We are familiar with the harmless, misunderstood recluse trope often associated with men who buy sex dolls or robots (see: 2007 Ryan Gosling film, Lars and the Real Girl). But anyone who has visited a pro-sex doll/robot forum will quickly realise that in reality it’s not all as harmless as the movies might make it appear.
Best of all, the doll is probably not going to change her mind the next day and decide that you raped her.
NO BIO-WIFE WILL EVER BE THAT LOYAL.
… Ain’t gonna Aziz #metoo me now bitch.
In sex doll forums of Reddit and 4chan, and the chat rooms of some retailers, sex dolls and robots are brandished as totems of a new movement that bridges the gap between alt-right, right-leaning incels and male-rights communities. In this gap, women are known as “biocunts” and “feminazis” who fear sexbots will make them “obsolete”, and men are free to peacock new forms of “toxic masculinity” that are evolving as quickly as the technology they are having intercourse with.
“You take the blue pill — the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill — you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”
These two sentences from The Matrix have become engrained in the ideology of these (and many other) online forums. In pro-sex doll forums, “Chads” (alpha males) and “normies” are men who have taken the blue pill, as are “white knights” and “gender traitors” – any man who calls out the sexism bandied about by the majority of users. The story goes that “blue pillers” aren’t brave enough to swallow the red pill of “brutal truth” often consumed by the alt-right, or the more fatalistic “black pill” synonymous with incels. Regardless of whether the men have taken the red or the black pill, most identify as “beta” males, and put their lack of luck with women down to that identifier, rather than their sexist and racist tendencies.
Feminist campaigns such as the #metoo movement against sexual harassment have swept the world in recent years, often harnessing technology to their advantage. But under the veil of anonymity, some men are using sex dolls as the plastic face of a vicious blacklash to #metoo. On one Reddit forum, the user Mgtow_man2 described his sex doll, before declaring: “Hey guess what #metoo, I have unleashed all my toxic masculinity on my supermodel feeling doll with no consequence. I ‘rape’ her whenever I feel like it and no going to court for me.”
The anonymous Reddit users are encouraged to treat sex dolls as a conduit for their vitriol by the likes of alt-right mouthpiece, Milo Yiannopoulos. In an article about sex dolls for Breitbart back in 2015, he wrote: “Another reason men might be enthusiastic about female-free sex is obvious: the sociopathic, man-hating feminism we see so much of on television and in our newspapers today is turning men off dealing with women altogether.”
Because there are women asking for equality, there must be keyboard warriors to protect men from “gynocentric” societies. And one way they are trying to get back their perceived loss of agency is by owning a sex doll that they can do anything to, another is through a movement called “Men Going Their Own Way” (MGTOW), which is often referenced on these forums. The MGTOW movement, as it is now known, has been around for the last five or so years, but the website claims that Plato, Leonardo Da Vinci, and many other unwitting, unmarried (mostly dead) men would have been members if they had had an internet connection – “even Jesus Christ”.
According to the MGTOW website, “MGTOW is not as old as fire, but it’s as old as a man’s first discovery of it … Fire always exists – even when you can’t see it – and it only takes a spark or a bolt of lightning to ignite a blaze …If MGTOW is fire, then perhaps feminism is gasoline.” MGTOW proclaims it is a “statement of self-ownership, where the modern man preserves and protects his own sovereignty above all else”. Where men “vow to stay away from women, stop dating and not have children”.
When asked about the evolving role of sex dolls in men’s lives, the CEO of Dolls Club, one of the biggest sex doll retailers in Europe, echoed this sentiment, telling me that “due to the ever-faster society and loneliness of not only older people, but also younger ones, it is of course possible that some people distance themselves too much from their family or no longer want to found one, because they get everything they need from the sex doll to be happy”. Similarly Chevrier Sebastien from retailer Silicone Sexy Doll said: “For women, today’s dolls and the ones in the future won’t be a replacement, but for some men, maybe they would be.”
Something that frequently comes up when discussing sex dolls, mentioned by both Yiannopoulos and the Reddit users, is the dildo argument. Women have dildos and vibrators, the argument goes, therefore men should have fully automated, life-sized, AI-incorporated sex dolls with 42 nipple colours like the “intelligent” American export, Harmony, which retails at around £7,500. The difference being: when women say a dildo or a vibrator replaces a guy, they say it in jest. They aren’t literally, physically trying to replace men (if they were, dildos would come in more disappointing sizes).
One problem with spending a lot of time “down the rabbit hole” is that porn is obviously everywhere, so down there everyone is at it like rabbits. This is, ostensibly, innocuous. But when you don’t interact with reality this can make it seem like everyone everywhere is at it like rabbits – except for you. As Amelia Tait’s reporting on alt-right misogynists reveals, feelings of rejection often turn into a sense of injustice and frustration, which deteriorates further into hate.
This aggression often wants an outlet, as was illustrated by the fate of the Samantha sex robot displayed at the Linz’s Arts Electronica Festival convention in September last year. The level of aggression men subjected the doll to left it badly damaged, “heavily soiled” and in need of extensive repairs. And there is no evidence to suggest that just because it was a doll that was victim to this treatment, “real” women are any safer. Worryingly, much of the language around sex doll forums revolves around the idea of consumption, where everything from love, to sex and procreation is a quantifiable, consumable resource, for purchase or for sale. Men rate themselves as per their Sexual Market Value or “SMV”. Purchases of sex dolls and robots are rationalised against the price of divorce settlements, of child support or engagement rings. Love – or “the oxytocin effect” – is little more than a costly inconvenience you must get out of your system and free yourself from.
Many of the men on the sex doll forums can be followed to the MGTOW forums and vice versa, and some of these men can then be followed into fascist forums. As a result, sex doll forums often serve as a warren for racism and anti-Semitism, where racial slurs are thrown around like hot potatoes. To these (predominantly – but not entirely – white, Western) men, the sex doll/robot can be used as either an answer to population control for “blacks, Hispanics, and Southeast Asians that are breeding like rats”, or to fuel crazed new conspiracy theories regarding immigration.
… Which countries do you think will be able to afford the sex robots? Western ones. While we’re all busy fucking slabs of plastic those dirty dang foreigners will be breeding like crazy, birthing whole ARMIES to conquer us.
Does this bot-related rhetoric pose any danger outside of the rabbit hole, and if so, what can be done about it? Author and social critic, Minna Salami, whose writings have explored the ethics of sex robots says, “We wouldn’t go on to Breitbart and start trying to convince people to not be racist, like we’re not going to be able to convince people not to rape their dolls.” Rather, she suggests, campaigners should consider how the dolls are created and how they react. “There is an urgency for these moral and ethical conversations because that’s where we can still have some chance of shaping what this technology will produce.”
It seems that with every advancement made by humankind there is a regression of some sort, and that can be pretty scary to watch. Sexism and racism are mutating with new technologies, “almost like a monster growing a new head,” Salami says, and it is important that we are aware of this, and do not underestimate the potential danger posed by that monster. But it is equally important that we do not give these people too much credence, as “outrage culture” is a big motivating factor for the men on these Reddit forums, and being demonised is exactly what the monster feeds off. So, to avoid playing into their hands, we must not lose our sense of the ridiculous entirely.
Vagina comes out easily and can just through [sic] it in the dishwasher if you want … and it comes with an extra one.