SHORT ANSWER: they’re dehumanizing.
MORE IN DEPTH:
genderbender is a term that’s been around for quite a while, and it has a history of being used to fetishize trans* bodies. it assigns the idea of body parts = presentation = gender—i.e. your ‘parts’ and your ‘presentation’ and gender must all match up. which is. ridiculous. since gender and body parts and presentation can all be TOTALLY DIFFERENT. shit does not have to match up!
genderbender has been in use in popular culture! futurama! ranma 1/2 is friggin BUILT off this trope! it was the title of an x-files episode about an alien species that could ~change their body~ (their BODY, so it’s not about gender at all! remember, gender is a societal thing built on roles for men and women, it has fuck all to do with bodies). oh and then the titular alien murdered people. yep. that’s great. it’s not like there’s a history of transgender folk being framed as oversexed rapists/murderers. nope.
(silence of the lambs, for example, is one of the more famous out there, not even getting into all the “transploitation” porn/rape revenge shit out there)
and no, you are not meaning to reference a long history of trans* people being fetishized as she-males and tr*nnies and benders—you just want to draw cute fanart of your fave dude as a lady or your fave lady as a dude! but uh, you are still totally doing that, regardless of intention.
because you are playing into the cissexist notion that body parts = gender = presentation. and that a dude being turned into a lady means he now had breasts and a vagina and wears a dress and goes by she. nvm that hey, he could totally become a she and still wear the exact same damn clothes and have a penis. REVOLUTIONARY. I KNOW.
is there anything wrong with wanting to make a character a different gender? nah, go hogwild! fanfiction and fanart is for exploring stuff, and hey, that includes gender + gender roles. but the problem IS in 99% of ~genderbending~ or ~genderswapping,~ gender, presentation, and body parts are ALWAYS ALWAYS in a set. ie
- GIRLS: have vaginas, boobs, wear dresses, and id as female
- BOYS: have penises, wear pants, and id as men
you will very very rarely find
- GIRLS: have a penis AND a moustache, wear dresses, id as female.
- GIRLS: have a penis, wear pants, and id as female
- GIRLS: have a vagina, wear pants, id as female
- BOYS: have a vagina, wear pants, id as men
- BOYS: have a vagina, wear dresses, id as men
- BOYS: have a penis, wear dresses, id as men
- NONBINARY PEOPLE: ??????????????????? WHAT PEOPLE EXIST OUTSIDE MALE/FEMALE???????????????
- GENDERFLUID PEOPLE: WHAT
- INTERSEX: UH OH YEAH YOU EXIST TOO
genderbending/genderswapping contributes to even more erasure of trans* folk, nonbinary peeps, and also intersex bodies, not to mention! continued fetishization of gender/presentation/bodies that can ~change~ or do not fit in with ~norms~.
and no, rule 63 is not really a better term for this, since it means the exact same thing, but at least it doesn’t give me rage spasms when i see the word (unlike genderbender. yall, that is kinda a slur? let’s not).
so next time you are drawing/writing/exploring this, maybe. keep this in mind and switch it up a bit?
and STOP USING THESE WORDS, like god damn IF YOU WANT TO DRAW. IDK. mulder as a lady and scully as a dude, HOW ABOUT MAYBE JUST PRESENTING IT AS “mulder as a lady” or “scully as a dude” or “dude!scully” OR SOMETHING ELSE that is not inherently gross.
like ACTUAL REAL LIVE GENDERBENDER PERSON HERE
TELLING YOU TO KNOCK IT OFF.