Fembots: The New Breed of Women
By Theresa O'Rourke
Tired of touchy-feely friendships and being the vulnerable one in
romance, a new breed of steely female is beating guys at their own
I'm at a sake bar watching a man get drunk on an ice-cold woman. He
shamelessly admits he can't stop thinking about her. "Really," she
says, devouring a fat slice of tuna in one tidy bite. "That's
interesting." Her raw beauty recalls a young Debbie Harry. He soldiers on:
Why in God's name is she single? What brought her to New York City? She smiles
coyly. "You know all you need to know . . . for now."
Another eavesdropper might have made the assumption that this tight-lipped
minx reads dumb-and-dumber books on seducing men. But I prefer to see her as
proof of a new kind of woman, one who isn't fighting the urge to prattle on
about her feelings. And though I don't know this carnivorous vixen, a part of
me wants to shove my fist in the air and cry, "Atta girl!"
I came of age in the gut-spilling '90s, a time of Ally McBeal, "female
bonding," Lilith Fair, and the explosion of the self-help section at Barnes
& Noble. A decade has passed, but women still seem bent on suffocating
themselves with an endless supply of self-indulgent hot air. We're due for a
backlash, and I think it has arrived in the form of what I like to call the
fembot: the cool, together, emotionally unavailable girl one cube over.
Take a look around, and you'll notice that more women are having their
sensitivity chips removed. On Grey's Anatomy, an overachiever played
by Sandra Oh cringes when friends ask for a hug, while Courteney Cox's equally
ambitious character on Dirt shoos away men in favor of her vibrator.
This fall, NBC is remaking the classic '70s show The Bionic Woman —
she of the rational mind and superwoman body, an early-model fembot. Even
offscreen, our sex symbols are playing against touchy-feely type. Angelina
Jolie admits she sees no real benefit to crying. Scarlett Johansson believes
that monogamy may not be natural. And Brooke Shields reveals she needs regular
time-outs from her kids: "Some people revel in [full-time motherhood]. I
revel in a different way."