How to Write Gender In Transformers Stories: A Flowchart
I’m mainly curious on this because, as I was taught English as a native English speaker from the Midwest of the United States, ‘He’ while being the masculine pronoun is also suitable for use, classically, as a gender-neutral pronoun when the gender of the subject is unknown or undefined. This in and of itself is likely a bit dated but still potentially a valid idea.
With this in mind if ‘he’ is interpreted as a gender-neutral pronoun and you use ‘he’ across the board whether talking about Glyph, or Bumblebee, you would be using it in a gender-neutral sense. So instead of using typically the ‘z’ or alternative pronouns, which may distract from the actual piece for readers unfamiliar with them, using ‘he’ for all the cast of the piece, in theory, could also be viewed as neutral and perhaps less linguistically startling. Though it would be interesting to see a fic properly displaying the other neutral pronouns effectively without taking half the piece to explain them. I think with the English language’s nature of cropping gendered words especially in comparison with the other Romance or Germanic languages doing away with pronouns would be more likely than adding any.
I am educated on gender-neutral pronouns and have no problem with them besides thinking that they are a bit odd, mostly due to my unfamiliarity with their use conversationally, and thinking that it is unlikely to catch on just due to the nature of the language however I could be entirely wrong due to the fluid nature of the evolution of the English language. My argument is just about the usage of the English language, the pronoun ‘he’ and nothing more. Anything besides that will be taken out of context.
Personally, I think it would be a step up if every single TF was called “he”, even the “female”-bodied ones. If Arcee was “he”? Badass. If Elita One, Glyph, Blackarachnia, etc. were “he”? Totally killer, and I wouldn’t have nearly as much of a qualm because it would be internally consistent. But currently, it’s not, and it’s skewed very heavily towards really outdated notions of what gender is. :\
“He” is not gender-neutral. This pit that we keep falling into, where masculine and white are the defaults and everything else makes it weird, is WRONG. When you call a Transformer ‘he’ you are gendering them.The actual gender-neutral pronouns (such as ze, zie, sie, or em) are only odd because we don’t use them. Even when we’re talking about gender-neutral people. If you want to gender your TFs, fine. But don’t pretend that gender and sex only enter the picture when you add females to the story. Male is a sex, not a neutral state.
This flowchart is 100% right and makes me super happy.
That flowchart is awesome c:
Re: “if everyone was called ‘he’”
What if everyone was called “She”? Would that make them less badass? Would everyone be taking a step down? Why is a male pronoun valued more than a female or neutral one?
Re: “‘He’ as gender neutral”
While you’re right that “he” was classically the default for the ungendered or unknown-gendered, it’s also outdated and from a modern viewpoint is offensive. If you truly want a pronoun for a character that isn’t male, don’t use a pronoun that means “male”.
Re: “ze, zie, sie, em, etc”
My headcanon for Cybertronians is that there are a multitude of different pronouns for different groups, rather than one collective ungendered pronoun. And pronouns would be based on form and/or function. Triplechangers, minibots, towers mechs would have their own pronouns. I even think the Prime(s) would have their own pronoun. I would LOVE to see a fic that reflected this, used a wide variety of pronouns other than he/she, and built on a deep culture that’s different from our own. c: