Even if we didn’t already have a long list of reasons why “you can’t write an interesting story about an asexual character” is a ridiculous thought, I’ve found another in the variety of comments I’ve gotten on my “What To Do If You Think Your Partner Might Be Asexual” post, and considering that ace/non-ace relationships are a standard topic on ace ask blogs… it’s so clear to me how much we need stories to guide us, because people are floundering without any reference points, without an familiar framework — because the narratives that people in my culture are provided with situate sex & sexual attraction as such a foundational component of romance and this isn’t just some mix-‘n-match cut-‘n-paste; you can’t just take the sex out and leave the original narrative structure intact.

From an abstract vantage point, it’s so easy to say, “Well, just blaze your own trail,” but on the ground it’s so much harder to do that without stories to map the way for you.  And I just don’t understand people who sincerely think that media and stories aren’t some of the most important influences in how we relate to other people.

Anyway, this is nothing new, but it was crossing my mind again.


4 responses to “x

  • Carmilla DeWinter

    Yeah. Had a similar discussion with my mom yesterday, mostly about labels. “But this is all in the range of normal human behavior,” she said. “Why do you need all those extra words?”
    Yeah, of course it is perfectly normal behovior. But few narratives show a broad range of behavior as normal and acceptable, few sources acknowledge it. So yeah, we need words to cover the “normal range”, and stories, too.

  • elainexe

    That’s a very good point! I remember reading a post or comment once about someone wanting asexual scripts like some people have heterosexual scripts, say. I think people didn’t like the idea.
    How do people know what to do in life? We…
    -listen to our wants and needs
    -learn from experience
    -read about things
    -listen to other people
    -consume stories
    I just end up thinking of the thing I read about scripts because it makes me think of two sides that people sometimes tend towards, the other being being completely /radical/ and shaking up established conventions, blazing our own paths regardless of what society thinks. And from this end of the spectrum, following scripts must be trying to put yourself into a rigid box.
    But of course these things were never the only two options. When life is full of infinite possibilities it can be overwhelming. Listening to stories, we don’t need to follow them as an exact script, but they give us a concrete possible course. And we can modify that course to our own situations. This may in the end lead us to less than infinite possible courses, but if not everyone is a trailblazer, it at least means we’re moving instead of standing still, or going down the allosexual paths instead.

  • Calum P Cameron

    It certainly seems to me that stories are the main way humanity as a species processes concepts. I have heard it argued that our species’s discovery/invention of storytelling is also the thing main responsible for our having reached the level of sapience and dominance we now exhibit. If nothing else, I know from personal experience and observation that one of the most common default responses of a human mind upon finding itself in territory that cannot be understood by comparison to personal experience is to attempt to understand it by comparison to remembered stories, fictional or otherwise.

    And as if to prove my point, I’m almost 100% certain that I only think along these lines as much as I do (or possibly at all) because of how much Pratchett I read as a kid. I am able to grasp the importance of stories because I remember stories about it. Go figure.

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