It’s been said that confession is good for the soul. Now, I don’t know how much I believe that, but I do have something that I must confess: as a Transformer fan, I utterly hate Nightbird.
Now, I know that sounds pretty harsh, but it’s true. I’ve never cared for Nightbird. Ever. To me, she’s always been over-hyped, a throwaway character who has staying power because of a small, but vocal and downright rabid, segment of the fanbase. I could spend hours going into that, but the biggest problem I have with Nightbird is this: she was never meant to be a Decepticon.
If you watch the episode “Enter the Nightbird”, the titular ‘femme’ in question was not Cybertronian in nature. She was built by a human to show just how far human robotics had evolved. She had no spark; not once during the episode did she transform, as she had no alt-mode. She never spoke. We’re only given the slightest of hints that she may have some sentience but those are basically instinctual. We’re never given much insight into her character and what little we get is downright generic.
When Nightbird is ‘kidnapped’–actually stolen, when you get right down to it–by Megatron, she’s taken to the current Decepticon headquarters to be mind-raped. I’m serious. If you have the episode on Blu-Ray or DVD, watch it right now. Take special heed of what Bombshell says: “I love warping minds for you, Megatron.”
Think about that for a moment. Her agency doesn’t matter, not in the least, to Megatron. Instead, he orders one of his flunkies to turn into a subservient, loyal subject. Nightbird’s thoughts and feelings on the situation literally do not matter at all.
Nightbird’s agency does not exist to Megatron. To him, she has none. She is little more than a tool and a means to an end for his scheme, which is to steal the World Energy Chip. Afterwards, all the “upgrades” she has been given will cause her to burn out, rendering her useless, or to put it bluntly, she will die. Megatron doesn’t care about that, though. As long as the human’s creation successfully completes the mission Megatron has assigned her, it doesn’t bother him at all. She’s there for that reason and that reason alone.
If you’re anything like me, the very thought of having your mind completely warped, turning you into something you were never meant to be in the first place, is utterly horrifying. This is a violation on a primal level, an unforgivable act of cruelty and abuse. But not everyone sees it that way.
Remember that vocal minority I mentioned? To them, Megatron’s a hero. He’s the perfect consort for Nightbird, because of one single line–”She’s everything I ever wanted.”–which means that Megatron is completely and totally in love with Nightbird and is her knight in shining armor and, dear sweet Primus, I literally can’t even with this!
Megatron never loved her. NEVER. She was everything he wanted because she was utterly mute, completely obedient and totally disposable. She was the polar opposite of the mouthy, challenging Starscream which is why Megatron snapped that she could have the Seeker’s job if he wasn’t careful. There was no actual caring behind Megatron’s thoughts; he never had Nightbird’s best interests at heart. The only interests that mattered were his, like every other abuser out there.
No, this isn’t conjecture on my part; all you have to do is give the episode a watch and you’ll see exactly what I mean. But thanks to fan conjecture, thanks to vocal Decepticon apologists like Raksha, the actual facts in evidence are ignored. Nightbird, who was never meant to wear a Decepticon sigil, is seen as the sparkmate of the very abuser who gave the order to have her innate sense of self violated. She was supposed to be a crowning achievement in human ingenuity but she was reduced to a petty thief on the whims of a power-hungry authoritarian. What she was meant to be is hand-waved away. The pathetic shadow of what she is now is all that matters. Her autonomy, her agency, her very sense of self is utterly ignored. She’s a pretty Decepticon puppet, a cute little “fuck doll” for a mind rapist.
Dance, puppet, dance. What you wanted didn’t matter. The fact that you were violated was a ‘feminist act’. Your existence is only meant to prop up a petty dictator; it doesn’t matter if you wanted that or not. Nobody cares what you think or how you feel.
Her narrative is forgotten, like most of the abused.
So I guess I’m slightly wrong; I don’t hate Nightbird. I pity her. I pity what she is now, because she was never meant to take that path. She was not meant for this life. She was meant for something more, something better and that was taken from her.
She never had the chance to say ‘no’. Which is a tragedy. But the bigger tragedy is the fact that this violation isn’t condemned, but celebrated. It’s yet another sad example of how the narrative of the abused is forgotten.