Should Arcee and gender be explored more?

Discussion in 'Transformers Comics Discussion' started by idwTFan, Oct 12, 2016.

  1. idwTFan

    idwTFan Member

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    So im a new fan to the IDW transformers. Started reading it yesterday and so far on Transformers RiD issue 30.

    Various things are different from other continuities, but one of those interesting changes is Arcee's background.

    Starting out as genderless/"male".

    I think this is the first time this has ever been done with a transformers character. Making this arcee quite different then her other selves.

    Though I did notice the whole her not being a natural female cybertronian doesn't seem to be explored much since the spotlight comic.

    In some way I could see why the writers would be avoiding it. It would sure be odd for new readers for Arcee to ever be referenced with a male sounding word or mentions of her not like the other fembots.

    When Arcees backstory was revealed, there sure was controversy.

    But so far it doesn't seem like her background of having a force change has been retconed. Therefore I think over time how Arcee deals with the gender issue or more of.....his past should be explored.

    Such as some flashbacks to the events that led to him getting a force change by Jhiaxus.

    Arcee hasn't gotten her own miniseries yet, giving one to her would be an excellent opportunity to explore Arcee's earlier days.

    I also would like a scene where Arcee is called a "brother in arms" I know that it seems other transformers inadvertently use feminine pronouns when referencing Arcee because of the changes, but it would be nice if one of her friends is able to escape doing that.


    Anyways do you think Arcee's past and should be brought up more? Or do you feel that it shouldn't?
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016
  2. GoLion

    GoLion Banned

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    I'm not sure. I'd like to see more of that stuff explored, but I'm also of a mind that someone will get triggered no matter what direction they try to take Arcee. I honestly think our best bet, at this point, is to gloss over the entire thing.
     
  3. The Wadapan

    The Wadapan Well-Known Member

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    If you haven't read this TF Wiki article, then you probably should as it might answer your question.

    Arcee's been... a bit of a mess.

    Is Transformers the right place to be exploring gender? In my opinion, probably not. Equally, though, perhaps by the Transformers' very nature as a supposedly 'genderless' species it is the perfect place to look into it because the writers can do a good job of challenging preconceptions that way. I don't know. I personally don't read the IDW comics for what they have to say about gender, although I'm aware that a small portion of the community apparently do.
     
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  4. WilyMech

    WilyMech Well-Known Member

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    Two words: Heck No! Gender is problematic when it comes to Arcee which translates into flame war.
     
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  5. grindcore138

    grindcore138 桐生会は不滅なり!

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    There's a reason the actual circumstances of Arcee's change haven't been brought up since her Spotlight. It's still a part of her character, but the specifics of her change haven't been explicitly stated in a while because, well, it's forced gender reassignment. It's squicky as hell.

    I cannot think of a worse possible story beat than to have a character start deliberately misgendering Arcee as if that's going to be a positive thing for her. How would that possibly help her when she's actually come to accept who she is? Her trauma has informed a lot of what she's done along the way, and it'll never leave her, it was her reason for wanting to destroy the Enigma of Combination; because it could be used to change people against their will, but she's not trying to be the 'bot she was before Jhiaxus decided he wasn't enough of a monster.
    Plus I'm pretty sure whoever started called Arcee "brother" and referring to her as a He would end up, at best, pinned against a wall with a sword to their throat and a very angry Arcee explaining why that's not OK.

    So no, I'd rather the explicit details of Arcee's change remain in the past and only referenced vaguely because good god what a fucking trainwreck, what in shit's name was Furman thinking?
     
  6. Chris McFeely

    Chris McFeely Well-Known Member

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    There's been some implication this past year that Arcee used to actually be allies with Jhiaxus, which may or may not be seeds for something. It's easy to see a way to at least PARTIALLY un-squick the origin if a story were to follow this line and go back to the beginning. Perhaps Arcee submitted to the process willingly? Beacuse perhaps she suffered from dysphoria and Jhiaxus's surgery was a way to solve that, offered by an ally? And perhaps the "maelstrom of contradictory input" that left her a rage-monster was nothing to do with the gender reassignment but something else Jhiaxus did while she was in his hands, betraying her trust?

    There's ways and means, s'all I'm saying.
     
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  7. idwTFan

    idwTFan Member

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    If someone forced sex changed me to I would be very mad that I lost a part of my identity. It's worse for Arcee because so far the process that changed him can not be reversed.

    So I don't see why the whole going crazy because "he" got changed to something not called "he" should be retconed.

    It makes for a far more interesting story if instead of being from dysphoria, "he" had no issues being what he was before Jhiaxus.

    Im fine with Arcee possibly being an ally of Jhiaxus. It allows Jjhiaxus to be more manipulative, perhaps gaining Acrees trust before screwing up his life.

    Im not suggesting transformers start calling "her" a "he" all the time. After all there is a reason they call her she. But there should be 1 scene in which a close friend of Arcee, who knows about her past, calls her a brother in arms. Instead of some violent reaction done by Arcee, its a positive scene. Before his life got screwed up, im sure long ago friends did call him a brother once. Basically instead of the scene being about Arcee showing hatred when she is reminded of her original form, we see arcee reminiscing pre-experiment, not a memory that leads to violence but instead Arcee smiling. A scene that would never work for a natural fembot like Windblade, etc, but could work for Arcee. Transformers has often been about looks being deceptive. A bot looking like a deception but is a good guy. Machines that have (or had) multiple forms in life. So having a scene in which Arcee is referenced in a masculine sense, even though his body is feminine looking, can fit.

    Perhaps Furman wanted to do something that never had been done before in the franchise. Make this arcee very different. Fiction is already loaded with various examples of people being forced experimented upon and having to deal with these changes (Vader is one example both mentally and physically). Sure gender change in fiction isn't common, but there are plenty of examples that don't deal with sex changes. Furman also had the benefit of Arcee never being human. So its not like the process made Arcee lose his "junk". It would be far more disturbing story if Arcee had been human.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 12, 2016
  8. hardlurk

    hardlurk Well-Known Member

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    The basic premise of Spotlight Arcee is that gender is violently and unnaturally imposed. That's an interesting idea to explore, unless you are allergic to feminist thought.

    I'd like to see a Spotlight Matt Tracker where he realizes that his race has been imposed upon him by a mad scientist.
     
  9. idwTFan

    idwTFan Member

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    I see nothing wrong with that in context. In the world Arcee originated in, "modern cybertron" there wasn't two genders, everybody was basically genderless though called "he"/"brother". Therefore becoming a "she" would make her a black sheep. This female stuff would be in her eyes unnatural. Imagine a society of just men....only men (clones perhaps). They have never seen a female, to them what they look like is humanity. Now one gets forced into becoming a woman with advanced tech, more advanced then 21st century. From his eyes being female would be a freak of nature because it is the unknown and it was unnaturally/forced upon him.



    Speaking of Arcee, I wish we got a miniseries on her exploring her past and her character, especially with what happened to her.

    The Tale of 3 Arcee's

    We see though flashbacks Genderless Arcee pre-experiment, how he was like and his personality and relationship with Jhiaxus. Betrayal that happens and specific details in what Jhiaxus did to him.

    Flashbacks also give us Psychotic Arcee. A newly made Fembot dealing with changes and being in a world where s/he is one of a kind. Also starting out on the mission to torture Jhiaxus.

    Present day more sane Autobot Arcee and whatever she is doing.

    Many other characters have gotten flashbacks that showed the world pre-civil war. I especially liked how we got to see Senator Soundwave before his transformation and personality change. But with Arcee besides a very little flashback in her Spotlight comic, I don't think we have seen her past before Jhiaxus screwed up his life.

    Windblade has gotten her own comics, but the 1st "fembot" of IDW continuity has gotten one yet. While I can see why because Windblade's existence isn't as controversial as Arcee, I wish the writers eventually expand upon Arcee's past. Hey they gave us Soundwave past which was disturbing with that force change in character.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2016
  10. Nocturne

    Nocturne Professional Ginger

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    Honestly, in regards to Arcee and gender I think it's best left alone. Her introduction to IDW was handled so poorly. A lot of people were unhappy and it left the IDWverse female free for a stupidly long amount of time.

    I have no problem with IDW exploring gender but I think it would be better done with another character entirely. And maybe it doesn't have to be female? Male is a gender as well. How about a colony where they don't use any gendered pronouns at all.
     
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  11. GoLion

    GoLion Banned

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    It's kind of refreshing to see that people are kind of understanding the intent of the Arcee story. It was never a story against women. It was just seen that way, unfortunately. Still, I think it's best we move past that stuff.
     
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  12. Murasame

    Murasame

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    No. I'm not interested in that. I just wanted them to have females, but I'm not interested in the purpose or whatever. Robots don't need genders. I still want them to have them out of irrational reasons and that's it.
     
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  13. The Smirker

    The Smirker I Hate Sam Darnold

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    I think if idw gave the fembots some more action it'd be nice, but we have enough exploration with windblade.
     
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  14. Autobot Burnout

    Autobot Burnout Dukeup Nukhead

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    Spotlight arcee is more than enough coverage on the subject
     
  15. GoLion

    GoLion Banned

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    I just had a crazy thought. What if Arcee is constructed cold? I think the writers could really explore dysmorphia with constructed cold bots/cons. I mean, it's a perfect way to do it. A spark is slapped into the wrong form/body. Arcee could absolutely work through that. Although, I still think that story would offend some folks, and I'm not sure if Transformers is the best place to address that stuff. Still, there could still be some possible ramifications to that. We could have sparks that would feel more comfortable being a tank instead of sports car. That could be the reason why the body swapping movement became a thing.
     
  16. Novaburnhilde

    Novaburnhilde シン・ブリュンヒルド

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    No.
     
  17. G1Prowl

    G1Prowl Prick, apparently

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    Spotlight: Arcee was a PTSD story, nothing more. The only unfortunate aspect was that gender/sex was chosen as the traumatizing event. Had it been Empurata, nobody would have batted an eye and the story would have been understood from the get go. However, the professionally offended leapt at the chance to have something to rattle their sabers over.




    As far as gender goes, I feel TFs should handle it like Gobots did: females show up, are major players in every story, and no explanations are ever issued. Acceptance is taken for granted.
     
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  18. GirlBot

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    There were some hints here and there if you used the right filter. That one mention when Tarantulas has Arcee trapped in Inpetus in SOTW comes to mind for example.

    It is not difficult to have this story told differently (or at least from a different point of view). Arcee allied with Jhiaxus, because he was a person that was capable and willing to go through with that. It's important to note that it was probably the first such procedure so there was no way that they accounted for everything. When all was said and done and not everything went according to plan, Jhiaxus left. Arcee was left on her own to deal with the aftereffects of the procedure, and with no one to turn to that would be able to help. On top of that came the stigmatization from the community. That's a lot of reasons to hate Jhiaxus' guts.

    Arcee's PTSD is heavily overlooked. When Fort Max went on a rampage it was because of what happened on Garrus-9. When Arcee went on a rampage it must have been hormones. :rolleyes: 
     
  19. Autovolt 127

    Autovolt 127 Get In The Titan, Prime!

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    Honestly No.

    It's just best to not think about it any further.
     
  20. hardlurk

    hardlurk Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps if the story had not been about gender it would not have been about gender. But it is.

    The idea in this thread, that the story can be "fixed" by retelling it so that Arcee was already a woman and that Jhiaxus's procedure was an attempt to cure dysmorphia, is I think missing the point; it would be like "fixing" District 9 by retelling it so that Wikus was already a Prawn in his heart before his encounter with the goo.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2016