Robots, Gender Roles, and You.



Howdy folks, Myriad of Nocturnes here. I’m thinking of starting a series of posts where I bitch about shit that really grinds my proverbial gears. So, being the bonafide robot lover that I am, I thought I’d start us off with something that really just seems lazy to me. 

Robots, Gender Roles, and You. 

Credential wise, I’m a Transformers fan, Gundam fan, and fan of pretty much every robot focused franchise you could care to name. I love pretty much every sort of robot design, but there is one in particular that really annoys me. 

You’ve all seen the content, i’m sure. A big, hulking inhuman (but masculine coded) robot with all sorts of deadly implements of war, death, and what have you….who shares a setting with a robot with ‘feminine’ coding who looks like a shrink wrapped supermodel. 

It’s cowardly, if you ask me. People feel the need to assign some sort of humanity to their robot, rather than allowing it to be a robot. Why does your robot have to conform to hetero-normative gender roles? Why are all of your lady robots running around looking like human women with fancy helmets? Why does a robot have to act in a manner consistent with the way people act? 

Ya’ll often share posts about making monster girls more monstrous. I just passed one today that called for people to give their orc women fangs, tusks, scars, and muscles. 

I say let your robots of any gender coding have multiple arms, inhuman features, and alien thought processes. Be creative! Let your robot be any gender it desires. If you want your robot to be feminine in some manner, let it, but don’t show us that it’s feminine by giving it big anime titties. 

That’s just lazy.

@bikiniarmorbattledamage Seems relevant even though you usually don’t do robots.

We talk a lot about suspicious dimorphism among design of living creatures, but when this trope regards robots, it’s a special case. There’s no “they’re just naturally like that” Thermian argument to juggle. Instead, there might be the “Don’t blame us for how that fictional robot looks, blame its equally fictional creator!” variation of the agency argument.

@femfreq has an old episode regarding the inherent sociological problem with sexualizing female-coded robots: 

The video focuses exclusively on gynoids in advertising, so doesn’t really touch on the even bigger problem in various science fiction and similar media.

Popular media tends to assume a robot, an artificial (not always sentient) being should either be coded male or assumed male in absence of gender signifiers. A female-coded robot is generally requires a “good” justification to look like a lady – usually some combination of being seen as subservient, providing fanservice or the Smurfette Principle. 
Thus making them look feminine is a bigger priority than taking advantage of the fact that robots can look like whatever – that privilege is reserved to machines which are male by default.

That leads me to quite a bold conclusion that Orisa is by far the best female playable character design in Overwatch – bearing very little gender signifiers (particularly compared to all the human women in the game) and having silhouette that is both very bulky and not entirely humanoid.


Now only if Blizzard applied the same priorities of defying the Law of Disparate Stylization to humans as they did to Omnics…


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