Tumblr Ask-Advice Blogging: What’s Holding It Back & How Link Culture Could Help

As many of you know, around the Tumblr “ask” messaging system has grown a culture of dedicated ask-advice blogs, typically inviting questions on specific identities and experiences, such as asexuality. Ideally, these blogs should be helpful places for soliciting advice and making contact with new communities. Unfortunately, however, these blogs face certain inherent problems that severely limit how useful they can be.

The biggest limitations lie in three structural elements of the format: 1) the single respondent, 2) the delayed posting of the initial message, and 3) the notifications all going to the person who answers, not the person who asks. In addition, there are also some psychological issues to account for. Popular advice bloggers, facing a deluge of advice-seekers, are especially prone to writing answers that are both 4) overconfident and 5) rushed, resulting in especially shallow, misleading, or even harmful advice. Aside from changing Tumblr’s features directly, one way to mitigate these issues would be cultivating a culture of links.

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QPR Revisionism is Not An Appropriate Proxy for Aro Reparations

A post about the history of QPRs, why people are arguing about it, and how I learned that’s not what they’re actually arguing about at all.

For those just tuning in, I’m writing this now because the topic of QPR history has recently been revived again. When I recently encountered this reposted essay, I recognized it as one that had previously garnered some critical responses, so I sent in the link to the latter commentary. That chain of events led to this post, this post, this getting reblogged, and this being added onto the end of the essay repost. [Edit: the poster in question has since deleted those posts and apologized.] Me discussing these posts with others led to Siggy creating this post and Laura G. making this post, which in turn generated threads between Laura, Magni, Sennkestra, & Aropanalien that you can read here, here, and here. [Edit: more threads that have happened since here and here.] I don’t expect everybody to read all that, but there it is, just for the record.

In this post, I’m going to be tackling this topic in three parts:

1) What are people saying? 2) How is that revisionism? 3) How is that a proxy?

[This post has been crossposted to Pillowfort.]

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Why I Can’t Trust You With The Term “Purity Culture”

A brief note about the title: the “you” here may not be you personally, and it’s not that the term “purity culture” doesn’t have its place. Rather, there are specific uses of this term that have put a dent in a speaker’s credibility for me and impeded their argument. In those moments, I’ve wished for the words to explain to them what I thought they were doing wrong. This post is my attempt to put together those words: first by explaining the origins of “purity culture,” leading into my understanding of its key traits, and then contrasting that against the kind of usage I see a problem with.

[Crossposted to Pillowfort.]

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The Glossary & the Gristmill

This post is my entry for this month’s Carnival of Aces, on the theme of “telling our stories.” In it, I’m trying to make three main points: One, aces cannot live on glossaries alone — we need stories, not just to demonstrate what ace experiences are like, but also to address internal intracommunity dynamics among ourselves. Two, because stories are so important, it is doubly a problem when our fellow aces foster an environment that makes sensitive and painful stories that much harder to tell. In other words, I’m saying our own community is contributing, in part, to why it feels like certain stories can’t be told. Three, there are things we can do and things we can use to foster a different environment — that is, to do right by each other and to make our stories easier to tell.

[Content Notes: this post does contain some discussion of violence, including sexual violence, conversion therapy, and murder. There’s an especially severe section on disrespectful treatment of these matters with a separate, additional warning — you’ll find it between the second header and the third, enclosed with the tags <severe section begins here> and <end severe section>.]

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Overhead

“What brought you here?” is usually the first thing people ask me when I mention I’m new to the area. I’ve tried out a few different responses. “It’s a long story” (true). “To be closer to family” (false). I’ve yet to really settle on something, because the truth isn’t something easily reducible to small talk. After the first few times, you’d think I’d just stop mentioning it. But what else are you supposed to say when you’re new in town and don’t have anything else to talk about?

I picked the theme “home” for the Carnival of Aces last month, and it got a lot of submissions, but between Rowan’s post and my own current situation, I’m not done thinking about it. This is mostly just a reflection post. At the same time, it’s also a post about “overhead” — which here applies in the literal sense (a roof overhead) and another, more economic sense: referring to the concept of “overhead costs,” i.e. the expenses required keep the lights on and a roof overhead. Normally, the term’s applied to business expenses. But you can also think about it in terms of homes and people, too.

[This post has been crossposted to Pillowfort.]

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Relationship =/= Partnership

This is a post about two things: relationships, and a relationship.

It’s also a post I’ve been ambivalent about making — or rather, ambivalent about intending as a submission to the August Carnival of Aros. In my last post about the aro community, I discussed my relationship to the aro umbrella as a quoiromantic and came to no conclusions. Just three months ago, I hesitated about even commenting on Carnival of Aros submissions after the fact, worried about to what extent I might be considered an unwelcome intruder. In response to a private post about that concern, Sennkestra, one of the aros who helped launch the Carnival, not only reassured me about that, but also created the present FAQ Page for anyone else wondering the same thing. Under the heading “Who can participate,” that FAQ now extends an extensive invitation to not just confident aros, but also anyone who is questioning an aro identity, anyone who finds some aro narratives useful, anyone who identifies with something considered “adjacent” to aromanticism, and “anyone with any other type of relationship to aromanticism that I haven’t thought to list yet.” To some, maybe that’s overkill. To me, it’s just-enough-kill — just enough to confirm that I’m on the guest list.

With that said, this is a post that I might have written regardless: a reminder about the meaning of the term “relationships” itself & how I use it, plus some reflection on how my outlook on my own relationships has (and hasn’t) changed.

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Tiny linkspam on Tri-Label Aro Aces

In the spirit of Queenie’s teeny tiny linkspams, such as the one on greyness, here are a few links about or related to the experiences of tri-orientation aro aces — those identifying as gay/lesbian/bi/het (or some other orientation) while also identifying with both the ace & aro umbrellas.

Some of these links are about identifying with an orientation label in a way that’s not (or not entirely) about romance or sexuality. Some of these links are about nonromantic or ambiguously-romantic partnership. Some of these links are direct personal narratives about tri-label identities, such as gay aro ace or bi aro ace. So as you can see, some of the connections are more direct than others, but hopefully you can find something you’re looking for.

[Crossposted to Pillowfort.]

Bi Aces, Not Biromantic

Being Bi/Ace, Part One: Scrutiny About Attraction and the Kinsey Scale & Part Two: Aesthetic Attraction and the Visual-Aural Gender Split by Elizabeth

Opting Out Of Romantic Orientations by Vesper (note: see also some of my posts on romantic orientation)

Tri-Label Aro Aces

Bisensuality (or That Little Nuance I like to Ignore) by Lib

Squishes and unlearning heteronormativity & A Contrarian View on Platonic Attraction by Laura

Gay/Lesbian/Bi Aro Aces, a comment thread with multiple contributors

A post on being a gay aro ace by Sammy

A post on being a bi aro ace by Astral

Oriented Gray by Coyote

Oriented Aroaceness: An Essay by Lynn

Oriented AroAce Problems (a comic) by Xweetara

Even more posts and threads about gay/lesbian aro aces: “aroace lesbians can be…” (reblog chain) and is it possible to be asexual, aromantic, and gay? (forum thread).

Relationships & Partnerships

Updating the Map by Elizabeth

“I can’t want people like me in fiction” & “Captain Marvel doesn’t have a romantic subplot” by Aceadmiral

A Genealogy of Queerplatonic & Queerplatonic-Adjacent Concepts by Coyote

Yearning For “Queerplatonic” To Be Recognized As Not Romantic by luvtheheaven

Teeny tiny linkspam on asexuality and relationships by Queenie


Oriented Gray

I’ve had to summarize this situation for other people a few different times now, so I decided I might as well put together a post on the subject for future reference. This post primarily concerns the intersection of two different subjects: 1) how we talk about nonromantic/nonsexual orientations (or nonromantic/nonsexual ways of relating to orientation labels), and 2) how we talk about the ace & aro umbrellas, especially the subject of gray-area identities. 

[Crossposted to Pillowfort.]

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A gray kind of ace

Gray is a purposeful metaphor. An expression of imprecision, blending, and betweens. 

Lately, I’ve been thinking about gray-asexuality again. It’s been a few years since I published “Experiences attraction infrequently” doesn’t cut it, and while I know that post is still useful to people, it’s also been long enough at this point that I’m embarrassed of my own writing. So this is a short reflection piece on why I still identify as gray-a, going on about six years now. 

[This post has been crossposted to Pillowfort; cw: sexual violence mention.]

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Carnival of Aces July 2019 (“Home”): Link Roundup

A big thank you to our participants this month who responded to the call for submissions for July’s Carnival of Aces. The next Carnival, for August, is being hosted by LoyalTiger06 at The Demi Deviant, and the call for submissions has been posted.

Here are all the Carnival entries written for July, under the theme of “Home”: