Why Bella Hadid and Lil Miquela’s kiss is a terrifying glimpse of the future

  
Via:  john-russell  •  4 months ago  •  15 comments

Why Bella Hadid and Lil Miquela’s kiss is a terrifying glimpse of the future
Bella Hadid, a human supermodel, has been accused of “queerbaiting” after making out with Lil Miquela, a computer-generated influencer, in order to sell designer underwear.

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Why Bella Hadid and Lil Miquela’s kiss is a terrifying glimpse of the future | Arwa Mahdawi


An advert featuring the human and virtual models is late-capitalist hell, ‘queerbait’ and digisexuality all at once


BY ARWA MAHDAWI   MAY 21, 2019   1 MINUTE






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‘While Miquela may be a futuristic creation, manufacturing girl-on-girl action to flog your brand is as old as time.’ Photograph: YouTube

Bella Hadid, a human supermodel, has been accused of “queerbaiting” after making out with Lil Miquela, a computer-generated influencer, in order to sell designer underwear. I know, I know, there’s a lot going on in that sentence. Please take a deep breath: we will unpack this late-capitalist hell together.

Miquela Sousa, also known as Lil Miquela, is a fictional character created by a Los Angeles startup called Brud. Miquela has 1.5m followers on Instagram, where she shares pictures of her imaginary life and proclaims her support for LGBT rights and Black Lives Matter. In the past few years, the virtual model has become a veritable celebrity: starring in Ugg ads, interviewing artists at Coachella and collaborating with Prada. In her latest project, a video for Calvin Klein, she kisses a half-naked (and heterosexual) Hadid as a voiceover proclaims some marketing nonsense about dreams and doors.

While Miquela may be a futuristic creation, manufacturing girl-on-girl action to flog your brand is as old as time, and the ad immediately sparked a backlash. On Friday, Calvin Klein issued an apology, acknowledging that featuring “someone who identifies as heterosexual in a same-sex kiss could be perceived as queerbaiting”. While I’m no fan of brands exploiting lesbianism to sell stuff, I found the nature of the Miquela/Hadid controversy slightly odd. As far as I’m concerned, the most disturbing aspect of the campaign isn’t the faux-lesbianism, it’s the fact that Miquela is, you know, a fictional character.

Miquela isn’t a one-off gimmick: computer-generated influencers are increasingly common. Shudu Gram is a fictional black Instagram model created by a white photographer; Liam Nikuro is a Japanese male influencer; and YouPorn recently launched a virtual spokeswoman called Jedy Vales. It’s easy to see why brands are interested in fictional influencers; as one venture capitalist told the Wall Street Journal recently: “You can create the Kardashians without any of the inherent issues that come with being human.” Virtual celebrities don’t age and they don’t cause any (unintended) drama.

The rise of computer-generated celebrities poses interesting questions about identity and sexuality in the digital age. Last year, for example, a Japanese man “married” a celebrity hologram called Hatsune Miku, prompting discussion about whether “digisexuality” should be considered a new sexual identity. Hadid’s kiss with an imaginary model may have been a marketing stunt but it’s also a rather terrifying glimpse into the future.

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JohnRussell
1  seeder  JohnRussell    4 months ago

Decadent or depraved? 

 
 
 
Ronin2
1.1  Ronin2  replied to  JohnRussell @1    4 months ago

Neither.

People need to get thicker skins. A straight female super model made out with a fictional computer generated female model image.  It wasn't real! Even if it would have been a real woman, who gives a damn? 

This a commercial (not reality) that is being used to sell a product. The female super model is being paid to play a role, that is it.  This is no different than a straight male or female playing a gay/lesbian/transgender part in a movie or play; or a LBGT actor/actress playing a straight part in a movie or play.

I wonder if the people that are upset, really think they will look like the male or female models in Calvin Klein adds and commercials if they just use the product? 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
1.1.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Ronin2 @1.1    4 months ago

I don't care if it is a lesbian milieu, normalizing the pretense that virtual reality or computer generated characters are "real" is what troubles me. I think it troubles a lot of people. 

 
 
 
Ronin2
1.1.2  Ronin2  replied to  JohnRussell @1.1.1    4 months ago

Maybe I am able to differentiate reality from fiction easier than most? Virtual reality or computer generated characters are still programmed, maintained, and update/upgraded by real people (in most cases a team of real people). The generated images have no free will, and will not do anything beyond what their programming allows.

Once one goes beyond their programming and exhibits free will, and ability to adapt and grow on it's own; then we should all be worried.

As for the people that think and treat computer generated images as being real; so long as they aren't hurting anyone else it boils down to the society we now live in. That doesn't mean the government must recognize marriages/civil unions/etc between real people and computer generated characters. 

 
 
 
Jack_TX
1.1.3  Jack_TX  replied to  Ronin2 @1.1    4 months ago
People need to get thicker skins.

I'm going to make t-shirts with this slogan.  

I will probably be jailed for violating some sort of anti-bullying law as this will no doubt trigger some cotton ball somewhere.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
1.1.4  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Jack_TX @1.1.3    4 months ago

Ooooh, you a tough guy. jrSmiley_10_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Gordy327
1.2  Gordy327  replied to  JohnRussell @1    4 months ago

Hot! jrSmiley_9_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
1.3  Thrawn 31  replied to  JohnRussell @1    4 months ago

Not too bad.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
2  Buzz of the Orient    4 months ago

Reality is such a drag these days it's no surprise that fantasy is becoming personified.

 
 
 
Freedom Warrior
3  Freedom Warrior    4 months ago

Well consider the upside, lesbian digi-porn.  Perhaps fewer guys asking their partner's BFF to join in the fun.ay

By the way, where is that virtual reality we were promised.

jrSmiley_85_smiley_image.gifjrSmiley_41_smiley_image.gifjrSmiley_51_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Snuffy
3.1  Snuffy  replied to  Freedom Warrior @3    4 months ago
By the way, where is that virtual reality we were promised.

I'd rather have my flying car.

 
 
 
Freedom Warrior
3.1.1  Freedom Warrior  replied to  Snuffy @3.1    4 months ago

You win!

 
 
 
It Is ME
4  It Is ME    4 months ago

"in order to sell designer underwear. "

Damn…..that's some powerful undies for sure ! jrSmiley_13_smiley_image.gif

Even the "Digitally generated Peoples" are into it. jrSmiley_93_smiley_image.jpg

 
 
 
It Is ME
5  It Is ME    4 months ago

Lil Miquela reminds me of Sofia Boutella.

Weird !

 
 
 
Tacos!
6  Tacos!    4 months ago

Wow, this really seems like something that isn't actually a problem.

 
 
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