We all know the creepiness contained in the plot of the movie, The Stepford Wives, where men trade in their human wives for look-alike versions who have been transformed into replicas of women designed to fulfill their every fantasy. Stepford Wives become perfect wives beyond belief, because they’re not human! Therefore, the movie poster would have better represented the movie’s plot by saying, “The husbands of Stepford have a secret.” Their secret? They turned in their human partners for non-human fembots who are designed to please the men in their lives.
How close have we actually come to to this image from science fiction & fantasy actually becoming reality? The internet meme below appears to ask the same question.
While popular culture parades impossibly thin human women in front of us on a continuous basis, their too real, too human bodies might soon be replaced with something even better and more economical than real models–unreal bodies or fembots! Ladies, fembots are threatening to replace us!
In fact, the clothing store, H&M, is moving closer to this reality than we realize! It has turned to fembots for use in its latest ads. These ads superimpose human heads onto mannequins or unreal female bodies. While mannequins are nothing new in the clothing industry, what makes these so disturbing to me are the ramifications they have for real women. As I said earlier, real women are already inundated with standardized images of beauty that show us how we should look, that is, if we buy and use all of the products being peddled. At the same time, even though impossibly thin, size zero, Victoria’s Secret models all have the same anorexic look, they all look different, and therefore, more human than the H&M “models.”
Moreover, the H&M mannequmans are disturbing, because their bodies are all exactly the same. With a little photoshopping to change their skin coloring to match their heads, H&M ends up with fembots meant to represent the rainbow of diversity! But all we end up with is multi-colored fembots……whose…..bodies…..are…..all…..the…..same. Want a different color or a different head? No problem!
The H&M fembots with real human heads plunked on top of fake bodies eerily remind me of the original Stepford Wives movie poster that depicts Katherine Ross’s decapitated head. Her lone head appears to be waiting to be placed on top of that perfect “mannequin body” that will be known as a Stepford wife!!
H&M has received negative press over their decision to forgo real for fembot, but that means little once you realize that fembots appear to be everywhere you look!
For more on the ubiquitous fembot, read Annalee Newlitz’s “The Fembot Mystique” and view a gallery of images at the end of this blog depicting well-known fembots from popular culture.
Here is another critique of fembots by Anita Sarkeesian on Feminist Frequency:
Then there’s Bjork’s lesbian fembot music video to her song, “All Is Love.” Talk about a male fantasy!
Bitch Magazine has a different spin on fembots in an article that analyzes why women imagine themselves as bots.
Heck, even the auto industry is getting in on the trend toward replacing humans with fembots:
What we end up with are robots coded as female with breasts and high heels and curvy bodies. But if robots are not human, then how can they have a gender? And why gender them female at all? What does this say about male-dominated industries that need to peddle their wares using sex to sell, even if it is sexed up fembots?
Just remember what pop singer, Robyn, has to say in her song, “Fembots:” Fembots have feelings too!