I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas
This line kept getting stuck in my head like a refrain this weekend during PAX, which overall was a really great experience and the people I met there were fantastic and exceeded my expectations and were generally incredibly nice, respectful, friendly, and interesting. But it really only takes a few uncomfortable interactions to taint the experience, and I came home Saturday feeling such an intense feeling of not wanting to be seen or looked at, and that’s when I realized why I kept holding on to that line like some kind of totem. Every time someone came up to talk to me, they could never disguise it if they were trying to figure out why I was working there, and it was so disorienting, that feeling of being scrutinized, of having people in rapid succession come up to you and decide instantaneously what you are, and have each one make a different judgment, and I guess I’d never really felt that before, or never been so conscious of it, and it was incredibly uncomfortable and just made me want to disappear into something else.
A few asked if I was a gamer, one group went on to try and ask me increasingly rapidfire questions, as if waiting for me to slip up(???), i.e. what games do you play, what platform do you play on, do you use steam, what’s your steam name (he tried to cover it up with “oh I’ll add you,” flagrantly misrepeating my steam name), another said something that read to me as pretty condescending about how much more “welcoming” the booth seemed with me there and I don’t think he was talking about inclusivity (there were two other staff in the same role as me, both male). The worst was the guy who, after chit-chatting about our respective gaming backgrounds, thus far very pleasantly, asked how “someone like me” wound up working the job I was. He asked it so without malice or duplicity of any kind that it just broke my heart. What was someone like me? And duh, I’m pretty sure he meant a woman, but that question comes so loaded with all this baggage of you don’t belong here ingrained so deep that this guy did not even register that this question was remotely hurtful. It was a foregone conclusion. And this thought process has been picked over and analyzed again and again into infinity by many far wiser than me, but I guess it was just a shock to actually watch it happen like some out-of-body experience.
And a couple of people I’ve talked to about this have made remarks about gamers and poor social skills, or even suggested that some of these people were probably on the autism spectrum, which as far as I’m concerned is the exact wrong argument to make. a.) The “poor social skills” thing is a pretty lazy generalization at this point, and pretty well put to rest by all the incredibly well-socialized people I met that weekend. b.) Some of them may have been on the spectrum, and I’ll never know for sure, so it’s a pretty dead-end deus ex machina to explain away all the discomfort I was left in and just feels like derailing. c.) To chalk it all up to Asperger’s or the like from that criterion alone feels (in my opinion as someone not on the spectrum) like a disrespect to those who are, a reduction of the disorder down to the one most commonly known symptom, and a disrespect to those who don’t express the disorder through social awkwardness of that type or have worked really really hard to learn not to be socially awkward. c.) Past a certain point, it comes down to a case of “your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins,” and that has been a big refrain for me in the past because I used to have a big problem of ignoring my own feelings when they conflicted with someone else’s. Part of the reason I haven’t been able to, and can’t, let this go is that my brain’s already told me the million reasons I should ignore this and sweep it under the rug and I’ve learned I can’t let it. A possible disorder is abso-lutely a qualifying factor, and definitely changes the nature of my argument, but it does not dismiss it. What I feel is still there and real and one does not disqualify the other.
Which kind of sums up why I’m writing this anyway, esp. since Jenny and I were just talking about blogging as self-care, and I realized I’ve been starting to get down on that concept, that I used to write rambly posts all the time without really caring about who was reading it and why and I just did it because it made my feelings seem good and valuable and anyway, this is to say that Jenny I was wrong and I’m eating my words.
I’m kinda pissed that feminists of all people are making the Windblade mini-series as their own, claiming things like “IT’S WRITTEN BY A WOMAN AND IT’S ABOUT WOMEN OMG!!!!!”
It is written by an IDW writer who has worked on other IDW series before (the two Prime Dinobot series, in fact)
and it’s about a fictional character who happens to be a female without it being the leading plot point in any way or shape.
Nobody in the issue gives a damn about Windblade or Chromia’s gender. Ironhide doesn’t give a damn, Blur doesn’t give a damn, even goddamn Starscream doesn’t fucking care. The only one who tried to ask was Rattrap, and he didn’t even get an answer.
So yeah, we still have no explanation of how other female Transformers exist in a universe where the only one so far was the result of a morally ambiguous experiment done by one of the most deranged scientists of the IDWverse.
Jhiaxus created the IDWverse’s first female and technically the first transgender. Of COURSE she’s going to be insane and bloodthirsty after that. Does this make her any less of an interesting character compared to her “male” brethren? No. Likewise, is having a female character written by a female writer a big deal? Not to me it isn’t.
If you start treating women differently than men, you’re only accentuating the discrimination which you’re trying to fight against. Yay, a woman is writing TF issues, big woop. Yay, TF issues have now more girls in them, another big woop. I don’t see all of that. All I see is writers and artists with talent writing and drawing characters that are interesting to follow. Windblade could be a male character, or written by a male, and it wouldn’t change shit.
But to some people it does, because they fail to consider the fact that genders aren’t everything. Sigh.
'If you start treating women differently than men, you’re only accentuating the discrimination which you’re trying to fight against'
oh god I was tempted just to reblog this without commenting because there’s so much wrong here it’s overwhelming but in the end I couldn’t help it so let’s run through why you’re wrong about everything.
1. It’s not a big deal that the author and artist are both women
Take a look at this break down of IDW’s staff from Nov ‘12, only
7.1% of the authors and 2.5% of the artists were women. Even if those percentages have increased- let’s be completely optimistic and say 5% in 18 months- women are HUGELY in the minority. Getting an awesomely talented team of women to write the multi-part series about the IDW ‘verses first cis* woman- this is a big deal. Especially with the way that we’ve seen male authors- especially Furman- handle the idea of gender in Transformers.
*Using cis here in the same way that Scott has applied it to Windblade- that she has always identified as a woman unlike Arcee
2. It’s not a big deal that Windblade is a woman
We can talk ‘til we’re blue in the face about how gender manifests in Cybertronians, but stepping outside the narrative for a moment makes it apparent that as they’re characters created by people coming from a western interpretation of gender the entire cast of IDW Transformers are male-coded. All of them use male pronouns and none of them are given the sexual characteristics [predominantly: boobplates, lipstick, high heels] that the other ‘verses use to identify ladyformers.
How many characters is that? Going just from the point in time when Windblade enters there are at least 8000 Cybertronians who returned home [and I’m going to bet closer to 10 000 by this point], plus the 200 on the Lost Light. We’ll stick with 10 000 to make this easy; with Windblade, Chromia, Nautica and Arcee in play this makes the ratio of female to male coded Cybertronians 1:2500. Holy shit. Going of the top of my head in MTMTE there’s at least 60 plot relevant characters- all male, in RiD it’s only about 30, with Arcee as the only woman. Not looking good there.
In addition Windblade is the first female character to be headlining a miniseries- in fact the only previous title featuring a woman was Spotlight: Arcee, which leads into
3. Arcee’s origin and resulting mental instability are totally reasonable
Let’s step outside the narrative again and look at why the hell Furman THOUGHT that women needed to be explained. This is a series about giant, alien robots that transform into vehicles; where having an arm [or a head] blown off is treated is a flesh wound, and it’s commonly accepted for them to live for millions of years. Yet the point of contention- the thing that needs to be explained away- is how there can be ladyformers. As though being a woman is so unnatural that it’s not only something that has to be manufactured- it’s some kind of sick torture. It plunges headfirst into problematic stereotypes about transgender women and Furman’s response to Scott’s announcement to retcon the presence of women in IDW was petty and unprofessional. Arcee’s in-universe reactions might be logical based on her experiences, but media does not exist in a vaccuum, and making the only woman in IDW mentally unstable, hating the fact that she is a woman and turning her into a ruthless assassin might be ‘interesting’ but is not relatable.
4. Nobody cares if Windblade and Chromia are women.
I feel like this is the point where I need to make a tacky, glittery gif that just says ‘this is the whole point’ in capitals. As I just said, up until now being a woman in IDW was UNNATURAL. The fact that the ‘verse is finally stepping up to a state of ‘there are women and we don’t have to explain that because women just exist’ is both one of the happiest and saddest things I’ve seen lately. Happiest, since being a woman shouldn’t need explaining- it should be the kind of thing that Chromia can brush Rattrap off of asking when he tries because it’s a ridiculous question- but saddest because it’s 2014 and we’re only NOW seeing this happen.
5. Windblade could be a male character being written by a man and it would be exactly the same.
Oh yeah, if Windblade had been a male character there still would have been the uprising of angry male fans complaining about women taking over. There still would have been the talk about IDW being willing to ‘take a chance’ on this new character, and I’m sure that you’d still be here too, talking about how people are over-reacting to the fact that Windblade is a dude. Keep telling yourself that.
So, to recap: Windblade is IDW’s first cis female character after hundreds of male characters, headlining her own miniseries- the first multi-part series for a female character, which is being both written and drawn by women in a male dominated industry, and you’re complaining because we’re excited.
Newsflash dude- we’re CELEBRATING. Representation of women in Transformers is well overdue, and while Windblade might not be a magical fix-all it’s a damn good step. No way in hell we’re about to turn down the party because you can’t cope with things not being about you for five seconds. If Windblade isn’t to your taste feel free to go back to the 200+ previous IDW issues, I’m sure you’ll get your ‘no girls allowed!!’ fix in no time.
Your answer is well thought-out and thorough but I do agree that it isn’t quite complete without
This ding-a-ling tried to make a pipsqueak rebuttal, but I’m just going to ignore that and remember that aside from the handful of bad apples, this is a kickass fandom with beautiful people in it and this response is testament #1 to that. Tomorrow I’m going to buy Windblade bc d a m n everybody postin its beautiful art and I’m so happy
#transformers #windblade #sexism #misogyny #not tagging weeping openly bc this is important
#gap life #boring gap mom #i think i might have posted these way back #i dont care #on my feet
Hello, darlings! I’m not sure if you all know this, but I am currently living in Rome working for a super cool company that teaches people dead languages. Part of my job is this (brand spankin’ new) blog, which pairs art around the city with Latin texts and poetry. The first post is on Bernini, so you should probably take a gander. <3
#transformers #mtmte #cyclonus #tailgate #im sorry this entire series is not just about these two ridiculous husbands #thats just all i care about #jk #sort of #actual anime husbands #conjunx endura #homo robots #weeping openly