notions of absence, alteration, and nonfunctioning

Although I’m not inclined to think of asexuality as a disability, I couldn’t help thinking of the “broken” feeling when I read this passage from this post:

But I think [the main thing to get away from] is [the idea that (“I am impaired” and even “there is something wrong with me”) are equal to (“I am lesser than someone who is not impaired, all other things being equal.”)]

(symbols added by me because the original was difficult for me to parse at first)

…which made me think of asexuality and the “broken” accusation/internalization because it folds into one both 1) a sense of technical impairment/absence of function/not-doing-the-thing-it’s-expected-to-do with 2) a sense of not-doing-the-thing-it-should-do/condemnation/devaluation.  The latter of the two is why the community rejects the language of brokenness to describe us.

But for my own self, I think it’s possible for me to think of my internal “sexuality space” (and whatever nuerological mechanisms that control it) as being at least partly “nonfunctional,” and for me to conceptualize that as aberration without negative value judgement.  As if, when I was dealt my sexuality, so to speak, I was dealt a blank card.  Or the torn corner of a card.  And that’s that.

I don’t know if it’s possible for me to reclaim “broken.”  That may be too far.  But there is another word that conveys biological aberration that, to biologists and X-Men fans, doesn’t carry strictly negative connotations.

And you know what?  I may not want to be called broken, but I think I can be okay with being a mutant.

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7 responses to “notions of absence, alteration, and nonfunctioning

  • Siggy

    I really don’t like the word “mutant” because my activist roots are in opposing pseudoscience, and bad evolutionary biology in ace discourse is a thing. Second reason I don’t like it is that it’s too positive, in the sense of creating a “benevolent” stereotype.

    The thing I wonder is if it’s even coherent to speak of absence without taking a norm. Absence as compared to what? Absence as compared to a norm, or some value. You can’t talk about holes in the ground without the implicit norm that the ground should lay flat. That said, we don’t morally judge the ground for deviating from flatness norms.

  • luvtheheaven

    This reminds me, a bit, of my brother being surprised to learn people are fighting for the notion that asexuality is “normal”, because to him normal means typical, average, the majority, etc and asexuality is by definition a minority, a rarity, etc – by definition clearly *not* normal. And the thing is, I think I get it. I think a lot of aces embrace their differences, and appreciate the label for precisely the reason that it clarifies exactly how they are not normal. Instead of being normal and just “bad at it” we are truly different.

  • epochryphal

    but how do we say “not professor x OR magneto mutant but morlock gfdi” when no one knows who the morlocks are :( /light-hearted whining

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