Since my last post about the ace community got over seventy comments (!!), I decided it was time to make another post. In a minute, I’ll get to some of the ideas that came out of that discussion, but first, I want to try and clarify what I’m reacting to and what I want to change.
What motivated me to write about this is a consistent pattern of problems (primarily among ace advice blogs and ace-themed blogs on tumblr) that, by all appearances, stems from a lack of awareness of or responsiveness to other people in the community. The problems I’m referring to include (but are not limited to) persistent sex-normativity, repeatedly telling people how to identify and what labels they should use, being so ignorant of major ace discourse on sex-positivity that you give your followers the impression that everyone has been silent on the subject until now, and giving advice to nervous teens without thinking through all the possible consequences (corrective rape tw for what I’m implying, although there could be a variety of negative outcomes; point being I think advice-givers should be a lot more understanding and supportive of being hesitant to come out in those circumstances, especially when the asker is clearly anxious about it).
These ill-informed choices could hurt people, and I want them to stop. More broadly, when someone sets themselves up as an authority on the subject (which is inherent to the act of creating these kinds of ace/advice-centric blogs), I want it to at least occur to them that they can link to other voices and resources. I want self-nominated spokespeople to always be wiping off new corners of their terministic screens. I want them to be tuned in to suggestions for better education, and I want the blinders to come off.
I’m also maybe more idealistic than I should be.
Regardless, here are some of the paths forward that, based on the discussion in that comment section, appear to have some potential.
- Tristifere, Cinderace, and Elizabeth expressed interest in collecting a big, centralized stash of ace posts, searchable by topic, which could be useful in the case of 1) anyone who thinks to themselves, “I wonder if anyone has ever written about asexuality and X topic,” and 2) aces new to the community who are trying to soak up all the information they can. This would be time consuming and may not change how ace/advice blogs operate, but it would be helpful to some people, and if word spread far enough, it may take some of the askload off those blogs in the first place.
- Some folks also expressed interest in one of my earlier suggestions, an ace news tumblr that would help people keep up to date if they followed it. Then summaries and links to current discussions would be delivered to their doorstep, without them having to seek out context or have to follow all the right people to know what’s going on. As long as such a blog had several mods and was well-coordinated enough, I don’t think it would take much effort as far as upkeep is concerned. The real challenge, I think, would be getting ace/advice bloggers to follow it. On the one hand, they’ve proven obstinate in the past. On the other hand, presenting it as another general asexuality blog may help seal the deal, if this is anything to go by.
- Siggy also suggested looking into RSS feeds, which would allow people to recreate something like the tumblr dashboard without being restricted on what kinds of blogs they could follow. To make a big push for this, like Siggy suggested, we should probably come to an agreement about which program/app to recommend (Sci advocates Feedly). I was hesitant about Feedly due to its… account-creation technicalities… but once I got in, the formatting does look like it would be the easiest sell compared to other options out there. It also allows you to categorize the different sources you follow, which is neat. The current concern I have with it is that it doesn’t seem to have access to tags or a blacklist system or anything like that, which I expect will be a big deterrent to some people. Do y’all know any way around that?