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Old 2006-09-16, 10:07 PM   #1
LKW
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Well, in continuing my quest to get caught up on the Junkion Files, I just read the "fembots" discussion - which generally turned out to be more interesting than expected, BTW - and a question occurred to me: why are some Transformers sometimes considered to be feminine?

Obviously, with a few characters there's the recognizable human female-looking "hairdo" sculpts and shapely unadorned legs, and the use of female pronouns when addressing the character. With at least Arcee, color (sadly) appears to be intended to be part of it - although, does that mean that Action Master Thundercracker had a sex-change?

But it's not really these characters I'm discussing here. What I'm talking about was inspired by the idea of "masculine" and "feminine" traits as mentioned in the fembots thread.

For the record, I'm of the camp that the TFs, as a race of robots, should be considered gender-neutral. The "he"s are just an unfortunate product of storytelling (and in fact, I'm considering using "it" - or "she", to balance things out the tinniest bit - the next time I write Transformer fiction), not a reflection that a particular Transformer is any more one gender than the other. And, while there may be slight trends in frequency of occurrence, I personally don't subscribe to the idea of traits being inherently masculine or feminine.

But even if one does believe in gender-based character traits, it's a little disturbing when one looks at what Transformers, addressed with male pronouns, are sometimes considered to be "feminine".

Maybe the most frequent one I've seen, and not only in the Junkion thread, is Tracks. Distinguishing trait? Preening vanity. Sunstreaker also sometimes gets mentioned, for exactly the same reason. Starscream, another vain character, is also often called feminine, though his cartoon voice (despite being performed by a male actor) is an acknowledged factor in that. These are the only examples of "feminine" "male" Transformers which I can recall frequently hearing. The other TFs are apparently all considered to have "male traits". (Carrying other TFs in your belly is NOT identified as feminine - I've never seen Soundwave [or Blaster, for that matter] called "feminine".)

So, to summarize "feminine" traits from the above: vanity. Starscream does add ambition, but continues the vanity, and also brings selfishness and disloyalty, and, in some incarnations at least, cowardice and a high-pitched voice.

Everything else is male? Really?

I can see the argument that warrish and aggressive tendencies are more masculine; I wouldn't agree that they're inherently masculine, but wouldn't argue against a trend towards more occurrence on the male side there. But what about inventiveness? Why is Sunstreaker more likely a "female" Transformer than Wheeljack? Loyalty? Ironhide and Soundwave (in most incarnations, anyway) are two examples of this non-male-exclusive trait. Why aren't Skywarp's playfulness or Jazz's love of music considered as likely feminine as masculine? (I suppose we're lucky that Bluestreak and Blurr's talkativeness haven't been singled out as feminine.) Hound's love of exploration, Hook's perfectionism?

What about courage, compassion, selfless bravery, and sacrifice? These are certainly traits as feminine as they are masculine.

There is no reason that Optimus Prime shouldn't be considered "feminine" as often as any other non-human female-looking, male-voiced, Transformer character.
 

Last edited by LKW; 2006-09-16 at 10:19 PM.
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Old 2006-09-16, 10:37 PM   #2
Denyer
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Quote:
Originally posted by LKW
Everything else is male? Really?
People are dumb. And generally function even as adults at a school-yard level of "this is like me, so fits in this group, this is something I don't like to think of myself as, so fits in that group".

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Carrying other TFs in your belly is NOT identified as feminine
Which never ceases to be amusing...

Nor is Primus.
 
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Old 2006-09-16, 10:48 PM   #3
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ive never thought of any character as being feminine without them being depicted as females.

the main feminine trait ive seen female TF's is they have an over-protectiveness and the caring bed-side mannerism,

so...maybe First Aid would be a feminine male TF, it might be the fact that he's a medic but Rachet always seem to be less dramatic over an injured autobot...

i would't think that vanity would be just a feminine trait, vanity is more on the character it self than on what its gender is..

weren't the TF's were created by organic beings.., perhaps the female robots are only different asthetically, perhaps serving their quintesson masters in other ways than the male TF's...(not in that way.. ).
 
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Old 2006-09-17, 02:06 AM   #4
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I dont think apart from the obvious ones like Arcee any of them are feminine cos they dont collect shoes (especially ones that dont fit them that they bought cos they were in the sale) and they dont bitch about TFs hanging out with other TFs in a needy whiny way.
These seem to be the two main aspects of femininity and i have seen no evidence of either
 
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Old 2006-09-17, 04:12 AM   #5
Rurudyne
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To distinguish between gender from within the context of the stories proper (and thus ignore the real world desire to sell little girls some transforming robots) is one thing; however, I would suggest that when fans attempt to distinguish this or that TF based on his/her traits they are often simply transposing their own ideas and bias onto the stock characters. "Vainity" is hardly a femenine trait: there have been and are plenty of men who are very vain and could hardly be deemed a "metrosexual" (I'm always reminded of the idiot boyfriends in A Fish Called Wanda and Ruthless People as an example of someone who's vainity is a component of their very-secure manliness).

The only definative male and female traits (at least to me) are related to either begetting or bearing respectfully. Every thing else isn't window dressing, but it also isn't definative.

Since the only "evidince" that TFs the the G1/TF:TM/G2/BW continuity do either of these things together comes from a few moments of animation in the movie and the mysterious appearance of the character Wheelie, I would say that there could be something to gender (that it isn't just cosmetic) BUT that this need not be.

Further, the only thing a writer really needs to justify the difference is that the characters themselves accept it without question. Even still, I cringe when folks try to make robots out to act like oversexed humans at our worst.

For all canon TFs, their "father" would likely be the engineer who built them (or maybe Vector Sigma who imposed their spark) and if they considered anything to be a "mother" it would likely be Cybertron herself (or maybe Earth for the Dinobots and Metroplex).
 

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Old 2006-09-17, 12:33 PM   #6
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But most of the TFs do have blatantly "male" personalities. It's not just the voice, it's hard to put my finger on it; but basically personalities that only really "work" within the context of being male, as opposed to stereotypical male personalities.

Like it or not, males and females have differently wired brains, and this leads to inherently different behavioural patterns. It's not unreasonable to assume alien speices would have male and female due to the fact that it keeps recurring in earth biology. If you're trying to simulate life, why would you leave out gender, an important part of it?

Sex and gender are seperate. Saying that robots shouldn't have gender because they don't have sex is ludicrous. That's like saying you should never give them the ability to feel happiness because they don't have serotonin. They don't follow the same logic as biology, they're BASED on biology, abstract from it. There's a difference.

I'm going to go with the TFs being mostly male because they're basically an army, and may have had their own gender stereotypes at the time, or perhaps followed earth's.
 
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Old 2006-09-17, 12:48 PM   #7
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You realise that Transformers were created before humans, yeh?
 
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Old 2006-09-17, 01:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rosalie
It's not unreasonable to assume alien speices would have male and female due to the fact that it keeps recurring in earth biology.
For the original show, Transformers aren't a species -- they're programmed robots considered to be sentient. This also holds true for comic methods of building TFs such as the matrix and matrix flames.

Move on to later comics, and the suggestion is that all TFs can reproduce through asexual budding, a bit like Star Trek replicators. Again, no male/female distinction, either sexes or gender.
 
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Old 2006-09-17, 06:55 PM   #9
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Like it or not, in the original cartoon and especially Beast Wars/Machines there are male and female robots who do indeed have relationships of some sort. It's aft, it's poorly executed and the comic version makes a whole lot more sense, but that's the way it is...
 
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Old 2006-09-17, 09:46 PM   #10
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I read somewhere that the Quintesson origin story would easily explain the existence of female transformers.

Or rather, feminine transformers, as the title of this thread implies. The autobots were 'consumer goods', so female robots would be used as maids and such; this also explains the lack of female decepticons in the G1 cartoon continuity, since decepticons, who were military hardware, would not require such, uh, "assets".
 
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Old 2006-09-17, 09:50 PM   #11
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The Quintesson origin story can also be used to show the writers were idiots who should have had their hands cut off...

But yeh, the cartoon does give some pretty good excuses for some of the crap they dreamt up
 
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Old 2006-09-17, 11:02 PM   #12
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You stick that tongue at me mister and I shall suck on it in very homoerotic fashion.
 
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Old 2006-09-18, 01:06 AM   #13
LKW
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tetsuro
I read somewhere that the Quintesson origin story would easily explain the existence of female transformers.

Or rather, feminine transformers, as the title of this thread implies. The autobots were 'consumer goods', so female robots would be used as maids and such; this also explains the lack of female decepticons in the G1 cartoon continuity, since decepticons, who were military hardware, would not require such, uh, "assets".
Yeah, I suppose, if the Quints had sexist, antiquated, Earthen concepts of gender... (For that matter, what gender are the Quintessons? If none, would they make robots with genders?)

Even if one were to buy the idea of some sort of gender-based differences in personalities, I've still heard no reason why Optimus Prime isn't as feminine as Sunstreaker or Tracks...

I like Denyer's observation about Primus. "He" gave birth to the Transformers; why couldn't he as easily, or more likely, be considered a she (other than being a fictional character created in a culture which has assigned a male gender to its God-concept)?
 
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Old 2006-09-19, 05:01 AM   #14
Rurudyne
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cliffjumper
The Quintesson origin story can also be used to show the writers were idiots who should have had their hands cut off...

But yeh, the cartoon does give some pretty good excuses for some of the crap they dreamt up
I would like to point out that had the writers been veritable Shakespeares, C.S.Lewises or J.R.R.Tolkiens that there would likely be little a mere fan could imagine they could write to compete ... and I for one would definately be Cybertron-Outta-Luck!

So, thank God for "idiots"!

(Your words, not mine. I actually kinda like the cartoon's crap.)
 

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Old 2006-09-19, 04:45 PM   #15
inflatable dalek
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rurudyne
I would like to point out that had the writers been veritable Shakespeares, C.S.Lewises or J.R.R.Tolkiens
All of whom wrote their fare share of crap that I could do better than (anyone who thinks the film version of Return of the King goes on a bit past the natural end point should read the book, there's about 200 totally pointless pages with all that stuff back at the Shire...)
 
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Old 2006-09-19, 05:16 PM   #16
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It ain't pointless stuff. It's got the death of Sharky, the horror of Mordor brought to the Shire, the battle, the Grey Havens!!!

"Well," said Sam. "I'm home."
 

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Old 2006-09-19, 05:23 PM   #17
inflatable dalek
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Quote:
Originally posted by Clogs
It ain't pointless stuff. It's got the death of Sharky, the horror of Mordor brought to the Shire, the battle, the Grey Havens!!!
All of which is irrelivant to the main plot. It's just there to show the Hobbits have come far enough to be able to stand up for themselves without the aid of men or Wizzards. But the preceeding 900 odd pages tells you that well enough you don't need the repitition.
 
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Old 2006-09-20, 03:31 AM   #18
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Still, a TF take on Much Ado About Nothing might have been fun.

Or, more to topic, The Taming of the Shrew (say Starscream gets taunted by the other Seekers to finally put up or shut up about being a real femme's bot. One problem: he's supposded to pull off a date with ... Chromia. )
 

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Old 2007-02-03, 03:17 PM   #19
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Totally agree with the non-gender specifications. They're aliens-gender-neutral, for the most part. The Quintesson explaination for there been more Autobots females only shows that the human writers let some outdated ideas on the roles of male and female affect their origin stories. A tad silly, seeing as it didn't affect them earlier.

Look at Blaster and Soundwave. Both of the 'care' for a whole lot of small creations that you could loosely call children. And the other Transformers, in both factions, didnt tease them about that been a females job.

No one told Skywarp/Shockwave that lilac/purple was a female-only colour either.
 

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Old 2007-02-04, 02:42 AM   #20
Denyer
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Quote:
Originally posted by LKW
If none, would they make robots with genders?
If selling robots to alien races that do have genders, probably.
 
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