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Transformers, queerness, and the uniqueness of the status quo
I’ve been thinking about this all day, and it’s kind of distracting me from my Work-work, so I’m going to go ahead and write this down so I’ll get it out of my system.
Spoilers for MTMTE #38…
I’ve said this before: Transformers has historically been a pretty regressive franchise, even for franchises that exist for the express purpose of selling toys to 8-11-year-old boys (and the occasional nostalgic dad.) I barely consider the Bay moves to be connected, really; the rest of the franchise has done fine on its own reinforcing our cultural status quo without the help from Mudflap and Skids and butt shots and statutory rape jokes.
As a long time follower (even now I am loathe to say “fan” for reasons outlined above) of the franchise, I never expected things to take the sharp turn they did a couple of years ago, first with the evolution of the More Than Meets The Eye ongoing and then with Mairghread Scott’s development the character of Windblade, or the fact that Windblade even exists.
There’s a lot to unpack there, but after today’s issue (More Than Meets the Eye #38, for those not playing the home game) I found myself again focused on the idea of queerness, and that being a part of what makes More Than Meets The Eye so unique not only in terms of the Transformers franchise, but in science fiction in general.
Up until the recent introduction of the Camiens, Transformers in the IDW G1 continuity were coded male, with the exception of Arcee (hashtag problematic hashtag let’s not go there). More Than Meets The Eye was the first thing in the Transformers franchise that took this to its logical conclusion—not only that deep, romantic bonds might form, but they would do so despite the coding of male and female. That gender might have fuck all to do with who falls in love with who. That, yes, Virginia, there are female Transformers, but they don’t have to be in relationships, nor is it mandatory that they have boyfriends to be defined by.
So up until this last issue, there had only been one clearly defined couple—this being Chromedome and Rewind, who were our first “married” couple, gay or no (and if you’re just joining us, no, it’s not played as a joke.) I personally found this remarkable because it wasn’t just a sci-fi universe where queerness exists, but by our standards (and remember, this is media made by humans for humans therefore the context absolutely matters more than the internal logic of the universe because THIS IS FICTION AND THESE CHARACTERS DON’T EXIST) queerness is the default. It is the default out of logical necessity, but we hadn’t seen evidence of that outside of Chromedome and Rewind until #38.
Brainstorm was the antagonist for this arc, and it is revealed in #38 that his motivation for all of his dastardly deeds was mainly to save the life of his One True Unrequited Love, a scientist named Quark.
The oddness of this is not remarked upon. It is accepted, because it is not odd in this culture. In this ever-widening universe, this is the status quo and the status quo is queerness. Brainstorm’s motivation was his unrequited love for some other guy. Nothing more, nothing less. It is not remarked upon, because it is ultimately not remarkable.
I feel like this comic stumbled onto this unintentionally, but that it is this that we need to see more of—more media in which queerness is completely taken for granted, is completely accepted as normal. That when the reveal is a surprise (as in this case) it is a result of an established character, not of a universe that so closely mirrors our culture. That is not to say that we don’t need stories about queerness and exclusion, but the opposite is true as well. And what could be more revolutionary, however unintentional, than a machismo-filled universe wherein queerness as we understand it is the real status-quo?
"How can you be a boy? You don’t even look like one!"
I’m sorry, do I look boy enough for you now?
I’M NOT MAKING FUN OF ANYONE HERE, IT’S JUST I GET TOLD THAT I’M A GIRL INSTEAD OF A BOY EVERYDAY BECAUSE I HAVE “BREASTS & A VAGINA”. OF COURSE I’M NOT A BOY ON THE OUTSIDE, BUT ON THE INSIDE I AM ONE
Last night, Reedus told Conan O’Brien that he would have fully embraced a gay storyline for Daryl. “I was like, ‘hell yeah, let’s do it,’” he said. “If that was the story they gave me, I would rock that story. I’m not afraid of it.”
Check out his interview below, where he also spills the tea on how the show’s die-hard fans reacted to the early speculation”
I’m looking for parents who identify as bisexual who have a child living
with them over the age of 5 to do about an hour long interview about
communication with their children about their sexual identity. Children
do not have to be biological children. This is a pilot study for a
larger project, but will not be published. Participants will receive $15
for their time. If you’re interested, you can contact Jessamyn at firstname.lastname@example.org