“The people who say that Cybertronians don’t have genders, are just trying to justify their yaoi love. I mean, seriously. The female characters, such as Arcee and Elita-1, are referred to by the others as ‘she’ and ‘her.’ Besides, Look at TFP Arcee. She has curves and boobs that only a girl could have. And if they had no genders, the females wouldn’t sound so girly either. now, can we just drop this whole dumb debate? It only starts fights.”
Allow me to offer a resounding YES to all of this, especially the very last line. I don’t have nearly the education I need to point out just how constructed modern concepts like gender and sexuality are, so thank you for stepping up with some examples.
And to add a little bit more on fridging… I certainly didn’t mean to gloss over it and how problematic it is in my initial response, whoops. I guess I have a tendency to skate right by fridging as a problem in TF canon because I’m so used to the sex/gender debate being only tangentially related to shipping. Then again, I suppose a lot of the debate is generated by people who either want to defend their het ships/the sancitified masculinity of their favorite male characters, or possibly by people who want to preserve the exoticized titillation of their zomg yaoi/slash pairings? Hm. I guess I’m so used to coming at this from the “canon is fundamentally problemtic re: sexism and I want to fix it metatextually” angle that I forget that people might have other, entirely in-universe stakes in the debate.
Regardless, I definitely can’t deny that the fridging of female characters is a problem in TF fandom just like in other fandoms, if possibly a less prevalent one if only because of the utter dearth of female characters. But hell, you could argue that canon itself fridged Mikaela in DotM with its “she was a total bitch and a pussy who couldn’t handle the manly life and adventures of Sam and the Autobots” bullshit, and it really doesn’t get more blatant than that, huh?
Cutting my own blahbity blah.
Oh Fridging is a secondary issue: that’s when canon acknowledges that females exist, but fanon refuses to. If that were OP’s gripe, I’d be in agreement.It’s especially upsetting when the fridging is done by women who claim to follow left wing politics and feminist agendas.
And oh Mikaela got such a raw deal, though honestly I was so disappointed with what they’d turned her into in ROTF that getting rid of her in DOTM was almost a mercy. I don’t mind fanservice eyecandy females (*cough cough* Verity) but I do mind when they’re not allowed to kick ass or contribute anything to the narrative.
But Bay’s raging misogyny doesn’t justify fans doing the same. Not all canon’s misogynistic: Mowry’s Arcee is great, and Roche’s Verity is fantastic. It’s a sign of hope, but also sad that fandom does…nearly nothing with these characters.
BACK ON TOPIC, kinda. :P
I am old, so I grew up with the ‘universal he’ as a grammatical construct. So we’d say, and I still slip and say it ‘every student will hand in HIS paper’, regardless of the gender of the students (you see this grammatically in French as well: if you have a bunch of people, even if only ONE of them is male, the ‘they’ you use is ‘ils’ not ‘elles’). And as a little kid watching G1, I remembered it being cool that they were also, in a sense, genderless, or at least pre-gender.
I still view them as pre-gender, honestly. It’s why I resist the ‘yaoi’ label, and view them as monogendered (which is why I cling to IDW with prehensile toes), something that defies our notion of gender, but that we still, out of our limitation and ignorance, keep trying to shove into our binary model. Many fandom authors (including you and me) have written multiple genders: I think I came up with 8 for Bayverse? with the idea being gender meant *function* and not just who was curvy and who was boxy.
Because, after all, Strika. :D
And as someone pointed out, in sheer moobage, Prowl and Jazz have Arcee beat in ANY continuity XD
So many excellent points here, and I can’t comment on them as thoroughly as I’d like given my current situation so Imhope both you ladies are still interested when I can get to a real computer. This conversation is particularly timely because I’ve been thinking a lot about how to address other femme type frames or fem genders in IDW ‘verse and the idea that Arcee’s procedure might become an avaliable upgrade/frame reformat for a willing mech.
And to the OP… “Yaoi” is a very specific cultural media genre, NOT a sexual orientation. It’s not synonymous with “gay/gay sex” or even “slash” and it drives me crazy the way people use it in that fashion. It also makes very little sense that people who want to validate gay relationships would also want to invalidate gender, aka, the ‘maleness’ of those characters. Perhaps this confession needs to undergo some semantic triage?