A post about changes (or not) in the ace blogosphere, or, in other words, about a state of “we aren’t talking enough on” intracommunity problem topics.
Mostly, though, it’s just a response to this tumblr post.
What drew my eye in particular was this part added by user warriorsdebt: “In short, in a twist that should surprise absolutely nobody at this point, the exclusionists who will scream until they’re blue about the problems in aspec communities are also the number one factor stopping us from solving them.”
Well, before getting into sorting and ranking, I wanna take a step back and ask, what are (some of) the factors stopping us from solving community problems? Why aren’t we “talking enough” about homoantagonism, sex-shaming, racism, and everything else?
I might be lacking perspective here, having gotten involved in the ace community around only… maybe five years ago, but, to start with, here are a few broad-strokes categories I might point to:
1) outside chance factors, i.e. individual aces are individually quiet because of more pressing personal issues, more pressing political (+ not-ace-specific) issues, chronic illness, activism fatigue, depression, moving, surgery, etc etc etc (– and don’t discount this one just because it’s not community-actionable); 2) platform mechanics, i.e. that special combination of “a big chunk of ace community activity happens on tumblr” and “tumblr as a platform enables and facilitates some kinds of interaction more than others,” which I know y’all have heard me complain about enough already but that’s part of it, okay; and 3) community attention, which I’m using here to mean the mass pattern of choices people make about what to share and circulate. ‘Cause a lot of “talking” on tumblr isn’t talking — it’s reblogging what other people have said, which amplifies a message but doesn’t (in my perspective) constitute quantitatively more “talk” (if you can quantify talk at all). And when what you’re talking about is perceptions of how much talk-on-topic is happening, that kind of thing plays a part, too. Not only do those patterns themselves further an impression, but people also respond to those impressions in their decisions about what to post about (– after all, if you see that something is an ongoing Hot Topic, then it’s reasonable that you then might be more likely to write a flurry of posts about it).
Under the community attention category is where I’d put waves of anti-ace antagonism, in that paying attention to it can sometimes crowd out other topics. And to some extent, I think there’s something to what warriorsdebt is saying — “We do not have the liberty of discussing things among ourselves on this platform unless they are literally one on one private discussions, which doesn’t really do much to foster community awareness or change.”
( Hold on, I need a moment to put away my “what will it take to spark a mass migration off that platform then” soapbox before I get going again. )
Anyway. Distractions from and defensiveness against antagonization movements is part of it, sure. And it’s not like sincere talk on these community-critical topics isn’t happening. For example! Here’s something asked for in the OP, re: aces of color: Interrogating the Whiteness of the Asexual Community was posted on “The Asexual” just last month. It was included in a weekly linkspam by The Asexual Agenda and also reposted by Vesper queerascat who pointed out a similarity between what was said in Paramo’s article and a recent video of their own.
Now, I’m not highlighting these just to say “hey but look people are talking about it though” because OP didn’t say the talk isn’t happening, just that there should be more. I’m highlighting these 1) because it’s a recent example that sprang to mind, 2) because it deserves more attention, and 3) because of that platform issue warriorsdebt alluded to. Take a look at each of those links again. Notice that they take the form of 1) an original separate website, 2) a wordpress blog (with a tumblr mirror), 3) a tumblr link post, and 4) a tumblr post embedded with a video that was originally posted on youtube.
On the page where Paramo’s article is posted, as of this current time of writing, the comment section has all of one comment, and it’s from Vesper.
While I’m hesitant to hold this example up as itself emblematic and representative of community apathy (it might be, it might not be, I don’t personally know how to assess that), I do think there’s something to consider here.
That comment section is quiet. It has not one piece of anti-ace input in it. And it is something hosted elsewhere than tumblr.
Again, I think there’s something to the idea that tumblr is presently a hostile environment generally inhospitable to ace community problem-solving. We can attribute that to the latest wave of anti-ace aggression. And we can also, additionally, attribute that to tumblr-as-a-platform being inhospitable to conversation-having, generally, and also to the sheer apathy or inattention of the community itself. The OP even acknowledges “I don’t know if we aren’t having that many of these intracommunity discussions because we’re all so focused on defending our place in the wider queer community right now or if they are in fact happening and I just haven’t seen them.”
I think it’s worth asking, then — what do we see? How do we decided what sites to check, what blogs to follow? What are the patterns of choices we’re making wrt where to direct our attention? The people who do want that intracommunity criticism to happen — why aren’t they seeing it or being connected to (as much of) it when it happens?
As for me, I’ve been out of the loop for a while here, so I have no final Answer to provide and am… probably part of the problem in some ways. I will instead close on another question:
What’s the tumblr etiquette for letting someone know you’ve responded to their tumblr post but not on tumblr?