Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ever Expanding Margins of Sex, Regulation and Social Control

Last night I saw a new Svedka vodka commercial that reminded me of this review I wrote for a class titled "Love for Sale:  Intimate Labors and the Commodification of Care." It was by far one of my favorites at University of Georgia.  I've mentally revisted the subject each time I see these commercials as well as upon hearing the great fanfare surrounding the paranormal or S&M literary boom.  I find it interesting that there is such opposition to homosexual sex yet marginal sex is being embraced.  One need look no further than the sales figures of the "Twilight" series, the "Fifty Shades" series or Margaret Atwood's "Maddadam" series.  In a constantly changing world, who will be in charge of regulating sex when multitudes of previously unknown possibilities  present themselves?

Ever Expanding Margins

In chapter seven of Phoenix and Oerton’s book, "Transgressive and Digital Sex: margins, edges, and limitless victims," attention is drawn to the ever expanding margins of sex and sexuality. Beginning with what they refer to as “edgy” sex (bestiality, necrophilia, and vampire sex), they draw attention to new frontiers in digital sex. Oftentimes, in “regard to digital sex, these concerns often get collapsed onto issues of where to draw the lines around what might be deemed ‘child’ pornography” (170). Phoenix and Oerton provoke further thought to encompass a changing technological landscape.

When looking to apply the labels of “victims” and “perpetrators” we now need to look beyond “real” humans to “non-human[s], sub-human[s], and post-human[s]” (172). It is not too far of a stretch to think of future parameters on sex with robots. While a robot is not a “real” human, they may mimic one quite well. If incorporated with complex decision making software, it could be argued that the robot can give “consent” for sex. Or for that matter be programmed to “sexually attack”. Robots could therefore be labeled as “victims” or “perpetrators.”

Applying the above photo to this piece, one can see a possible future with endless new options regarding sex and sexuality. While the first picture states a possible stem cell baby boom, one imagines a future of sex outside of reproductive purposes. The middle picture is all women (“real” and robotic) and can lead one to think of new sexualities added to the spectrum, i.e. lesbian robots, hermaphroditic robots, post-humanist lesbians, etc.  The final photo can be applied to the discourse of plastic surgery and feminism. The topic may be expanded into discrimination of women who have plastic surgery because they may not fit in to what may become a new binary of “woman” or “robot.”