This is part 4 of 4.
Onto the final chunk of questions… some of these are much more fun than the previous parts.
13. do you headcanon any characters as arospec?
This is part 4 of 4.
Onto the final chunk of questions… some of these are much more fun than the previous parts.
13. do you headcanon any characters as arospec?
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:
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.
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 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.
So a little while back I started reading more on why polyamory makes sense – after all, people accept that we can love more than one friend at once, and more than one family member, so why not more than one romantic and/or sexual partner? And I basically think that makes sense. I actually was reading this stuff and thinking it made a lot of sense even BEFORE I realized, fully, that I was asexual and would never be interested in typical sexual-romantic relationships. I was reading about this stuff prior to identifying as ace – which only officially happened for me in October 2013.
I grew up in such a “monogamy is the only way of life” mindset, and when I first came across the idea and realized it made sense in theory, I still wondered if I could actually, in the real world, handle any form of polyamory without being jealous.
Then, at a later point in time, I realized I might identify more with being aromantic than being romantic anyway, so maybe it’d be irrelevant in my own life, because in non-romantic contexts, almost everyone accepts polyamory as the default, although they don’t use the word.
This is a (late! Sorry.) post for the May 2014 Carnival of Aces, which had the theme “Obstacles in Being Asexual”.
One of the prompt questions they provided to help get us thinking about how this topic they’d chosen for this month was:
Have you ever had problems relating to others because you’re asexual?
And I thought… hmm. Maybe. That’s kind of a hard question to answer, in some ways. But I began to think of it in terms of “Can I as a fangirl/shipper relate to other shipper fans even without experiencing sexual attraction?”
Sexual attraction often plays a key component in storylines on TV shows and movies, as well as in “shipping”, and as a vidder and fanfiction writer/reader, I am seeped in the concept of shipping up to my ears, and I myself am also a passionate shipper as well.
Lately, I’ve been wondering, as an asexual and even possibly aromantic (still identifying as WTFromantic, btw) person, if maybe I’m missing something important when I watch my many TV shows and/or when I participate in the fun fandom event that is “shipping”.
I have been a shipper for about 8 years – since I was 16-years-old, since long before I’d ever really considered doubting the idea that I was just heterosexual but completely inexperienced, since long before I’d even heard of asexuality as a concept. (I first heard of asexuality around age 20, I had my first kiss less than 2 years ago at age 22… etc.) I’ve always loved love stories on TV shows. But I don’t exactly wait for the characters to consumate their relationships with sex. I don’t fantasize about them ripping each other’s clothes off. I only care if they finally “kiss” in certain cases, even. What it means for me to “ship” two characters is pretty different than what it means for other people to. I have come to really analyze all of my thoughts and feelings regarding romance and sex, including my shipper thoughts and feelings.
Obviously, we can’t all relate to every character on a TV show, and we’re not expected to. When a character is going through something that the writers know not everyone is familiar with going through, the writers can still find a way to make the character’s feelings accessible, understandable, relateable. I don’t need to be a doctor to get how it might feel to kill a patient – or to stressfully try my damnedest to save their life, unsure of if I’ll succeed. Saving Hope, Grey’s Anatomy, ER, House, Scrubs, and Emily Owens, M.D. were all shows that conveyed how this feels quite well to me (I’m a big medical show junkie lol). I also don’t need to have a terminal illness to get how it feels to go through it, when the show pulls off that kind of storyline right. I don’t need to be a football player (or even a football fan at all!) in a small town in Texas or a basketball player in a small town in North Carolina to understand that culture and what is involved in playing sports at the level where your goal is to “go pro”. I don’t have to be an alien from Krypton who has superpowers to “understand” what Clark Kent goes through, and I don’t need to have experienced transitioning into a werewolf or a vampire in my own life in order to feel connected to the character who is doing that on the show.
But when everyone in the world is expected to understand what sexual attraction and even romantic attraction feels like, sexual desire and various things like that which I do not feel, sometimes I wonder if I am missing a key underlying aspect to a story.
When someone is compelled to cheat on a partner, or to continue a romantic relationship with a teacher even though they’re just a high school student… I’m not sure if I understand the feelings the characters are supposed to be feeling on the correct level. I just watched all of season 1 of The Fosters on Netflix, and as a wtfromantic person, I’m having trouble understanding why Brandon and Callie can’t love each other as adoptive siblings and get their sexual needs taken care of with their other partners (Talya and Wyatt, respectively), because is there really so much of a difference between romantic love and platonic* love anyway?
I also sort of don’t “get” jealousy, I think. It might be that I’m more aromantic at heart than I realize and jealousy is something that only makes sense for romantic people to feel. But as a wtfromantic, I’m not sure that’s the explanation.
Many TV shows centering around teenagers or even co-workers who are mainly not related to one-another are able to have them date each other and then over the course of the show, become close friends as exes. They don’t always take the route of “he’s still pining over her but she still wants to be friends” – sometimes it’s mutually “I’m happy with someone new and you and I are just friends”, and I wonder, am I missing some lingering sexual attraction subtext? When the show doesn’t explicitly have the camera pan from one character’s eyes to the other’s sexual body parts (lips, boobs, butts, whatever), am I expected to be constantly thinking about it anyway, because I know these two characters have had those feelings in the past?
Shippers are less afraid to beat around the bush about sex than a TV show itself often is (especially if it is one rated TV-14 or lower). Slash shippers tend to enjoy lovely platonic friendships – or even enemies – becoming all about “the romance”, which always ends up including “the sex”.
Did you see that scene where Sylar and Peter on Heroes were having “eye-sex”?
Morgan and Reid on Criminal Minds don’t love each other merely like a big brother loves a little brother, like two cop partners care about one another… Nah, that has to be more.
Kalinda, who mainly likes sex with women more than with men, is clearly “in love with” Alicia on The Good Wife, and that must be why she was so upset.
Why would Derek on Teen Wolf be violently pushing Stiles up against the wall unless he wanted to be touching him? Getting his face extra close to his so that they maybe could even kiss?
I think sometimes shippers over-sexualize things, but then other times I wonder if my feelings are only because of my asexuality. I want to be a part of the shipper community. I am a part of it, a huge part of it. I have thousands of people subscribed to me on YouTube. I am on the “author alert” list of 52 members of fanfiction.net, meaning 52 people see whenever I post any new fanfiction story or chapter at all. I love being a fangirl and being obsessed with fandom. I named my blog “From Fandom to Family” for a reason, and I hope to write more on various completely non-asexuality related topics soon, including various meta things on fandoms.
But I also wish that sometimes I could better relate to the other people involved in my fandoms. I wish when having a healthy and reasonable discussion about why I don’t like a certain ship, my mind didn’t jump to “well maybe if I wasn’t sex-averse, I’d like this hyper-sexual couple who never has any meaningful scenes ever since they became ‘more than friends’ and now they only have sex” or “maybe my asexuality is making me miss the ‘obvious sexual tension’ between these two friends, sorry”. The weird thing is, there are ships where I fully believe that they feel sexual attraction for each other and that helps me to ship them.
I just… I feel like I never can know if my lack of being able to relate is hurting me, because unlike when a writer is well aware that not all viewers of a show are people who were on death row but then got kidnapped into a secret underground assassin training program and yet they want you to still relate to the characters, when it comes to characters experiencing sexual feelings, maybe it is all assumed to be obvious how/why/what the characters are thinking and feeling.
*Sorry. I think I’m gonna keep using the word, for now, to describe that vague, wishy-washy place between friendship and family love or where the two overlap, but I respect people not wanting to use it. Sometimes I might say “non-romantic” love but for now I feel like continuing to use “platonic”.