Futanari – literally ‘to be of two kinds’, or ‘dual forms’ – exhibit the precession of simulacra, and their absence from the text of Simulacra and Simulation is an inexplicable oversight on Baudrillard’s part. However, the fact is that the burgeoning of androgynes in Asia is rooted, not in French social theory, or even in biology or genetics — but in rumour, theatre, and folk religion.
A simulacrum is a likeness, image or effigy; bearing a superficial similarity to its original, it is a placeholder or sign for the real thing, a representation rather than a replication. The instrumental suffix –crum signifies something which might be used in a simulation, like a baby doll in a nativity play, a CPR dummy, or a scale model of the moon for rehearsing the Apollo mission. The French social theorist Jean Baudrillard, however, galvanised the word with post-modern magic, stratifying its meaning into three or four gradations. In Simulacra and Simulation (1981), the simulacrum becomes something more than a mere likeness; it is the image that ‘murders’ reality. The violence of the hyperbole is startling. This is the treason of images.
There are four orders of simulation.
“Such would be the successive phases of the image: it is…
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