Transformers and sex.

This post originated in the previous one as a quick diversion. It grew as I wrote it, turning into its own post. As I was behind and needed to write two posts today to get caught up, this is a most pleasant and welcome surprise. The topic refers to the popular franchise Transformers. As usual with these “nerdy” topics if you’re a woman and there ever was a chance that you’d have sex with me, you might want to skip this one.

There’s been some debate over the years about how some characters in Transformers fiction could be related to one another given the limited and conflicting information on how they reproduce, how they have sexual relationships, and how there are “male” and “female” robots when the characters are machines. If you’re going to use the word “gender” then there should be no issue if you take the word  “gender” as dealing with identity whereas “sex” refers to biology. But this topic deals with biology, so from here one I’ll refer to “sex.” I only make this point as I was inspired to write on this topic by somebody’s comment online referring to Transformers as “genderless.”

The general debate has referred to the fact that because the Transformers characters are machines they therefore don’t reproduce sexually. This would be true for robots in real life. However, we’re not dealing with realism. If you’re willing to suspend your belief to accept the idea that there’s living robot aliens that come from another planet that turn into our vehicles, and have the abilities to not only think and feel emotion but also change size during transformation, render themselves invisible, and warp mid-flight, then why shouldn’t they have sex?

The main thing to remember is that this is a franchise largely based on toys being marketed towards kids. Of course they’re not going to address their sexual issues. The Transformers cartoon from the eighties, which introduced the female Autobots to start with, was made by the same companies as the G.I. Joe cartoon. In that show Flint and Lady Jaye were clearly a couple with each other (never mind how that might violate military protocol). Just like they never showed a pornographic scene between those two, they wouldn’t have made a scene in which Optimus Prime extracted his reproductive unit from behind his groin panel to have sex with Elita-1.

Given that logic, I wonder now why Megatron carries such a large cannon on his arm. Is he perhaps over-compensating for something?

I’m ready to accept that in all continuities of the Transformers multiverse there’s more than… what we see (no, I wasn’t going to go that far). Just like we get a hint of religion (i.e., The Covenant of Primus), sports (mostly gladiator combat), and other aliens, we only get a hint of Transformers sexuality. I don’t need to see everything. I like the fact that some of it is left to the imagination. That’s why I’m willing to accept female Transformers such as Elita-1, Arcee, and Windblade. I’m all for the idea that there are gay characters as well. I also like that the fiction has expanded to include relationships and how the wars in each universe affects them.

Another reason that I’m glad we don’t see everything is that I would dread to think what the children of Rattrap and Botanica would look like.

In every case of this the sexuality is only a minor point within the overall plot of any given storyline. Generally speaking, Transformers fiction is about war. It may not be making a larger statement about the subject as much as it is a means of making the toys marketable. Still, any reference to sexuality is usually in the context of war, without driving the overall plot. I’m trying to be a bit vague here as I don’t know every cartoon episode or comic book across the multiverse. But generally, sexuality and relationships are minor points. It annoys me, then, when I see excessive discussion brought up in the fandom relating to whether or not there should be female or gay characters and so on. People get really irate and then irritating when they rant and rave about it.

Of course I’m not offering this as the end of the discussion. I never actually take part in these discussions on message boards and so forth. I’m not going to bother linking this blog post on any of them (although anybody else is free to do so). I just wanted to get these thoughts out there. The only advice that I could offer to anybody that doesn’t like female Autobots is that they’re there so either deal with it or ignore them.


5 thoughts on “Transformers and sex.

  1. Good ideas. It’s also why I think that the comics totally screwed up when they went forward with Simon Furman’s idea that there are no male or female robots, and sexuality/gender does not exist with Transformers. I mean… that wasn’t even an issue with the G1 cartoon, which took for granted that male and female robots existed. So, in order to fit in a popular character like, say, Arcee, they had to effectively make Arcee a transgendered robot. Which has been causing all sorts of headaches ever since. (By the way, turning Arcee into an avenging angel trying to get her revenge on Jhiaxus for what was done to her? Probably my least favorite character trait of the entire franchise. Seriously, Arcee is pretty much one of my favorite characters in every Transformer incarnation, but she is terrible in the comics.) I actually think that the Transformers comics might benefit from a nu52-style reboot, where the storyline is sort of left as it is but the status quo (hey, there are female Transformers now!) has changed.

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