Uncanny Valley Girls
On the website TVTropes, they have a page where people provide personal experiences of the uncanny valley. I read this page through, and was disturbed to find the following quotes:
"This troper has a cousin with severe genetic defects. On the surface, she looks like an ordinary girl of her age. But spend even a minute in her presence, and the defects become apparent. Not only is she unable to stand upright without support and has seizures, but she is mentally retarded to the point that this troper isn't sure if she's truly sentient. She's like an animal in a human body - and yet she is kin.
- This troper has a great-aunt who's mentally retarded to the point that she has the mind of a four-year-old... despite being in her late 50's. Every time his family goes to visit her, he can't help but be really, really creeped out.
- Two Words: Tear Jerker.
- That's why I can't substitute teach in EC, (what used to be called "Special Ed") classes. My empathetic side feels sorry for them, but every other instinct is calling for retreat. The exaggerated cheerfulness of the other teachers in there doesn't help. They pretty much have to do that to register on the kids."
"This troper has inherited her mother's very pale skin and tall, painfully thin build (aided by a metabolism running at the general speed of a Concorde), along with strabismus (more commonly known as 'squint') in the left eye. This makes it seem as if she isn't looking directly at the person with whom she is speaking (when in fact actually she is) and coupled with the rest of her inadequacies, it makes for a probably overall unsettling image. She has gotten used to the odd looks and sometimes rude remarks and generally tries to dispel them with good humor, an application of subtle self-tanning lotion and a pair of dark-tinted glasses when out in public."
"This troper Has always had issues with pictures of birth defects. Not so much disfigurements from an accident or something, just anything congenital or genetic. There's just something about humans being born looking inhuman that makes me feel like nature isn't to be trusted, and the world is a really squicky place on a primordial level. I saw a commercial for some Discovery Channel show about The Elephant Man when I was around eight, and... Well, needless to say, I didn't watch Discovery for a while after, and that commercial was literal Nightmare Fuel for me off and on for years after. Which probably means this is more like Nightmare Valley for me."
"Not sure where to put this, so I'll just put it here. Many/most Aspies (definition from the other wiki - by the way, no matter what it says, yes we have a sense of humour), This Troper included, both ignore the Uncanny Valley and fall victim to it. ... We fall victim to it in our interactions with those strange creatures known as 'neurotypicals' (you call yourselves 'normal' ;P), where many people pick up on something subtly 'wrong' about us and treat us according to their beliefs on 'different', varying from 'intriguing' or 'finally, someone interesting', through 'humour him, edge away slowly', all the way to 'DIFFERENT EQUALS BAD, DESTROY!'. I'll let you decide for yourselves what this does to someone over a lifetime."
"This Troper have met the Uncanny Valley in a bus. She (it?) looks like a young woman, but thinner than every single thin woman. She must be suffering severe anorexia, to the point were you can see her bones. Yeah, literally, all she got was some flesh left on her bones. Combined with a pale, cadaveric skin, and a black robe in wich she seems to float... Looking at her was like looking to a human skeleton. She was creepy enough, but then she starts to move, like a disincarnate puppet; her arms reaching slowly to the door, straight as two pieces of wood, shivering lightly. And then, she gasps. Ooooooh boy, that was Nightmare Fuel !"
These quotes, as well as some others, indicate that certain real, living people, due to various disabilities, fall into uncanny valley for some people. Does this mean they don't see us as really, truly human? Is this related to disability discrimination? Is it possible for these people to get over this reaction and learn to accept us anyway?
[Note: for those who have trouble with puns - 'Valley girls' are people from a certain region who have a distinctive way of talking ('like, gag me with a spoon'). I'm making a pun on valley girls and the uncanny valley to talk about people in the uncanny valley.]