My open letter to Dr Kathleen Richardson with regards her sexist comments in a BBC article

Today the BBC published a story about how Dr Kathleen Richardson wishes a ban on intelligent “sex toys” because men would not able to be emotionally tell the difference.

I found it a rather sexist thing to say.

So I have written to her at De Montfort University.

Dear Dr Richardson,

Please accept my apologies for this most direct of approaches, but I was curious about a BBC news article that you were heavily quoted within and wonder if you could just qualify a few points made in it.

I’m more than aware that in journalism time restraints and the need for a simple narrative leads to a less intellectual debate and complex issues are often reduced to a simple set of soundbites.
But from the article it appears you have a very strong opinion against the use of intelligent machines designed as “sex toys”. To quote the article.

She believes that they reinforce traditional stereotypes of women and the view that a relationship need be nothing more than physical.
“We think that the creation of such robots will contribute to detrimental relationships between men and women, adults and children, men and men and women and women,” she said.
What they appear to be saying in the article is that you appose “female toys” for “male use”, but I wonder what you thoughts are towards “male toys” for “female use”.
Surely you can’t be suggesting that a sex toy, no matter how sophisticated, would make men “devalue women”. Because that’s an opinion based purely upon your own preconceived notion that men see women as nothing more than physical objects. Not only is that offensive to men, it’s also blatantly sexist.
To put some context to this, what about the basic fact that most sex toys are sold to women. Does the very nature of most sex toys for women mimicking, to some extent, male genitalia make them regard men as purely physical objects for insertion? I imagined that you’d clearly feel that would not be the case.
So why would you promote the opinion that men would not be able to recognise the difference between toy woman and real woman. Choosing to disregard studies that clearly state the opposite.
I guess what is good for the goose really isn’t acceptable to the gander, or at least that’s the opinion that BBC article projects.
But I’d be more than interested to understand what your actual opinion is on this subject and how you came to your conclusions. I know it’s a bit of a indignation to ask, but I do feel it’s worth exploring.
Many thanks for your time
Robert Leather

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