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Old 2014-12-27, 04:02 AM   #40
Warcry
Likes Beast Wars toys. A lot.
 
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Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
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Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
It's an underused idea that goes all the way back to Budiansky as well, IIRC the original profiles for the Autobots had affectionate nick names for most of them ("Cool hand lube" and so on). Which likely never made it into the comics as with such a large cast right from the off getting kids to keep track of which toy was which would be hard enough without throwing pet names in for them as well.
Good point -- I'd forgotten that Budiansky had ideas like that. I think what killed them (even more than the difficulty of working stuff like that into a story with such a large cast) was simple marketing. If the characters had multiple names and nicknames, it would be that much harder for parents to know which toys to buy for their little ones.

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Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
Well, there's no actual reason people couldn't refer to Magnus as "She", but his holo avatar wouldn't be enough to inspire them to do so as he had other reasons for projecting that image.
Well, no more reason than there would be to stop you from calling Windblade or Nautica "he". But it would be equally rude in either case, because if they wanted to be referred to by the other pronoun they would be. Looking for excuses to say that the characters are the opposite gender of what they're identifying as doesn't really seem like a productive way to address the gender identity issues that the people asking these questions are supposedly championing, which is why I find myself rolling my eyes at it.

It comes off as stereotyping to me -- if character X does something girly then they have to be a girl/gay/trans/whatever because everyone knows that all the people like that are! Which is ridiculous of course, and even sort of offensive when you get right down to it. But then these questions generally come from the same people that think Tailgate has to be a girl because he's got skinny legs, so...

Alas, whenever I think we might have moved past the point where a guy can't show any traditionally female interests or traits without being called a sissy or a faggot, the internet shows me that those ideas are still alive and well even in subcultures that you'd think would know better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
Come to think of it, a good reason for him staying male is that he's Dominus' "Twin".
Also the moustache is a big point against, if we're using humanizing features to assign genders to the characters now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
I'm too much of an old fuddy duddy for Tumblr (I've only recently thrown myself fully into twitter, much to the delight of my Facebook friends who get to read everything copied over automatically) so I can't speak for the overall character of those on there- though as it and Instagram seem to have picked up the "Look at the weirdos!" jibes twitter used to get before it became really mainstream I suspect it's not as bad as all that- and they might even have a point.
I've never heard people taking shots like that at Instagram, but certain corners of Tumblr (certainly not all of it, or even most, but a sizable minority) have become a left-wing version of 4chan, an echo chamber of extreme opinions and intolerance. That's usually what people are referring to when they use the site as an example of "those weirdos".

Quote:
Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
It could be argued that us long standing fans have simply become numbed to how sexist Transformers has generally been overall.
I don't think that would be fair, though. The fandom has vocally disapproved of things like Furman's IDW backstory for Arcee or the generally terrible treatment of women in the Bay movies, while responding positively to the better-handled (though admittedly still flawed) female presence in stuff like Beast Wars, Beast Machines or Prime.

I don't think the scarcity of important female characters is necessarily sexist in a franchise that's aimed primarily at the "girls have cooties!" demographic, any more than the scarcity of important male characters in fiction aimed at little girls would be. And in general, I think people who expect the franchise to address stuff like this more often are expecting too much. 95% or more of Transformers fiction is kids' stuff, dumb popcorn movies and toy shilling. That's not the platform for a serious discourse on gender issues.

The 5% of the franchise that is mature enough to deal with this sort of thing...well, it's MTMTE, and it already is. But it still needs to tell a story and can't exactly devote all its page space to social allegories.

Quote:
Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
That can't be right surely? The Cybertron based Transformers aren't male at all, it's just basically how the comic chooses to identify them (in fiction you can rationalise it as a translation conversion because their own neutral pronoun doesn't convey well), the Camiens on the other hand are supposed to be Actually female. Which means there must be some Actual males amongst them otherwise they wouldn't need ladies.
I've never seen anything that implied that Caminus had males, or that their gender was somehow biological. I suppose it's possible, but the impression I got was that it was a world of nothing but self-described girls.

The way I took it was that the Camien females are only female because they say they are. Because they want to be, not because some intrinsic fact of their biology says they are (at least now that the silly "Nautica is 'spark type: girl'" thing is retconned). If they do have males, they're male for the exact same reason. And by that same logic, everyone from Cybertron (bar Arcee) calls themselves "he". For whatever reason, they're choosing to define themselves as masculine by using masculine pronouns. So sure, they can all be dudes. Why not?

It doesn't really make any sense for them to decide to be one gender or another when by all rights it shouldn't mean anything to them, but since when does any foreign culture ever make sense?

Quote:
Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
Of course, where Costa went wrong is that, whilst it's perfectly fine to dislike Transformers for it's complete failure as "Proper" science fiction exploring the idea of alien life, that's a conceit that people who enjoy it are happy to make and which especially needs to be made by those writing it or their work is going to be awful.
I think James Roberts has done a good job of proving wrong Costa's "it's impossible to understand them!" complaints. I mean, MTMTE does explore the idea of Transformers as alien life be de-anthropomorphising them, and the fandom loves the book for that. It doesn't completely dehumanize them, but it how they're different from us is just as important in Roberts' writing so far as how they're similar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
Still, from that poor foundations the fact IDW have managed to make the new female toys work as characters is impressive, Windblade could have so easily wound up a complete train wreck so it being good fun (that actually managed to defeat the IDW trend by having it's sag in the middle rather than the end as well. Reads well in trade too) even if not The Greatest Transformers Story Ever Told was something of a miracle.
I agree that Windblade did a good job of rescuing the idea of female TFs in the IDWverse, and it did so in the best way possible -- by ignoring the need for an explanation altogether. Instead of jumping through hoops to explain why a robot would call herself "she" the writers just shrugged the question off and focused on making her a likeable, interesting character so that we would have something to focus on other than the silly gender issue. I was definitely on the "don't do it!" side when they announced they were going to bring in more female characters after seeing the mess Furman had made of it, and Mairghread Scott did a great job of turning my opinion right around.
 
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