The primary assumption of radical identity feminism is that womankind just doesn’t need men.
The revolution in, for lack of a better term, “sex robots”, might promise to flip that assumption on its head; men might just as well do without women:
The average single man paying attention to contemporary social fashions will struggle to understand the new rules of meeting, courting, or having sex with women. Something as banal as trying to converse with a woman wearing headphones is now often considered harassment. A man’s chances of mating success increase when he approaches many women, but so too do his chances of a gaining reputation as sexist, exploitative, or immoral. To take a fraught example, how does a man know that a woman is genuinely consenting to sex? A lack of ability to pick up on cues can incur catastrophic costs.
Men high in conscientiousness, who are sensitive to social disapproval but who nonetheless have difficulty reading subtle social cues, could make good husbands for women. These men are unlikely to want to take the risk of approaching women. As substitutes like sex robots and virtual companions become better and cheaper, they will monopolize the attention of such men.
Think of an introverted engineer with Asperger’s syndrome who wasn’t sure how to broach a conversation with a woman back in 2015 and definitely isn’t sure how to do that in today’s climate. In 10 years he could have a beautiful robot companion (indeed, he could have one that could emulate the experience of having sex with dozens of different women) that has a lower barrier to entry than the mating market and that keeps him satisfied enough to remain a happy bachelor. Some woman misses out on a conscientious guy with a good income who might not know exactly how to respond when she says “nothing’s wrong,” but will definitely keep the cars tuned up to get the kids to their mathematics championships. The world might miss out on his sons and daughters and their analytical approaches to some of the world’s problems.
I’m always going to prefer the real thing, speaking for myself – but the fact that this spectre makes all the right people feel panicky…:
Plus: “Underpinning feminist anxiety is the specter of female replaceability. Having long been concerned with governing male desire, the feminist project now faces the possibility of being routed around. Men can build alternatives to a sexual market that has been made less navigable because of ideology. Substitutes are built and bargaining power dissipates. Sex robots are to gender politics as scabs are to labor relations.”
…makes me smile.