Dear Transwomen: Cyberpunk Is Not About You, Either

When your identity is built on a lie, reinforcing it is a constant preoccupation. This obsession bleeds into everything you do.

Angry Cry

I’m a pretty girl, I’m a pretty girl…

One Stunning&Brave soul calling himself Bella Blondeau shares his view through a trans lens darkly. The game Cyberpunk 2077 strikes him as pretty transphobic, and he would know!

But while trying to illustrate transphobia in gaming, Bella actually demonstrates his lack of understanding of gender theory or the real world he’s so desperate to avoid. He complains that the game is an “insidious attack on trans personhood” because characters are chosen based on the player’s voice.

"It doesn’t matter how you look, how you dress, how you name your character. If you sound a certain way, that’s the gender you are.” Of course, this is a terrible trigger for the Vocal Minority: “Vocal training is one of the shittiest parts of transitioning … Oh, and you know, systemic oppression is also a real bitch."

You noticed that, huh? Why anyone would volunteer for this has always boggled my mind.

Not that he understands the details of women’s experience, anyway. The one example he gives is garbage “Voice is a codified gender and sexuality signifier in our culture – and a toxic one, at that … If you’re a woman with a deeper voice, you’re a ‘lesbian’ or ‘mannish.’

Barbarella

Just because I show some strength, I must be a man??

Really? I’m sure bombshells like Kathleen Turner (voice of Jessica “I’m Just Drawn That Way” Rabbit) would be very interested to learn this!

"Only deep-voiced characters can be identified as male, while higher-pitched characters are identified as female, which purports the harmful idea that people’s genders can be identified by certain traits."

When he gets excited, Bella trips on the pseudointellectual tick of tossing in smart words without looking them up first. Even better, this tormented sentence also exposes the silliness of trans identity – If gender can’t be identified by certain traits, why are you so worried about vocal training??

This ‘game review’ is just line after line bellyaching how Cyberpunk 2077 makes Bella play a male character because his voice doesn’t pass!

“…Also how limited the genital options are, and how they’re intrinsically tied to an extremely cis, extremely heteronormative view of human bodies.” It’s almost like most players aren’t looking to reinforce their shaky sense of themselves through the character engine of a random sci-fi game…

He goes on to critique the worldbuilding, so I guess he trudged valiantly through the dysphoria and created a character eventually.

"The majority of the characters appear to be cisgender and heterosexual."

So, just like the real world.

But, no! While our Storyteller wants to pass seamlessly, the Representation must be clear: "It seems odd that reviewers who have played anywhere from 40 to 60 hours have yet to encounter any meaningful trans NPCs.” Hang on, isn't clocking them transphobic, anyway??

I can’t say if the game is any good, but Bella’s review is a beautiful crystallization of a growing trend – A personal Journey so enchanting, every observation feels like a consciousness-raising incantation.

Cleo

We are not impressed!

This brings on a strange, untroubled sharing of passing thoughts. The verbal diarrhea has a snarky tang, but it’s actually quite sad.

"Every introduction, every phone call, every order in a restaurant is something to agonize over. Even when I’m having sex, I’m conscious of every moan and murmur that comes out of my mouth."

Oh, honey, no. This is a real-time description of someone who doesn’t know how to form a genuine, uncalculated connection with anyone. This is the very definition of a narcissist.

Cyberpunk is a genre …  birthed from an ambition to play around with race, gender, and sexuality through the lens of rapid modernization.

This is debatable. I’m still waiting to learn what androids dream about! Dark science fiction pushes the edges of what makes us human to see if we are more than the sum of our components.

Good cyberpunk media uses that encroaching creep of technological evolution to show the good, the bad, and the ugly of the loss of organic personhood that comes with that.”

Another fundamental misunderstanding. Strong, popular cyberpunk like Blade Runner and Black Mirror has deep roots in an underlying organic agency. It drives the story. We can be distracted, spoiled or broken, but the individual’s will to thrive is always what the Baddies are trying to bury.

I suppose you miss a lot when your internal RAM is all used up running a Woman Emulator. And maybe trading what Nature gave you for Gender Affirmation puts one in questionable Cyberpunk company.

"Works like Serial Experiments Lain and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex show us that our sentimental attachment to a sense of self is ultimately meaningless in the face of powers that depersonalize, dehumanize, and eventually destroy us."

Laser Eyes

You will submit… Your credit card info for your free trial!

The Man doesn’t even care about our feelings! For whatever reason (perhaps advancing age) I’m reminded of Coleman’s advice to Billy Ray Valentine in the anti-capitalist classic Trading Places – “Just be yourself. Whatever happens, they can’t take that away from you.”

Everyone from movie butlers to Holocaust survivors references a deep, resilient vibrance in the human heart. Bella Blondeau seems to have misplaced his among the affirmations.

It’s something I can’t escape, even at my most intimate and vulnerable moments, and I’m not alone in that.” Not when you and your loud comrades work so hard to bring us all along for the ride!

This may be shocking to some tender sensibilities, but a trans perspective is not vital to every discussion. Cyberpunk is not about you!

Comments

  1. Karmickittens -

    I am going to be so incredibly happy when this gender bubble bursts and these pornsick incels get sent back to their basements again.

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