Sex Robots Don’t Have to be Bad. Yet They Always Are

Male tech innovators can’t stop innovating ways to violate women.

The latest comes from sex robot company True Companion, which claims to manufacture the world’s first sex robot. They’ve come under fire for their “Frigid Farrah” personality, which has been called simulated rape. If you touch her “in a private area, more than likely, she will not be appreciative.”

Frigid Farrah’s name and her personality settings are offensive and creepy. True Companion published an “apology” letter to consumers after Laura Bates’s excoriating op-ed in The New York Times. But the most the company could muster was a half-baked endorsement: “We understand and support the sentiment expressed, which is that rape is never an activity that should be supported or encouraged.” A weirdly robotic statement from a weird robotic company.

All that said, Farrah is not a uniquely offensive part of True Companion.

Everything about the company is nauseating. A quick perusal of their FAQs proves that. From her “young girl’s voice” to her being “always willing to talk or play,” or the question “can you provide details of her orifices and their functionality? How they’re to be used?” Though to that last one: if only more men asked how women how their orifices should be used.

Even their attempts at gender equality with Rocky, the male robot and Rocky Horror copyright infringement lawsuit waiting to happen, fall short. The images on his own page don’t work, he doesn’t have his own sex crime function and he only has two tiny paragraphs buried in the “about” page with no link to buy. “He also waits for you to finish before he calls it a night!” Like they realize how disgusting they are so they’re throwing feminism a bone by announcing Joseph/Johnny/James/Jack/Jeremy twiddles his thumbs while you ferociously flick your bean so he can pass out and snore in your ear. Rocky is an attempt to appease feminist critics but he’s somehow even less genuine than True Companion’s apology letter.

It’s easy to demonize new technologies with generic appeals to the human soul and doing so absolves real people of wrongdoing. Sex robots are neither good nor evil and I’m not about to start victim-blaming Frigid Farrah.

The men who develop and market Farrah and her robotic compatriots are the problem. Even at their best, they’re creepy as hell. At worst, they promote male sexual entitlement and the violence it produces.

Reading about Farrah, Wendy, Susan, Yoko and Martha just bums me out.