Tag: fiction

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””

Fictional Portrayals That I Strongly Relate to of Abusive Parents, Moms who abandon their kids, etc.

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.

Continue reading “Fictional Portrayals That I Strongly Relate to of Abusive Parents, Moms who abandon their kids, etc.”

April 2014 Carnival of Aces: Call for Submissions

I am excited to be hosting this month!! If you don’t know what the Carnival of Aces is, check out the details here: http://asexualagenda.wordpress.com/a-carnival-of-aces-masterpost/ Everything is explained wonderfully if you just click the link. 😉

I hope to get multiple intriguing submissions, so please consider submitting something, even if it’s short! Whatever you have to say, even if it’s small, is worth adding to the discussion. 😉


 

The theme I’ve chosen for this month is: “Analogies to an Asexual Experience”.

What I mean by this is: We all have a lot of different experiences in our lives, and maybe we have noticed that something completely unrelated to sex/attraction/etc has reminded us of asexuality, or has had parallels to something asexuals talk about? Maybe there is an analogy you can draw that other people might not have thought of before. You don’t personally have to have experienced it to draw an analogy, either. You can just have thought of an interesting parallel and write about it… just make some kind of analogy, it can even be a fictional story where the whole thing is one big analogy, kind of like an allegory lol. Just try to tie it into something that people in the asexual community deal with/like to think about/talk about/etc.

The Free Dictionary gives one of the definitions of analogy to be: “Similarity in some respects between things that are otherwise dissimilar.” So please just consider something asexuality-related or consider asexuality as a whole and try to think if there is something else you’d like to talk about that is similar in some ways, despite being different!

Some ideas for the topic:

  • There may be something else in your life that you don’t experience, in addition to sexual attraction. You don’t understand why all of the other people in your peer group enjoy playing video games. Maybe you don’t feel like a “shipper” when you watch TV shows, or maybe you don’t like watching TV at all and you don’t get why people love it so much, or you do “get it” yet don’t experience it anyway. Or there are so many other things in life that you might not experience/feel/get the appeal of that so many other people do. Even people in the asexual community. Like how not all of us like to eat cake! (In some of these examples, maybe sex-indifference or sex-aversion would be more applicable than a lack of sexual attraction? I don’t know.) If you are neuro-atypical or are disabled in any way, there is likely something else that many other people experience but that you either experience differently, or not at all (an easy example being sounds, if you are Deaf!). The final bullet point on this list is also related to this one.
  • Maybe the way that the difference between romantic and platonic attraction confuses you (concepts quite relevant in asexual circles) is very similar to how a difference between two other concepts (that are not particularly relevant in asexual circles) might confuse you! Or a single concept like sexual attraction might be as hard to find a good definition for as much as some other single abstract idea!
  • Perhaps the way asexuality is not in the media enough (and when it is in the media, it’s too often misrepresented or misleading the general public in some way) reminds you of another way a topic is handled in fictional media, such as… mental illness? Or so many other things you might think apply here.
  • It is possible that the way that people have reacted to you coming out as asexual is similar to how people react to some other thing you reveal about yourself!
  • Maybe you really wish asexuality was taught in sex-ed when you were in high school (or younger!) and there is also something else you wish was taught in school but isn’t!
  • Being a religious (or non-religious) minority, or an ethnic or racial minority, a disabled minority, a gender minority, or any other minority (see the next, and final, bullet point in this list for one very specific example!) might sometimes feel similar in some ways to being in the asexual minority. The communities might have paralleling characteristics. The experience of having this identity might have similarities. The way the majority treats both groups might have parallels. Etc!
  • laoci on the asexuality sub-reddit has considered the fact that Musical Anhedonia (not feeling anything when you hear music!!) probably has a lot of parallels to being asexual: http://en-us.reddit.com/r/asexuality/comments/20rhyi/offtopic_but_some_parallels_do_you_not_get/ (Including, unfortunately, the fact that some people in the approximately 99% majority who do not relate might want to call both asexuals and people who experience musical anhedonia “freaks” – see the comments on that article!)

Of course these are just some of the countless potential analogies you could draw! I have another idea that I plan to post as my own submission for this month – you’ll see it soon enough! Maybe I’ll even write two posts for the month, since I kind of have two ideas.

I’d love to see you expand on any one of those ideas above, perhaps in nuanced ways I had not thought of? OR come up with your own new ideas for analogies. Don’t be afraid to be creative. If in doubt, it probably is close enough to my theme. Maybe some of the analogies drawn by the various people who write up submissions for this carnival will end up helping people explain to allosexual friends and loved-ones what an aspect or two of their asexual experience has been like! Or maybe the comparisons will just be interesting for all of us fellow ace-spectrum folk to read about!

In the past, I have noticed that this has kind of already been done a few times.


 

Submissions may be in any form: written, video, audio, a chart, comics, fictional prose that makes a point, poetry, etc.

To submit, you may post a link in the comments on this post, message me through tumblr, tweet me @luvtheheaven, message me through YouTube at luvtheheaven5, or email me at pemk7@aol.com. If want to make a submission and do not have anywhere to post it, send your submission to that email address. 😉 I’ll post it as a “Guest post” here on my blog, and I can credit you by a name of your choice!

As said last month… Happy blogging!

I’m really looking forward to your submissions. 😉