Some clean versions of the pages that just went up on Newsrama. Windblade #1 comes out in two days!
Starscream, stop trying to act like Megatron. It’s bad for you. Unless he’s whispering to her “girl, who does your makeup??” In which case carry on.
What I don’t understand is how we get from this and this (mrow) to the above. I mean…those others struck me as looking mature and powerful.
The above looks adolescent, dwarfed by everyone else, and semi-permanently wide-eyed about everything around her. These communicate really different things about the character.
Is it the artist? Do they mangafy everyone? I can see the stylistic difference here, but Chromia doesn’t strike me the same way, and…I can’t help but think that Windblade’s depiction here is because “omg we have to make her more FEMININE!”
I’m trying not to put down a character by how they look (though the wide-eyedness really gets to me as a way to make her seem subtly incompetent and unable to handle whatever is happening because she’s semi-permanently surprised by life), but…this metamorphosis really rubs me the wrong way.
I don’t know. Someone tell me if she redeems herself in the text? Please tell me that she acts like a mature, capable, clever commander. Please?
Why does she have boobs. Whyyyyyy.
I mean, I’m not clear on why we needed ‘female’ giant robots in the first place, I know why they did it from a marketing perspective and in terms of equal representation or something even though they’re giant robots and I don’t really get why they would have gender at all. But that is my take on things and I know others probably feel differently. Still: boobs? Seriously? We’re not gonna know she’s a she unless she has water balloons strapped to her chest?
I think I’m going to want to like this, if only because Starscream’s design looks badass and I like the colouring style. I just… ergh. I don’t know what to think.
I know that this has been discussed ad nauseum on the ‘net (with varying degrees of extremism on either side), but to sort out my thoughts, here’s my take.
I support “female” Cybertronians not for the sake of the plot (because why would they have females! Why would they have sexual dimorphism! Why would their “females”, even if they had them, coincidentally have forms reminiscent of human mammary glands and child-bearing hips? Answer to all of this is just “because A) a great deal of humans get uncomfy with the idea of gender fluidity and B) our readers will find it pretty.” Kay, whatevs.) I support having female Cybertronians for the sake of female readers.
Because all the Cybertronians are pronouned as male. Semantics of how it’s just a convenient pronoun aside, the fact is that most folks reading this comic (including kids) will read the characters as male. This doesn’t mean that women/girls can’t enjoy it (*raises hand*), but it does feed into the same troubling trend of not having female representation in media, with all the attendant effects on readers both male and female.
I remember being glued to the TV when I first saw the G1 ep that introduced the femmebots, same as I was glued to the TV when GI Joe or other shows devoted a show to one of their female characters. I loved She-Ra, as well, and Princess Allura from Voltron. Why? Because there, on the TV, kicking ass and taking names and being competent, was someone like me. Granted, I didn’t have much in common with the mature, lissome, and frequently acrobatic forms on the TV, but I was a lot more like them than I was like the “boy” characters.
Case in point, when I played, I would play at being She-Ra or a femmebot or Princess Allura. I would never play at being Optimus Prime or Hawk or He-Man or Keith. Why? Because I knew that those roles were Not For Me.
Let me repeat that. I knew that those roles (frequently key leader roles) were Not For Me. I was six years old.
…can we just sit with that for a second? I’d never realized that. I need a moment.
…anyway. I am for “female” Cybertronians for the same reason I’m for successful, competent female roles (female soldiers, female presidents, female scientists) in other media: it teaches kids that those are appropriate roles for women as well as men. It reminds adults that those are appropriate roles for women as well as men.
Would I like it if the femmes were less anthropo-centrically designed? Yes. Do I think that the shift in Windblade’s physical depiction between her appearance in IDW and in this comic is disturbing and a result of sexist forces in comics that say that if she’s female she has to look like X and Y? Yes.
But if she’s another She-Ra, who teaches another generation of six-year-old girls that they can be heroes? That they can solve problems and fix things and take initiative and don’t need to wait for a man to help or lead them? I’ll take it.
Dang, I made myself cry. It’s hard unpacking all this, isn’t it?