Sex Robots, Porn and Rape Culture

The City of Houston is seeking, by ordinance, to bar sex robot brothels. Yes, you read that right. A company that sells sex dolls wants to offer a rent-before-you buy option and the city council and mayor will vote tomorrow on that idea.

Sex dolls are creepy looking. Scarier than clowns. Why? Because they represent some horrifying objectification of women. Think I am overreacting by clutching my pearls? Well, perhaps my viewpoint is influenced by the following:

  • having a group of boys grab my behind while laughing as I tried to make my way down the hall in a Colonial Williamsburg costume dress ahead of a class history project performance.
  • having my breast grabbed by a man who was walking in a group in the opposite direction as me on a city street and then having a cop who witnessed this event shrug his shoulders
  • experienced, shall we say, a bad date (I am not comfortable sharing this story at this time; I will note that I was in a ball gown and in a consensual act, I remove clothing). Anyway, this kind of list goes on and one. See the #WhyIDidntReport thread on Twitter for more.

Similarly, porn grosses me out. It too portrays women as vessels, much like a sex doll. The first time I saw a porno scene, I winced because the woman looked really uncomfortable, especially the way her breasts were shaking. It was horrible.What amazes me is how porn is a multi-billion-dollar industry. Look around where you shop; in Houston, you are likely to see brothels disguised as spas. These brothels have real-live humans, who may be the victims of sex trafficking. Demand is high, but how any john finds this scenario appealing, I don’t know. (For more information on sex trafficking in Houston, see Elijah Rising.)

The connection between porn and rape culture is clear to me. Inform young men that females are sexual objects. Portray men dominating females in porn. Does this point of view make me a prude? Nope. It makes me someone who thinks sex should be a private matter between two consenting adults.

It should not be confused with violent acts, such as a man forcing himself on someone. Or, someone simulating a sex act with a doll (you need help). Or, grabbing women or girls’ private parts on the street, in school, in a club, at the office, etc. You cannot vote in for president of the United States a man who boasted of grabbing women by the [expletive], mock the woman who testified against a nominee to the Supreme Court (which he certainly did not do; Kavanaugh spoke with respect regarding his accuser, reserving his anger for certain senators), and then deny rape culture exists.

It is a very real, not imagined, experience for many women and girls. The only way to change that culture is to see it for what it really is: license to harm. Instead, teach to love.