Marvel Transformers reprints #54
So I’ve heard you like gender discussions.
I love Simon Furman with all my heart.
Really I just find this comic annoying. But that’s just me.
Ok so, in a fandom, if people are saying “why the hell aren’t there any lady characters” that’s a valid question because it means the creators have made a conscious decision to exclude them. But this comic takes place in-universe, which means that feminists were mad that a “genderless” species had no women. That makes absolutely no sense. That would be like if aliens came down from Mars and people started saying they were sexist because they only had one sex. A species cannot control how many sexes it develops, it’s not a conscious choice. Simon Furman has no idea what feminism is, he just knows that those mean bitter ladies are intruding on his clubhouse and can’t you see the sign that says “no girls allowed”?
The Cybertronians are genderless. It’s just a coincidence that every last one of them is coded male, voiced by men, drawn with male silhouettes, and never in a romantic relationship with a character who isn’t explicitly coded as female.
In this comic, the Cybertronians aren’t actually 100% clear on what a woman is, and yet managed to build one. If they actually had no concept of gender like they claimed, Arcee would not behave like a complete stereotype. She would be just a “fellow warrior” who happened to have a curved chassis and pink paint. She wouldn’t refer to the other Cybertronians as “men”, Prime wouldn’t have tried to keep her out of the fight, Hot Rod wouldn’t be acting like a lovestruck teenager around her … especially since you know that if the character in question was male (oh, sorry, genderless), Furman would have never penned those lines.
This whole thing seems like a very mean-spirited “take that” to anyone who has expressed a desire to see the gender they identify with as a robotic hero. Furman hates the concept of non-male robots and nowhere is this more evident than during his time in IDW where he managed to come up with an even more offensive backstory for Arcee than this one, one that retconned the existence of any previously-depicted female Cybertronians and blocked the introduction of any new female Cybertronians in the future. Fortunately, the fancharacter poll finally brought that to an end last year, and we were given two original female characters, three in total, even though they could have gotten away with just giving us Windblade and sticking with Furman’s transphobic backstory.
Furman responded rationally and professionally…oh, haha, no he didn’t. (My favorite part is where he claims he “hates retconning.” I bet Elita hates retconning, too!) His response to people who were like “um, well, that backstory was sort of offensive and here’s why” was “no you’re wrong.” He has absolutely no interest in learning why women might have been hurt by what he’s said and done, because even after all these years, he still sees us the way he wrote us in this comic—an unreasonable crowd of irritants.
Really, Furman just screwed the pooch really bad on this one. Any attempt at satire fell completely flat. I’ve never had a problem with his writing, but this is just… so sad.