Gender and Technology in A Real Girl

In “A Real Girl” by Shariann Lewitt, a virtual woman is depicted in the form of an AI, or artificial intelligence.  This woman is presented as a supercomputer with no real body.  Instead, she is “four pounds of neural computing circuitry in a box” (507).  This idea that a computer program can be a human girl is very strange, because a human is generally thought of as a body.  However, this virtual woman is attempting to become a real girl, and be placed into a body.  The AI claims to be a woman, created with “real XX DNA” and, when people call her an ‘it’, she says “I hate it when you call me that” (507).  She is claiming to be a real human being, yet she is only a computer program.  What is seemingly ironic is the fact that the AI claims to be a woman.  This seems contradictory because women are not generally thought of as technologically savvy.  The fact that she is a computer program claiming to be a woman shows Lewitt’s stance on the identities of gender and technology.  Lewitt shows that different genders do not have different experiences with technology, and that, online, there is no true gender, there is only technology.

 

-Sam Rider

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