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Art Critique of Robotech:  Gender Studies/Female Character Analysis Part 4 of 6:  Gender in Robotech
Posted: 29 November 2018 11:56 AM  
Total Posts:  28
Joined  2018-11-29

Part 1 of 6:  The Tragic Incompatibility of Opposite Genders in Robotech

Part 2 of 6:  The Effect of Love on Strong Female Characters in Robotech

Part 3A of 6:  Romance in Robotech

Part 3B of 6:  Romance in Robotech continued

Part 4 of 6:  Gender in Robotech

Fourth, if we are to make a scholarly study of Gender Studies in Robotech we must address Yellow Dancer.  It is very unusual for a 1980’s American children’s cartoon to portray a transvestite.  I’m not sure certain Midwest television markets would allow this to air in 2018 let alone 1985.  Of course, we all know this is not an American cartoon.  I asked the Robotechx San Diego Comic Con booth about this topic.  They informed me of the Japanese tradition of Kabuki theatre.  This usually involves all male actors playing all the parts and all genders.  It’s hard to believe Lancer made it onto the public airwaves during the conservative Republican Reagan administration.

The most obvious exploration of gender in Robotech is the Zentreadi culture itself.  The two genders are completely segregated and even seem to despise each other.  It is human nature for us micronians to take things for granted.  Thus, we take our gender roles and all they entail for granted.  The Zentreadi allow the viewers the thought experiment to contemplate gender in a vacuum.  It is often helpful to isolate the subject of study from all variables.  The Zentreadi provide this possibility.  Through the Zentreadi, the viewer can discover again for the first time certain aspects of the human condition.  These include kissing, marriage, pregnancy, child birth, and domestic bliss.  It is truly profound for children’s animation to accomplish such noble artistic rhapsodies.  The viewer lives vicariously through Dolza as he perspires over the power of a kiss.  As Breetai is nauseated, we observe voyeuristically.  Our heart is warmed as Commander Reno is paralyzed with fear of an infant.  We delight in seeing Miriya transformed by her love for Max and Dana.  Of course, the Zentreadi genders do eventually warm to each other as seen with Azonia and Khyron and Breetai and Kaziana.  On a side note, Azonia seems to be the only full size Zentreadi female on Earth.  However, I believe the comics, novels, and role playing games do insert more full size females on Earth.

One point about The New Generation Cast is they bear a resemblance to The Wizard of Oz or any motley crew type film.  Scott Bernard assembles his team of misfits.  The team is almost a human personified.  The group becomes a ‘super organism.’  Each member has certain strengths and weaknesses.  Scott is logical and goal driven but tainted by revenge.  Annie is fun and gregarious but absent minded.  Lunk is protective but cowardly and ashamed.  Rook is fierce with emotional baggage.  Rand is youthful and trusting but proud or persecuted.  Lancer is cool and suave but hiding behind a mask.  Marlene is innocent and vulnerable.  Each may engender (no pun intended) a hyper-exaggerated gender specific trait.  Each member of the group or each gender provides certain assets.  The whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.

Continuing with a scholarly analysis of gender and female characters, we can turn to the aliens of The Sentinels.  They all seem to have balanced genders similar to humans.  Of course, The Praxians are the exception here.  Similar to the Zentreadi, they allow the viewer to re-examine one’s own gender and its pros and cons.  The Praxians and the Zentreadi are an artistic device utilized to illuminate gender roles and possibly orientation.  Even the cyborg-esque Haydonites have genders. 

Posted: 29 November 2018 02:39 PM   [ # 1 ]  
Master Sergeant
Total Posts:  5648
Joined  2007-04-08
Brofessor - 29 November 2018 11:56 AM

Fourth, if we are to make a scholarly study of Gender Studies in Robotech we must address Yellow Dancer.

The most obvious exploration of gender in Robotech is the Zentreadi culture itself. 

the aliens of The Sentinels.  They all seem to have balanced genders similar to humans.

Yellow Dancer slipped under the radar because she was a disguise.  There wasn’t really anything sexual about it. 

I loved the equality of the sexes in the Zentraedi!  Neither was better or lesser than the others, as it should be! 

I suspect the Sentinels had two sexes for a couple of reasons: Most of them were based on Earth creatures that come in two sexes.  Those who were not likely took on the form they did for the sake of helping the audience identify with the characters - in universe, to help the other species identify with them.



If it ain’t in the Robotech show itself… It didn’t neccessarily happen.

Thanks, Carl Macek, for introducing me to all these folks.  Even the ones who bug me.

Posted: 08 December 2018 01:12 PM   [ # 2 ]  
Total Posts:  28
Joined  2018-11-29

In addition, gender roles can loosely be observed in military positions.  In Macross, the bridge is all female and the fighter pilots are males.  I think there was one shot of a female in a Destroid Monster MAC II.  While not necessarily co-ed, the Zentreadi do have female fighter pilots.  Southern Cross has co-ed mecha pilots.  Rook is definitely a mecha pilot in The New Generation.