“Other problems I had [with Tranformers Animated] were that both Arcee and Blackarachnia were totally stuffed in the fridge to get the drama going for male characters. Arcee at least got some minor revival time towards the end of the series, but Blackarachnia just utterly confuses me in what her character idea was supposed to be. Because one of her most significant roles in the storytelling is getting to the audience across that Optimus is such a better person/romantic interest than that awful, awful Sentinel, who used to be her romantic interest.”
Completely agree. While there are many things I like about Transformers Animated, it is still not a show I particularly love nor enjoy watching for recreation and its treatment of the two primary female robots within the cast is perhaps my largest factor for this.
As you’ve noted, this is not about saying “Beast Wars Black Arachnia was better!” or, in general “Transformers Character Concept A was better in Transformers Media Installment X!”. That’s not the issue here. The issue is writing female characters as actual characters and being cognoscente of the harmful tropes and hidden narratives that can come out of male-centric narratives. Blackarachnia as presented in Transformers Animated, quite frankly, disturbed me by the manner in which she was written and handled.
I disliked them as well.
Especially that the main female autobot was a very demure, passive teacher, and the main female decepticon used her sexuality to manipulate. And these were the only women of note on the show, so intentionally or not, it sent an unfortunate message. Best way to avoid tokenism —-Actually have more than two women who get more than 5 minutes of screentime between them.