Every so often, I have to put down the booze bottle, put on my hat of righteous judgement, and complain at our videogame-playing culture about something we’re doing wrong. You may remember me wearing that hat when I wrote about hyperbole and how we’re letting it ruin our geeky culture, yes? Of course you do. So what’s crawled up my ass now?
Shut up! I know exactly where you were going with that. “He thinks he is a girl”, am I right? Yeah, I can hear it fly from the lips of every single hack gaming comedian who thinks they’re funny. “Birdo’s a dude!” And you know what? I’m pretty fucking sick of it.
The problem with mocking the fact that Birdo “thinks he’s a girl” is that there’s a segment of the population who has that exact issue. Only it’s less “think” and more “trying frantically to feel comfortable in their own body and not hate themselves when they look in a mirror.” Every time you make a joke about Birdo “being a dude,” you make it that much harder for those people. They’re real human beings, who deserve real love and real support, not an eternal existence as the punchline of bad gaming comedy.
I know what you’re thinking. “But All Powerful One,” as you always think of me when you think of me, “I’m not making fun of transgendered people! I’m making fun of Nintendo!” To which I can only answer, “I’m sure you think that.”
The problem is that when the punchline of your joke is “Birdo’s a dude!” then you’re not mocking Nintendo. Mocking Nintendo would get you to a punchline like “Nintendo doesn’t know what a transgendered person is,” or perhaps “Nintendo instruction booklet writers can’t write about a cartoon dinosaur without being a bunch of bigots.” When the punchline is, instead, about Birdo and the annoying growth between her legs, then you’ve made Birdo, and by implication Birdo’s transgendered status, the butt of the joke.
Oh, but I should lighten up because it’s just a cartoon dinosaur? By that logic, so should you. Super Mario Brothers 2 has been out for some twenty years now. You’re not imparting any great and mysterious secret by constantly bringing up Birdo’s gender. Why do it? Do you feel somehow betrayed that a dinosaur would be born in a body of the wrong gender? Do you look at that cartoon dino, with her pure white belly and her big round mouth cloaca and go “Man, I’ve got to stick my dick in her,” only to find out that she hasn’t had gender reassignment surgery and now feel the need to warn others lest they make the same mistake you did? Hate to tell you, but Birdo didn’t do anything wrong just because your dick gets hard for her. All she did was exist. You’re the one who can’t look past a cartoon dino-dick and see the woman she really is.
But maybe none of that convinced you. That’s fine. It’s bigoted and transphobic, but fine. We’re all entitled to our opinion, even when it is hateful and wrong. Thankfully, there is one last reason why we should all just stop with the “Birdo’s a dude!” jokes. And just so there’s no confusion, I’ll write it in bold, italic letters so you get the point.
They’re Not Funny.
Again, the game’s been out for some twenty years. Everyone knows what the original English-version instruction booklet says. Comedy depends on surprise, and this particular joke has lost the ability to surprise anyone by now.
Not to mention, it’s literally no different from “he’s black,” “she has red hair,” or “that’s a yellow school bus.” Whilst any of those could be a successful punchline, if they’re the entirety of the joke, then they’re just stupid, obvious, and only funny if you happen to find black people, red heads, or yellow school buses inherently funny. Hell, by now even the tired old “Is she an executive transvestite?” joke would be funnier. Maybe make a joke about her horrible fashion sense (because who wears a big pink bow and nothing else, hmm? Strippers, that’s who!) Any number of jokes that would be funnier than “Birdo’s a dude!” could work, and yet, that’s not what we get.
Look, it’s not difficult. Birdo presents as a girl; use female pronouns. There is absolutely no reason for us to feed into the strength of our transphobic culture. It’s petty, and it’s beneath us. Besides, there are so many better things to be mean and hateful towards.
Like our video editor for not having our MetaCon videos up yet. Amirite?