Cell phone girlfriend sells stereotypes

The New York Times has a piece today on a potential new fad in dating—don’t. Just get yourself a virtual girlfriend for your cell phone. Ick.
Feministing reported on this more than disturbing invention from Hong Kong software maker Artificial Life Inc. last year.
“Vivienne” (yes, she has a name) behaves in varying ways depending on how much money you spend on her.
Users eager to advance quickly toward a virtual kiss or even marriage should know that she has a faintly mercenary appreciation for gifts, from flowers and chocolates to cars and diamond rings. Some virtual gifts are free, but others will require users to make real charges against their monthly phone bills of 50 cents to $2.
What an innovative way to promote a tired stereotype of women!

But it doesn’t stop there:
If you marry her in a virtual ceremony, you even end up with a virtual mother-in-law who really does call you in the middle of the night on your cellphone to ask where you are and whether you have been treating her daughter right.
As Feministing pondered when we first reported on this—where is the virtual boyfriend who doesn’t return your calls and cheats on you?

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