There’s kind of a lot to unpack about Bowsette. But my only issues are with, well, people taking issue on her.
In New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe (wow that title), the character Toadette is able to don a Super Crown and become Peachette. This… yeah just turns her into Peach, more or less. The power behind the Super Crown was absolutely noticed for its potential though. And that inspired a fantastic comic. In this, Bowser and Mario are both rejected by Peach. As Mario goes to console Bowser, who is going through similar feelings, Bowser pulls out the Super Crown. We’re then treated to a final frame of Mario and Bowsette with the implication that they’re now dating.
Social media has gone wild about Bowsette. She has a mountainous amount of fan art. Certainly tons on Pixiv, but also plenty on Twitter and Tumblr. Genderswap characters tend to be exceptionally popular. Another prime example of these being all throughout the Fate series. I believe that creators define their characters. If Ayyk92 says she’s a genderbend and nothing more, okay. But it’s easy to see her as a trans woman, too.
In one fan art, Bowsette is seen musing on why she was chasing after Peach for so long. That, maybe she didn’t just want her for herself, but that she wanted to be her. I can really relate here. Growing up, it was really difficult to tell if I had a crush on a girl or if I was just jealous of her. That led to a whole lot of confusion! Of course, now I know that it was definitely just both. Girls are awesome! 😅
Across all art so far, we get to see Bowsette after her transition. Sure, it was with the Super Crown, but everyone’s methods are their own. No doubt many other trans folk have fantasized about an easy button to feel comfortable in their own skin, to whatever end that is for them. In any case, every single piece of art has Bowsette at least as happy as before–if not more. Before I started taking HRT I wasn’t unhappy, but now even just a month in I’m definitely starting to feel more at peace with myself. Because of this, it’s difficult to associate this rendition of her character as being cisgender.
One downside to all of this is the removal of struggle. Not to say that Bowsette didn’t go through any turmoil before, during, nor after. But to have an “easy button” on transition, and to wind up aesthetically admirable? It’s difficult to swallow for many trans folk. We each have our own experiences, sorrows, pains, triumphs, and glory. And throughout life we, just like anyone else, shape ourselves into who we want to become.
Unfortunately, for many the only realistic goal is, at best, hoping to maybe someday reduce the indescribable empty dread of dysphoria. To see someone, even a character, get what is assumed to be an easy pass to perceived success is bittersweet. And for many, just nothing but bitter.
Acceptance… if Silent and Out of the Way
Then we have people who are going to stand against trans ideology in general. People who “don’t want politics brought into it and ruining the fun”. Those who are only supportive of trans people when they “don’t make a big deal out of it”. People who say that more would be supportive of transgender folk if they’d just keep quiet and be on their own tiny corner, away from everyone else. That’s not acceptance! That’s pushing people who are different than you aside to where you can ignore them. Heck that’s not even vague tolerance, it’s a more passive way of saying, “Stay out of my way or you’ll BE a problem.”
I’ve got a friend who is like that. “Well, I don’t agree with it but you’re fine because you don’t make a bunch of drama about it.” I’m too often worried about upsetting people, or worrying about what they’ll think of me. I’m afraid I’ll break connections for certain gains even though history shows those breaks have usually ended up with nothing lost really. There’s plenty of people right now that I’m still uncomfortable queuing my mic up for, because they’ve only ever known me as she and her. Will that change when they hear my voice? Will there be another place I have to just deal with it, when normally here I can be myself? It is a big deal, I just don’t like risking breaking a vase that I can’t fix.
Like I mentioned before, Bowsette is clearly as happy if not happier than prior to her own transition. However easy or hard that may have been. I don’t think Super Crowns would be particularly a common item? Eh. Anyway, people all around the world are seeing this. They’re seeing someone, even fictionally, truly happy to be their true self for a change.
Some transgender characters in the media are ambiguous at best. Are they male? Female? Neither? Both? Unknown? Characters like these are easier to ween people into, because they unfortunately open up a lot of avenue for excuses. “It’s okay because…” With Bowsette, we have a woman who is clearly absolutely happy to be a woman. She put on that crown to transition and shined like a jewel. And well did… other things. Artists of all sorts are very fond of her in many ways. Anyway.
With all of the admiration on her, and her popularity, can you imagine what this can do for the confidence of budding trans folk (hi!)? We get to see a slice of the world in this moment where a clearly transgender person is able to happy in their own skin. And having others accepting and being happy for them. Seeing that, yes, trans folk can be viewed as sexually attractive with only the tiniest voice of dissent. It’s a fantastic step in the right direction and I’m excited and hopeful for all those who’ll no doubt see Bowsette and have that lightbulb go off in their minds and hearts.