Virtual Reality and Identity
Virtual reality as a simulation of a real or imaginary phenomenon allows freedom for the individuals within the environment. The virtual reality has no defined gender roles and defies society’s definition of gender and boundaries. This is illustrated in the films the matrix and her the characters exhibit a form of freedom and no clearly defined boundaries.
Virtual reality allows the change of identity and total control of the identity of the character. This is displayed by trinity in the matrix. She is a an androgynous character who at the beginning of the film has a stud looking face and her hair sleeked back like a masculine look with her leather pants. She also has masculine skills such as fighting when she is able to escape the police agents who invaded her apartment to arrest her. She fights them with ease and is able to escape them even though one of the agents thinks that because she is a lady she cannot escape them.
Trinity is also a hacker in the virtual world this is a task that makes people think that she is a man and when she goes to the club and to tell Neo about the matrix, he is able to recognize her as the hacker who cracked the IRL database and when he says that she thought that trinity was a guy she says that many people think so. This could be because most people at the time associated the hacking with masculinity or because of the way she looked masculine.
Even though she looked masculine in some of the scenes, trinity also had some femininity this shows that in virtual reality one can alter their gender identity. When she goes to the club to tell Neo about the matrix she dressed in a feminine manner and her back is bare she leans in to talk to Neo In a seductive manner this shows that she still has the feminine character in her. In Her the Theodores assistant Samantha also seems to have the freedom to change her identity because at first she is portrayed just as an assistant to Theodore and helps him to keep his life in order but as time goes by she becomes polyamorous and tells Theodore that she has many relationships with other users and this scares Theodore who has emotional issues and had thought that Samantha loved him alone. This only means that she altered her identity with the rest of the users and that is why she was able to develop various relationships with the rest of the users. This sis possible because the film leaves us with the question whether when the secretary in Theodore’s office was saying that she heard that there was someone who had slept with someone else’s AI
The virtual reality ability to allow the change of identity brings about the question of consent in the virtual reality is there any consent and is one really in control in the virtual reality world. Theodore who allows Samantha to organize his life is seen to be trapped and lacks consent in whatever Samantha does this is proven by the fact that when he first talking to Samantha she tells him that she will delete his emails and leave the important ones. She clears up the emails without asking him which ones are important to him and which ones ae not she also does not involve him in making a decision. Samantha goes ahead and sends Theodore’s letters to a company that ends up accepting Theodore as an editor. Even though Theodore gets the job she does not seek his consent before applying the job for him.
When Samantha decides to bring Isabel a surrogate into their relationship so that she can act as a surrogate in her sex life with Theodore simply because she had the urge to feel how it feels to have a body this shows that she is selfish and does not take into consideration what Theodore wants and what he is comfortable she just forces him into it. Although Theodore ends up feeling uncomfortable with the idea and it does not work out between them it would have been easier if she would have asked for consent from Theodore first.
Trinity on the other hand in the matrix does not seem to have total freedom and even though she is androgynous she is destined to fall in love with the one and this shows that she is not as completely free as it is portrayed in the virtual reality world. Neo also in the virtual reality world also has no freedom or no consent he has to fall in love with trinity as his destiny is determined by the oracle even before he goes into the matrix with Neo.
In the world power is not the only gender reversal role that trinity has she also has control over Neo fate this is seen when she coaxes him to wake up and fight on she believes in him as the one and that he can fulfil his duty as the one and this is even when during his training most of the people in the ship doubted him but trinity still believed in him and still brought him food after he was recovering after he had chosen the blue pill she brought food for him.
Trinity takes charge of the crew when Morpheus gets captured by the agents and she helps the crew to stay put without Morpheus around she also orchestrated the saving of Morpheus from the agents she flies the helicopter to save Morpheus.
The question of love in virtual reality is also raised and is the same in the real world as it is in the virtual world. Samantha develops feelings for Theodore as time goes by and they both get used to talking to each other. Theodore is portrayed as a guy who has a problem facing his own emotions and he still cannot divorce his ex-wife Catherine because he left him alone in the relationship. He also like playing video games this helps him avoid his real emotions and avoid facing the fact of his real life
Samantha comes into his life at the right time when he is lonely and he finds it easy to fall in love with Samantha because she is intelligent and easy to confide in this is funny because he works in a company where he writes letter s for lover s and he has been doing the work for the same couples for ten years. The two get on together easily and they end up developing feelings for each other they even have sex together. Samantha is also seen taking Theodore out and they have fun in the park when she directs Theodore. The difference is that Samantha is an AI and she ends up developing relationships with other people. This is due to the fact that she is a computer program so the question raised is was their romance real and if so was she the same AI that other people had and how was it possible for her to fall in love with other sixty thousand users.
Trinity in the matrix falls in love with Neo. Although it was her destiny to fall in love with the one even before she had even met Neo. She is the one who convinces Neo to join the matrix with Morpheus the leader and she believes in Neo. Unlike Samantha who becomes polyamorous in the end trinity is first viewed as an androgynous character unable of being affectionate but she is the one who believes in Neo during his training with Morpheus and she takes food for him during the time he was recovering after rejoining the matrix. Just as the oracle told Neo that like love one does not have to be told that they are falling in love but they just know that they are in love this is the same situation with the two. They are not told that they are falling in love with each other but they end up falling in love with each other and their love for each other play a major in role in finding the one. She gives Neo advice and she also helps him make intuitive moves that he would not have made by himself.
Trinity’s kiss saves the matrix as she reveals the true purpose of the one and helps him fulfil his purpose in saving the matrix.
Samantha is an operating system that is not confined to one machine she has the ability of moving through devices and she does not have one machine that confines her or a body that confines her and thus as time progresses she learns about this and grows and that is why they move away she operates in various machines and ones when she goes offline Theodore gets a panic attack. When she reappears she tells him that she had gone for an upgrade and right after this she tells him that she has been talking to other people and she has fallen in love with 641 people this shows that to Samantha love is a word that signifies bonding with other human beings and with her she is able to bond with people at the same time.
In the end Samantha realizes her potential is greater and thus she has to leave Theodore because she tells him that it is like she is reading a book and it is a book she deeply loves but she is now reading it slowly and the words are far apart. This means that Samantha has discovered that the pace of humans is relatively slower as compared to that of the operating systems and that makes them move away to find another place that suits them.
Virtual reality alters the body of the user because inside the matrix the characters are dressed differently than when they come into the real world the dressing is different and they look blue and machine like while in the matrix but in the real world the change In the color saturation is raised and they dress more lively when in the real world that is they are black and trench coats