i hate it when women have to prove their competence in media

Representation, You're Doing It... so, so badly

Finally continuing my series on existing canonical trans representation, this week we’re going to look at Futurama.

The Show

I’m not entirely sure how you could miss Futurama; it’s one of those pop culture icons that you can learn about even if you aren’t a direct fan. But if you slept from 1999 until now, here are the basics: Futurama is an animated sci-fi adventure show and sitcom created by Matt Groening (creator of The Simpsons), and revolving around the intergalactic delivery company “Planet Express.” It has a LARGE recurring cast, but the core cast consists of Leela, a kung-fu cyclops space pilot, Fry, a delivery boy cryogenically frozen in 1999, and Bender, a shiftless, alchohol, kleptomaniac robot.

Episodes run the gamut from comedy to heart-wrenching beauty (I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t cry at the end of “Jurassic Bark”), and the humor itself is anywhere from topical and witty to horrendously outdated. The cast is fairly diverse, though the minority members range wildly between episodes from well-developed characters to shallow stereotypes. Likewise, gender representation on the show can be anything from thoughtful examination to painful, thoughtless stereotypes.

Unfortunately, the one place Futurama consistently shoots for the lowest common denominator is trans representation.

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Icons of Change / Soft Power

‘Authenticity is the key to being a successful artist and to being iconic’ – Zayn Malik

WOULD ZAYN MALIK GIVE DRAKE A LAP DANCE? Wait, let me add some context: I’m sitting on a sofa with one of the biggest pop stars on the planet, discussing his ambition to work with the Hotline Bling rapper who has a fondness for grinding with his collaborators: Nicki Minaj and Rihanna to name a couple. Naturally, I wonder… Would Zayn go there? ‘I wouldn’t be able to,’ he says with a shy smile. ‘I’m just not that great of a dancer. Maybe I’ll get a stunt double.’

Of course I already know this 23 year old doesn’t dance. We all do. He famously almost bolted during The X Factor in 2010, when Simon Cowell demanded he join the rest of the male contestants in a choreographed routine. Despite the rebellion he stuck with it, and so began five hesitant years as part of the world’s most mercenary, chino-wearing pop group. More than 70??million record sales and 250?million YouTube views later, The Sunday Times 2014 Rich List calculated the band’s combined wealth to be over £70?million. Throughout this meteoric ascent, Zayn consistently looked uncomfortable.

Then, on 25 March 2015, everything changed when Zayn became the first to quit the band. In the ultimate contrarian move, he left behind guaranteed success, certain fortune and millions of adoring teen groupies to become, as he then tweeted, ‘a normal 22-year-old… out of the spotlight’.

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