Tag: ace

Why “Romantic Orientation Does Not Apply” Does Not Cut It (For Me)

This is my second submission for the August 2016 Carnival of Aces, which was themed around Naming It. And yes, it’s September 1st now, so I’m late. I apologize. Please enjoy the post below!


Sure, people don’t have to apply* the split-attraction model to themselves if they don’t want to. That’s what the vast majority of supporters of this model say – only use it if you want to. If it feels right.

And if I’m having a lot of trouble coming up with any identity label that feels right to me other than just “asexual”, then maybe I should consider myself to simply be asexual, end of story. Maybe I should not apply the split attraction model to myself. Maybe that’d be the easiest, simplest solution. Maybe that’s all I need to do.

But there are a lot of reasons that it makes sense for me to want to apply it to myself.

One of the main reasons is that I am a member of a group (the online ace blogging community, specifically) where most people seem to apply a romantic orientation to themselves, and if they don’t actively claim one, with time they tend to eventually accept that they are aromantic – by default, by nature of not dating, etc.

Another reason I feel like I need a romantic orientation is because, while I know I am cisgender (female), I need to clarify exactly why I’m not “het” in the way the “aces aren’t LGBT” discourse on tumblr lately has been going, talking about “cishet aces” to… at their most generous, only mean the heteroromantic aces. Because at this point in my introspection, one thing I do know deep down is that I’m not heteroromantic.

Now “not wanting to be marked as cishet” is not just me trying to be “a special snowflake”, although I’ve let that cross my mind. No. That’s unfair to me and so so many other aces.

Continue reading “Why “Romantic Orientation Does Not Apply” Does Not Cut It (For Me)”

How to Positively Represent Asexuality within Humorous Fiction: Part 2, “Options that can be funny without being hurtful!”

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:

  1. Instead of making asexuality part of the joke, just let the asexual character be in jokes that are not at all related to asexuality.

Continue reading “How to Positively Represent Asexuality within Humorous Fiction: Part 2, “Options that can be funny without being hurtful!””

How to Positively Represent Asexuality within Humorous Fiction: Part 1, “What to Avoid”

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.

  1. 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.

Continue reading “How to Positively Represent Asexuality within Humorous Fiction: Part 1, “What to Avoid””

Risk & Courage, Disappointment & Resilience, Everything Changing & Me Catching Up (Part 3 of 3)

This is the third and final part of a series of blog posts I’ve written (mainly belatedly) for the June 2016 Carnival of Aces on the topic “Resiliency”. Please check out part 1 here, and part 2 here


My queerplatonic partner broke up with me in June, a little over a month ago now, and I really thought I’d be able to write this post while it was still June.  But for this post in particular, (part 3 of my mini-series…) I think the delay was partially because I needed more time to get over all my disappointment and sadness, to “grieve” if you want to call it that, and settle into being…  Not “just” friends with him, but… Well I guess “friends-who-aren’t-partners”.

I just so happened to be an ace going through a break up during the course of the same month when the Carnival of Aces was themed around Resiliency. Of course. That would just be my luck, right? 

I don’t know when the last time something brought me to tears to quite this degree was, and in some ways I’m really surprised by my own emotions. I actually cried on a few different occasions over this break up! I didn’t cry when I broke up with my only ever other boyfriend. In fact, it’s almost like what I experienced as a child here… I have at times over the course of letting this break up sink in for me felt a disconnect between what I actually “think” versus what I (subconsciously?) am/was feeling. But with time and more self-reflection, what I feel makes more sense, and it’s all very tied to my asexuality.

Continue reading “Risk & Courage, Disappointment & Resilience, Everything Changing & Me Catching Up (Part 3 of 3)”

Risk & Courage, Disappointment & Resilience, Everything Changing & Me Catching Up (Part 2 of 3)

This is part 2 of a three-part series of blog posts I have been writing for the June 2016 Carnival of Aces. Please check out part 1 here, first. Sorry parts 2 & 3 came late, once it was (is) already July. I expected to be able to finish in June but… ended up not.


So you know that feeling, when you look at the Carnival of Aces being about Resiliency, and all you can think about is about how the biggest things where you’ve needed strength, and to be able to “bounce back”, in your life, have had nothing at all to do with your asexuality?

Like just how little your mother being abusive intersects with the fact that she isn’t aro nor ace and you always were those things but didn’t know it back when she was in your life? And you’ve had to become someone who simply doesn’t care about not having a mother in your life, despite other people’s attempts to make you care, and how resilient you had to be to shield yourself from how that would’ve made you feel.

Or how the days, when you think back on your life, that were the worst days of your life, the most painful, the most stressful, had literally nothing to do with asexuality? Most of those days happened years before I’d learn that asexuality was a thing, let alone fully come to accept that it was who I was.

Well, I certainly know that feeling.

But you know… I gave it some time, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized just how resilient I’ve had to be in some ways that are directly related to my asexuality.

And how complicated and confusing it all can be at times.

Continue reading “Risk & Courage, Disappointment & Resilience, Everything Changing & Me Catching Up (Part 2 of 3)”

My Queerplatonic Relationship: Ask us anything!

So coming up in about a week will be the four month “anniversary” (4th monthiversary) of me and Robert* deciding to officially become queerplatonic partners!

I asked him if he’d be interested in doing a thing for my blog where we interview each other and post some answers for my readers. He said he would be up for that!

And then I suggested that maybe my followers would have some questions for both of us (or in a few cases, for one or the other person). Robert thought that was a good idea, asking you guys to help us.

That means you guys, my readers, coming up with questions that the two of us in this relationship will answer (unless for whatever reason we decide we don’t want to answer – no promises on answering every question we get.).

You may pose questions just for him, especially if it’s a question where you already know how I’d answer because of my previous blogging, you can ask a question just for me, or you can ask a question that both of us will try to answer.

For basic information, I identify as both wtfromantic & aromantic, and I am asexual. I’m 26 years old, cis-female.

Robert is aromantic and gray-asexual, 27-years-old, and cis-male.

I look forward to seeing what questions you might pose for us to potentially answer in the comments below!

Alternatively, if you wish to ask a question more anonymously than in the comments, feel free to email me the question(s) at pemk7@aol.com and I will keep your identity private, no one besides you and me has to know you asked.

 


* Robert is not his actual name. He chose this name, when I asked him to provide an alias for my blog. 😉

What Stage of a Friendship Am I Even In?

This is a post written for the January 2016 Carnival of Aces. I believe it is just the first post I will be writing for this month’s Carnival topic (“Relationship Stages”), but time will tell if I actually do write any of my other ideas.


 

  • If you want a specific kind of relationship, how do you go about looking for someone(s) to develop that kind of relationship with?

  • Do you go looking to start a specific relationship intentionally or do you wait to see if it happens serendipitously?

  • Do you start off with an ideal image of your relationship member(s) or are you just open to seeing what works?

Life works in mysterious ways. I’ve generally been the kind of person who just lets life happen to her. At least, it’s sort of how I perceive myself. All 4 years away at college and not a single truly close friendship was formed, I just let myself get assigned random roommates each time.

Continue reading “What Stage of a Friendship Am I Even In?”

An Exploration of Not Wanting to Be Sexy, and of Never Feeling Sexy

I just finished reading Kasey Weird’s old blog post from April 2013 on Feeling Sexy, which I had not come across before.

https://valprehension.wordpress.com/2013/04/04/feeling-sexy/

I read the post, and NessieMonster’s comment on it, too, which then turned into a full blog post on NessieMonster’s own blog, and I read that too:

https://hatfullofness.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/comment-on-feeling-sexy-by-kasey-weird-over-at-valprehension/

And then Kasey Weird wrote a follow-up post with further thoughts on the topic:

https://valprehension.wordpress.com/2013/04/06/further-thoughts-on-feeling-sexy-and-also-on-dating/

After all that…

Today, Jo posted a nice index of all of her blogging on asexuality. In it, I discovered this interesting post from 2012 titled, Sex or Society: the pressure to be attractive (an experiment):

https://alifeunexamined.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/sex-or-society-the-pressure-to-be-attractive-an-experiment/

Jo’s post there includes a lot of comments from asexual-spectrum folks on whether or not they think their asexuality influences their desire (or lack thereof) to “look sexy”, to “be attractive”, etc.

Those four posts give me some insight on the phenomenon of feeling sexy, and give me a lot to think about.

I think I have never truly felt sexy. Which, as a fact, is kind of fascinating to consider. I never really considered it before, but I am considering it now.

The Asexual Agenda Question of the Week last week on what people think about the term “asexy” had already got me started me thinking about this a bit too, because of its relation to the term “sexy”.

Sexiness seems to be a very complicated concept tied up in gender roles and heteronormativity, and for straight cis women it is complicated enough. For any other group to feel sexy or be perceived as sexy, things get much more complicated.

I’m an asexual woman who thought I was straight up until I started questioning if I was asexual and then, consequently, identifying as asexual.

Personally, while I already know this isn’t true for all asexuals, I’m sure my lack of feeling sexy in my life has to do with me being asexual.

Continue reading “An Exploration of Not Wanting to Be Sexy, and of Never Feeling Sexy”

Being an Aro Ace and Desiring (Foster and/or Adoptive) Parenthood

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”

My “wtfromantic” identity label has become very significant to me…

Queenie of Aces just wrote a new post on Prioritizing Identity, and a wonderful conversation has been happening in the comments too.

This post is a response to that. I branch off to one specific part of the discussion though, and don’t talk much about the whole… um… “Are Aces Queer” discussion or some of the other things in the post. But I might leave a comment on that post to address one of the other sides of the discussion.

Queenie mentions:

…you can divide aces into four groups:

  • Group 1: Aces who consider their romantic orientation more important than their sexual orientation.

  • Group 2: Aces who consider their sexual orientation more important than their romantic orientation.

  • Group 3: Aces who consider their sexual and romantic orientations equally important or who prioritize different orientations at different times.

  • Group 4: Aces who don’t identify with a romantic orientation and thus consider this whole categorization system boring and pointless.

And there is a lot more in the post worth reading but I figured quoting at the very last this small part here was necessary, because I would like to refer back to “Group 4” or whatever and you be able to quickly and easily scroll back up and understand which group I am talking about.


As someone who on the surface is a Group 4 person, “Aces who don’t identify with a romantic orientation and thus consider this whole categorization system boring and pointless”, I wouldn’t quite agree with the second half of the statement. I mean… yes, I don’t identify with a romantic orientation, but…

I find the whole categorization system to be so many things, but NOT boring and NOT pointless. I find it amazing and wonderful, I find it enlightening and it seems useful to a lot of people and because of that in some ways useful to me too, but at the same time confusing, frustrating, and inadequate for me, myself. I find it fascinating and worth discussing more. I like the system, I mainly have positive feelings toward it, and really, all of the confusion and frustration I feel is more pointed at myself for not fitting into it quite right. The system itself seems pretty great because without it I feel like we’d all be SO LOST lol and even if I don’t fit in it quite perfect, having the system is so much better than having nothing.

But because it’s so hard for me to find my place in it, to figure out the difference between romance and non-romance, I definitely find myself falling more in Group 2 and just calling myself asexual and not worrying too much about my romantic orientation for practical purposes. My asexuality is a clearer part of my identity, so it’s easier to focus on. You physically *can’t* focus eyes on the foggy, blurry, unfocused mess of a romantic orientation that is “maybe heteroromantic, or maybe bi or panromantic, but maybe just aromantic”. It’s too vague or self-contradictory and you don’t even know what you’re looking at. So you focus on the asexuality, the clear simplicity of that, especially when you’re like me – a non-libidoist, not even close to gray type of ace who is pretty sure she’s averse to sex too and plans to remain celibate for the rest of her life. Asexuality becomes kind of “cut and dry”.

But THEN AGAIN, there are times when I almost feel like I’m in Group 1, when the fact that I am wtfromantic matters a lot to me, where the fact that I am asexual is a given, a background “yeah, you and I know that about my identity, let’s move on” type of thing. My asexuality can, sometimes, become a practical non-factor, because for those moments what matters to me is: “What even is my goal in life? Am I looking for a boyfriend? Should I delete my stupid OkCupid profile because I’m aromantic anyway?” When I’m at an ace-meetup (I’ve only been to two of these, ever, and both within the past 2 months, FYI) of course I’m ace, we all are, so it’s our romantic orientations that make us different and suddenly I feel kind of weird – or at least “special”, lol – when person after person is completely secure in being aromantic or one young woman thought they were a lesbian before realizing they were ace and I am met with wide eyes and a bit of surprise when I explain that I actually did online dating… with (*gasp*) 3 different guys… and even the people who talk of heteronormative experiences, of dating (or in one guy’s case, marrying) the “opposite” gender, etc. don’t actively identify as heteroromantic, and I don’t want to identify as heteroromantic either, it feels important to me to express that I am actually currently identifying as wtfromantic – as not necessarily aromantic, but not definitively hetero-romantic.

…and then I’m writing a fanfic where I’m making a girl have asexual experiences a lot like mine, and I need to tag it on AO3, and I don’t know whether to tag it aromantic or not and I spend way more time actually thinking about that stupid thing than I should… and yeah my wtfromantic identity (and my character’s) end up mattering a lot in my life, and I basically feel like I am in Group 1, where I don’t even know how to end my fanfiction story, because what does my character even want?


When reading Queenie’s post just now, that one that this whole post is basically just a reply to, I noticed when she discussed the Group 4 aces that she linked to 3 tumblr discussions that I clicked on and read and I ended up in an internet-death-spiral of reading other people’s tumblr comments on these same posts as the whole thing is a bunch of people reblogging reblogs and adding their own comments along the way. And I found the discussion facsinating. One of the most fascinating things that I found indirectly because of this “Prioritizing identity” post of Queenie’s just now was where Sciatrix questioned:

*Are* people thinking of “wtfromantic” as a distinct identity?

And I looked at that and thought… I think yes, yes I actually have been, lately. I’ve been thinking of myself as a wtfromantic asexual and feeling comfortable in that label.

When I read The Ace Theist’s post recently, “Re: Greyness 301”, and also the linked/heavily referenced epochryphal.tumblr.com original Greyness 301 post I left the first comment. The Ace Theist and Cor had been talking about grey-asexuality. Grayness in terms of sexual attraction and stuff. They talk about how confusing and messy it is. I never wanted to call myself a “gray-romantic” before reading that post, but when reading it and seeing how well their descriptions of “greyness” in regards to sexual orientation fit my whole relationship with romantic orientation so well. Other people (Queenie, yes her again lol, and also Ace in Translation) agreed with me after that in the comments that they also related as gray-romantics.

I have been strongly identifying as wtfromantic over gray-romantic because I think the “wtf” accurately expresses so much that the gray doesn’t. Gray implies some middle ground, halfway points, etc… it implies a lot of things to me that I don’t think I am. Maybe I have been wrong to assume that gray means any of those things. But “WTF” expresses more of where I’m at – confusion, frustration, etc.

I’m not sure I have a good stopping point for this post, so I’m gonna stop right here. I’m going to end by saying I am pretty comfortable in the wtfromantic identity label for now. And it has been for months and months. I do think of it as BOTH a distinct romantic orientation label and a non-romantic orientation at the same time, somehow. I think it somehow is a good final answer, as I’m not sure things will ever get more clear/less confusing for me… but it’s also a state of being in perpetual questioning – which means the chance for answers to maybe be found, one day. It is what it is, and I, personally, am happy to have found it.


For people who came to my blog searching for the term “wtfromantic”, consider reading this post: https://luvtheheaven.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/i-have-looked-through-what-search-terms-have-brought-people-to-my-blog/ about search terms that have brought people to my blog. Also, consider reading various other posts of mine, as I write about this topic fairly often.