"Let us make the woman in our image, in our likeness... only hotter."

Geege geege at barrera.org
Sun Nov 9 19:37:34 PST 2003

<In practice, of course, comparatively few men will ever have the
opportunity to mate with these elite women, which means that the remainder
have to turn to 'real' women who, yes, do have the odd ounce of fat,
laughter line, or stray hair. This is apparently the down side of beauty,
and is responsible for making hundreds of men dissatisfied.>

OH GAWD.  i'd laugh but that grain of truth is rubbing me the wrong way.


-----Original Message-----
From: fork-bounces at xent.com [mailto:fork-bounces at xent.com]On Behalf Of
jbone at place.org
Sent: Sunday, November 09, 2003 12:32 AM
To: fork at xent.com
Subject: "Let us make the woman in our image,in our likeness... only

Via ars, some fun bits:



   "Let us make the woman in our image, in our likeness... only hotter."

Posted 11/07/2003 @ 3:21 PM, by Ken "Caesar" Fisher

Next week a new international beauty contest will be launched in Italy,
but the winner won't be reveling in chocolate and champagne. Rather,
she'll be packed back up into 3D Studio Max or some other 3D
application, because this contest is for virtual women only. Here she
is, Miss Digital World! The idea of crowning an "ideal beauty" that
doesn't actually exist is a bit novel, to say the least. Yet, virtual
women are nothing new. They can be seen ranging from the digitally
touched-up women that grace TV, movies, and advertisements, all the way
to the fully-digitized actresses that made movies such as Final Fantasy
so fantastic.

There are several interesting things about this contest, all ripe for
discussion. For one, I find it fascinating that although we're talking
about digital creations, the contest precludes any submissions that
have "engaged" in questionable "behavior" in the past. In addressing
which virtual women are eligible, organizers had this to say:

"They should not have taken part -- not even as extras or cameos -- in
pornographic films, shows or plays nor have made statements...in any
way out of tune with the moral spirit of the competition," organizers

So, they may not be real, but we don't want their moral fiber to be
questionable, and oddly, we prefer that they not talk (!). But then,
what makes a digital model, a model? Would your porn-loving model
become a brand new creation with, say, a change of eye color alone?
What is the genealogy for digital representations of people? Is Max
Headroom the Genghis Khan of virtual models?

Some of the readers who mailed in this story were rather alarmed at
what the contest signals for where society is headed. The question
revolves around just how much sense it makes to start heading down the
path of non-real beauty and virtual human depiction. Humans have this
remarkable capacity for visual learning. You can see children imitating
their mannerisms of their parents long before they're able to
articulate what it is they're doing or why. The visual gaze is one of
the most powerful diffusive aspects of culture, but what if the case is
directed towards unreal representations of who we are (or, rather,

In the case of young women, there's an absurd amount of pressure to
conform to media-manufactured ideals of appearance (men don't get out
of this scot-free, either). The bar is already really high: you'd have
to limit yourself to three sunflower seeds a day, some strategically
placed injections, and a never-ending Gift Certificate at Armani
Exchange if you want to keep up. What happens when and if that bar gets
raised to the completely virtual level? Those who would postulate some
kind of trans-human psychological unity (a shared cognitive process for
appreciating beauty, for example) would argue that the strictures for
beauty are a constant, and therefore it's irrelevant where they are
found or how they are produced. Beauty is beauty, regardless of make or

However, if one believes that beauty is not a constant, but rather is
produced on a societal or cultural level, one may also believe that the
representation of beauty carries with it certain ethical components.
Already it is unacceptable, for example, to explicitly deny someone
opportunity merely because they don't look like a movie star. Is taking
beauty to the level of the virtual ethically questionable? I suspect
most people would argue that so-called real-world beauties are already
so fake and so manufactured that substituting a digital woman for a
real one is hardly any loss. But it's still an interesting social
question: with technology coming closer and closer to depicting humans
in an astonishingly real, yet virtual (therefore interactive, not just
static) sense, what are the implications of the modern day, "Let us
make women in our image, in our likeness... only hotter."

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