Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Cyborg Man (a.k.a. the Useful Beefcake)

Like the cyborg woman, the cyborg man also tends to be absurdly hot:
Although it is less commonly addressed than female objectification, male objectification is steadily gaining prominence within the media, with such pop phenomena as Twilight, the Backstreet Boys (if you're in your early 20s), and Justin Bieber.
^^^Gross. Men are not exempt from the capacity to become a product, an object, a mindless somewhat more-solid version of the blow-up doll, wanted for nothing more than his sexiness, his ability to "love," and his companionship. Does any Twilight fan really give a shit that Edward Cullen is entirely one-dimensional? I can't imagine they would. Even if women don't think they want to use men as sex objects, they may want to use men to cuddle with, listen to their problems, and maybe give them cunnilingus for a few hours each evening after she watches True Blood. It's still objectification caught up in fantasy that trickles down to the men you know and love.
It is impossible to not focus somewhat on physical beauty, but the problem arises when we assign unrealistic ideals to both men and to women. While a thin woman may look in the mirror and think "not thin enough," a fit and muscular man may look into a mirror and think "not big enough" or "not cut enough." Whatever. Umm. Crap. That's sort of a side road I don't want to go down, and I'd rather keep talking about cyborgs. And sexual division. Not gonna lie, I'm kind of sick of even thinking about contemporary society's body obsessions. It's boring and lame.
But the objectification of men. What does this do for women? It further separates us from men is what it does. The male cyborg too, must fit a mold as the female cyborg does. In order for him to exercise his supreme intelligence, his cunning, and his physical strength, he must come packaged attractively, as the female cyborg (also usually white with European features), otherwise his superhuman attributes would, to our current cultural mindset, be undermined.
The cyborg has many definitions, but the two that I find myself adhering to the most are: 1. an artificial being made to resemble a human, who is created rather than born, and "expires" rather than dies ("More human than human is our motto" - android production corporation from Blade Runner, based off of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) and 2. a human being who internally, as well as externally relies on technology for personal advancement, life preservation, health benefits, etc.
What I'm really getting at, I suppose, is that the cyborgization of humanity is often further separating men from women. In my own personal construction of feminism, I feel that the only route to equality is an integration of male and female attributes, rather than having a firm binary in place (which we do have, and are immortalizing constantly as is evident by our consumptive habits). To have emotions, thoughts, professions, and bodily ideals that are strictly male and female keeps us apart from one-another, and also gyps us all from aspects of ourselves that may be beautiful and present, but are washed out in society's constructions of what defines male and female.
Still, through all of this, I do not think cyborgization is the problem. The cyborg is a projection of the "natural" human. I think the original human is the problem perpetuating its own fallacies and its polarization of the sexes in construction onto the cyborg (also, sidenote, but a very HUGE sidenote in terms of personal identity and social relevance - what about individuals who do not identify with being male OR female? What about transgendered, transexual, and asexual individuals? I feel like I have sourly neglected these individuals from my arguments, much as contemporary society has, by relegating them to the end of a post, and in a parenthetical no less). Maybe the cyborg can surpass us. Maybe the cyborg can figure out OUR artifice and create an inadvertently more real reality than the one in which we currently believe. Maybe.

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