lunatron: (Omega Supreme)
[personal profile] lunatron
I finished my last day of Organic Chemistry Laboratory 2 by cleaning a whole drawer of glassware with soap and acetone. Then my parents and I drove up to Mississauga. My parents like coming along because my mother's siblings live in the area, so she gets to visit with family. We arrived in Mississauga late on Thursday night.

Friday, I had planned to sleep in but was too excited to really sleep in. So I went shopping and then worked on medical school applications, filling in coursework and writing applications, until it was time to go stand in line to get my badge. I wore my "Operation Volcano" shirt, for reasons which will become obvious later. While standing in line, I found Ravyn, Wolf, and Cloud, so I hung out with them. I talked a lot with Cloud about the mythology of The Elder Scrolls. We acquired our badges. I also obtained Roswell, because she is a lady, and a DVD of TFcon 2012. Then I went to watch "GoBots: Battle of the Rock Lords Screening". Cloud, Wolf, and their male friend stayed for a while but gradually vanished to acquire food. I stayed until the end of the movie, riveted by the opportunity to watch Lightfoot, Crasher, some diamond lady, and some black lady actually advance the plot. No one vamped anyone! Except maybe Marbles and Boulder? The whole audience thought the way that Marbles was looking at Boulder was rather telling. Then I watched the Opening Ceremony, the Fan Media Panel hosted by Peaugh and Vangelus, and the Customizing Tutorial Panel. Vangelus's equipment, of course, betrayed him, leading to much messing around with microphones. Lesson learned: microphones are Starscream and are not to be trusted. Then I went to bed.

Saturday, I woke up very early, again unable to properly sleep in due to excitement. So I put on my Impactor costume. Impactor was actually faster to put on than I was expecting. I then went and stood in line with some cool dudes who were very nice. One of them had drawn Grimlock on the Throne of Swords and was going to enter it into the art contest, I think? Then I entered the dealer room and looked around for things that I desired. I found Wayward and Poptarts. I found Ravyn. I bought a lot of mugs and glassware. I bought the Fall of Cybertron Ruination Wreckers set, despite it being overpriced, because I have this fear that I will never find the complete set in stores. I also picked up an overpriced Beast Hunters Arcee for the same reason. I contemplated getting some more Airachnids, despite them being terrible toys, just because I like troop-building ladies, but I did not actually do it. I wanted a Generations Sandstorm, but only one that I saw was $50, and that was more than I wanted to pay for him. I failed to acquire a Wreckers shirt. I commissioned some art from Alex Milne, who is awesome.

Then I went to the James Roberts Q & A panel, which was great. When I asked a question at his Q & A panel, he said, "That's how I always imagined Impactor sounds," heh heh heh. I asked him about whether Hot Rod stealing Ultra Magnus's ship in the ongoing will ever come up. He said the fate of the universe might hinge on it in issue 50, but I am pretty sure he was joking. Someone else asked him about female Transformers. Now, I understand that James Roberts is an awkward spot, because Simon Furman established that there is only one female character, and that is Arcee. Furthermore, it is not James Roberts's fault that the Transformers have been written as being male, with male pronouns, and generally male appearances (some extras in crowd shots aside), despite the fact that, story-wise, they're supposed to be genderless. (I have read other sci-fi tales where genderless main characters were referred to as 'it', and you know what? It works. You cannot tell me that 'he' is a neutral pronoun. It's not.) I also understand that the audience for Transformers is mostly men. However, as much as I like his writing, I did not find his answer satisfactory, because he talked about how he hasn't yet been able to come up with a coherent, satisfactory justification for female Transformers. I don't find that answer satisfactory, because IDW has never presented a coherent, logical, satisfactory reason why all of the Transformers (except for Arcee) are presented as male, with male pronouns, despite supposedly being genderless. IDW has never given a satisfactory explanation why Sky Lynx is a dragon or why Ravage is a cat or why Reflector is three people. When all these things go unexplained, claiming that female characters would require some explanation just feels like a weak excuse. A lot of things go without explanations, and that's fine! Female characters don't need an explanation, just like male characters don't need an explanation. Something I have seen fans boot around a lot, though, is just... to have some female-looking characters show up. Say that they did their infiltration on a slightly female-skewed alien planet and that they picked up female pronouns there so as to better infiltrate. Don't make a big deal about it. There. That's as logical as the whole Earth crew using male pronouns and looking male. You may say that distinction is meaningless, but I don't think the distinction needs to have meaning. Not everything needs to be a big deal. I would be absolutely thrilled to see someone like Strika, Energon Override, Flamewar, Airachnid, Airrazor, Elita One, or so, show up, say, "Hey, I just got away from infiltrating Femax, could you call me, 'she', thanks," and then have it never be an issue ever again. Heck, you could also toss in some Transformers who go by 'it', 'they', and 'xie' for infiltration reasons... Anyway, all that complaining aside, James Roberts is a great writer, with very witty dialogue, good pacing, and good characterization, and it was really good that he came to TFcon to do panels and sign Transformers collectibles.

I picked up a copy of James Roberts's extra notes script of "Interiors", which he was selling in the dealer's room. He wondered if I got into the Wreckera via Last Stand, but I explained that a friend in England sent me all the Marvel UK comics, and that was how I got into the Wreckers. I mentioned all the weirdness in Marvel UK with Skids and his demons. He took a photo of my Impactor costume because he wanted proof that Impactor cosplay was a thing that happened.

So of course I went and got in the autograph line. Saw Poptarts there and a lady cosplaying MTMTE First Aid, very cute.

I was unable to find my G1 DVDs (I have moved around a bit, so stuff is in boxes), so I panicked as to what to have signed, so I ended up having Dick Gautier sign some prints of a picture I did of Rodimus, and I had Jack Angel sign the bar menu and Ultra Magnus's cast entry in the first MTMTE TPB. I had James Roberts sign Last Stand of the Wreckers and the first MTMTE TPB. He saw the picture of Rodimus that I was toting around, and I said, "It's just Rodimus hanging out with some dragon." He said that sounds like an upcoming issues of MTMTE. I can never tell when he's joking, because he's so deadpan.

About my costume, someone told me that my expression was so steely, they thought my whole face was a mask, until they saw me talking, and that comment pleased me. Impactor was mostly mistaken for Blitzwing and Shockwave, both of which are fair things to mistake Impactor for, though I imagine that, in-character, Impactor would be furious to be compared to either of those guys. Some people wondered if I was an original character, but fortunately, I had brought comic panels to show that Impactor is a Marvel UK character.

For lunch, I had some ice cream and cauliflower soup, because the good thing about half-masks is that you can eat in them! By the way, Ben Nye Final Seal is some great stuff for setting facepaint.

I went to the cosplay contest, and wow, the Breakdown and MTMTE Rodimus, in particular, were just beautiful. There were so many beautiful cosplays. ;_; After judging the children, who all won prizes (one could transform, and one was a princess and the other was a Nebulan, I think?), they had us line up and go on stage to explain who we were cosplaying, why, and a bit about construction. I swaggered on up there, "thump thump thump". I explained that I was cosplaying Impactor because he's freaking hardcore - he gave his life for Cybertron twice, throwing himself into a reactor to stop the meltdown. I talked about how I worked on the costume off and on, because school is my priority. I showed off my hand-painted Nerf Maverick. I think I needed to go heavier on both the wash and the dry-brushing on it, though. I had turned on my blinking headlights and cannon. I did a high kick. I showed off that my harpoon pops out on a rope.

There was a guy cosplaying Miko, which was very cool of him. There is nothing shameful about dressing up like a woman, because there is nothing shameful about BEING a woman. I'm glad he did it. I also liked the point that the Dani Burns cosplayer made, that Dani Burns is a pretty good role model. I was a bit confused that the emcee had never heard of semi-Lolita style cosplay? Dressing up as a humanized version of a character in a dress is a pretty accepted thing? Oh well.

The judges called up the costume contestants to do Gangnam style while they conferred. I'm not sure, but I believe the judges had little score sheets where they could rate the cosplays on different factors? I reclaimed my Emirate Xaaron communicube and went up and danced with everyone, which was fun.

A MTMTE Rodimus handler gave me a Rodimus Gold Star, which was very nice of her.

A Shafter cosplayer was given the Spirit of TFcon award, because, well, he was dressed as a TFcon exclusive! Three cosplayers of Rumble, Hot Rod, and Arcee, who are also a heavy metal band, were jointly awarded third. Breakdown was given second. This is where I was expecting MTMTE Rodimus to win.

Then my name was called. I was stunned, humbled, and honoured! So I got up there, gratefully accepted my prize, thanked them, declared that I could handle Unicron (well, his statue as a prize, anyway), shouted, "Wreck and rule!" and hobbled off with that heavy box containing my prize Unicron statue.

Then I ran into a lady who had glassware that I had previously bought that she was now trying to give to me. She was very nice and carried the glassware for me, because... my hands were full with Unicron in a box.

Next I put my costume away and had a shower. I tried to catch up with friends, but I could not find them. Note to self: obtain phone numbers prior next time. So I went with my parents to a supposedly English pub, which I very much liked. One of the menu items was 'butter chicken pie', which is sort of Indian/English fusion and quite tasty.

I went to bed.

On Sunday, I woke up, I had breakfast, I found Ravyn and her friends, and I went off to the Customizing Class. Outside, there was a father who had taught his daughter the names of a number of Transformers, which is A+ parenting. :) At the Customizing Class, we were turning Prime First Edition Bumblebee into Decepticharger, which is a weird double-reacharound homage, because Binaltech Decepticharge's colour scheme is supposed to pay homage to Beast Wars Blackarachnia, and her voice actor was at the convention. I ran into Sunstars and also a nice lady named Jessica. The people running the class were all very pleasant. At the break, I escaped and talked to Wayward and Poptarts about Gravedigger, who, in addition to being a wrestler, is also Bonecrusher's brother. Check it out on tfwiki. I forced Wayward to read The Transformers: Regeneration One #93 because I am a supervillain. I did not do a very good job on my custom, but I had fun. At some point, I ate some asparagus soup for my lunch.

After the Customizing Class, I collected my art commissions! Lovely, lovely art. Alex Milne's work is always so pretty. He also kindly signed my MTMTE TPB. Then I found Wayward and Poptarts talking to my parents, which was surreal. They had stopped by and were waiting to see me after the Customizing Class. I talked with them a bit, and then I had to leave for the trip back home. I missed the Cosplay Panel due to being in the Customizing Class. I hope that someone took notes or videotaped it?

On the way back, we stopped at an Outlet Mall in Michigan. Can you believe that the Forever 21 had some red Transformers sweatshirts for women?! Score.

Overall, it was a great convention, A+, would go again.

Date: 2013-08-01 03:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Sounds like fun! I got to see the Go-Bots movie in theaters, heh! Never thought about the lack of female uselessness before...

Female Transformers are kind of a mess... It wasn't too bad when they were all genderless, albeit with male voices, but adding distinct genders created a sort of weirdness to the whole thing. And like you seem to be saying, not much of anything in Transformers makes a lot of sense if you overthink it, so it's silly to try and justify female Transformers and then say "Well, I guess we can't use them," when they can't. It's all in fun. If it's fun and people enjoy it, it should be in, right? I can see why they would think toys based on cars and jets would attract a predominately male audience, but now there's a large female audience, and they deserve to be able to have characters like them, or whatever.

Will we get to see your cosplay?

Date: 2013-08-01 12:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Okay, so...

In the Sunbow G1 cartoon, there were female Transformers, and no one explained it. The same goes for Victory. Masterforce, Beast Wars, Beast Machines, Energon, Cybertron, Bayverse, Animated, Prime, and a few other Japanese shows. This worked just fine. No one complains about it being a logical leap when someone like Moonracer or Blackarachnia or Botanica shows up. (At least, not because they are women.) A number of other continuities are also implied to have female characters, even if we don't directly see them, such as RiD. (Side Burn seems to like women who turn into red cars.)

The cartoons don't really have much of a problem. (Their problem is that the women often lack interesting things to do in the plot.)

It's only in the comics that we wade into problem territory. In the Marvel comics, there was only one woman, Arcee, and she was built to appease the feminists. Seriously. That was her in-story origin. In Dreamwave, women were all evil Quintesson spies. In IDW, there is only one woman, Arcee, and she used to be a man genderless until Jhiaxus tortured her and gave her a forced sex change. Arcee is also a psychopath and sadistic murderer. This is deeply problematic, because she is both the only female Transformer and also the only trans character in IDW, and it perpetuates the old prejudiced stereotype of 'trans people are mentally ill and evil', and it also perpetuates the stereotype of 'women are evil', and that one is as old as the Bible.

All of these female origin stories were written by Simon Furman, I will aside.

Anyway, justifying female characters would be easy, if they wanted to do it. Just say, "We started using female pronouns for infiltration purposes." There, done, easy.

But I find the concept that female Transformers even need to be justified to be wrong-headed. 'Male' Transformers don't need to be justified. No one even thinks that they need to try to justify 'male' Transformers. It is just assumed that they would exist.

I find the idea that female Transformers are somehow harder to justify than Sky Lynx, Ravage, and Reflector to be pretty offensive, that people's suspension of disbelief will accept a shuttle-cat-bird-dragon but not a car that has a woman's voice.

In any case, women who enjoy Transformers have always been around, and they have always been vocal. Just think about Raksha. But you know what? It doesn't even matter if there is a female audience. If boys watch and read Transformers, and they never see women do anything, boys get the message that women do nothing. That's not a message that is healthy for boys.

My cosplay:

Date: 2013-08-01 11:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I agree on all counts. The female Autobots were quite interesting to me, as a kid. The weirdness, to me, just comes from assigning gender to giant space robots at all, and that's only a little weird, really.

Obviously there have always been female Transformers fans. When I started on 2k5, there was no Beast Wars yet, I don't think, and the players were generally people who had grown up with the original cartoon, like I did. And, as I've found is normal with MU*s, more than half the players were female. Obviously something about Transformers appealed to the female audience. I was only saying that I understand why they thought that it would be a boy's toy, what with it being cars and jets and whatnot. Gary Gygax thought D&D mainly appealed to male gamers, due to his own experience, and the game suffered for it.

I was pointing out on Transformers Universe a while back that none of the GI Joe women is allowed to have a real gun, in the original toy line, after having watched an episode of the cartoon. Scarlet has a crossbow (when the good guys all looked like real army toys except for her and Snake-Eyes, no less), Lady Jaye has a weird gun that fires acid shells in the cartoon, and Cover Girl doesn't come with a weapon at all, being a pilot. (I'm not sure if they had sidearms grafted to their molds.) Moreover, Scarlet and Lady Jaye, while fairly strong female characters, identify as the girlfriends of Duke and Flint, the manly male leads. (Cover Girl didn't have much of a role at all in the cartoon, as far as I can remember.) The Baroness gets by by using her feminine wiles to play Destro and Cobra Commander against each other -- and later, in the cartoons, Serpentor becomes the object of her affections. Note that all the female Autobots also identified as the girlfriends of the Autobots, though they were fairly strong characters.

I don't watch a lot of modern cartoons, though Avatar: the Last Airbender and the Legend of Korra did great jobs, so I don't know how things are now, but it was absolutely a... not-good mindset growing up. (Then there are the video games in the 80s: how many princesses needed saving? Thank god for Samus and Ms. Pac-Man... Then again, Ms. Pac-Man is literally the female version of Pac-Man, so I guess that goes along with what I was talking about above. Heh!)

Anyways, thanks for the links!

Date: 2013-08-02 11:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, a lot of the time, if there are any female characters, they're just the girlfriend or don't do much or... they're the girlfriend who doesn't do much. It sends a bad message.

Quite often, if the men are using guns, the female characters won't have guns, because guns are seen as too violent/aggressive for female characters to handle. 6_6; (Also quite often, if the male characters have melee weapons, the female characters will have ranged weapons, so they don't get dirty.)

The whole 'feminine wiles' thing is pretty overdone by this point. I am sure it could be written well, but it's just so... overdone. So I am glad when I don't see it.

Modern cartoons are generally better, but... not as better as they could be? Avatar and Korra are exceptionally good.

Date: 2013-08-03 10:09 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I was thinking that Adventure Time is almost reverse sexism: the protagonists are complete goobers and the villains is crazy and incompetent. The princess, who is obstensibly the damsel in distress, is a genius scientist and even sort of a sociopath with regards to her people... Definitely a weird character. Marceline is a strong and interesting character with no real downside too.

There's always room for improvement, of course! Always nice to have a discussion with you, by the way!

Date: 2013-08-03 01:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
From what I have seen of Adventure Time...

It felt like it as trying to make fun of sexism but wasn't doing a really good job of it? I didn't feel like it was as progressive as fans of it pretend that it is? I didn't find it enjoyable to watch. It kind of made me uncomfortable, because I had this feeling of, 'They knew better, and they did this anyway.'

Date: 2013-08-05 12:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, you can't take Adventure Time too seriously, on any level. It's more an inversion of the damsel in distress cliche than feminism. Don't know why LJ was messing with my cookies on that above reply...

Date: 2013-08-01 11:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Okay, looked at the links. Great job. You never cease to amaze me with your cosplays. I admit I feel a little swell of pride to think, "I know someone who can do that!"

Date: 2013-08-02 11:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you. :)

Date: 2013-08-03 03:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] More video.


lunatron: (Default)

April 2014

13141516 1718 19

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 25th, 2017 01:29 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios