Officially, Transformers have always been gender non-specific robots in disguise, although let's face it, that's also blatantly not true.
The gender of the Transformers has always been something somewhat glossed over in official lore, however they've almost always been portrayed as males in their various iterations. If someone asked you what sex Optimus Prime was, I think the vast majority would refer to him as a male. Firstly, 'he' is famously voiced by a male voice actor, while secondly he transforms into an massive Peterbilt truck - which is basically a phallus on wheels. Indeed, Bob Budiansky, one of the original writers for Marvel's Transformers comic series, once explicitly asked Hasbro if female Transformers even existed. He explained their response:
"Well, I remember bringing up that question early on with Hasbro, "are any of these female?" And then I think Hasbro's attitude was, 'this is a boy toy. We don't wanna have, you know, girl robots.' So, I said, 'OK, just want to clarify that.'"
However, it seems the toy manufacturer has now changed its mind, as they have just announced they will soon be debuting a new line of female-only Transformers in order to appeal to a newly emerging audience of younger girls. Gone are the days of girls only playing with Barbie dolls or those tiny toy ovens that bake disgusting cakes. No, now they want to get involved in all the gratuitous destruction the Transformers franchise can offer - and that's great.
There have been 'female' Transformers in the past, including Firestar, Moonracer and the newly created Windblade, while Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen introduced Chromia, Arcee and Elita-1, the autobot 'sisters,' to the live-action films. However, these characters have stood out primarily because they are the only female ones, while they were often secondary characters. You can watch them being introduced in the opening scene of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen below:
Sarah Caroll, the senior brand manager for the Transformers franchise, told USA Today the female Transformers will be part of a new line-up for IDW Publishing's Transformers: Combiner Hunters comicbook series. However, she also claimed these Transformers would not be simple female archetypes - instead they hope to create good, relatable characters for young girls. Caroll explained:
"Our female characters really do have faults. They have things that they aren’t necessarily always good at and they have things they’re trying to overcome, and that makes them real people with a real drive."
Currently, there is little information about this future gang of female-Transformers, except that they will join up 'mega-zord style' to create one super-Transformer known as Victorion.
Of course, if this line of comics, and presumably toys, proves successful, could we also potentially end up seeing a female-reboot/spin-off of the Transformers film franchise? There certainly seems to be a growing precedent for this in Hollywood. DC and Warner Bros. recently announced a female-only DC Superhero Girls project, while The Expendables and Ghostbusters franchises are both developing potential 'female-orientated' spin-offs and sequels.
Currently, Hasbro's female autobots are expected to roll-out some time in July, but would you also like to see them on the big screen?