What’s Current: A sex robot was ‘molested’ and ‘badly soiled’ by men at an Austrian tech festival

What’s Current is Feminist Current’s daily news round up.



  • A sex-robot called “Samantha’ was put on display at the Ars Electronica festival in Austria.  It had to be removed and sent for repair after it was damaged, “molested” and “badly soiled” by a crowd of men.
  • Two–thirds of the people who earn far below minimum wage and rely on tips for income in the US are women. Most of them are sexually harassed by men.
  • The cover of a new UK edition of Sylvia Plath’s letters fesatures the author in a bikini, continuing the maddening trend of marketing her as “sexualised and frivolous.” Cathleen Allen Conway at The Guardian says:

“These are the images that publishers think best represent Plath, an internationally recognized poet and novelist, an icon, an alleged victim of domestic abuse, a single mother, a person with mental illness and person who killed herself. Why is her work, so heavy with symbolism and myth, which documents the frustrating consequences of transgressive womanhood, marketed with so little thought and respect?”

  • French prosecutors have declined to charge a 28 year-old man with the rape of an 11 year-old girl. Instead, they charged him with the crime of ‘sexual abuse of a minor.’ Sex without consent, even with a minor, is not always or automatically charged as rape in France:

“[Prosecutors] had no evidence, they said, that he had been violent or that he’d constrained the girl or threatened her. And under French law, that means the girl had “consented” to sex…Under French law, an act can qualify as rape only if there is violence or a threat of violence during a sexual act. Though the age of consent is 15, sex with a minor does not automatically qualify as rape in France.”

Lisa Steacy
Lisa Steacy

Lisa Steacy is an Assistant Editor at Feminist Current. She has a B.A. in Women & Gender Studies from the University of Toronto. However, the women she met in her five years as a frontline worker and collective member with Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter deserve almost all of the credit for her feminist education. She lives in Vancouver with her partner and their cats.

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  • thebewilderness

    Is there a non violent way to penetrate an 11 year old girl with an adult male penis? I do not think so.

    • Hekate Jayne

      This is how males keep rape available to themselves.

      They want to appear as if they are carefully analyzing male behavior in the interest of fairness to males. It is a ruse.

      If the male governments and systems really thought that rape is wrong, they would put a stop to it. But they protect it, and entertain each other’s bullshit, and expect us to believe that they are just trying so super hard to stop it.

      They love to rape. The only people that don’t see what a disgusting male did to this 11 year old are rape lovers.

  • outer_rl

    I think the only way to challenge the rise of the sex robots is to assert that there is something intrinsically important about the relationship between real human couples. This is something that materialist consumerism and the neo liberals who advocate it deny.

    Western society is now fuller than ever with sad and lonely people. In that context many will deny there is anything wrong with the sex robots, as they have no intention to ever have a human partner again, so they aren’t a risk of harm to others. To challenge this mentality you have to assert this is a bad thing, as human beings are meant to have real relationships, and the robots undermine this.

    They’ll respond that you’re forcing your pseudo-religious values on them, and that you’re taking away their freedom. But this is probably the only way we’ll be able to stop the phenomenon before it becomes normalised.

  • Jani

    A “badly soiled” sex doll? WTF? If had that been a living, breathing woman who suffered the same indignity it wouldn’t even make the news. I remember the scene from the porn documentary where there was a shot of all these men with cameras and camcorders leering at one of the live models (clothed, but only just), with the sicko at the front pointing his video camera straight at the woman’s crotch. Looking at all these men I wondered what was actually stopping them from raping this woman, and it could only have been the heavy security and the certainty of prosecution. I see this ‘molestation’ and ‘soiling’ of this supposedly ‘lifelike’ sex doll as part of the same sick continuum.

  • Lucia Lola


  • Matthew Downhour

    The case in France is absolutely atrocious – also, reading the article, he is only referred to as ‘the man’. Is his identity also protected by French law, or only to the end of the trial? The only thing worse than a lack of prosecution would be to keep his name a secret so there’s no way to stop him doing this again.

  • FierceMild

    What they do to the doll is what they want to do to us.

    • fxduffy

      Many men cannot control their impulses over any novel version of a sexed female, even when its on public display They have programmed themselves to leap, grab, and choke… to be among the very first to score, debase, and discard… and re-confirm their place in the brotherhood.

  • Rachael

    The Sylvia Plath cover really pisses me off. The depressed teen version of me had such a soft spot for her and I think it’s tragic that her gift of words has been transposed with the hint that the only thing worthwhile about her was her body.

    The bizarre irony that those wanting to read Plath would not be interested in that cover, and those interested in the cover would find little to relate to amongst her words doesn’t escape me.

    • fxduffy

      Ted Hughes destroyed the last volume of Plath’s journals, and may have purposely lost earlier ones, at least in big part, because he wanted to cover-up her allegations of his “domestic” abuse, which no doubt, was both physical and mental.

      If I recall correctly he also had years of her letters to her mother destroyed too, although many of these with the permission of Mrs. Plath, who had this dreamy version of a perfect and agreeable daughter. Sylvia’s relationship with her was pretty rocky too, but nothing like hers with Ted. Of course, they conspired in the name of the kids.

      It’s all in the “The Bell Jar,” in a very real sense.

      • FierceMild

        I remember choking on her journal entry about being married to a ‘real’ poet. Ted Hughes turns my stomach.