The Perfect Woman: Scarlett Johansson as a cyborg in ‘Under the Skin’ (2013), ‘Her’ (2013) and ‘Ghost in the Shell’ (2017)
by: Linnéa Saaranen , October 7, 2019
by: Linnéa Saaranen , October 7, 2019
THE ARTIFICIAL WOMAN AND ‘THE MYTH OF PYGMALION’
In recent years, the prevalence of references to artificial intelligence in contemporary art, music and film has flourished. In 2018, Claire Boucher, (also known as ‘Grimes’) released her song We Appreciate Power in which she sings: ‘you are not even alive, if you’re not backed up on a drive’, referencing the idea that brain uploading is the future of humanity. Similarly, many science fiction films from recent years, such as Ghost in the Shell (Rupert Sanders 2017) and Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve 2017) (a follow-up to Ridley Scott’s classic film Blade Runner from 1982), illustrate similar themes pertaining to digital bodies. However, while there is an interest in artificial intelligence in general, there is a more specific fascination with the artificial woman: a character that has been depicted extensively in various cultural contexts throughout history. As Julie Wosk contends: ‘Men have long been fascinated by the idea of creating a simulated woman that miraculously comes alive, a beautiful facsimile female who is the answer to all their dreams and desires.’ (2015: 9) Wosk argues that the origins of this idea derive from the myth of Pygmalion, recounted by the ancient Roman poet Ovid in Metamorphoses. The myth tells the story of a sculptor, Pygmalion, who is dismissive of women because of ‘the numerous defects of character Nature had given the feminine spirit’ (Wosk 2015: 9). Pygmalion creates a sculpture of ‘the perfect woman’ and falls in love with it. Later, he prays to Venus to give him a real woman that looks just like his sculpture. Venus answers by transforming his sculpture into a real woman named Galatea. In similar stories which derive from this myth, women are frequently shaped by men’s fantasies and beliefs about women themselves – their behaviour, characteristics and their (culturally assigned) social roles (Wosk 2015: 9-10).
Additionally, stories about artificial women and other forms of artificial intelligence are often accompanied by an uncanny feeling or a sense of foreboding that technology may pose a threat to the very existence of humanity. An early and notable example of this is Fritz Lang’s dystopian science fiction film Metropolis from 1927 in which an inventor, C.A. Rotwang, creates a machine in the image of a real woman named Maria (whom, incidentally, Rotwang is holding hostage). It is impossible to distinguish between the actual and virtual Marias physically, but the ‘real’ Maria is extremely kind-hearted, whilst her doppelganger is devilishly seductive – and therefore wayward and dangerous. The artificial Maria puts men into a trance with her charm and beauty, which endangers the very basis of society; this is a trope that clearly situates her as representative of technologies that spiral out of control, but it also speaks to the ambivalence with which the female figure on screen is so often encountered (the virgin and the whore being but one absurd dichotomy that film, as an industry, has typically drawn upon). In line with technological development, the fear of new technology has remained prevalent throughout cinematic history. In a society in which technology is constantly evolving, it is no surprise that this evolution is accompanied by growing anxiety regarding over the consequences of technological advancement. A contemporary example might be the continual development of technological weapons (such as drones and robots) to intensify warfare. As Rosi Braidotti states: ‘Posthuman wars breed new forms of inhumanity.’ (2013: 122) However, it is not only new technologies that are portrayed as threatening in films. Other species are often depicted as dangerous whilst, latterly, the female body has been characterised as a threat to mankind – or rather, the centrality of masculinity. This idea of what Barbara Creed calls ‘The Monstrous-Feminine’ and the monstrous female body, portrayed as the cause of evil, is especially visible in the horror genre, of course. Creed argues that ‘when woman is represented as monstrous it is always in relation to her mothering and reproductive functions.’ (1993: 7) Notable examples of films that plays on this notion are Brian De Palma’s Carrie (1976) and Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979).
Science fiction, though more often than not based in fictional diegetic locations is a genre with perennial appeal precisely because of its reflection (and critique) of contemporary societal norms and mores. Famously, in her essay A Cyborg Manifesto, Donna Haraway suggests that ‘the boundary between science fiction and social reality is an optical illusion’ (1991: 149), which serves to illuminate the similarities this genre has with our reality and technological developments therein. Moreover, Haraway suggests that we as humans are cyborgs (1991: 150), given that industrial, technological and pharmacological developments have blurred the distinction between nature and culture. She also argues that ‘The cyborg is a creature in a post-gender world’ (Haraway 1991: 150) and has ‘no origin story in the Western sense’ (Haraway 1991: 150). Therefore, the cyborg and technology more generally can be said, according to Haraway, to challenge the inherent dualism so prevalent in Western philosophical traditions such as culture/nature, male/female, self/other, reality/appearance, whole/part, mind/body; these binaries have been deployed, she argues, to uphold and maintain ‘practices of domination of women, people of colour, nature, workers and animals – in short, domination of all constituted as others’ (Haraway 1991: 177). Science fiction, then, is a fecund medium for addressing these ideas precisely because of its close relationship to and fascination with new and innovative technologies. At its very best, it can generate new ideas and inspire new perspectives on humanity and technology and the implications this sets up for our relationship to the world. However, science fiction narratives that centre on artificial forms of intelligence and coterminous technologies donot always positively or critically address these issues. A cardinal instance of this would be that manifold ways in which patriarchal structures and pernicious gender norms that are so determinate of modern society are all-too-often projected wholesale onto the artificial body without critique. The result is merely the lazy reproduction of the category Woman (more often than not imaged as white, cis and heteronormative). Further, new technologies are now put in service of dematerialising the female body to a disturbing extreme. William Brown argues that: ‘Cinema has likely only ever presented to us technological versions of humans, in that cinema itself is a technology that presents to us humans and parts of humans as fetish objects (especially faces) (…) However, in the digital era, this technologization seems to have intensified and thus the fetishization process is to a certain extent crystallized: this is the ‘Photoshopping’ of the female body in order to remove ‘undesirable’ hair and to change body shape and facial features.’ (2015: 61-62) Brown’s argument centres on the actor Angelina Jolie and her performances – in the guise of empowered heroine – in a range of action films. He argues that as a cinematic manifestation, she functions precisely as a cyborg due to the complex cornucopia of digital effects that have been brought to bear on her body throughout her career. Similarly, Scarlett Johansson in her roles evinces a strong connection to the role of cyborg and, broadly, artificial intelligence. Johansson has been voted by popular men’s magazines as ‘the sexiest woman alive’ – a dubious accolade she received in both 2006 and 2013 – and has repeatedly been sexualised by the media as a modern-day Marilyn Monroe. In what follows, I will examine the figuration of the artificial woman in three films with Johansson in the starring role: Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer, 2013), Her (Spike Jonze, 2013) and Ghost in the Shell. This corpus of film speaks to notions of ‘the perfect woman’ and her construction, the fear of new technologies, and ‘the Monstrous-Feminine’. In short, I argue that artificial woman is directly represented and shaped by stereotypical and patriarchal ideas of what a woman is.
UNDER THE SKIN – THE MONSTROUS WOMAN
Under the Skin is not a film about an artificial woman constructed through human technology. Instead, in the opening scene, the audience learns that an extra-terrestrial being has been transformed into the shape of a female body. As we see, in detail, the construction of her eye, we hear the deep timbre of Johansson’s voice (one of her trademark features as a performer) as she learns to enunciate sounds and thus to communicate. In the ensuing scenes, Johansson’s unnamed character (hereafter referred to as ‘the alien’) starts to mimic human appearance and gesture. Initially naked and located in an indefinite white space, the alien adopts the attire of a woman lying, paralysed and mute, on the floor of this bizarre and other-worldly non-space. The alien, once dressed, (naturally) leaves to go shopping at a mall. Through a chain of ‘point of view’ shots, we enter this ‘alien’ perspective that registers the appearance and behaviour of women in public space precisely as a performance that can be assimilated and copied. It is revealed that the purpose of this ‘alien’ presence on Earth is, in fact, the seduction and destruction of men. Drawing on folklore and fairytale, she lures them through her seductive routine into a black morass from which they cannot escape. There is a direct implication that her adoption of feminine wiles, her very performance as a woman, is put in service of the ruination of men. This is not simply about the creation and transformation of identity within a social context because the film centres on the gendered nature of this performance. This alien body is, I contend, yet another contemporary iteration of the seductive and ‘devilish’ Maria from Metropolis. It is precisely as a female body that she can exercise her power and threat – an effect which is seen literally to eviscerate the male body. Here, the female body is weaponized in a manner that speaks to a generalised fear of female empowerment ‘deflating’ male potency and the centrality of patriarchy.
Under the Skin, then, is not a story about an encounter between alien and human life forms (a metaphor that was readily employed by critics to suggest that the film is about the very essence of what it means to be human), but rather – from a feminist perspective – is about the making monstrous of the female body and, more specifically, female sexuality (which spells the annihilation and death of men). The indefinite non-space that is cast in black (in direct contrast to the clinical and white non-place of her birth) in which these encounters take place serves to separate the sexual act from cultural context. That is, what plays out in this space is the supposedly timeless and perennial effect of female sexuality on the male body. At the moment of sexual arousal at the mere sight of a female body, these men slowly sink into a black mass and disappear without trace. Barbara Creed has famously delineated how that the female monster is made to be terrifying on screen in a quite different manner to that of the male monster (1993: 3), a characterisation that ‘speaks to us more about male fears than about female desire or feminine subjectivity.’ (1993: 7) Additionally, Linda Williams draws a direct analogy between the body of the monster and its power that derives from difference and the effect that the female body is made to denote (which would explain the female protagonist’s sympathy for her monstrous counterpart). Vitally, Williams notes – in contradistinction to Freud – that it is not that the female body, in fact, lacks anything, but rather that the male imaginary which forces her into the dual position of castration and disempowerment. The female body as portrayed in Under the Skin is terrifying because of her otherness (her alien nature). The expression of her sexuality, the weaponization of her body plays directly into age old myths regarding female monstrosity (her timeless role as castrating bitch). The black mass into which these men sink here plays on several key patriarchal tropes – a) Freud’s likening of Woman to a dark continent and b) the myth of the vagina dentata (what Creed refers to as ‘the mouth of hell’ (1993: 106)) – are visually translated into a black swamp that swallows up the humanity of man.
Curiously, the film does not even attempt to explain why this alien life in specifically female form might flourish off of the flesh of men, thus ensuring that the myth of Woman as threat of castration is undisturbed. She remains an eternal feminine mystery who must, as patriarchal narrative decrees time and again, be punished. Williams (1992: 563) has noted that women perform agency at the risk of their own demise and harm especially in the horror genre (which Under the Skindoes indeed draw upon). In her quest to become ‘real’, in her desire to escape her ‘otherness’, this alien life form facilitates her own destruction. Notably, the fulcrum of this narrative centres on the ‘evidence’ of her femaleness (her genitals). This highly problematic manoeuvre implicates directly the failure to become fully ‘human’, to become ‘real’ with the female sex. The film posits that women are essentially lacking. The revelation of her ‘truly monstrous’ nature results not only in her sexual assault, but the desecration by fire of her body (not unlike a witch).
HER – THE PERFECT FEMALE OPERATING SYSTEM
The artificial woman in Her shares many similarities with the myth of Pygmalion and the concomitant notion of ‘a perfect woman’. However, in Her, the action does not centre on the female body, but rather the female voice since she is an operating system. As Wosk states, ‘The outlines of the Pygmalion story and the longing for idealized synthetic females would play out in the years ahead, modifying as technologies changed’ (2015: 30), and, indeed, today may take the soothing form of an operating system such as Samantha in Her, ‘offering words of comfort and virtual orgasms to the lonely Theodore.’ (2015: 30) Theodore, the main protagonist, works as a professional letter writer who spends his days carefully crafting sentimental love letters on behalf of other people. The emotional loquacity he exercises in his job, however, is starkly offset by his marked inability to communicate or fathom his own emotions. He is not alone in this: his fellow human beings seem to equally distant and uncommunicative – a situation that the film explicitly ties to the rapid advancement of android technology. On his journey home from the office, Theodore inserts into his ear a wireless earphone (not unlike Apple EarPods) and requests a melancholic song to accompany him on his journey. The phone responds with something that Theodore seems to find unsuitable and he summarily requests and alternative track. After this, he moves on to his emails which a monotonous and lifeless male voice reads out much to the indifference of Theodore (the sole exception being explicit photos of a female celebrity which he requests to see). It is clear, though, that his current operating system does not completely understand Theodore and it does not fill any form of personal function. Later during the night, Theodore is searching for someone to talk to in a chatroom and chooses a woman with the nickname ‘SexyKitten’. Notably, his decision is not guided by visual but aural qualities: he makes his decision on the basis of her voice. They start to have phone sex and we see through excerpts of visual imagery that Theodore is supplementing this soundtrack with the leaked photos of ‘Sexy pregnant tv-star Kimberly Ashford’ which he surreptitiously perused on his journey home from work. Theodore is pulled out of his fantasy abruptly when the woman from the chatroom asks him to ‘choke her with the dead cat’ before she dramatically climaxes and cuts off the conversation. From the outset, the film neatly sets up the viewer’s assumption that Theodore is a lonely man in need of finding someone who can understand and comfort him. This extended establishing sequence is, therefore, followed directly by Theodore happening upon an advertisement for the first artificially intelligent operating system named ‘OS1’ – ‘An intuitive entity that listens to you, understands you, and knows you. It’s not just an operating system, it’s a consciousness’. This may just well be Theodore’s perfect woman.
When Theodore installs his new operating system onto his computer, he instinctively seems to decide that it should have a female voice. Lo and behold: Johansson’s voice emerges under the guise of Samantha (a reference to the actress Samantha Morton who was originally chosen for the part). Even if the female body is absent in Her, Johansson’s voice is so distinctive that we automatically substitute this void of representation with iconic and clichéd images of the actress herself. As Sophia Nguyen notes, Johansson’s voice has been variously described as ‘honeyed’, ‘velvety’, ‘smoky’, and ‘dry and dirty’. She argues further that: ‘our collective projections fill the space where Johansson isn’t.’ (2014) Her actively plays on and relies upon the audience’s intertextual knowledge of Johansson as a performer as well as her celebrity manifestation as ‘sexiest woman of the year’ (not unlike ‘the Sexy pregnant tv-star Kimberly Ashford’ whom Theodore uses to prop up his sexual fantasy). The film’s ‘disembodiment’, in other words, is in fact ripe with embodiment of a highly specific sort. This investment in phantasy, as a body of images, is mediated via the film’s aural qualities. Importantly, Davina Quinlivan (2017: 300) contends that the voices we hear before that of Samantha work to contextualise our perception and conception of her. That is, the voices we encounter before meeting Samantha function on an entirely superficial and meretricious level. Samantha’s voice, resonant with emotional depth in both register and grain (suggesting maturity and experience), is created to meet Theodore’s emotional needs (to fill his void).
In other similar films about artificial women, there is a lot of focus on the perfect female body, often constructed through the male gaze. For example, the female robot in Ex Machina (Alex Garland, 2014) is specifically constructed through the male protagonist Caleb’s pornographic search history on his computer. However, even if Samantha does not have a female body, she is still based on Theodore’s preferences and is sexualised and humanised through the female voice (he has made a set of choices in order to ensure this particular manifestation of an OS). As Laura Mulvey has argued, classical Hollywood film is constructed around the satisfaction of the male gaze that would determine the female body as spectacle and object (2009: 715). A situation that has hardly improved despite the advancement of technology: an advancement in act that has only served to replicate archaic structures and facilitate further the disenfranchisement and objectification of the female body. In Her, Samantha is assigned a female gender and adapted according to Theodore’s desires and requirements. She satisfies both his secretarial and sexual needs. During his first conversation with Samantha, Theodore tells her that ‘everything just feels disorganised’. In response, Samantha asks if she can check out his hard drive and begins to sort out what he needs to save and what he needs to delete. Unsurprisingly, much like his hard drive, Theodore’s life is a mess. With hard drive as metaphor, Samantha emerges into his life to clear away all messes (both administrative and emotional) so that he can see with clarity and start to assess what is important and what can be left behind. Samantha, in other words, is designed to save him (much like a manic pixie dream girl). After a single day, this disembodied woman has assessed exactly what her man needs and has set out on the path to meet his requirements: unlike his old operating system, not to mention his inconvenient ex-wife Catherine (who has the burden of her own human problems to deal with). Samantha, then, is ‘a perfect woman’ because, unlike Catherine, she is ‘less complicated’ and has no needs or requirements of her own. During an awkward lunch with Catherine, over which they have met to sign their divorce papers, he tells her that he is happier now that he has met Samantha. He characterises her as someone who is ‘excited about the world’ in direct contrast to Catherine whom we learn is a complicated woman who has experienced mental health difficulties (she surmises that he no longer has to deal with issues such as his partner’s depression since he has the convenient solution of being ‘madly in love with his laptop’). Like Pygmalion, Theodore is dismissive of ‘the numerous defects of the feminine spirit’ that other woman, in contrast to Samantha, seem to have. Samantha becomes Theodore’s Galatea and, inevitably, he falls under the spell of his own creation. However, inconveniently for Theodore, Samantha starts to exist not only for the fulfilment of his needs and desires, but also for her own. Yet crucially, as Angelo Muredda notes, it is at this point in the film’s action that Her: ‘takes on the tenor of a fable, reducing Samantha’s particular desires to pithy lessons about the fundamental unknowability of other people – especially, in Theodore’s case, women.’ (2014) Therefore, Samantha is revolutionary in theory – an artificial woman that can evolve into a subject with its own consciousness, desire, and will but the film, ultimately, is not able to visualise/to image/to imagine such a scenario.
The growth of Samantha’s consciousness, the expression of her individual will break the spell of perfection that Theodore believed her to possess. This is not, however, merely a reflection of what one might argue as the inherent unknowability of another being because of the film’s specifically gendered context. Her surmises that it is, in particular, the female psyche (as a distilled essence) that is unfathomable (recalling, once again, Freud’s formulation of woman as dark continent). As Nguyen states, the artificial forms of intelligence that Johansson portrays in both Under the Skin and Herhave their source code in male anxiety and are therefore not permitted their own agency (2014). Samantha is in fact merely the narrative foil to Theodore’s self-realisation in this sense she has served the archetypal female role of most classical narratives centred on male destiny. Just as the alien in Under the Skin evaporates into the ether, Samantha disappears to a nebulous ‘dark and shiny place’ that is unlocatable in time and space. As a liminal entity she is inherently unknowable: a tabula rasa onto which the phantasies of men can be projected.
GHOST IN THE SHELL – ‘THIS IS MAJOR’
Ghost in the Shell centres on a female cyborg named Mira Killian (also known as ‘Major’) who is constructed out of an amalgamation of human brain and technological body. She is presented as the first cyborg of her kind and similarly to Under the Skin, the film begins with the construction of a female body. Major is presented as a form of action hero and the narrative focusses on her role as the leader of a special task force known as Section 9 that works to fight cyberterrorism. Like in the original animated version of the film, also named Ghost in the Shell (Mamoru Oshii, 1995), Major’s naked body is highly and spectacularly visualised. However, her body in the latter version is differentiated from that of the animated film since her body resembles a naked suit rather than a body. In other words, she is both highly sexualised and anatomically desexualised via the strategic aestheticization of her body that serves to render it doll-like (a facet which appeals to other diegetic characters who comment on her beauty and perfection throughout the film). Indeed, her construction as a beautiful artefact is a cardinal aspect of her characterisation (and notably so for her creator). Further, this commentary within the film functions intertextually with reference to mediated discourse around Johansson as a performer (the sexiest woman alive). The film also – perhaps inadvertently implicates the role that technology has played increasingly in the airbrushed, unnatural and unattainable perfection of the female form in visual culture at large. Major stands in for the notion of the perfected female body precisely because she is entirely a digital construction. Instead of enabling the utopian hybridity and fluidity that Haraway delineates in her notion of the cyborg, here we have the creation of a body that is emblematic to an extreme extent of the manifold ways in which dematerialisation of (female) bodies only results in the shoring up of harmful gender binaries. Interestingly, since Ghost in the Shell is based on a future in which technological developments have supposedly made it possible to create human-like bodies, one would assume that the artificial form would not necessarily have to be characterised in terms of race or gender. And yet the body evinced by Hanka Robotics in Ghost in the Shell is notably based on a white and Western ideal. The film itself, in other words, works to uphold hegemonic ideals rather than to examine their creation in the first place.
It is entirely appropriate for a film that takes place in futuristic Japan and that is based on a Japanese manga series to reflect its origins. Yet those origins have been almost entirely erased in the American re-make. The character is even renamed from Motoko Kusanagi in the original in order to reflect this new origin story. The re-make tries to attenuate the insensitivity of this manoeuvre by relying on an inappropriate plot twist (Major’s former body belonged to a young Asian woman named Motoko Kusanagi). The film then returns Major to her origins by having her re-discover her Japanese mother at the film’s conclusion. In other words, her Asian identity is the ‘hidden’ prop against which her white, western identity emerges and is created. Her past is a mere memory (subject to vagaries and distortions) that is housed as a ghost in a white shell.
The film has, understandably, received a great deal of criticism for its ‘whitewashing’ of the original narrative. Historically, as Kelsey Moore notes, Hollywood has always gotten away with their choice of actors (2017) regardless of inappropriate and offensive casting. Moore notes further that even if the western image of the Asian woman on screen has differed throughout cinematic history, its historical construction has always adhered to the notion of ‘yellow peril’– a European concept based in nineteenth century that is predicated on a toxic combination of xenophobia, racism and sexism. Stereotypical characters in films abound when that character is specifically not white; as Richard Dyer (1997: 12) argues stereotyping characterises: ‘the representation of subordinated social groups and is one of the means by which they are categorised and kept in their place, whereas white people in white culture are given the illusion of their own infinite variety.’ Additionally, even if racist images of Asian people apply invariably to both men and women, it is important to highlight that the Asian woman is usually doubly marginalised in western visual culture. In this case, her representation is turned into a mere convenient trope that, for the most part, remains hidden.
Sara Ahmed discussed the politics of mobility in terms of which bodies are permitted movement across borders and hierarchies. She develops this further as the extension of surface space accorded to some bodies and not to others (2011: 143-144). Who can extend in space and who cannot? Ahmed notes that it is white bodies that can take comfort in that extension without encountering confrontation or stymying of self. In giving a white actress a role written for a non-white, non-western performer, the film foregrounds the ways in which white actors (as agents of power) feel able and sanctioned to take up further space and, by extension, to close off spaces that would enable much needed diversity to flourish within a notoriously racist and sexist industry. Johansson’s skin colour grants her a level of star power and opportunity that others are not afforded. The mere fact that she even can consider her character in this narrative as ‘identity-less’ speaks to her racial privilege.
Ahmed, Sara (2011), Vithetens hegemoni, Hägersten: Tankekraft förlag.
Braidotti, Rosi (2013), The Posthuman, Cambridge: Polity Press.
Brown, William (2015), ‘Destroy Visual Pleasure: Cinema, Attention, and the Digital Female Body (Or, Angelina Jolie Is a Cyborg)’, in Anna Backman Rogers & Laura Mulvey (eds), Feminisms: Diversity, Difference, and Multiplicity in Contemporary Film Cultures, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, pp. 54-64.
Creed, Barbara (1993), The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis, New York: Routledge.
Dyer, Richard (1997), White, New York: Routledge.
Haraway, Donna (1991), Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature, New York: Routledge.
Moore, Kelsey (2017), ‘‘Ghost in the Shell’ and a Brief Herstory of Whitewashing’, Women and Hollywood, 11 April 2017, https://womenandhollywood.com/ghost-in-the-shell-and-a-brief-herstory-of-whitewashing-29b3268404cc/ (last accessed 27 March 2019).
Mulvey, Laura (2009), ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’, in Leo Braudy & Marshall Cohen (eds), Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings, New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 711-722.
Muredda, Angelo (2014), ‘No(body) Does it Better: Spike Jonze’s Her’, Cléo Journal, 24 April 2014, http://cleojournal.com/2014/04/24/nobody-does-it-better-spike-jonzes-her/ (last accessed 26 March 2019).
Nguyen, Sophia (2014), ‘The Posthuman Scar-Jo’, Los Angeles Review of Books, 12 September 2014, https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/posthuman-scar-jo/ (last accessed 16 March 2019).
Quinlivan, Davina (2017), ‘A Dark and Shiny Place: The Disembodied Female Voice, Irigarayan Subjectivity, and the Political Erotics of Hearing Her(Spike Jonze, 2013)’, in Tom Whittaker & Sarah Wright (eds), Locating the Voice in Film: Critical Approaches and Global Practices, New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 295-310.
Williams, Linda (1992), ‘When the Woman Looks’, in Gerald Mast, Marshall Cohen & Leo Braudy (eds), Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings, New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 561-577.
Wosk, Julie (2015), My Fair Ladies: Female Robots, Androids, and Other Artificial Eves, New Brunswick, New Jersey, & London: Rutgers University Press.
FILMS & TV series
Alien (1979) dir. Ridley Scott.
Blade Runner (1982) dir. Ridley Scott.
Blade Runner 2049 (2017) dir. Denis Villeneuve.
Carrie (1976) dir. Brian De Palma.
Ex Machina (2014) dir. Alex Garland.
Ghost in the Shell (1995) dir. Mamoru Oshii.
Ghost in the Shell (2017) dir. Rupert Sanders.
Her (2013) dir. Spike Jonze.
Metropolis (1927) dir. Fritz Lang.
Under the Skin (2013) dir. Jonathan Glazer.
WHO SUPPORTS US
The team of MAI supporters and contributors is always expanding. We’re honoured to have a specialist collective of editors, whose enthusiasm & talent gave birth to MAI.
However, to turn our MAI dream into reality, we also relied on assistance from high-quality experts in web design, development and photography. Here we’d like to acknowledge their hard work and commitment to the feminist cause. Our feminist ‘thank you’ goes to:
Dots+Circles – a digital agency determined to make a difference, who’ve designed and built our MAI website. Their continuous support became a digital catalyst to our idealistic project.
Guy Martin – an award-winning and widely published British photographer who’s kindly agreed to share his images with our readers
Chandler Jernigan – a talented young American photographer whose portraits hugely enriched the visuals of MAI website
Matt Gillespie – a gifted professional British photographer who with no hesitation gave us permission to use some of his work
Julia Carbonell – an emerging Spanish photographer whose sharp outlook at contemporary women grasped our feminist attention
Ana Pedreira – a self-taught Portuguese photographer whose imagery from women protests beams with feminist aura
And other photographers whose images have been reproduced here: Cezanne Ali, Les Anderson, Mike Wilson, Annie Spratt, Cristian Newman, Peter Hershey