Brief Blog Update

Howdy folks, been a while since I’ve posted so I thought I’d give a brief update. I’m getting to the point in college where things start getting really busy, so things are getting busy, and I haven’t really been watching / reading much anime / manga lately. Much of my free time has been consumed by D&D or other TTRPG-related things, and I can’t say I have a worthwhile commentary to post on any of those things. I may in the future start uploading homebrews I make here, but for now there’s not a whole lot gonna be happening here. Latest chapters of Spotted Flower are VERY exciting, but I don’t think there’s anything I have to say about them beyond “holy shit threesome and mada’s in trouble ooooo.”

In the meantime for anybody who follows my stuff and wants more Genshiken / Spotted Flower content, check out Hearts of Furious Fancies, I’m a big fan of all the blog stuff happening.

Oh, also, I’m part of the Japanese Popular Culture Research Society at my college, and I think we’re doing a Mebaetame-esque zine this coming semester? I’ll post links to wherever it can be digitally accessed as it comes into existence.

Thanks y’all for sticking around!

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Belladonna of Sadness, AKA: Masturbation leads to Female Empowerment

It’s 悲しみのベラドンナ, aka Belladonna of Sadness!

Sounds pretty cheerful, isn’t it?

I mean, honestly it is kind of optimistic. Spoilers: It ends with her being Jesus-style crucified but it’s the woman form because she burns to death (why do white men like seeing women burn to death so much?) and because of her sacrifice all the women in the crowd understand her plight and will now rise up against the patriarchy and spread the word.

Aesthetics:

So, understanding all these wee nuggets, let’s jump into the aesthetics. Hey, did I mention to y’all that this show is a fuckin 70s music musical and it’s really, really, really fucking beautiful and it’s kind of the most 70s thing ever in the best possible way?

Oh, and, naturally, it’s very, very, very sexual, since you couldn’t tell by the title. There is many a tit shown and many a penis and vagina implied (though often not shown directly, except for that awesome dance orgy scene… y’all really need to go watch this). I’ll try to keep the sexy bits out of this but, well, kinda hard to do. Anyway, to be clear, this isn’t porn, though you may be aroused, and it’s absolutely sexual in much of it’s nature, but most of this presentation of sexuality is with the intent of showing how women can be independent and fuckin cool. Not for the faint of heart.

But really, how specifically are the aesthetics cool? Well, the art style is very strongly anime in how simple the animation itself is most of the time, with a strong push on beauty in each frame instead. There’s very little motion often, but when the art looks like this there doesn’t need to be. That said, there are particular moments of action where the animation is surprisingly clean and smooth, they just save it for when it counts. This allows for insanely beautiful frames all throughout the movie.

It’s also worth noting how things tend to start with a lot of color at the very beginning, when Jeanne and Jean are a happy and naive couple:

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then after Jeanne is raped, much of the color is sapped from the world:

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Slowly throughout as the demon teaches her to empower herself more and more, color begins to seep back in.

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Then when she is accused of being a witch and whatnot, color is once again stripped somewhat:

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Then she comes to understand that when she’s starving, at the end of her wits, near death, there’s something she’s gotta do to get motivated. She’s gotta masturbate to the giant devil.

Screen Shot 2018-03-15 at 03.34.13.png

^This is what happens when she orgasms. Pretty fucking cool eh?

After this we get a scene that’s nearly all black and white for the plague, but note this doesn’t focus on her.

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When we do first see Jeanne again, this is how she is:

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It’s as if she is so full of color that it just brings life to everything about her! Pretty wonderful, eh? She continues to bring youth and springtime glory to the scenes she’s in right up until she dies. Why is she sentenced to death? Well, because the Baron asks her,

“Well, what on earth do you want then?”

“Everything.”

Now call me out if I’m putting my feminist goggles on too hard, but he asks this after offering her places of power, to which she gives this response. The way I see it, “everything” is equality. A rich man has all the power, and she wants everybody regardless of gender to have that power. If she just aims for stature, it’s evidence she doesn’t want equality, she just wants her share of privilege. But she wants to take away from the Baron his power over others, hence, everything he has.

Speaking of Jeanne’s death, I gotta wonder something. We don’t see the townsfolk, particularly the men, rising up and trying to revolt or riot until Jean goes crazy seeing his wife(? ex-wife?) being executed and gets himself killed in turn. Is it because the death of a man is more meaningful than the death of a woman to the townsfolk, in spite of everything she did for them? Sure, not just any man would’ve incited this, so you have to consider how wonderful she was to them, but it was the death of the man that made them all angriest, not her own death.

(Side note: Jeanne’s hair is purple by default, but after each interaction with the devil her hair goes to blonde, then blonder, then red, then back to blonde and ending with purple? Not sure it’s consistent enough to have any narrative significance, but perhaps somebody can figure out some Great Gatsbyesque analysis of this.)

Story:

So uh… didja notice the devil is kinda just representative? Like, here’s the facts about this bugger:

• He only shows up when she’s alone

• He gives her sexual pleasure

• The more Jeanne resigns her soul to him the more capable of her own power she becomes

• His whole body kinda looks like a dick in general, which gives me mixed messages since independent woman does not need penis. Maybe he’s a personified dildo?

This could mean a couple of things. If you want to go with the more literal approach, it’s indicative of Satanism since Satan is causing good things to happen. If you want to go with the more metaphorical approach given these other factors, consider this: Satan is representative of her masturbating. Note that in all his fucking of Jeanne you’re mostly hearing how she feels. It’s all about her pleasure. Note that his size / capabilities are very much associated with her independence as a female. What is this indicative of? Her fantasies when masturbating start as something tiny, but in it she finds that she can experience far greater pleasure with herself than with a man, and through this her fantasies grow. Because she understands she doesn’t need a man for pleasure, what the hell else is there she needs a man for? What pleasures in life do the impoverished have but sex and booze, and note when she finds she can give herself sexual pleasure her husband cannot, her husband turns to the booze. Not to mention the tone is all about Jeanne learning to be in control, so if the devil was literal and was literally fucking her, it’d kind of be a mismatch with everything else we get in the film.

The narrative told is strikingly simple: Jeanne is the perfect woman. The townsfolk love her. She’s chaste, beautiful, dependent on her man to do anything and in the one instance she takes any action at all, she speaks to another lady. Please too note that it’s because of such a tiny transgression as speaking at all that first brings the baroness’s attention to her, which leads to her being brutally raped by the baron and then all the guards and nobility for the whole night. She comes home with blood dripping from her leg, her voice shaking, tears in her eyes, and what are the first words out of her husband’s mouth? Let’s forget this ever happened. Really, Jean? You want her to just magically forget something as traumatizing as that not even an hour after it’s happened? Ah… but of course we can see you for who you truly are. By forget you mean murder her. You don’t want damaged property on your hands any more. Better to strangle the life out of her, start over from the beginning with your life.

It takes being brutally raped for an entire evening and then a murder attempt by her own husband for Jeanne to finally consider independence. That is how ingrained it is, how socialized women are to believe themselves dependent in this situation. From here, she slowly realizes the full extent of this. First, she’ll make a financial move independent of him and see how it goes. Oh, what? He’s an incompetent buffoon? How about you take more financial control and leave him as just your figurehead. Ah, but then you’re accused of being a witch and all the townsfolk who prospered under your generosity and even your own husband turn against you. So, what that means is that you cannot rely on anybody. You’ve gotta give, and then give, and then give some more, otherwise they’ll only steal it all from you. Only then, when you’ve been giving all you can give, does the Baron of the land himself understand how extensive a threat you are to him.

But really, 45 years later, who really needs the astrological incantations and blood rituals? Aren’t we past the point of witchcraft being an important part of feminism? Especially with all the cultural appropriation happening with wiccas and all that?

Oh. What’s this, they’re still making movies with female antagonists who are evil witches? Written a thousand years after Belladonna takes place? Yikes, what’s happened? Maybe the better question: Where’s all the commentary on this? Sure we got some of that in Utena, but is that really all she wrote? Hell, I suppose the niche of Belladonna is still quite empty. Don’t mind if I cozy up in here with my cauldron to keep me warm.

Cultural Context:

In contemporary discussions of politics and history, there’s one thing that many leftist academics seem to be supporting: pushing counternarratives to the false things people are raised on in government-funded education. This is one of the real powers of Belladonna— it’s a counternarrative. We hear about the Salem Witch Trials— brought about by girls who were foul enough to go around accusing everybody. We read about witches in fairytales. But what do we have of representing the dynamics of most accusations of witchcraft as they truly were— a way for men in power to silence and limit women who weren’t complacent with their place in society. Though Belladonna’s approach is a bit on the Eurocentric side, could go The Witches of Gambaga if you want something contemporary and in a different culture, it still plays an important role in the portrayal of witchcraft. First an accusation to limit the power of uppity women, next a tool for women to set themselves free. Witchcraft is womanly power— something to make the boys cower with fright.

(Fun fact: Some historians believe some witches were just women who performed abortions in secret, hence the stigma in those societies.)

The other important part of Belladonna in this regard is its refusal to obey the normative notions of female in its representation of witch accusations. Jeanne, though at first a passive body, always learns to take more and more control of her situation, rather than be moved a helpless pawn through these trials as a result of her womanhood. She actively chooses a dangerous, powerful life because it is a much better way of surviving than putting her head down hoping for the best. In the end when Jeanne is executed, even if she is helpless, she doesn’t die a helpless victim— she seizes the scene with drama and, though the townsfolk cannot repay her yet, she sewed the seeds of empowerment for future generations of women.

The Unfortunate Other Side: Yet Another Pondering on Spotted Flower 22

Rereading thru one of my favorite bits of Genshiken (85, AKA Hato Mada neck chapter) I found something interesting, particularly seeing as a proper translation to Spotted Flower 22 is out:

Which parallels perfectly with what we see in Chapter 22 of Spotted Flower:

So, though I’ve been endlessly happy with Chapter 22 because HatoMadaHato did the fuckin’ in the butt, the most reasonable conclusion to draw from this (and I think based on Madarame’s personality in general and the dialogue we see here) is actually that Madarame does still love Saki completely. What he’s looking for when he calls Hato is split between precisely what he says— he feels like he’s been too pampered and wants to be dirtied, and possibly a bit of a revenge tactic for Saki having been with Kousaka for a time. This second part revolves around Saki clearly— he’s feeling possessive, and really, the first part does too. In spite of him and Saki having been married a while, there’s still that old, underlying complex of viewing Saki as perfect and great while he is worthless and pathetic. So when he wants to dirty himself, he’s not trying to escape from her because he doesn’t love her, he’s trying to escape from her because he resents how jealous he is, and views himself as below her in this regard.

Alas, if this is the case, it seems that the Mada / Saki divorce will likely not come to fruition. Unless Saki’s just really pissed off about Mada cheating. Which could happen, but I wouldn’t plan on it.

Well, that is, unless we go by the BL Law of Sexual Connection: ie if you are an innocent uke you fall in love with anybody who has had sex with you. (Or raped you, really, but I don’t think that applies here? Hmm….) When there are multiple sexual partners then, it requires a great deal of time and energy from the primary partner to fully ward off the advances of the secondary sexual partner. In other words, because of this, Madarame falls deeply in love with Hato and ends up having a continued affair with her. Though this would imply Madarame will eventually retain his faithfulness to Saki, it’s not totally out of the question, right?

Right?

Ooh, let’s up the ante and make it so Hato blackmails Madarame: “Fuck me or I’ll tell your wife. Porno plot much? Perhaps. But maybe, just maybe, it’s in the realm of possibilities. And it’d give potential for HatoMada happening! There’s a chance, right? Right???

Heh.

Realizing Fanfiction and Beauty in the Incomplete

HatoMada Today at 4:06 AM

“well just like I’m late to catch on to most things, I finally can say I enjoy fanfiction”

Seabass Today at 7:27 AM

“Good job
You’re finally 13″

I’ve been watching Stop!! Hibari-kun!, as mentioned in a past article, and, upon getting caught up to what’s been translated so far, I found myself feeling the series was incomplete. Perhaps it was the universally transphobic attitude everybody save for Suzume has toward Hibari. Perhaps it was that the romance between Hibari and Kousaku never moved forward. Perhaps I just couldn’t take any more how insane it was to portray Hibari as capable of smiling in the face of all the shit she goes through. So, I turned to fanfiction.

Fanfiction and I have had an odd history with one another. I was a brony in seventh and eighth grade and well, I’m a pretty damn huge HatoMada fan as some people have noticed, so sure I have read and written some fanfiction. But there are two very, very important qualifiers to this statement:

1. I have neither read nor written a single piece of fanfiction since enrolling in my first academic creative writing course

2. My respect for fanfiction has increased over the past year or so since it’s a style of writing so unfamiliar to my experience in the ivory tower cranking out Literary Fiction.

Fanfiction does so many things right (especially outside the brony fandom, yeesh!) that most literary fiction doesn’t do right. There’s so so much queerness and subversion of what is seen at the surface of a story, and it gives the reader a completely different relationship with the author (not the writer, the author) than is available ordinarily. There’s an implicit communal attitude and sharing of values that pervades fanfiction. When I go into a story normally, I’m in the mode of “I am reading a story! Let’s see what interesting uniqueness it can bring to the table.” Fanfiction’s goal isn’t to be unique, it’s to satisfy the author’s (and by surrogacy the readers’) desires. Hibari— I wanted a more real portrayal of transphobia and response to that and hopefully see some understanding (followed by romance) from Kousaku. Stop!! Ranma-kun! isn’t quite what I was looking for —I, a naïve child, have heard nothing but horror of crossovers before— but it is everything I could have wanted. Everything I wanted to see happen regarding Ranma as a character but never got from the anime, and everything I wanted to see happen regarding Hibari but never got from the anime, I got in a beautiful package all at once.

Reflecting on this experience, I said to myself, “Huh. Why don’t I feel that same drive to seek out HatoMada fanfiction now?”

And that’s when it hit me, and why I’m writing this post. It’s because I don’t need to seek out HatoMada fanfiction. Sure it’d be cute and lovely and adorable to read a fanfiction where the two fall in love and get married etc (sorry Saki, but HatoMada triumphs over moral character), and it’d be lovely to get more HatoMada sex scenes, but, well, for all intents and purposes, I got what I wanted already. Spotted Flower fulfilled my chief desire with chapter 22, and though I’m deeply in love with where the story will continue going, there’s not a whole lot more for me to get. There’s no need for fanfiction.

Now I’m all about ridiculing metanarratives, but, for a trend, here’s what I’ve got: Fanfiction is, on some level, a way for the writer of the work to fulfill what they wanted to get from the original work but never got. Thus, all it is is an embodiment of our desires. And this is how fanfiction is so different. Non-fanfiction fiction has this basis of uniqueness for the purpose of telling a new and engaging story (let’s set aside the influence of capitalism, etc). Fanfiction is unburdened by this. Instead, its relation is just trying to give us what we wanted.

All this said, what it means is that crafting a well-thought out world with well-thought out characters while simultaneously keeping the story itself narrow and not exploring many possibilities, is crucial to having a story that encourages fanfiction. Having good representation of queer characters is amazing, but even if you don’t, fanfiction authors will make sure you’re covered on that front in fanon. As fanfiction makes a story complete, naturally, casting aside heteronormativity and other normative attitudes present in the original work in the fanon is necessary. Same goes for other aspects of a story that can be altered for the sake of better representation.

Part of the benefit of leaving a non-fanfiction story open or incomplete in this manner is it allows a variety of derivatives— sure, there’s still lots of great fanfics out there for works that are complete that do fulfill the audience’s desires more, but being incomplete, for me anyway, is what drives me in the direction of derivative works, to quench the thirst for the work that the work itself was unable to quench.

Lup and Straight Trans Women: Pt 2

This whole subject is really getting to me. I was watching Stop!! Hibari-kun!, which is about a trans woman in love with a guy, and the guy totally likes her back but *she’s a dude, so he can’t like her!!* And sure, it had good comedy and etc at first, but I found myself longing to know: Does Hibari get the guy? That’s all I care about. It’s a fifty-fifty thing. Part’s because I so so so so so desire to see somebody like me who’s in love, and another part is that I derive a sinister joy in turning straight people gay, or, in academic terms, queering love. It’s gotta be a trans thing though, and anime just tends to be heteronormative so the trans girl’s with a guy in the end. ’cause I still felt this way in Hourou Musuko with Anna. So nah, it’s not really about straight trans women. It’s about seeing trans women being loved. Our society does so much to place trans women in this zone of fetish material, but unlovable. She’s good for when you want to experiment and nothing more. You could never really be happy with a trans woman! She’s a girl but she has a dick. That makes nobody happy… these ideas are so pervasive, that when something overcomes them, I just find myself in tears. Not because (well, maybe because) of my own life mind you, it’s just the sheer fact that society sets itself up to where trans women can never be loved. So to see a trans woman loved and in love— that’s special to me.

That’s what I want from y’all, okay? Go out there and write stories about trans women who are loved, because there can never be enough of those out there.

Spotted Flower 26, OR IS IT?

Well, cat’s… not out of the bag? Yikes. I guess we should’ve seen this coming, knowing Madarame. Somehow I’m starting to not love Mada so much, what with the whole lying to his wife at the first opportunity thing. I should’ve seen it coming! It’s in Mada’s nature.

Bzzzt!! Bzzzt!! Communication intercepted:

Madarame really is a sou-uke. Even the basics of his character design compared to Sasahara, Kousaka, Tanaka, et cetera is slimmer than most, and though his noticeable cheekbones may seem too masculine at first, they’re really just a reinforcement of slim, lithe body: perfect for taking a femdick in the ass. He has been married for years now, and having a child, settling down, is the ultimate marker of the end of his youth if marriage wasn’t enough evidence of this. In his last gasp of youthful air before he is swallowed by true, unchangeable adulthood, he grasps at something, anything, from his college days that he can cling to for dear life. The gasp he made with Hato’s dick in his ass is neither triumphant nor guilty— it’s a mono no aware acceptance of his fate as he transitions into an adulthood that will pull him further away from his love of all things within the realm of anime and manga, for, not only does he have a day job, but a child to take care of, and with that there will be no way for him to live his life as an otaku to his fullest any longer. This grim fate of his, even if he has come to accept it, can only be altered remotely by something huge (in his ass) to change his (sex) life from what his is used to or comfortable with. When he’s just fucking Hato in the ass, this is meaningless. It was the expected outcome had he chosen Hato in the first place. It was only that what-if that nagged at him all those years— “What if it really was HatoMada and not MadaHato?” that could have taken him away from the comfortable, normie life he has known. This was the truth of a relationship with Hato and Mada, for, even if they had started out as MadaHato, the curiosity would have built: Hato knows how this looks in BL, and Mada can probably figure that out too, but do either know how it looks IRL? At the end of his life as someone who can even pretend to be an independent Otaku, Madarame must sate his curiosity just this once and know what that undeniably Otaku and undeniably queer vision looks like: HatoMada.

Wait, isn’t this just talking about Chapter 22 again? Didn’t I say enough about this already? What more is there to talk about but…

ENGLISH TRANSLATION IS OUT?

何ザファク?

OH YES. This means so much. The part I missed from before was the declaration of love, and this changes everything. It’s not Hato making love to Madarame, it’s just that Hato does love Madarame. This transcends what I expected of Shimoku’s understanding of BL— this is how BL truly is at its core. A confession followed by an ass-fucking. Perfect. PERFECT. Also holy hell this sex scene is hot? I forgot it was this hot before. I could really go for some boy ass after reading this. Hee. But this confession of love means so much… How does this change our understanding of Hato all this time? The way I understood the ending of harem arc was that Hato had given up their love entirely and won’t pursue Madarame any longer, but now we see their love has continued all this time. This changes everything though to see this affair is romantic as well and not purely sexual as we had both supposed. The romantic attachment A. Means there is a greater potential for future involvement with yummy, yummy HatoMada B. Means this affair is more than just a dying gasp for Madarame but a pent up frustration of not having satisfying sex with Saki (sorry I can’t be bothered with all the alts / !’s) that could develop (if it hasn’t already) into something romantic on his part too, and C. Means that Hato is lying to Yajima in Chapter 23 when Yajima asks, “You did it for the art, right?” and Hato is like, “Yeah sure.” In reality this goes beyond just art, but the fulfilling of a personal dream on a deeper level than that. Does this make it an affair on Hato’s part as well? Does this spell tribulations not only for Madarame and Saki but for Hato and Yajima? And, most importantly, WILL THERE BE MORE HATOMADA?

Hang on a second. There’s something deeply troubling about this. This reminds me of a certain other love confession, which ended with a moving into…

Oh no…

Not the fujoshi zone!

We are in grave peril, folks, of a character entering a fujoshi zone here. Red alert to all systems. If we are to navigate this minefield of explosive, knock-your-socks-off HatoMada bonking, we need to acknowledge these two possible outcomes:

1. The Yajima Fujoshi Zone.

With this new understanding, we know that Hato does have romantic attachment to Mada still, and thus when they say to Yajima that they just did it for the sake of art, this was a lie. Should we see more HatoMada happening, Yajima’s gonna be stuck. She’s operating under the assumption this is just for the BL, when this reaches a romantic affair that pulls Hato away from her (unless we’re taking a poly-amorous interpretation of this? Hmm… Something tells me Shimoku isn’t gonna take this route, though he does love to surprise his readers so anything is possible). Yajima is thus stuck having to ship her partner with Madarame for the sweet, sweet BLs, but loses out on being able to have Hato for herself in the process.

2. The Hato Fujoshi Zone.

Having now bonked Madarame successfully, Hato has drawing materials for ages. In spite of feeling guilty about betraying Saki, Madarame probably isn’t 100% against things continuing, but Hato, too caught up with the BL goggles on, neglects their fruitful potential with Madarame in favor of pursuing their BL passions. That’s what we saw in Watashi Ga Motete Dousunda after all— confession leading into the fujoshi zone, with a retconning of the confession just being words said in the moment, enacting the role of the seme rather than truly confessing their love to Madarame. We saw this happen once before, and the very fact that it has happened gives greater potential for us to see it once more. Either way, there is only one way to escape this minefield:

HatoMada and SakiYajima cross-pairing / orgy (lite; I assume SakiHato and Yajimada have little possibility). After all, with this, Hato stays safely away from the Hato Fujoshi Zone by bonking Mada on a regular basis, and Yajima isn’t a passive agent in allowing this to happen, but gets the hawt yuri happening in the mean time.

Ohohohohoh yes. Ohohohoho yes!

Wait, you want me to talk about chapter 26?

Pfft. What do you want me to say? Go Mada, you deceived your wife about getting bonked by a trap the night after she gave birth. I think the revelation of what’s been translated properly has little effect on what’s happened over the past couple chapters leading up to this— it’s what comes next where this will matter.

Lup and Straight Trans Women

I’ve got other things to say about why The Adventure Zone is pretty cool some other time, but I just want to talk about one element: The relationship between Lup and Barry in The Stolen Century, and more importantly what it stands for. Please keep in mind this is a narrow presentation of transness and queerness and it’s not representative of what it means to be trans for everybody at all. I’m speaking on the gut feelings I experience rather than rational understandings I hold.

From the Postmodern Postgraduate Postulate…

When I watched Steins;Gate, there was an acute feeling that brought me to tears in the trans character presented. I recognized how deeply it touches me to see a trans person in love, particularly extended to a trans woman in love with a straight cis man. There’s a subtextual “Are you good enough” aspect to it. Do you pass well enough for him to love you? Are you feminine enough for him to love you? It’s because the everyman (ie straight cis man) is expected to have an ordinary view of women and what is attractive in a woman, and a trans woman inherently defies that by default simply because men are meant to be observers and women are meant to be observed. To a straight cis man, a trans woman is a cis man calling for attention, a cis man looking to be observed. The features that may be present in a trans woman embody this— the thick chin, wide shoulders, narrow hips, large hands, bony knees, the penis. None of it by biology is likely to be synonymous with the thin, curved, sleek beauty women are perceived to have. It’s because of this that it’s truly special for a straight cis man to love a trans woman, because it means he has overcome this default societal notion and truly accepted the trans woman as a woman. It’s saying, “Yes, you are good enough. You pass well enough for me. You’re feminine enough for me.” It’s an acceptance that is empowering for all trans women, straight or otherwise, because it means that the demographic who has imposed this gender binary upon the world accepts your identity as synonymous with your expression. This is important to note— expression is like a mathematical function. The expresser inputs the expression and society perceives to the output. Expression is defined by the expresser insofar as the expresser can input new values to the expression, but if society has bounded the expresser to certain limits, no matter what the expresser does they may never be fully accepted. In a society dominated by straight cis men, there are bounds placed by society on what an individual assigned male at birth can be. That individual may express themselves as femininely as possible, but unless straight cis men choose this expression to be female, a trans woman, as perceived by the world, is no different from a man in a dress. To see a straight cis man love a trans woman is to see that man accept a trans woman as being a woman, and by inference every trans woman as a woman. For all the self-empowerment we may do to overcome the patriarchy and ignore how society perceives us, it’s only something we can do logically and never emotionally. Even if I understand how foolish it is to put my self-confidence in the hands of society, primarily straight cis men, I can never truly avoid doing so. So to see straight cis men accept a trans woman as a woman by loving her, I see reassurance that I am truly a woman. It is because of this that something as inconsequential and sappy as Barry and Lup falling in love can bring me to joyful tears because of that little detail that Lup was assigned male at birth. It means that I really am a woman and that trans women can experience love as everybody else does and not dragged down by their assigned sex at birth.

I guess this is an indication that at the end of the day, even a strange one like me’s just looking for a place I can feel normal in.