Friday, March 4, 2016

Femslash Friday: Robots

Today's Femslash Friday extravaganza can be a tricky one.

Fembots are somewhat of a trope in science fiction. Yet, to what extent does sex and gender differentiation tangibly exist for robots? Isn't it primarily something their designers build into them? Can mechanical beings have a sex or a gender?

My short answer: It depends on the 'verse?

Longer answer: When fembots exist in a given 'verse, their relation to male robots sometimes parallels that of how human men relate to the human women: That is, male writers sometimes (often?) create both female human and robot characters in a way that suggests men are the default, women are the deviation.

But sometimes, the robots are badass, nuanced, flawed, awful, cool, assholes, beautiful, and/or awesome. Sometimes, robot characters are written so that they are more human-seeming  and multi-dimensional than some of the human women character roles that exist for many women actors (See also: "A Producer is Tweeting Descriptions of Women from Movie Scripts and It's Hilariously Awful.")

1) Women of Battlestar Galactica  (BSG)

Battlestar Galactica is, for me, legit one of the most thought-provoking series I've ever seen. With three complete watch-throughs, I always find new threads and questions to turn around in my head. I see some of the characters slightly (and sometimes even much) differently on second and third viewings. Admiral Helena Cain, for instance, went from hard-core, unredeemable to, well....  life was complicated after the Cylon attack.

The humanoid Clyons - D'Anna Biers (Lucy Lawless), Six (Tricia Helfer), Sharon Valerii/Agathon (Grace Park), Tory Foster (Rheka Sharma), Ellen Tigh (Kate Vernon) - had conflicting loyalties among each other, the Cylons, the humans, and even among themselves.

Unlike series such as (*looks around nervously*) Lord of the Rings, that has a clear-cut villain who must be stopped by the readily-identified hero at all costs, BSG suggests that good and evil is not always clear cut.  The cylons are an enemy to humans, but individual cylons have shifting loyalties to the humans, the cylons, and even themselves.

But here I am, not talking about femslash. On that note:

Pairings: D'Anna/Caprica Six (with Gauis Baltar nowhere in sight); Sharon "Boomer" Valerii/Starbuck. And, okay, if you insist: Ellen/President Roslin (for the power couple status).

2) Android (aka - the Zobot) - Dark Matter

Admittedly, I would watch Zoie Palmer in anything. In some ways, her portrayal of Android in Dark Matter seems a bit of an extension of the nerdy Lauren Lewis (Lost Girl).

And also, in one already-classic (for me anyway) episode Ruby Rose guest stars as an "Entertainment Model" (*eyeroll*) robot. While that veers into fembot territory ALERT ALERT ALERT, what it also means is that Zoie Palmer and Ruby Rose are both robots. Together. In the same episode. This is not a drill! Gleep Glorp.

In the episode, Rose plays a robot named Wendy. She is sexy, cooks really good food, has a cute accent, and has a variety of skills useful to the crew. So, naturally, Android gets jealous of the crew's attention to Wendy, leading to a character development arc for Android in which she realizes she might either have (a) human-like feelings, or (b) a software flaw.

Did I mention that the Zobot is adorable? She is. Watch a clip, here, and see for yourself.

Pairing: Zobot/Wendy. Obvs.

3) GLaDOS (Portal)

I have to admit, GLaDOS scared the piss out of me during my first play-through of Portal.

Like, you know when you're playing at first, and you're all, "Well, this is a nice-yet-challenging  little puzzle game?" But, then you do some side exploring around the different levels and you literally start to see disturbing writing on the wall ("The cake is a lie!") and then GLaDOS' robot quotes keep getting meaner and creepier?

GLaDOS [to you]: Have I lied to you?
GLaDOS: I mean, in this room? 

But, also, if you squint, maybe it's kind of ..... (*looks around nervously again*)....... sexy?

Pairing: GLaDOS/Companion Cube

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