Mairghread Scott Comments on IDW Windblade Comic

Discussion in 'Transformers News and Rumors' started by Mechafire, Dec 27, 2013.

  1. Anguirus

    Anguirus Well-Known Member

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    Word.

    x1000.

    There's actually another example of this. Are you familiar with the movie ALIEN?

    Despite having a lot of yucky, sexual, elemental imagery, it's generally considered a feminist film. So much so that Alison Bechdel used it as the foundation of her famous "Bechdel Test." Bechdel maintained that a film was not interesting to her unless it included at least one conversation between two female characters that was not about a man, and used ALIEN as her example of a film she was interested in, i.e. it "passed." Most mainstream films, both at the time in 1979 and today, don't.

    ALIEN was written by two men, who were not setting out to write a feminist film (so far as I am aware). Here is what they did:

    In their first draft, they wrote every character as a male, much like their inspirations in old sci-fi B-movies.

    In revision, they decided to select two characters and turn them into women...without changing a single line of dialogue.

    Of course, there were changes that resulted in the final film from this choice. A scene depicting a sexual relationship between Ripley and Dallas was storyboarded, but then dropped before shooting. And when the Alien slays Lambert it is implied that it rapes her. But the foundation of the dialogue stayed the same. The male -> female characters speak professionally, about their job and their circumstances. And that end result wound up getting praised by women, including feminist scholars. That's how two guys who set out to make a monster movie accidentally made an important feminist contribution.

    So...if you're a man, and you have any interest in writing female characters that appeal to women, it's been seriously suggested that a quick-and-dirty method is to write your first draft with all male characters, and then semi-randomly switch the genders around. For bonus points, do NOT amend or remove any romantic relationships if they end up as gay relationships.

    As for comparing Simon Furman to George Lucas or suggesting that Scott's female characters are notably bad in the context of the Transformers franchise...yeah, have fun over there.
     
  2. MelficeCyrum

    MelficeCyrum Well-Known Member

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    My only puzzlement here, is that it means that for a woman to not be considered "Stuffed in a Fridge", they either can't be allowed to be a Love Interest (which lets them get killed free of charge), or if they do become a Love Interest, they're not allowed to be killed EVER or they're considered to be automatically "Stuffed in a Fridge" regardless of the circumstances of the death.

    Which to me feels a lot like "Women are off-limits from a potential character development" (Because a romance subplot CAN be excellent character development for any character, as having a character, regardless of gender, be in love, can reveal or add depth to a character) or "Women aren't allowed to be killed."

    Also, I'll disagree on design because I feel they went out of their way to give Solus a distinctive style, Micronus feels the laziest to me because he's just a tiny, skinny humanoid in an electric hamster ball, but that's me. And, yes, there's a lot more to Solus' character that isn't readily available unless you read the book. I keep hoping TFwiki will update their Covenant section or something, but Solus really drives the story, both when she's alive and when she's dead.

    As for why she's the only female? I believe it's a retroactive thing. One of the big questions has always been "why are there so few characters with "female-coded" frames? Well, for Aligned, Hasbro seemingly tried to answer the question by making Solus the only one with a female-coded frame. So the answer (in this continuity is): There are only a few female-coded frames because there's only one female-coded frame-archetype.

    Is it a perfect answer? No. But at least it's a semi-reasonable explanation. When your specific frame-archetype is only 1-out-of-12, statistically you won't see that many. Does it mean they can't add more? No. But it gives at least a decent in-universe answer for the existing lack.

    As for the question of "Why explain it at all?" Because people will ask. People will always ask. It's questions like that, that lead to this thread being 90+ pages long and discussing the various facets of the issue. And Hasbro wants to give the fans something. I mean, they already duly compensate the lack of female characters by making each individual female character awesome, and important, and on par (if not better) with their male counterparts.

    I mean, aside from Solus' death (whose interpretation I consider a bit questionable), the author pushed her as far away from what would be considered typical female roles and stereotypes as she possibly could. Which I feel is a great step forward. What irritates me, as an author is that people seem to fixate on her beginning (her being a female-coded) and her end (her tragic death), while ignoring everything in-between.

    And a character is far more than just how they begin and how they end.
     
  3. MasterZero

    MasterZero Taking a Break

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    Its never easy writing a good character. Its not easy writing a good character that is just so happens to be a lady. People will tend to judge her harshly. Fair? Maybe not. Is it how it is? Yeah.

    You see....you can kill off a woman if it means something. Not to the story, as it doesn't always matter what impact a character has a story. What matters is the impact on the reader.

    And you can make that woman a love interest (though that is much more dangerous as most female characters, even well written ones, are love interests to another).

    Heck, you can make a character a serial killer! People can still care about them, if they're well written, memorable, and just...charming.

    Its like the difference between Rewind's death and an example of Burying the Gay. Its how you handle it. With tact, and honor, and respect, and yes, impact in the story. It has to mean something. And it did. Not to just the story, but the readers themselves.

    As for design, I don't know, Solus' way of look looks a lot like Alchemist to me, but whatever.

    As for the explaining thing, there will also be questions about why Jazz is named Jazz before they've even seen the planet Earth. There will be questions on why a lot of characters look how they look, act how they act, and the such.

    And even if people ask, you don't have to answer. To me, its smarter to just shrug and say, "It just is." than to give some bullshit excuse.

    I feel like a lot of this would have been avoided if there was another woman on the Thirteen. A silly woman, a dark, morbid woman, an evil woman, whatever. A well written character can be nearly anything.

    The Angel is in the details.

    Again, I really don't know much about Solus. Nor do I care to know about her. Her design is boring to me, and from what I've heard, I'm not really interested in hearing about her. That, and I just don't really care about the Alined Continuity. Too much wasted potential.

    If you want examples of good female characters that I like, I can name a few if anyone is curious.
     
  4. MelficeCyrum

    MelficeCyrum Well-Known Member

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    Heh, it's fine MZ, again, we're just at a juncture where we'll have to agree to disagree. I'm not a huge fan of IDW for a number of reasons, and you don't like Aligned for a number of reasons, so long as we get along.

    I do agree on the "characters written where gender can be swapped freely" is the best way to write things.
     
  5. MasterZero

    MasterZero Taking a Break

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    (Nods)

    Writing characters is hard. I sympathize, to a degree, with most artists on that. Its hard pleasing everybody, while keeping the work pure to what you want to make.

    I can say what I want, but at the end of the day, your opinion is just as valid as mine.

    All we can do is hope for the best. Cheers. (Raises drink)
     
  6. Goaliebot

    Goaliebot All Makes and Models

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    Good example and reminds me who else writes pretty good roles for women in movies: James Cameron. He improved Ripley in Aliens, keeping her toughness but adding more elements and dimension to her character. Sarah Conner is another one - took a "damsel in distress" and turned her into an action hero.
     
  7. MasterZero

    MasterZero Taking a Break

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    And then Aliens 3 and 4 happened.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Goaliebot

    Goaliebot All Makes and Models

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    No they didn't. They are urban legends, like the one about a fourth Indiana Jones movie. They're just made-up tales meant to scare us.
     
  9. Galva-Cannon

    Galva-Cannon Well-Known Member

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    Shouldn't Alien 4 be considered a fairly strong entry in a feminist movie canon? Sigourney Weaver and Winona Ryder play the main characters, who are written to be both very intelligent and physically capable. The clone Ripley is practically a superhero. The guy in a wheelchair is one of the only other survivors, if I remember correctly. Most of the men are macho idiots, who wrongly assume they can handle anything (they die), or they're arrogant, sadistic scientists (who also die).

    Plus the clone Ripley extends the right to choice, a generation further... if you get my drift. :tongue: 
     
  10. Murasame

    Murasame

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    Alien 4 suffered badly because of CGI Aliens and everyone being too cool which was a trait of many movies from that era.
     
  11. Bloodrose

    Bloodrose Well-Known Member

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    So you want fembots, but not feminim roles or personalities? I don't really see what you mean. We need fembots to represent half the population of the planet, as I was told. Fine. But including a character that is replaceable with a "male" TF does not do a good work at said representation imo.

    I don't want stereotypes, but most of the population we talk about is clearly more feminim in its roles and actions, than masculine. That is a good thing. Take TF Prime Arcee. Her role is a woman's role, she is caring and emotional (and meanwhile a great warrior, so she is far from being "a weak girl"). If we really need feminim Transformers (which I'm okay with, unlike different sexes), we need them to be just like that. They need to be good characters as you said. But if we talk about a race with two "genders", the minimum if you write a character is to make it recognizable in its "gender". Not in all situations, but sooner or later it should be part of his / her character.

    Take Sarah Connor or Ellen Ripley. Being feminim is clearly a big part of their characters (even if not in all the movies, but most of the movies).
     
  12. Bloodrose

    Bloodrose Well-Known Member

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    This is interesting, because the first alien movie was the one I thought, where she could have been changed to a male character. And as I said, sooner or later - in this case by Cameron in the second film - the gender should be a part of the character (to some degree).
     
  13. payton34

    payton34 Well-Known Member

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    (From the IDW offices)

    "You know, we have this TF mini coming up with a totally brand new character from a fan poll. We can only attract so much interest on that notion and brand name alone. How can we build some more hype for this?"

    "Well, I can go online and start making some comments about Furman's work on Arcee. He has such a strong foothold in the TF community, love him or not, that it's bound to stir the hornet's nest a bit. Any press is good press, as they say."

    "Sounds good, let's give that a shot."

    (Now sees a nearly 100-page thread on TFW with heated back-and-forth discussion)



    - Mission Accomplished
     
  14. Bloodrose

    Bloodrose Well-Known Member

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    AHA! An IDW executive among us! :eek:  Now your secret is revealed Payton!
     
  15. KPhilipsen

    KPhilipsen Banned

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    I thought gender was already explained by IDW as just another form to take to make the biological lifeforms more comfortable? Female, male, truck, plane were all just options?
     
  16. WilyMech

    WilyMech Well-Known Member

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    Eh Free press is not always good thing. I mean harder to get rid of bad press then it is keep good press. :sly:  IDW is still playing smart with a public but it could backfire in the sense building hype with the comic then there is a let down.

    Executive of IDW needs to be more cautious. Women have not yet forgive Furman you really do not want that kind of scorn if WindBlade turns out disappointment.

    Word of Advice to IDW
     
  17. MasterZero

    MasterZero Taking a Break

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    I disagree. I think writing a character that is replaceable for either gender are the best ones.

    Not to say that a (Example) stay at home mom isn't a strong woman. Cooking, cleaning, picking up the kids. All very stereotypical woman stuff, but still, VERY impressive that she is able to keep up with it all.

    If there was some Cybertronian who shared a similar role to this, but was portrayed seriously and respectfully, that'd be a great character, I think.

    I just have a preference to character who have switchable genders. Korra from Legend of Korra. Parker from Leverage. Anya from Gears of War.

    Heck, I think you could flip around Ripley's gender and still get a good character. The motherly theme and stuff are replaced with a fatherly one, but I still think it'd be a good story.

    Again, this doesn't mean characters who are extremely feminine are bad. Girly doesn't mean lame, as Lauren Faust once said.

    The girls of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic are an excellent example of writing good, but still feminine characters, as well as characters that aren't super feminine (even somewhat masculine).

    Both are good, but I just have a preference to the switchable gender thing.

    Also, I am not talking to you about Prime Arcee. Nothing against YOU, BR, but I hated the character. Thought she was annoying and bitchy and was part of the reason I never finished Prime.

    Though I'll admit she did have one or two decent moments in Predacons Rising. I digress. Didn't like her. Thought she was annoying. If you liked her, great.
     
  18. Bloodrose

    Bloodrose Well-Known Member

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    Fair enough.

    My problematic character in Prime - aside of the humans at the begining - was Mutabee. I found the whole concept ridicolous from the begining of the first movie and that didn't change there either. Oh well...
     
  19. Rodimus Prime

    Rodimus Prime Sola Gratia, Sola Fide TFW2005 Supporter

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    ...who the hell is Windblade? *starts reading the thread and the wiki* Oh, goodie, she sounds like Drift.