What is the point of Genderbending?

T.K._Paradox

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I have to say this before I start this thread, I have no problem with how you as a writer create stories, as creative freedom is one of the most important things for writers and I have no problem with you having the genderbending tag or anything that relates to it. This is me ranting about the story-based purpose for the genderbending tag, and why I personally don't like it.

It honestly makes no sense to me when someone decides to genderbend a character for no reason other than to make said character the opposite gender usually for 'Lesbian Hawt' or 'Gay Hawt'.

From what I have seen browsing multiple books regarding this tag, it doesn't add to the story and the gender-bent person adapts to their new life as if they were said gender, so -- from the stories I have read -- the story doesn't even take on the whole woman trapped in a man's body thing or vice versa. The only story I have seen take an interesting take at the whole genderbending thing is 'Saga of Tanya the Evil'.

So, my question is, "Outside of fulfilling a sexual fantasy, can you find a reason for genderbending?" Because honestly, I can't.

Again, I don't have anything against those that use the tag or enjoy the tag, this was me ranting about how I believe the genderbend tag provides little to no purpose to the story.
 

Kilolo

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sometimes, the gap is just adorable as heck when someone with a mind of over-powered isekai protagonist trapped inside of a body of a little girl.

but yeah, i don't think i ever saw one like that on scribblehub.
 

Cipiteca396

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Although what you're talking about does seem pretty common, it's hardly the the only reason.

So, my question is, "Outside of fulfilling a sexual fantasy, can you find a reason for genderbending?" Because honestly, I can't.
The most common reason is as wish-fulfillment for transpeople. That's not a sexual thing, even if you think it is. It's the same reason Isekai, power fantasy, harem, and revenge stories are so popular. Things you can't do in real life can be done in fiction. It's extremely difficult to live a normal life for a transperson, so gender bender gives people the chance to have that.

You are not the target audience. That is the main reason you don't see the purpose of the tag.

The other common reason is as the person who ninja'd me mentioned. Sometimes it just creates an interesting contrast. There's no need to go fully into the details of male vs. female, or culture, or prejudice. Just a little bit of contrast can create some interesting scenarios.
 

Anon_Y_Mousse

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I have to say this before I start this thread, I have no problem with how you as a writer create stories, as creative freedom is one of the most important things for writers and I have no problem with you having the genderbending tag or anything that relates to it. This is me ranting about the story-based purpose for the genderbending tag, and why I personally don't like it.

It honestly makes no sense to me when someone decides to genderbend a character for no reason other than to make said character the opposite gender usually for 'Lesbian Hawt' or 'Gay Hawt'.

From what I have seen browsing multiple books regarding this tag, it doesn't add to the story and the gender-bent person adapts to their new life as if they were said gender, so -- from the stories I have read -- the story doesn't even take on the whole woman trapped in a man's body thing or vice versa. The only story I have seen take an interesting take at the whole genderbending thing is 'Saga of Tanya the Evil'.

So, my question is, "Outside of fulfilling a sexual fantasy, can you find a reason for genderbending?" Because honestly, I can't.

Again, I don't have anything against those that use the tag or enjoy the tag, this was me ranting about how I believe the genderbend tag provides little to no purpose to the story.
There are some novels/mangas that cover stuff such as the MC being trans. Gender bender does add a lot to the plot in that case.(Such as the plot of the manga "Until I become me").

As for genderbending for the sake of genderbending, well it's simply one thing: curiosity. Why do authors of other nationalities make their MC Japanese, despite it not really adding anything. Well, you can argue Japanese MCs are simply more popular, but it could also be that they're curious and enamored about JP culture in one way or another. Likewise authors can just be curious what it would be like to have a guy in a girl's body (although yeah it's borderline sexual fantasy).

Some novels actually DO have gender bending as a part of their plot without much sexual/gender identity element to it though.

For example, an MC could be a shapeshifter that switches between a girl and a guy for the convenience of their current situation.
 

T.K._Paradox

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Although what you're talking about does seem pretty common, it's hardly the the only reason.


The most common reason is as wish-fulfillment for transpeople. That's not a sexual thing, even if you think it is. It's the same reason Isekai, power fantasy, harem, and revenge stories are so popular. Things you can't do in real life can be done in fiction. It's extremely difficult to live a normal life for a transperson, so gender bender gives people the chance to have that.

You are not the target audience. That is the main reason you don't see the purpose of the tag.

The other common reason is as the person who ninja'd me mentioned. Sometimes it just creates an interesting contrast. There's no need to go fully into the details of male vs. female, or culture, or prejudice. Just a little bit of contrast can create some interesting scenarios.
I don't believe that is the only reason, from the countless examples that I personally have seen it is usually the primary reason for genderbending. I also did mention earlier that in the stories I have read I haven't found any stories that explore the transgender potential for the tag. There are more than likely that stories that do explore those themes do exist, but from what I personally have seen that is usually not the primary interest of authors that use the genderbending tag
 

Ilikewaterkusa

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I have to say this before I start this thread, I have no problem with how you as a writer create stories, as creative freedom is one of the most important things for writers and I have no problem with you having the genderbending tag or anything that relates to it. This is me ranting about the story-based purpose for the genderbending tag, and why I personally don't like it.

It honestly makes no sense to me when someone decides to genderbend a character for no reason other than to make said character the opposite gender usually for 'Lesbian Hawt' or 'Gay Hawt'.

From what I have seen browsing multiple books regarding this tag, it doesn't add to the story and the gender-bent person adapts to their new life as if they were said gender, so -- from the stories I have read -- the story doesn't even take on the whole woman trapped in a man's body thing or vice versa. The only story I have seen take an interesting take at the whole genderbending thing is 'Saga of Tanya the Evil'.

So, my question is, "Outside of fulfilling a sexual fantasy, can you find a reason for genderbending?" Because honestly, I can't.

Again, I don't have anything against those that use the tag or enjoy the tag, this was me ranting about how I believe the genderbend tag provides little to no purpose to the story.
For me it’s the cuteness, and most of the times genderbent doesn’t really explore the themes of masculinity/femininity being ill-compatible with the physical form of an alternate nature to the conscious.
 

Cipiteca396

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I don't believe that is the only reason, from the countless examples that I personally have seen it is usually the primary reason for genderbending. I also did mention earlier that in the stories I have read I haven't found any stories that explore the transgender potential for the tag. There are more than likely that stories that do explore those themes do exist, but from what I personally have seen that is usually not the primary interest of authors that use the genderbending tag

To be honest, I don't have time to read every single story on the site. It's very likely that I've simply skipped over the stories you're talking about as 'Not worth my time'. There's also some I have marked as read later, but I haven't had much time for reading lately.

The above are stories that I really liked. Some of them do involve smut and sexual fantasies in addition to the trans stuff... Because life is like that. People like having sex, especially when it's with a body they don't feel disgusted by.
 

SailusGebel

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Never said it was, just noticed a lot -- not all -- use the tag for sexual fantasy and not much else.
For popularity reasons, yes. The same way popular stories with the harem tag use the said tag. Outside of fulfilling a sexual fantasy, can you find a reason for harems? Yes, you can, but no one does it because views matter a lot. No matter how much people say that views don't matter, it's a vocal minority on the forum.
 

SilvCrimBlac

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it's wishfulfillment, degeneracy, and bandwagoning, just like the rest.
Basically. The only other thing I would add is its for people who want to write female characters, but can't, and so this is a nice and acceptable go-between.
 

T.K._Paradox

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To be honest, I don't have time to read every single story on the site. It's very likely that I've simply skipped over the stories you're talking about as 'Not worth my time'. There's also some I have marked as read later, but I haven't had much time for reading lately.

The above are stories that I really liked. Some of them do involve smut and sexual fantasies in addition to the trans stuff... Because life is like that. People like having sex, especially when it's with a body they don't feel disgusted by.
Thank you for the examples, I shall look into some of these later.

Again, I will state this I have nothing against the sexual stuff I personally am more interested in how the idea itself affects the story.
 

Jemini

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I have to say this before I start this thread, I have no problem with how you as a writer create stories, as creative freedom is one of the most important things for writers and I have no problem with you having the genderbending tag or anything that relates to it. This is me ranting about the story-based purpose for the genderbending tag, and why I personally don't like it.

It honestly makes no sense to me when someone decides to genderbend a character for no reason other than to make said character the opposite gender usually for 'Lesbian Hawt' or 'Gay Hawt'.

From what I have seen browsing multiple books regarding this tag, it doesn't add to the story and the gender-bent person adapts to their new life as if they were said gender, so -- from the stories I have read -- the story doesn't even take on the whole woman trapped in a man's body thing or vice versa. The only story I have seen take an interesting take at the whole genderbending thing is 'Saga of Tanya the Evil'.

So, my question is, "Outside of fulfilling a sexual fantasy, can you find a reason for genderbending?" Because honestly, I can't.

Again, I don't have anything against those that use the tag or enjoy the tag, this was me ranting about how I believe the genderbend tag provides little to no purpose to the story.

There are several, actually. *puts on professor hat.*

Gender-benders are a concept that has gained in some popularity and appeal, as seen by the relative success of several of the titles that have done it. The most popular of which is the very trail-blazer to the concept, Ranma 1/2.

I will start from the most powerful and likely reasons for gender bender titles, and go on to what I consider the least important.

1. Easy way to justify a "chick with dick" protagonist. That is, someone tries to write a "strong female character" and instead winds up writing a female character that just comes off as too awkwardly male. Gender bending a male into a female manages to both make the male behavioral traits more natural seeming and less forced, while also justifying the fact that she has those traits. Of course, this kinda discredits the "strong female" part of it a little since she technically has the mind of a male to start with, but in terms of character it does work together pretty smoothly.

2. To go with the above, it allows you to write a strong female character who is less threatening and off-putting to some segments of the reader audience.

3. The trans wish-fulfillment others have commented on. I personally dislike this approach. It also often winds up completely trashing the strong female approach with the observations you listed in the OP with how the gender-bent character winds up just acting like their new gender anyway. When you see the supposedly originally male character acting like the female they have become, you know it's just trans wish-fulfillment and nothing else. That's the best and easiest way to identify when that's what's going on.

(I may sound really down on this. I have nothing against the trans part of it, and I support that. What I am more against is the 'wish fulfillment' part of it. It just feels like a squandering of the opportunities you get with gender-bent characters.)

4. Exploration of gender roles. This is what some of the earliest entries in the gender-bender genre did, back when it mostly appeared in Japanese Manga in the wake of the massive success that was Ranma 1/2. This is a little bit of a higher level of writing, and a little over my head to even approach. So, I will not comment further on it.

5. Various criticized approaches, such as it being for some sexual fetish or out of bandwagoning. There are varioius sexual fetishes. And, judging from the number of gender-benders out there that tend to go a sexual route, I think there's a lot of this out there. More of it is the band-wagoning though. They see the success of the titles that have the more noble views of the 4 entries listed above, but they do not genuinely hold those views themselves. Therefore, they just look at the sexual aspect of it. As such, bandwagoning and sexual degeneracy tend to go hand-in-hand. In fact, the sexual degeneracy is often the sign you look for in order to identify whether or not it's just for bandwagoning.

6. Realism in reincarnation. Some people, such as myself, might find it an interesting prospect to explore the idea of reincarnation a little more. Namely, it actually is kind of illogical to think that you would always be reincarnated as your same gender. I mean, I suppose it makes sense if your reincarnation is facilitated by a god. If it's the natural occurrence route, though, then it is more sensible to think you have a 50% chance of winding up the opposite gender as well.

I have a gender-bender series myself, and this was a rather large part of my motivation. I decided to take an angle of the first 2 items on the list as well in order to better justify it. But, if I'm being honest, this is the real reason that I had in my mind. It was really nothing more than an attempt at a gimicky subversion of the tropes on reincarnation. (My main cast of 4 characters contains 1 example of each of the 4 possible previous and current life gender combinations. (male reincarnates as male, male reincarnates as female, female reincarnates as male, female reincarnates as female))
 
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T.K._Paradox

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Basically. The only other thing I would add is its for people who want to write female characters, but can't, and so this is a nice and acceptable go-between.
You make a valid point here.
There are several, actually. *puts on professor hat.*

Gender-benders are a concept that has gained in some popularity and appeal, as seen by the relative success of several of the titles that have done it. The most popular of which is the very trail-blazer to the concept, Ranma 1/2.

I will start from the most powerful and likely reasons for gender bender titles, and go on to what I consider the least important.

1. Easy way to justify a "chick with dick" protagonist. That is, someone tries to write a "strong female character" and instead winds up writing a female character that just comes off as too awkwardly male. Gender bending a male into a female manages to both make the male behavioral traits more natural seeming and less forced, while also justifying the fact that she has those traits. Of course, this kinda discredits the "strong female" part of it a little since she technically has the mind of a male to start with, but in terms of character it does work together pretty smoothly.

2. To go with the above, it allows you to write a strong female character who is less threatening and off-putting to some segments of the reader audience.

3. The above noted trans wish-fulfillment. I personally dislike this approach. It also often winds up completely trashing the strong female approach with the observations you listed in the OP with how the gender-bent character winds up just acting like their new gender anyway. When you see the supposedly originally male character acting like the female they have become, you know it's just trans wish-fulfillment and nothing else. That's the best and easiest way to identify when that's what's going on.

(I may sound really down on this. I have nothing against the trans part of it, and I support that. What I am more against is the 'wish fulfillment' part of it. It just feels like a squandering of the opportunities you get with gender-bent characters.)

4. Exploration of gender roles. This is what some of the earliest entries in the gender-bender genre did, back when it mostly appeared in Japanese Manga in the wake of the massive success that was Ranma 1/2. This is a little bit of a higher level of writing, and a little over my head to even approach. So, I will not comment further on it.

5. Various criticized approaches, such as it being for some sexual fetish or out of bandwagoning. There are varioius sexual fetishes. And, judging from the number of gender-benders out there that tend to go a sexual route, I think there's a lot of this out there. More of it is the band-wagoning though. They see the success of the titles that have the more noble views of the 4 entries listed above, but they do not genuinely hold those views themselves. Therefore, they just look at the sexual aspect of it. As such, bandwagoning and sexual degeneracy tend to go hand-in-hand. In fact, the sexual degeneracy is often the sign you look for in order to identify whether or not it's just for bandwagoning.

6. Realism in reincarnation. Some people, such as myself, might find it an interesting prospect to explore the idea of reincarnation a little more. Namely, it actually is kind of illogical to think that you would always be reincarnated as your same gender. I mean, I suppose it makes sense if your reincarnation is facilitated by a god. If it's the natural occurrence route, though, then it is more sensible to think you have a 50% chance of winding up the opposite gender as well.

I have a gender-bender series myself, and this was a rather large part of my motivation. I decided to take an angle of the first 2 items on the list as well in order to better justify it. But, if I'm being honest, this is the real reason that I had in my mind. It was really nothing more than an attempt at a gimicky subversion of the tropes on reincarnation.
I have no doubt that many novels have these themes, but it just seems I have come across a bunch of novels that use genderbender for smut and not much else. Thank you for your input.
 

Anon_Y_Mousse

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for people who want to write female characters, but can't, and so this is a nice and acceptable go-between.
I really don't get this, in the end females are humans too and the differences are nothing you can't solve by a few google searches and the next part is a bit hard but I daresay-
having female friends

Or maybe it is difficult and I just read too much shoujo manga.
 

T.K._Paradox

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I really don't get this, in the end females are humans too and the differences are nothing you can't solve by a few google searches and the next part is a bit hard but I daresay-
having female friends

Or maybe it is difficult and I just read too much shoujo manga.
Friends, relationships?
Why have those when you can be a QuIrKy introvert... God I miss the Sun.
 

Anon_Y_Mousse

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Friends, relationships?
Why have those when you can be a QuIrKy introvert... God I miss the Sun.
Well like I said, just read stuff from the shoujo genre. Well, females from there are mildly unrealistic, but it's not like it will be any worse than the interactions a genderbent male character that your average scribblehub author writes has.(I'm sorry edit: after reconsidering how much of a degenerate people here are, I am not sorry, you dolts! )
 

SilvCrimBlac

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I really don't get this, in the end females are humans too and the differences are nothing you can't solve by a few google searches and the next part is a bit hard but I daresay-
having female friends

Or maybe it is difficult and I just read too much shoujo manga.
I don't know about that lol. I think saying a few google searches would solve it is a bit of a stretch, but eh. Any opinions I have developed concerning modern women would just offend people here, so I'll avoid it.
 
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