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Old 2014-12-29, 09:09 PM   #48
inflatable dalek
Duke of Kidderminster
inflatable dalek's Avatar
Kidderminster UK

Death's Head got burnt!

Anderson did design Impactor though, and whilst he's in the lots of boxes tradition, he's probably the perfect example.

I've been a long time replying due to the jolliness of Christmas and an incredibly depressing Saturday night that really sunk me into a slough of despond.

So it's going to take one of my favourite things to cheer me up, arguing with Warcry!

Originally Posted by Warcry View Post
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's only rude if Magnus does self identify as a "He", and as said, I really don't think they do in their own language as little of the shock/mild surprise (depending on if you're reading the Arcee Spotlight or Windblade's introduction) over the female Autobots use of pronouns would make any sense. If he'd arrived on Earth and everyone had decided he was Aunty Magnus he'd have likely gone along with it just as much (I mean, especially Magnus out of all them would respect how the local language treats him).

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...
Oh I fully agree there should be much more imagination/common sense used when treating characters as female (especially when you consider that when franchises do a remake/reboot with gender swaps it's usually to do with the fact the original only had rather clichéd female characters). That's why I liked Roberts (albeit on the hoof and by no means binding) suggestion at the last AA that Cyclonus would have a stern Victorian school ma'am as his avatar.

That works as it not being the "Femine" one who's the lady in that team, in fitting in with the asthetic of the avatars of being a comedically exaggerated representation of their true selves and it fits in with my take on the Cyclonus/Tailgate relationship being more parental than romantic. A three for three win.

Also the moustache is a big point against, if we're using humanizing features to assign genders to the characters now.
A fine example of the need for plot to trump everything, IIRC Roberts has said he never used to like facial hair on Transformers until he needed some visual way to make the Ambus twins instantly identical despite their different colours schemes (and presumably something that would avoid looking like they'd had a Shockwave done to them, or that Magnus might have a tiny Optimus Prime lookalike in him).

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.
Oh we complained, but we're still here (and I don't think we ever jumped on IDW Arcee as hard as she was jumped on a year ago, at least never enough to get the author to come out and make a defence of the character). I think newer readers would simply give up on the books, however good the rest of the material was, if they not only contained material they found offensive but if it continued to be the case that the otherwise smart seeming decent writers behind the comics carried on in those veins even after what was wrong even after it had been pointed out to them.

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.
Of course (though the IDW comics aren't aimed at small boys and do have an increasing female readership), but even taken on its own merits Transformers has always done badly with female characters.

I mean, is there another successful '80's boys toys franchise that ever did that poorly in terms of female representation? Of the Big ones, He-Man and Thundercats both had more and better female regulars right from the off, and perhaps more damningly the other robots cartoon managed female leads written in a sensible way (or as much as Gobots ever did) with little effect on its success.

Equally, G.I. Joe, the closest thing Transformers has to a sister franchise, not only managed a good chunk of female leads, but the comic continued to feature them after the toyline stopped doing girls with Jinx (of course, the comic is horribly racist so what it gives with one hand it takes away with the other).

Even when only compared to its contemporaries, Transformers is an almost total failure in its treatment of female characters.

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.
My copy of Windblade is hard to get at at the moment, but from my recollection, whilst they don't spell out what happened, the dialogue basically says the Caminens evolved in order to survive in their new environment, the implication being a physical change rather than just a state of mind (which is in keeping with Barber's never chuck anything out mentality, Spotlight Arcee established female Transformers are physically different from the usual ones so all future female Transformers have to be physically different for consistency).

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.
Oh yes, I mean, take Tailgate. His backstory is a big proper SF concept that could only be done (at least in a pre-existing franchise) in Transformers.

But equally, how it affects him is in entirely relateable human terms. He's lonely, lost, child like and prone to lying a lot in order to be liked so he can make up for lost time. That's a full on person, not an alien. But it's a person with an alien backstory. Brilliant.
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