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    To bring Kate to your school or town for a performance, workshop, lecture, or all of the above, please send an email to the following address. PLEASE do not use this email for personal correspondence. It will not be answered. This address is only for booking touring engagements: katebornstein at earthlink dot net. Twitter is still the best way to reach Kate for any personal reason.

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    « It Takes More Than a Knife in My Guts to Keep Me Down! | Main | News Flash: Barack Obama is the Son of Two Men! »

    July 09, 2008


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    We at YourFaceIsAnAdvert love love love you.


    Thanks for writing this Kate! I was working with teens this summer and we had a really fascinating discussion about how we all assumed the nurturing, homemaker, emotionally expressive one was a boy and the independent, violent, career driven one was a girl and why. It was one of the most honest and thought-provoking discussions I had with them all summer and I have Wall*E to thank for that. It was great to read this post and see some of those ideas reflected!


    I just stumbled across this, and wanted to say a delighted thanks for expressing more eloquently than I could some of the thoughts that ran through my head as I watched it. I loved the movie, and after I did find myself contemplating the gender associations of the robots. Robots, I mean, there's no traditional sense of gender there. And more to that point, they're functional robots, not humanoids like in so many sci-fi pictures. There's no reason why they would have had a gender association programmed in. Perhaps it made it easier for the storytellers in relating it as a love story. Perhaps it made it easier for the audience to view it as one. But it was really intriguing to me because no matter how the audience, the storytellers, or what essayists might view it as, to WALL•E and EVE they are simply each other and they like each other as such. It was sort of admirable as a truly genderless romance, at least in the world of the characters themselves. Any associations of gender that are put on them are by people outside of the film. It's interesting. Anyway, I know this is months old, but I was skimming the innernetz about it and wanted to drop a line about how interesting I found this post and some of your others. Thanks!


    You said
    "To clarify further: WALL•E's "real" name would be Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class, and EVE's "real" name would be Extraterrestrial Vegetation Extractor. In acronym forms, their names sound gendered"
    you do know that the writer actually makes the names and thinks of words for it to be made of.
    or do you really think that the discription was made and just happens to sound like a Male and Female name after you make acronym's of them?

    I not offended by your post, but feel its a bit sad you feel the need to turn everything Gay so you can understand it.
    I can watch a film about a gay couple and understand what its about without having to pretent that one is male and the other female

    there is also the fact that robots do not reproduce, means they have no Male or Female sex.


    Wall-e, the movie, is just expert manipulation by good storytellers (come on, Stanton already did that with fish)

    the movie manipulates you (in a good way, it's to entertain you and bring you a nice story) about the gender of the characters.

    Eve, Wall-e name are not random. the makers consciously choose them to be heavy gendered and fun to use (acronym)

    Eve is slick and round
    Wall-e is boxy

    they use everything they can to convey gender stereotypes in movements

    of course you can do what you want with the robots, in the movie story, there are no sex so you are free to think what you want.

    but the robots have strong persona.

    In the story, wall-e could have accept anyone close to him/it/her/ther/ver/tim and anyone could have answer to him

    it's just to please the artistic view, the public view, the society view, the binary view, the whatever view than their persona are clearly gendered.

    the artists made all they could so you believe Wall-e is a male persona , and Eve a female persona.

    it's really easy, in practice, people see human representation in anything. A circle, 2 point : a face ! so it's pretty easy for a good drawer/animator to convey anything they want.

    in the end, stop to be traumatized by biology make-up ! there are NONE in the movie

    you are free to see pure romance in two beings meeting. they can be whatever you desire, they are sentient machines. They does not need to wonder about their own limitation or stuff.

    you have a wonderful movie saying : it's the feelings between people who matters !

    but, yeah, the animators did a pretty good job to force you to accept Wall-e having a boy persona and Eve to the female persona. I do not think it's bad, it allows tension (useful in a drama).

    They hit all the signals : cultural (USA), body reaction, voice, acts, name, sounds, ground/fly and so on.


    Umm I know this is late - but the big gender clue is the collectibles. Males of the homo sapien gender generally collect and females generally throw out.
    Also, the reaction between the two of them on first meeting is clearly the atypical male/female I like you - go away genre


    So is the cockroach male or female? I was just wondering.


    One small problem with your analysis on determining the robots gender:

    Disney did leave clues for the sex of both WALL-E and EVE. Wally was constantly ejaculating in the movie. Think of the love scene where he was shooting the fire extinguisher while he and EVE flew around space. Clearly it was a metaphor for making love, and WALL-E, in typical male fashion, was ejaculating during the scene.

    Now consider EVE. What was her "prime directive"? What was her purpose as a robot? To find life! She sought out life, and when she finally found it, she put it inside of her. She, like any female of the species, was highly protective of the plant once it was inside of her. This is clearly an allegory to the female ability to give birth and nurture life.

    Despite our differing perspective, I did enjoy your interpretation of the movie as typifying lesbian gender roles. Personally, I saw the movie as a modernized environmentally conscious retelling of the story of the Garden of Eden. It is the sign of a great story when many different people can take many different lessons from it. So here's to WALL-E! A film that has touched our lives.


    Thanks for the information on topics.I was excited for this article.
    Thank you again.


    You know how on ezlink cards, we always have our gender, name, etc. This time, a new column will be added in! It will state whether we are robots or humans. And robots will technically be favoured because they might destroy us humans.


    Hey, I know what you mean about switching genders in your head when listening to a love song or watching a movie. I'm a heterosexual girl, but I really enjoy love songs by men for women. So in order to make them work for me, sometimes I switch it from "she" to "he."

    I do agree with other people, though, that the names Wall-E and EVE are meant to sound like and represent the names Wally and Eve. There are plenty of other acronyms that they could have come up with that don't sound anything like male or female names.

    If truth be told, I don't think the Disney corporation has any intent to shake up gender conceptions-- quite the opposite. This movie almost proves that, considering they DID take inanimate objects and make them male and female... They even assign human conceptions of male and female to creatures like fish, birds, lions, etc. where such conceptions are completely irrelevant.


    Although the article is very touchingly written to promote the non typical gender onto characters you have to remeber the movie its self. There is part when the two humans who made contact with WALL E accidently refer to him as 'him' 'guy' etc. during the part of the movie where the couple are flying about outside of the space ship.


    sorry I forgot to ask, why you needed to assign them a gender in the first place?

    can't you just take the story where to robots fall in love and not use it for some kind of anti-gender sterotyping properganda?

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    The word robot can refer to both physical robots and virtual software agents, but the latter are usually referred to as bots. There is no consensus on which machines qualify as robots, but there is general agreement among experts and the public that robots tend to do some or all of the following: move around, operate a mechanical limb, sense and manipulate their environment, and exhibit intelligent behavior, especially behavior which mimics humans or other animals.

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     WALL·E ( 2008 )

    I just watched the movie "WALL-E". It is pretty good movie. It is the family movie full with romance and adventure. Ben Burtt has played very good role in this film..

    Love Eggs

    LOL @ Jill, "WALL-E" is the best! :D


    I was thinking of WALL*E as some copy of 16bit Windows perking slowly along in the middle of a business process, undocumented, almost unknown, and yet irreplaceable.


    =))) I like the way you described Wall-E. very ...original ! But I agree, if you think about it, the movie was for douchebags and lonely girls to watch when they get...well...even lonelier !

    (hmmm... dunno who you're agreeing with, Kevin, but I love the film. Never said it was for douchebags & lonely girls, though I certainly would qualify for the latter. xo Kate)


    Okay, this is OLD now, but JUST to address one small part (concerning the Ariel question): Um, male merfolk are known as mermen. So therefore, yes--the term "merMAID" would indicate that Ariel (NEVER heard of a male Ariel, though I suppose they've existed) is indeed a female. Even when she's got her fishy tail, the lack of human genitalia doesn't mean anything; you think sea creatures don't have their own sexual parts? The mermaids are female and the mermen are male; that's kinda hard to debate. As is the fact that Jiminy Cricket is a dude. This whole article was quite interesting, although I still see WALL•E and EVE as being basically a "boy" robot and a "girl" robot (or as close to being "boy" and "girl" as they, being robots, can get.) I absolutely don't agree with gender stereotyping or believe that there's only one correct way to be, or to view the world and others, but in that case I think a cigar's just a cigar (unless you wish to see the two as a butch and a femme of another pair of genders, or totally gender-neutral, or something.) But at any rate, it is an awesome film, and that was quite an intriguing article. Reminds me of one of my favorite films, The Brave Little Toaster (as well as its two sequels)--now THERE's one with a cast of MOSTLY male appliances (why, one has to wonder? In the original books, they're gender-neutral because they are objects!) Even though we can assume that assigning genders to these characters made it a lot more comfortable for the filmmakers and helped them feel more assured of a positive audience reception, the logic of once again having such a disproportionate ratio of females to males is questionable. A non-organic being doesn't inherently need to have a sex, but we tend to interpret and assign them based upon our human conventions and 'norms.' The (relatively) few BLT characters that are meant to be female are clearly branded as such with instantly recognizable marks, mannerisms, and voices. The rest, including all of the main cast, are left to be automatically male, by default....hmm. Again, I adore that movie beyond telling, but it still makes me think, and I still can question things that I love. Ha...I so did not restrict my comment to the "one small part" of the years-old document...>.>; I shall shut up now.

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