We-See-Beauty

reasons why futurama is so great and is so important to so many of us

  • philip j fry is our protagonist. he is mentally ill and pansexual (both of which are canon). we watch him develop from an irresponsible “loser” who has nothing to a semi-responsible man with an entire family in the form of the planet express crew. he isn’t a typical science fiction male hero - he always has to be saved, he messes everything up, he hardly does his job, but his saving grace is the fact that he is kind. and fry’s kindness is what endears everyone on the show to him. he is the most important person in the universe even though his mind constantly tells him that he’s a nothing who has no one. (this message has helped me through so many difficult times). also, the beauty in a mentally ill queer character getting the happiest of endings imaginable puts futurama leagues ahead of every other show ever. 
  • turanga leela. EVERYTHING about her. she’s a disabled orphan who grew up bullied and literally had to go through everything alone. when we meet her, time and time again, she chooses her own destiny. the first episode starts with her quitting her boring job to be the best space pilot in the galaxy. leela is the strongest person on the show and is the closest thing to a superhero that the show has. she’s an intersectional feminist, stands up for the rights of minorities and animals. hell, she literally leads a revolution to get the mutants equal rights. one other thing that i want to note is that the animators wanted her nose smaller bc they didn’t think female characters should have big noses, but legend matt groening fought to keep it the size it was. 
  • matt groening also specifically created the character of amy wong to break the stereotype that only men can do slapstick. amy continuously breaks stereotypes. she’s a genius and has a phd, but she’s also ditzy. she’s promiscuous, she’s a party girl. her parents are emotionally abusive and she deals with an eating disorder. she’s also an asian woman who’s a lead character!! what other mainstream cartoon has done that? 
  • hermes conrad could’ve been the stereotypical token black character who only comes in once in a while to say “sassy” lines but he’s not. he’s a proud jamaican who’s a proud bureaucrat, a former olympic champion, and an amazing husband and father. and then we see the beautiful story of how he saved bender as a baby and it just makes you love him anymore.
  • this last point isn’t about the characters, but about one of the most clear main messages of the show, which fry says in bender’s big score: “i want what’ll make you happy, not what’ll make me happy.” not only does it destroy the nice guy trope in that instance, but it’s used in so many other great situations. bender giving up a relationship with his son so that his son can achieve his dreams, leela’s parents giving up a life with her so that she can have a better life. unconditional selfless love is presented to us time and time again and it’s such an important message 

We see you, Netflix. We see you taking beautiful, creative, well-written and most importantly, diverse shows, and cancelling them. We see you taking the representation we all so desperately needed, and treating it like it’s nothing. We see you promoting a white-washed anime, and yet another story about a straight white male and his troubles. We see you.

BUT LIKE HOW ARE YOU GONNA HAVE THE GOLD STANDARD OF PARTNERS THAT IS MAGGIE SAWYER BE ON THE SAME SHOW AS GOD AWFUL MON EL LIKE WE’RE REALLY SUPPOSED TO WANT KARA TO BE WITH THIS ASSHOLE WHEN WE SEE THE AMAZING AND BEAUTIFUL PERSON HER SISTER HAS

4

GUYS, guys, hear me out.
So this /amazing/ illustration from the DN manga has always called my attention.
Like all things Death Note, it’s full of symbolism. I specially love that right behind Light we can see a beautiful, kind of omnipresent L surrounded by white roses. I’m really interested in what this could mean so I decided to ask Google what the heck do white roses say.

I was… not dissapointed
But now I’m drowning in feels

Beautiful. I like that word. Every time someone says it, it’s  referring to something with beauty. No matter what kind, or if it is beauty only they can see. It has beauty. And that beauty changes us. The way we see things. What music we listen to, the people we care about. Who we are.

If we don’t see beauty, we don’t stay. And even if we don’t see it, we pretend we do. We live for it. We fall in love, we all expect someone to see it inside of us. We wait all life for beauty. We dream about it.

I guess, it’s one of the most powerful things in the world, it can make even the most devil and hard people melt. Just that, that one thing, changes everything. Beauty, beautiful.

—  Sara (lunahrs) 

I haven’t shared a picture of my face in quite a while. Today I woke up & took this one. No masks, no smile pretending, no make up, a skin rash in my left cheek, my beautiful bushy eyebrows that I have chosen to accept and love exactly as they are, my unbrushed messy wild soft curly hair, my face… Just as it is. And the reason why I feel so deeply & truly to share this is simply because I want to remind every single one of us how beautiful we are. Exactly as we are. We are already perfect. A reminder that the beauty is not necessarily in the face… At all… But in the goodness & love of your heart. How kind you are to yourself & others & the earth. How you smile from your heart. How you share beauty with all those around you. How honest & clear you are. How strongly & softly you move through life. Are you lifting others up with each action & word or putting them down? It’s so easy to forget how beautiful we are when we live in a city or are constantly surrounded by the obsession about the physical looks… Fashion magazines, television, social media craziness… As if we don’t have anything else to offer beyond our body. May we all rise above all of this. May we see the beauty within. May we always be kind. May we always be strong. May we always be soft. May we be the difference we wish to see in the world. Even if that means to simply take a early morning selfie of yourself just as you are & happily sharing it with the world… Self love is the very first romance. 🌸💓🌸

Look at this kiss (and the adorable last name thing they do).

They’re in the haus, surrounded by hockey players (even one from Jack’s pro team) having a normal hello kiss, without a worry in the world. They’re accepted by the people around them, able to just be a couple.

I see this and think of Jack, who will be severely targeted if he comes out in the NHL. And Bitty, who didn’t feel comfortable coming out in Georgia.

They still have challenges to face but I’m just so happy for them (and for us because we get to see these beautiful saps fall in love).

stone femmes experience a great deal of interrogation and criticism around our sexuality and identities, the nature of which is always explicitly homophobic and heterosexist. 

our desire and appreciation of butch identity is characterised as suppressed heterosexual inclinations and it’s often supposed our lesbianism is likely the product of child sexual abuse. 

even from within lesbian community, partnerships of stone butches and stone femmes are viewed with suspicion, distrust and an interrogative curiosity that intends to determine whether or not the way we have sex with each other qualifies us for “real” lesbianism.

stone femmes experience a lot of social pressure to be more flexible about our identities (ie: to date men, or perform sexual acts we are not comfortable with), or urged to confront “truths” about ourselves that we’re apparently denying. this has lead many of us to experience extreme discomfort with our sexuality, questioning ourselves what we know to be true in our hearts. the repeated insistence that our desire for stone butches is a desire for masculinity is a type of mass gaslighting in some sense, leading stone femmes to wonder if we really are lesbian and making the true and authentic discovery of our selves and our identities more challenging. it’s a source of great inner turmoil and conflict. our often conventionally feminine presentation, our desire for gender non-conforming women, and the roles we tend to take in sexual exchange, are seen by outsiders - both straight and LGBT - as undeniable evidence of attraction to men. the result is that stone femmes make compromises that hurt us and conflict directly with our true needs and desires. in my case, I had a couple of relationships with men - one cis and one trans - both of which had problems for several reasons but one big one being my own discomfort and lack of desire, the fact that ultimately I saw myself with a woman. 

navigating a world in which compulsory heterosexuality rules is fraught for any lesbian. for stone femmes, our exclusive desire for butches appears to outsiders as additional ammo to assault our sense of identity with. “why don’t you just date a man?” is a common remark every stone femme has heard when showing others photos of our partners, or women we are interested in. this hurts stone femmes in a direct sense, as it questions our lesbianism (which is already under fire in a homophobic world anyway), and it additionally provokes guilt and shame as we feel we have exposed butches to insensitive and callous appraisal that is incapable of recognising the beauty we see. the insidiousness of gendered expectations is such that the incessant repetition of these attitudes chips away steadily at our own perception of our desires, to the detriment of our mental health.

furthermore, this attitude is revoltingly homophobic and misogynistic towards butches as well, as it positions butches as substitutes for men, or women attempting to imitate men, rather than the gender non-conforming women they actually are, and wholly realised (and perfect!) as. such is the nature of sexism, it is often confounding to people of all sexualities that a conventionally feminine woman could look at a woman who does not attempt to be “beautiful” in a way deemed acceptable for women, and find her the most desirable person in the room. I have even had people say to me “but don’t you want to experience all the things that make women so wonderful?”, like I haven’t already experienced exactly that with my butch partners (and am so fulfilled by it I don’t want anything else).

in my case, this aspect of myself has also been used by people who were abusing me to claim that I was straight and falsely presenting myself as queer. their public attacks were directly centered on the fact that I’m “only interested in women who look like men”. it’s violently homophobic, against butches and femmes both, and was extremely distressing to experience.

as for the ways that stone butches and stone femmes are intimate together, there are again a great deal of assumptions and conclusions drawn by outsiders who cannot relate to the experience or significance of being together in a way that feels extremely natural and fulfilling. at its most stripped-back core, stone simply means “is not penetrated/does not penetrate”. there are often a couple of other accompanying boundaries, but in the context of very trusting and intimate relationships, those boundaries may sometimes be expanded.  it is, of course, personal and specific to each couple. more importantly than anything else is that other people - including other LGBT people - not project their own perceptions onto the stone lesbian experience. the idea that in order for sex to be truly complete and fulfilling for both partners each must experience certain acts is just placing limitations on the definition of sex. which is also extremely heterosexist. LGBT people have long struggled to have our ways of having sex recognised as very real despite the absence of penis-in-vagina. to impose a rigid definition of lesbian sex on lesbians is to ignore and dismiss the extremely complicated and diverse ways in which sexual desire is formed and experienced, as well as the very complicated and diverse ways women exist in general. 

one of the most important ways that stone femme as a sexual identity exists is in respect to stone butch. stone butches experience a great deal of resistance to their physical boundaries, in ways that is often intensely violating and hurtful and leads them to question whether they are broken, or repressed, or even if they themselves are “real” lesbians. the stone femme’s ability and willingness to accept and respect the stone butch’s needs validates the stone butch identity as authentic and natural and provides much needed comfort and appreciation. in this context, a stone butch may feel comfortable to explore their boundaries further in ways they could not do with a partner who repeatedly pushed for access they did not feel safe to give.  or they may not. it doesn’t actually matter, so long as two people within the context of their private relationship explore physical intimacy in the way that is satisfying, fulfilling and pleasurable for them both. the perception that stone butches and stone femmes are not doing this rely entirely both on heterosexist and cissexist ideas about what bodies configured in certain ways should enjoy, rather than what individuals with unique histories coming together in mutual desire actually do enjoy. enjoyment is central to satisfaction. and no one can know what is going on in another person’s bedroom unless they are there. so to draw conclusions about what sex means for other people is to say that individuals cannot be expressing themselves through genuine connection with their needs and desires.  when stone butches and stone femmes already experience so much hostility towards our identities, this assumption we are not having sex “properly” only amplifies insecurity and isolation and feeds back into damaging ideas that sex is only real when it occurs in certain ways.

I reblogged a quote the other day by lesbian butch photographer Jill Posener in which she says that being butch is about loving to be with other women. I feel the same way about being femme. If I wanted to be with a man, I would be. It wouldn’t be hard and everyone would welcome it unquestioningly. In fact, it would make a lot more people a lot more comfortable with my existence. I desire butch because I love other women and love being with other women. and I’m tired of being made to question that. we all are. if you wonder why it is you don’t see stone femmes talk more openly about our existence and experiences, it’s that: we’re all just tired. we’re all so used to be questioned and interrogated that mostly we stay quiet now and keep to ourselves. it’s not worth the unending assault on our very way of being to keep having to challenge the status quo. we trust only each other. and this is another reason why stone communities are so private and fiercely defended.

me and other stone femmes have dealt with other people’s homophobia and misogyny making us question ourselves to the detriment of our own peace of mind and sense of security in our own identity. an identity we can struggle to even find in a homophobic world. it’s violent, and it’s twisted, and it’s one more way that lesbian desire is policed and dismissed as somehow incomplete or insincere.