Transformers: Just a “Guy Flick”?

Okay so this doesn’t really tie into being roundly shaped or fat rights.  It is more related to my budding feminism awareness in the world around me.  The hubby and I went to see the second Transformers movie on Tuesday. A lot of it was similar to the first film (aptly described here) While it was certainly a fantastic smash of metal action blurring across the screen and blood-pumping “RAWR” fight scenes there are a few twitchy little problems I had with it that I wanted to write down and let percolate here for a bit.  There are plenty of spoilers for anyone who hasn’t watched it.  If you wish to see it without an influenced mind; please beware.

**Spoilers Start About Here**

So, we have this great movie about robots that come to Earth and want to protect us by being cars and watching us in the background; transforming to bad-ass butt-kicking robot-machines any time we really need the help.  Sure, fine.  I can suspend disbelief in order to enjoy a brainless summer fluff movie.  I can even forgive that the movie was basically a ludicrous twisting of a childhood favorite, filled with blatant and subtle inaccuracies; I’ll just pretend it is not quite the same world but still full of cool freakin’ giant robots: I dig it. I even love that the awkward lovers’ quarrel section of the movie was only about a minute long: rock on! And hey, you didn’t really rag too much on the fat father figure either so that was mildly pleasant.

What I DON’T really like is how about halfway through the movie I REALLY began to feel a lack of any female parts of any importance in the film.  It was NOTICEABLE just how few females of any kind were in this movie.  Let me rephrase: There very few women at all and there are no freaking useful women roles ANYWHERE in this damn movie.  Anywhere.  There is a Decepticon woman at the start (because, you know, apparently the transformers are now able to become people just like the second terminator or something) who is trying to …I guess rape the male lead?  It isn’t clear if she wants to kill him or just try to screw information out of him really.  But right, right I said I wouldn’t forget to suspend disbelief…fine. So we do have this sexed-up college-kitten of a robot.  Check.

Looking worried cleavage shot here

Looking worried cleavage shot here

Other than this “evil” woman (who gets killed near the beginning by the way so her pretty powerful persona is squashed almost as soon as we discover how bad-ass she could have been); we have one other woman: the girlfriend.  Big boobs, copious hair-flipping and lip closeups; able to run through basically a robot war zone with scarcely a scratch or smudge on her un-wrinkled clothing…but she does nothing of note.  Aside from providing eye-candy in a border-line porn-esque manner at points; she really serves no useful purpose.  She runs around with the male lead while holding his hand and looks worried.

Oh, okay.  She does two things of note in the entire almost 3 hour movie: she “captures” a mini Decepticon that at one point humps her freaking leg and she is driving the car when it smashes the previously mentioned succubus Decepticon into a light pole (which is apparently more lethal to a transformer than being completely slammed into a stone building by another huge freaking robot…but again; whatever.  Suspended disbelief.)  Those are her two contributions.  In almost 3 hours of film.

Hold my hand!  Then we can...uh..run faster somehow??

Hold my hand! Then we can...uh..run faster somehow??

Otherwise she only runs, cries, and is even incapable of performing basic CPR on the lead male character, her boyfriend. (Though hey, the movie-magic of Girl-Tears brings him back to life basically anyways so YAY!)

The male lead’s mother is the only other line-having woman of any note…and all SHE does is cry about her “baby” leaving to college; somehow get and act “drunk” on one weed brownie (embarrassing Sam in a mortifying and stupid string of ways; all for his first day of college); and convince Sam’s father that Sam really should be left alone to grow up… or something… later in the film.

What you do NOT see is any sort of woman in the US/Jordanian armed forces portrayed throughout the film.  Not as a captain, not even a lieutenant.  No one.  All men or boys dressed for war.  No women marines or ground troops (even on the US part of the film, not even going into the Jordan/Egypt part).  Not a single female of non-sexy eye-candy status to be seen.  In almost 3 hours.  Nothing.  Also, the only female transformers aside from “sex-bot” are three motorcycles who get blasted away the moment they have a freaking spoken line.

I mean…come ON!  Not even ONE competent female character?  Either emotional stereotypes of the mother or girlfriend…or a bad-guy sex-a-tron killed off in the first 1/3rd of the film? What about the female autobots’ leader of the Autobots??? If indeed she was intended to be one of those three motorbike women, what the frick?  She’s incapable of not basically RUNNING INTO bullets?!??! And how about some of her fellow autobot women? ANYTHING! I mean sure, even back in the 80’s there were few female autobots: but at they at least EXISTED and were halfway COMPETENT!!!

Yeah, this is her being all "techincal" so she has...a personality to go with that arse?

Yeah, this is her being all "technical" so she has...a personality to go with that arse?

I guess what I’d like to say is that more people in the entertainment industry than just Disney/Pixar needs to hear this cry:  No More “Princesses”! Please?  Can we have some intelligent, strong, witty FEMALE leads?  Or even secondary characters whose main point of interest isn’t how they mange to drape their half-naked asses around a motorcycle as they paint it with a sexy demon “tattoo”?

No more of this useless “Running along with the lead character just because the guys want to see boobs bouncing despite the fact that the female character attached to those breasts is actually useless for the majority of the film” crap, okay?  Let the MAN be dragged around for a bit while the woman character figures the puzzle out using her BRAIN, right? (You know, that bit of gray matter about a foot above her tits?)  How about a few females in the military (because yeah saying in the credits “Thanks to the men and women of the armed forces” really doesn’t say as much as actually HAVING a similar representation of both sexes in a movie).

In short: Not just “Guys” dig giant robots beating on each other.  How about a bit of representation here?  No?  Shame. Just think of the amazing market there would be for a film with strong male AND female characters… you can even keep the sex-bot crap (maybe toss in a MALE sex-bot…eh, eh?)…just stop with the useless female princess stereotype already mass entertainment!!!

Now THIS is more what Im talking about!!

Now THIS is more what I'm talking about!!

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16 thoughts on “Transformers: Just a “Guy Flick”?

      • Yeah, I agree totally. But the suits apparently don’t. It’s always “How much can we make with this summer’s blockbuster?”

        It may be popular, but I think the studios are wary of something they haven’t tried before, unfortunately. I’m still looking forward to something with strong development for all the characters, but I’m not crossing my fingers.
        Note that I don’t work for them and am by no means an expert 🙂

  1. You go girl!!!!it did occur to me that megan fox pouted her way through much of the movie but i didnt make much of it i was concerned with optimus prime and the rest of them just simply transforming!!!but hell yeah there weren’t any strong female characters to speak of and i cnt believe im just realizing now that those cool bike-bots were female????(shock and awe)hehehe clearly its still a mans world…even in the make-believe!!!

  2. Gee.. i totally agree. this female lead just run around with bouncing boobs…

    and did you notice that the twins robots went missing!

    and how can the hot chick in the college being a decepticon? this is crossing line to Terminator…

    disappointed..

    • Indeed. Disappointed doesn’t even cover it. Still a lot of fun action for all that it was a “Toy Commercial aimed at 3 year olds” as some might assert but come on now…

  3. Terrible film & my husband thought so, too. Michael Bay basically stole our childhoods.

    Megan Fox reminded me of a blow up doll. Will she be rocking films into her thirties, forties and fifties? Most likely not. Then again it is rare that we watch a woman-age on screen. Sad, because when they do it is simply delectable. Meryl Streep-yes! Kate Winslet-yes.

  4. i loved the part when you mentioned: “just stop with the useless female princess stereotype already mass entertainment!!!”

    i think megan fox is hot (girl crush) but i also think that she pouted her way through the film like someone over here commented and yeah, i’m into transformers-i liked the effects.

  5. Actually, there is one military female character, but she’s nearly invisible — she was the communication officer and yet barely spoke a line and basically blurred into her male colleagues.

    I have no issue with Megan Fox herself, but could the movie be even more Maxim-like non-naked softporn fantasy? You’ll notice that at Sam’s college, all the girls are beautiful, busty and wear revealing clothes. No place for average girls here! Oh, and what do we girls get? John Turturro’s ass.

    Also have a problem with Fox’s character when she’s working in her dad’s garage. She’s supposed to be a mechanic (or something like that) and yet she works in a garage wearing a cleavage-revealing top and daisy dukes? Yeah right.

    There’s a lot of issues with TF 1 and 2, and its blatant sexism and misogyny is the worse. Makes me want to punch Michael Bay and remind him that teenage hormonal boys are not the only TF fans out there.

    Then again, I have a videogame-related t-shirt that reads “Girls play video games too. You’d know that if you go out of the house sometimes.”, from the webcomic Ctrl-Alt-Del. Seems like it’d be most fitting for asses like him.

    Next up: the GI Joe movie. Expect LOTS of bitching on my part (considering that my nick’s namesake doesn’t even appear in the movie…)!

    • ladyjaye thanks for the heads up on the comm officer; you’re right I did miss her and don’t feel like paying again to see that small bit unfortunately. I do love the sound of that t-shirt though 😉

  6. This is the main reason I don’t go to movies. I’m doing my share of the boycot of bad stories with no real women. Doesn’t seem to be helping mucht though…

  7. If I haven’t mentioned it before, April, I frigging love you!

    I am not into video games or robots (although I LOVED robot wars.) I remember watching transformers as a kid, but just barely. I more liked the toys than the show. That said, though, this is one of the things that boils my blood and gets me ranting until the only man left in the room is my dad (possibly more of a militant feminist than I am.)

    It’s pretty shocking to me that Hollywood doesn’t see the earning potential of decent stories with well-rounded (no pun intended) characters. It’s more sad because they’re probably right – most of us have become so disillusioned with the crap they churn out that we would assume any good story would be drained of all life and value before going onto the silver screen.

  8. This sort of crap is why I don’t go to the movies anymore, and rarely rent them either. I remember *years* ago seeing the movie version of the book Congo (by Micheal Crichton). I was stoked to see it on the big screen – but I was in for a disappointment. The protagonist in the book is a woman. She’s a brilliant, charismatic scientist. She’s also rash and rude and almost gets the team killed a couple of times but the entire story hinges on her and her brilliance. The movie erased her altogether. She became a background character with just a couple of lines. I walked out of the theatre in disgust.

  9. Good post, April. But I am a little disappointed. I so strongly believe we have to exercise our power to modify what we are offered as consumers.

    My husband & I have boycotted, so to speak, the whole movie industry because of our disatisfaction. The movies are overly violent, over-sexed, poor quality. The theaters sell nothing but poison when it comes to food. So, we said ‘NO’.

    We’ve done the same thing with TV. We don’t have cable and never watch tv. Too disatisfied with the commercials, ridiculous shows, ect.

    Complaining about it on your blog is good, but they still got your money. We need to remember no matter what our weight, we are still consumers. We need to be more diligent in our choices.

    PS – Absolutely love your new belly-dancing photo!!!

    • Hey Veronica it is good to hear how you have dealt with the poor quality of mass entertainment but we each have our own methods. Simply ignoring something that exists without explaining why it is wrong or needs to change does not, I feel, get you much further than my simple blog either. I applaud your personal efforts to keep something you’ve deemed unsatisfactory out of your life. Me I still keep hoping that with effort things will improve. If people still want to KEEP “getting my money” then how will they know what changes need to be made in order to do so? One step towards heralding in changes is not, in my mind, sticking our heads in the sand to ignore what is completely unsatisfactory, but in calling out and bringing attention to where change is needed. To be clear I’m not as forward acting as I could be by writing letters to actual company owners or movie directors; but to me posting on what angers me about the entertainment offered DOES count as a big step.

      And thanks, the belly-dancing was a lot of fun when that photo was taking 🙂

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