Gendering BB-8

Gendering BB-8

The arrival of BB-8 in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and the ensuing debate over why a character originally conceived as a she became a he, highlights how far society’s continued acceptance of the gender binary has reached into the robotic world. Are machines assumed male unless specified otherwise, or does a robot’s function influence our perception of its gender? Why do so many of us – from filmmakers to fans — feel that metal creations with few or no gendered personality traits even need assignment at all? Join pop culture librarians for a discussion of the cinematic history of robots, automatons, cyborgs, and, yes, droids and roles they play – and what those roles reveal.


Valerie Acklin
President, New York Library Association Pop Culture Roundtable, Head of Teen Services, Bellmore Memorial Library.

Derek Ivie
Youth Services Coordinator, Suffolk County Library System.

Nola Thacker
Program Coordinator, Westhampton Free Library.

Birgit Pols
Medical Director, Bellmore Memorial Library.