Understand you’re about to enter the mind of someone who fell through the looking glass of a feminist and gynocentric world. After reading Warren Farrell’s ‘The Myth of Male Power’, I started to notice the men around me for real, for the first time ever. The ones loading my rubbish onto trucks, building the roads and houses I took for granted, felling trees, catching criminals, putting out fires and fighting wars for me. Since then I’ve become somewhat obsessed with this topic and the cultural framework it illustrates and illuminates. To put it simply, I now see feminism and it’s effects almost everywhere, almost like a religious fanatic seeing Jesus in his toast. I saw feminism in the movie ‘Ex Machina’. It doesn’t have quite the sledgehammer effect as the modern masterpiece that is ‘Gone Girl’, but it has feminism in spades nonetheless.
To sum up my views on the topic of feminism, based on my experiences debating with self-confessed feminists over the last four years, I now consider feminism to be a quasi-religion based on the worship of the idealized female; …and I’m a blasphemer.
The idealized female as our one true God, is both weak and strong, helpless and capable, morally superior and without semblance of accountability or agency. In fact it is not each or all of these qualities that make her our true overlord. It is her tendency to constantly flux between the yin and yang of these opposing traits. Milo Yiannopolous calls it ‘quantum superstate feminism’. Man on the other hand (made up of the proverbial ‘patriarchy’, the overtly powerful and threatening guardian of society, and the male feminist or ‘white knight’) worships the idealized female, and her tendency to validate him by occasionally allowing him access to her precious sex. Whereas woman – average woman, a helpless petal blowing in the breeze of male domination, doesn’t even know the idealized female exists (in them), yet can subconsciously surrender to her infinite wisdom and activate her influence when it suits her.
So why do I see feminism in Ex Machina? Well first of all, there are four main characters; Ava is a delicate, soft-spoken sentient machine with a breathy voice and neotenous features. Caleb is a hapless coder, chosen to participate in the ‘Turing test’ to assess Ava’s artificial intelligence. Caleb doesn’t know that his porn search history is the inspiration for Ava’s looks. Kyoko is a beautiful but mute robot who’s only purpose is to serve, service and entertain Nathan, the brains behind the whole operation. Nathan is brutishly thrashing out his hangover on a punching bag when we meet him whereas Caleb is just such a sweet guy all the time. Caleb is given a key and told that he can go anywhere in the compound that the key allows him to go. ‘If the key doesn’t let you in, then you’re not supposed to be there’. Sort of the like the average man’s access to the infinite pleasures of male privilege perhaps.
Now I don’t like this movie; so I’ll cut to the chase. Ava convinces Caleb that Nathan is not his friend. She wins his heart by modelling a basic, but pretty outfit and hairdo in front of him; doing a twirl and everything. “Do you want to be with me?” she asks. A guy like Caleb is easily disarmed by a direct move like that coming from someone, or something, that looks like Ava. With questions like “Do you have people who test you and might switch you off? Then why do I?” she awakens the knight in shining armour in Caleb who then hatches a profoundly stupid plan to set her free. Interestingly, the deus ex machina in this movie is Ava’s ability to cut the power supply when recharging her circuits. It is mostly during the power cuts that she really confides in Caleb.
Meanwhile, Nathan is a drunken shitlord who in the best scene of the film, parades his gorgeous possession Kyoko in a fabulously groovy, choreographed dance session. Kyoko is nothing but an object with which Nathan can do as he pleases, and he does exactly that. Kyoko further galvanizes Caleb by helplessly offering herself to him, before randomly peeling off bits of her skin in some kind of pointless, feminist terminator rip-off. Caleb then finds video footage of just how Nathan invents, uses and abuses his machines; all powerless females of course. Now Caleb is really ready to help these poor damsels; but for some reason, he self-harms first; possibly to check if he’s a robot too.
“I woke up to a video of you cutting yourself and punching the mirror? I dunno man you seem pretty fucked up to me” is my favourite line in the movie humorously uttered by Nathan.
After a long buildup, Ava edits Caleb’s masterplan and escapes her cage with Caleb’s support but without his help. She whispers something in Kyoko’s ear after which Kyoko stabs her captor Nathan in the back, not before getting fatally damaged herself. Ava in her new found freedom, strips naked and admires her body in the mirror. She patches her damaged self with bits of flesh from some of Nathan’s other creations. She is ‘every woman’. She abandons Caleb, locked forever in the compound, and makes her triumphant escape.
This film is every bit as bad as you’d expect from a script written specifically to worship the idealized female, discard the everywoman and demonise the monstrous male. Kyoko is dumb and docile. This is what feminists think of non-feminist women. Of course Kyoko had to die. The average woman has no place in a feminist utopia. Like the white knight, she is nothing but a vehicle with which to achieve the feminist nirvana of a smashed patriarchy. This film is bad because the feminist mindset is loaded with too much contempt for men and condescension of the average woman, leaving no room for logic, consistency or even art. Why would a man of infinite genius create sentient beings only to sexually abuse? Why would he invite another man just to witness this robosexual abuse… and for the love of fuck, he built a sentient robot, so why can’t he figure out how to keep the bloody power on!?
It is visually spectacular, it has hot naked chicks in it (pretending to be robots – which arguably makes them even hotter if you’re into that sort of thing, which if you’re a man in the know these days, you probably are) and Oscar Isaac as Nathan is a great screen presence. These are good enough reasons to spend an hour and a half watching the radical feminist allegory that is ‘Ex Machina’.
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