Look at the above clip. I dare you to tell me it doesn’t make you extremely weirded out!
This footage (which comes from the Romano Archive) was taken at the 1939-40 World’s Fair in New York, which stressed modernity, technology and the “brave new world” we were supposedly headed for. A few months ago I showed you a clip of a robot displayed at the fair, but these “artificial girls” definitely take the cake as one of the most bizarre things 1930s technology gave us.
The likely feeling of revulsion you experienced while watching this video is an example of what psychologists have begun to call the “uncanny valley,” which is really a very interesting phenomenon. Basically, the more “human” an artificial object looks, the more “cute” we tend to think it is–until it reaches a strange inexplicable point where suddenly looking not quite human makes us feel horrified. Thus, a stuffed animal of a dog will not bother most people, but these “artificial girls” probably will. Needless to say no one knew about the “uncanny valley” in 1939.
I presume no one thought to develop a creepy hip-undulating robot likeness of a scantily-clad man. Of course not!
And was the nipple tweak really necessary? I mean…ewww!