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Title: Female robots and cyborgs : identity, technology and gender in mainstream cinema
Authors: Borg, Mandy
Keywords: Technology and women
Human body and technology in motion pictures
Sex role in motion pictures
Feminine beauty (Aesthetics)
Issue Date: 2018
Citation: Borg, M. (2018). Female robots and cyborgs : identity, technology and gender in mainstream cinema (Master's dissertation).
Abstract: The rapid advancement in the technological industry, including the creation of Artificial Intelligence and human augmentation, is altering the relationship between humans and technology. This manipulation of the natural world is transgressing the boundaries between flesh and metal, which is in turn changing the way we perceive human identity and the structure of society. Technology thus has the potential to have a profound effect on the way we regard each other as men and women, providing a possible vehicle for the dissolution of gender binaries. Nonetheless, technology often constructs womanhood in ways which proclaim common gender tropes. This is particularly evident in the production and use of real life sex robots currently on the market, the large majority of which are gendered female, and in the representations of female robots and cyborgs on screen. These female-gendered technological objects are often made to represent an "ideal" woman – one that is passive, highly-sexualised and easily objectified. This reflects the way we perceive women in real life and continues to reinforce these perceptions. The idealisation of female bodies, despite not being a recent phenomenon, is now reaching new heights because of the possibility of designing the ideal woman according to one‟s tastes. This dissertation analyses the way that female robots and cyborgs are represented in contemporary science fiction and how this reflects contemporary cultural anxieties about gender. It uses film as representative of the relationship between technology and gender, focusing on the way female mechanical characters are presented in Ex-Machina (2015) and Ghost in the Shell (2017). Drawing on the theories of Donna Haraway, Naomi Wolf, N. Katherine Hayles, Marshall McLuhan and Laura Mulvey, this dissertation argues that the robot is a manifestation of the objectification of women in society. The representation of female cyborgs and robotic characters in these films stages a struggle between the liberation of fixed gender constructions and the reinforcement of gender stereotypes. While film can represent efforts to liberate women from patriarchal conventions, it often also plays into the stereotype of passive, objectified women. This dissertation thus draws upon the analyses of cinematic representations to make the case that the way identity, gender and technology are represented in mainstream cinema, not only reflect how we perceive gender, but also how we could think of it in the future.
Description: M.A.ENGLISH
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacArt - 2018
Dissertations - FacArtEng - 2018

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