1914) is when erotic mechanisms boomed, with expensive erotic watches, naked mechanical dancers, and sexually explicit clockwork women destined for private showrooms (Shaw-Garlock, p.4). In the later nineteenth century Love dolls were used mostly among sailors while they travelled for long periods of time to foreign lands. The dolls were created close resemblance of a woman’s form and were usually made out of cloth or straw. The concept of “automaton” reflects when the body was being re-imagined as a machine – intelligent machine. Further study is constantly dedicated to creating machines as intelligent
creatures with the ability to learn, be self reflective; and have the capability to express a certain degree of independence – what will they think of next...robot-human interaction?

Come 2020, researchers claim love dolls may actually have artificial intelligence or even artificial consciousness leading to the robo-love-doll relationship. This will inherit complex levels of engagement and desire between human race and those of machinary.

Definitions Shaw-Garlock Article:

Simulation - indicating moments in which conceptual boundaries between human and machine are fluid and thus subject to more examination than the periods immediately preceding (p.2)

doningyo (doll body) - versions of the “azumagata” were of entire female bodies (p.3).

The Silver Dancer – not used for sexual favours in a physical sense, it was created to provide visual erotic entertainment (p.5).

Doll no Mori (Forest of Dolls) – Japanese brothel featuring love dolls rather than human sex trade workers.

DISCUSSION!:

With these alleged artificial innovations, is it the general consensus that the world will benefit from these technologies? What overall affect do we feel AI love dolls will have on the sex tou industry and society in general?

Will men finally be able to fill that void in their life, with the robo-doll? One can only imagine...

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