So I’ve had some huge life events lately. It’s been a bit overwhelming and I don’t even know what to tell you guys first. [content note on this post for… heavy talk about all sorts of things that are personal to me, like my grandmother’s death and my mother being abusive so read at your own risk.]
The following is part 2 and the conclusion of my two part submission for the July 2016 Carnival of Aces which was titled “Make ’em Laugh” (and which is more broadly themed around humor). Check out the Carnival of Aces Masterpost here for more information on what The Carnival of Aces is.
As I said in part 1, there are many ways, both positive and negative, that humor can be utilized in ways that directly affect your asexual characters and how your readers/audience members are likely to perceive them.
Part 1 was about what to avoid.
The good news: there are other options for how to use humor around asexual characters in fiction. Ways that I believe are less harmful, possibly not harmful at all! Even better yet: Ways that in the long run could be helpful to everyone for expanding our understanding of the world, and all the variation of human experience. A way that lets aces feel represented… without also hurting them at the same time.
The most obvious option:
- Instead of making asexuality part of the joke, just let the asexual character be in jokes that are not at all related to asexuality.
The following is part 1 of my two part submission for the July 2016 Carnival of Aces which was titled “Make ’em Laugh” (and which is more broadly themed around humor). Check out the Carnival of Aces Masterpost here for more information on what The Carnival of Aces is.
There are many ways, both positive and negative, that humor can be utilized in ways that directly affect your asexual characters and how your readers/audience members are likely to perceive them.
Here in part 1, I will list examples of things to avoid when using humor in relation to an ace-spectrum character.
- There is a character who is asexual and the other characters make fun of him (or her, or them).
This is not ideal representation because it implies that “someone being asexual” is, in and of itself, a funny thing. It shows no respect for asexuality, nor respect for all of the people in real life who happen to actually be asexual. Perhaps to many people reading this blog post of mine right now it is fairly obvious that this can be one of the worst types of asexual representation, but unfortunately I think it does need to be spelled out because it’s clearly not obvious to some creators.
As someone who is speaking from a United States perspective and who has consumed mainly American fiction, with a side of some stuff from the UK and some television from Canada too… and then has engaged with the social justice communities online… I’ve noticed that most minorities (specifically meaning minorities-in-the-USA) have to face a particular issue when it comes to representation.
Even when a creator thinks “hey, I’m (finally) representing your group; you should be grateful”, the audience members/readers/content consumers who belong to that-particular-marginalized group realize that the character who represents them is being laughed at for being in a minority or marginalized group. It is a common issue for characters who belong to minority religions and/or characters who are ethnically Jewish, for characters who are members of certain (most non-white) races, sometimes for disabled characters, and yes, for all types of Queer characters. See the TV Tropes article on the “Queer People Are Funny” trope. (That site includes instances of the tropes in multiple fictional mediums by the way – not just television.) There is also a whole “Queer as Tropes” page for more options, such as overly exaggerated flamboyance in gay male characters.
When asexuality becomes another type of queerness that is deemed inherently funny, this can be harmful to asexual people in real life. Asexual people who have not yet heard of asexuality might never even think to consider that they might be ace, because it’s not being presented as a valid orientation for a person to be. It can make a viewer who does realize they are asexual feel attacked. It makes the asexual character the one you’re not supposed to relate to, and encourages the general (non-ace) audience to not even sympathize with their pain at being bullied or treated unfairly. The asexual character’s asexuality is exaggerated or stereotyped too because the writer didn’t respect the need for careful/realistic portrayals and spent no time on research.
I started writing this post well over a year ago. It’s been in my drafts the entire time. I wanted to finish it and post it today.
Here’s a post that really ties together the two main words in the title of my blog – a post heavy in both discussion of family (namely my own family life) and heavy in discussion of fandom. 😉
Content warnings for discussions of personality disorders, bipolar disorder, child abuse, brief mentions of violence and suicide.
This is a late entry for the October 2015 Carnival of Aces on Aromanticsm and the Aromantic Spectrum, which I myself was hosting here on this blog. Sorry for the delay. The full round up will be posted within the hour!
First things first: I must update you loyal readers of my blog. Some of you may remember I identified as wtfromantic. That still accurately describes my feelings toward romantic and platonic “feelings” and “attractions”, even the whole relationships aspect of it… It still describes my place on the aro spectrum pretty accurately, I think. But I’ve slowly started to ease into identifying as aromantic lately. For a lot of reasons. I feel like the more I think about it, the more it’s just easier to embrace being aro ace (meaning “aromantic asexual”) — that my life is playing out that way. I’m aromantic in a practical sense, in the way I live my life, in the way romantic… relationships, feelings, anything — just aren’t a factor anymore. I consider myself both wtfromantic and aromantic, while also being asexual. It felt freeing when I realized I could claim both aromantic & wtfromantic at once, that I didn’t have to choose.
I could write a whole blog post on the subject, but today I want to address another topic. I want to talk about being an aro ace, yet desiring to become a parent.
Allow me to backtrack.
Like many kids raised by a single mother who was abusive, I often felt drawn toward fictional stories about orphans. About children struggling, or even children whose parents abandoned them and made them practical orphans despite their parents being alive. For me and my younger brother, growing up was living in a constant state of fear that Mom would “get mad”. It meant us constantly walking on metaphorical eggshells and my dad commenting that the extreme ease with which something might startle me is because living with my mother made me hypervigilant. I was always hoping that maybe if I was prepared enough, careful enough, etc, I could prevent her rage. I was always hoping that maybe I wouldn’t have to spend hours crying, so many tears running down my face I would wonder if this might be why I’d get dehydration headaches sometimes.
I fantasized about her disappearing, about a life where she didn’t exist, and I didn’t care if it was death or what because it was all so abstract and just focused on me, and my brother, and not needing to live in this environment anymore.
I also fantasized about being a mother one day. Continue reading “Being an Aro Ace and Desiring (Foster and/or Adoptive) Parenthood”
(This has been cross-posted to my tumblr, too.)
In April 2015, USA Network’s TV series Sirens was canceled, and with it, the USA lost their only current canonically asexual character on prime time television. Season 1 is still on Netflix for anyone curious enough to watch, and presumably season 2 will be added eventually.
Let’s discuss what exactly the representation was, though, and what it is that we lost when we lost the show.
Sirens is a half-hour comedy TV series, meaning each episode is actually only 22 or so minutes long. It is about a group of EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians), aka Paramedics. It involves treating serious medical problems and even death with humor and lightheartedness, at times.
Valentina Dunacci, who prefers to go by the nickname “Voodoo”, is revealed in season 1 episode 6 “The Finger”, to be asexual. But this isn’t the only episode she appears in, or even the only episode where her asexuality is mentioned. No, she is a significant part of the entire series.
In fact, the first three episodes of the show involve some highly sex-based plots and jokes, and in episode 3, when the character Billy walks into a room full of his friends and acquaintances bare naked, and his dick is supposedly the largest dick anyone has ever seen, Voodoo already is more in the background, not really reacting, not someone showing any sign of sexual attraction the way the other women (and the gay man) in the scene are. Even back in 1×03 a reading of her as asexual works well.
The show closely follows 3 men who work together in the same daytime shift, and on the same ambulance, aka “rig” — Johnny is the straight white man with a fear of commitment to his longtime girlfriend, a cop named Theresa, who is also a main character of the show. Hank is the gay black man who enjoys a lot of casual sex and flings with men that don’t last long. Finally, Brian is the nerdy, good Christian, straight white man who still lives with his parents and is new to the job in the pilot (the first episode of the series).
[Content Note: The post below, as well as part 2 and part 3, contain discussions of physical and emotional abuse. The focus, as you could probably infer from the title of this post, is on abuse from a parent toward children, but I did include some discussions of spousal abuse as well.]
If there’s anything else I should be adding a content note for, please let me know. I’m not sure. It’s a long post, and a lot of things get brought up. Triggers, Menstruation, just a lot of random things. I use an explicit word at some point so the post is probably NSFW.
I told you all that I wanted to blog about abuse? Well now, here I finally am, doing that.
Growing up in an emotionally abusive environment was… confusing.
I had somehow learned what child abuse was at quite a young age. Continue reading “Figuring Out My Mother Was an Abuser (Part 1 of 3)”
This is my submission for the March 2015 Carnival of Aces, which had the topic “Writing About Asexuality“. Details are in the call for submissions here, and once the round-up of all submissions is posted, I’ll edit this blog post of mine to include a link to it so that you can read all of the wonderful things people have written this month that relates to this topic.
I’ve been blogging about asexuality for over a year now, and I’ve also written a couple fanfiction things with fictional asexuality mentions/ace characters, and am working on a more massive ace fanfic project right now as well.
I’ve found that writing about asexuality certainly comes with an array of challenges.
Hey there, everybody. This is my second of two, connected, late submissions for the February 2015 Carnival of Aces, which had the theme “Cross Community Connections”. If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, please check it out here. Please also read forzandopod’s take on the subject, in a reply to my post, here: http://forzandopod.tumblr.com/post/112589310859/being-an-asexual-fangirl-part-1 😉 And my reply, in return: http://luvtheheaven.tumblr.com/post/112641376582/being-an-asexual-fangirl-part-1
Part 2, here, of my two posts on this topic, is where I discuss my experience as a person who is now well aware she is aromantic-spectrum, kissing- & sex-averse, and asexual while being in fandom communities. Part 1 was exploring being in the fandom communities before I knew the term asexuality and before I knew I was ace myself.
Meaning I’ve been blogging about asexuality on my From Fandom to Family WordPress blog here for about 1 year now! March 2014 was when I wrote my first post on these topics.
However, it has been about 1 decade since I became a fangirl. Yes, 2005, and in some ways 2004, was when I, as a young teenager beginning high school, began to become involved in online activities that some could classify as fandom.
I hesitated to write this post for this particular carnival topic, because it is less serious than most of the wonderful other posts I’ve seen written for it. It is not about “intersectionality” in terms of “the study of intersections between forms or systems of oppression, domination or discrimination.”
I’m simply discussing the fact that I am someone who is both asexual and has been in the fandom community for a long time now.
I could’ve also discussed what it’s like to be a person invested in fandom in the asexual community. But that’s… harder to put any words around, and isn’t as big of a deal.
So let me proceed, in Part 1 of my two posts on this topic, to discuss my experience as a person who didn’t know she was aromantic-spectrum, kissing- & sex-averse, and asexual while being in fandom communities. (The fact that I am maybe aromantic, and do not enjoy kissing/sex cannot be separated, for me, from my personal experience with asexuality. I know not all asexuals have the same experiences.) Part 2 will explore being in the fandom communities once I did call myself asexual. Once I had figured out the label applied to me.