Photo: Getty

Soon, interested patrons will be able to fuck around with a sex doll in a Toronto shopping mall. As (female) sex dolls become increasingly lifelike, it’s no surprise that companies want to recreate the brothel, replacing the job of human sex workers with the ultra-realistic silicone replicas.

Aura Dolls, the company behind the “brothel,” states on its website that its “vision is to bring you an exciting new way to achieve your needs without the many restrictions and limitations that a real partner may come with.”

The business is slated to open on September 8 at an address disclosed during the booking process. It currently allows customers to select from six female dolls, which each have a comprehensive profile. The dolls are all “aged” from 21 to 24-years-old and include details on their ethnicity, hair and eye color, their curves and their figure. Each profile also notes that their breasts are “natural.” The profiles certainly aim to exude a sense of human-like qualities, such as penchants and jealousy.

“Yuki is a creature of habit and is selective with whom she see’s,” one profile reads. Each has the same description, only tweaked to include the correct name. “If you have spent time with Yuki you already know that she loves to be booked in advance and doesn’t like it when you see other Aura Dolls without her.”

Prices range from $80 for 30 minutes with one doll to $960 for four hours with two dolls, according to the Aura Dolls’ rates page, which also indicates that the company will roll out different monthly package deals in the future. The company website states that there are separate entrances to exit and enter, to ensure privacy—they will enter through the back and exit using a buzzer system, CityNews reported.

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Customers reportedly won’t interact with any staff members during their visit. “They put their payment down on the counter and they go straight to their room,” Aura Dolls marketing director Claire Lee told CityNews. “They’ll probably not bump into a single person.” Instead, customers are reportedly surveilled through a camera when they arrive. The doll is waiting for them in their room.

“I think it’ll open up a bigger conversation hopefully around the decriminalization of sex work and the importance around how decriminalization will allow sex workers to work in safety, to have rights, and to validate that it’s a form of work,” advocate Monica Forrester told CityNews. “With the brothel thing, I think it’ll open up more dialogue hopefully, and have sex workers included in that in how they can be a part of changing some of that stigma.”

But critics argue that sex dolls stoke the dehumanization of women. French activists protested a similar establishment in Paris this month. The sex doll brothel, Xdolls, lets customers rent a sex doll by the hour. Protestors likened the act of fucking lifeless silicone to both degrading women and rape.

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It’s not a novel argument. For as long as mostly men have been modeling machines in the image of their ideal woman, opponents have been questioning the ethics of bringing such gendered stereotypes to life. And to the marketplace. But as Jezebel’s Stassa Edwards pointed out, the most egregious element of this trend isn’t simply the degrading products, but its problematic creators.

“There is undoubtedly an uncomfortable Pygmalion-like relationship that underpins the whole idea of sex robots, particularly since the tech’s development is largely one-sided and seemingly focused on the fulfillment of straight male desire. But the emphasis here is on abstract harm; it’s essentially a treatment of symptoms rather than the cause. Reducing a woman to a silent receptacle of fantasy isn’t done simply by robotics as much as it is by the uncreative male imagination.”

Whichever side of the argument you may land, Aura Dolls’ grand opening next month indicates that this trend shows no signs of slowing down. Let’s just hope it’s not a trend largely dominated by harmful stereotypes catering exclusively to straight men.

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[CityNews]