Visibility is a trap

[Note: This post has been crossposted to Pillowfort.]

This is a post about “visibility” as the name of (and approach toward) a type of primary community goal. While in the drafting stages, I had considered naming this post something more simple, like “on visibility” — but it occurred to me that a potential reader just might think this was simply yet another post on “why visibility is important,” and it is not. This post is not pro-visibility. This is a post inviting the reader to consider the potential for visibility to become a trap.

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Crunching the Umbrella and Spinning the Reinvention Treadmill

[Note: This post has been crossposted to Pillowfort.]

Back on March 8th, the day before I published my Genealogy of Queerplatonic, Siggy published a response of his own to the whole discussion, titling the post as “Death of the coiner” (an allusion to Barthes’ “Death of the Author”). In Cor’s addition onto that post, co wrote:

my main response is that it’s useful and arguably necessary for us to document and continually notify people of the pattern of semantic drift in words having to do with rejecting models and how they are reinscribed within those models to be less threatening

This post is about the same thing and that same dynamic: the pattern of ambiguous gray areas and umbrella words getting crunched into narrower redefinitions, leaving the need for their original ambiguity unmet, and paving the way for others to come along and try to reinvent the wheel.

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Remodeling: on the Reclamation of the Term “Split Attraction Model”

This is a post about the ace and aro communities’ reclamation of the term “split attraction model” from the most recent anti-ace online harassment wave, picking back up on the discussion from here. A quick recap of that post: romantic orientation & differentiating types of attraction are not the same thing, and “split attraction model” is an anti-ace-derived piece of terminology that lumps the two of them together. For that reason, I’m here referring to ace & aro use of the phrase as a type of reclamation, in that it was imposed on us from the outside and now some have adopted it.

In this post, I do some more thinking out loud about the semantic work that the phrase “split attraction model” does and does not accomplish. The post has roughly three main parts. First, I share some of my understanding of why the term surfaced in the first place, in order to contextualize how it’s been reclaimed and is used now in the present. Second, as a response to that, I’ve present five narratives to complicate the resulting binary. Third, I’ve got some tentative suggestions for finding a way forward.

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Romantic Orientation and the “Split Attraction Model” are not the same thing

A few days ago, when I mentioned on Pillowfort that I wanted to write something about the development of the “romantic orientation” model, I was helpfully pointed toward this post on the “split attraction model” at Historically Ace. I appreciate that, and I think it’s a handy collection of information. However, I have a problem with that post: it’s not actually a history of “the split attraction model” as a term itself. The phrase “split attraction model” appears in the post only three times, two of those times being as introduction and the other solely to specify that something else would not be considered an example of it. The timeline of that post ends at 2007, which is actually before the phrase “split attraction model” even entered into circulation in the ace community.

For comparison, I think this is like if I had written “a history of relationship anarchy” and then only, solely charted examples of the use of queerplatonic — which is to say, maybe it’s not wildly-off base, but it still falls short of what it actually promises. As related as they are, and as much sense as it makes to discuss the two alongside each other, the history of one is not the history of the other. A history of the “split attraction model” still remains yet to be told.

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On “friendship”

In our conversations about norms, standards, desires, and expectations for relationships, such as in the conversations around queerplatonic and alterous, I’ve seen a lot of comparison against friendship as a familiar point of reference; it’s a term you’re supposed to be already familiar with, as groundwork for the mapping of other terms in relation to it. A lot of the times, when invoking it in this way, people will talk about “friendship” in ways that bother me with their implications. So, because I’ve gotten to thinking about that some more, I’ve returned to asking: what is friendship? We–

Wait– Hold on, wait– No, come back–

Darn. I think I just lost a reader.

Well, for those of you who are still here: in thinking about this, I’ve so far come up with about five (some potentially intersecting, some not) different models for what someone might mean by friendship — and I’m not even sure exactly which one I prefer out of the bunch.

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Bonus Round: Queerplatonic-Adjacent Concepts

Originally, my Genealogy of Queerplatonic (Part 1) was going to have multiple sections, but due to length I ended up cutting a lot of extra links I’d collected on other different-but-related concepts. I’m now sharing those links here, in their own post. In other words, even though this post mostly isn’t about the concept of “queerplatonic” by name, you can think of this post as a kind of Part 2.

Featured in this post: a set of smaller link compilations on relationship anarchy, platonic orientations, alterous attraction, and more.

[Note: This post has been crossposted to Pillowfort. Edited 4/28/19.]

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A Genealogy of Queerplatonic

This post is a sampling of links charting the etymology, development, and controversies of the term “queerplatonic” from 2010 to 2019. The concept has been back on my radar again, so to speak, and I’ve been thinking about saying more about it, but I’ve realized that in order to respond to certain patterns, I’d need to document them first. This post represents my effort to do just that.

Accordingly, I’ve tried to refrain from building toward any particular argument or central claim. Instead, I leave most of that to you. However, I am wary of this post being linked or cited in any way which outright contradicts my understanding, and so I have provided a couple paragraphs of summary down at the end, to pick out some of the most distinct patterns I have observed. If you are linking this post and need to condense it into a shorter summary, please make use of those paragraph in some way.

[Note: This post has been crossposted to Pillowfort. Updated 5/23/19. See also Part 2.]

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Queerplatonic is not an aro term

Or, now that the clickbait title has got your attention, let me make that a claim with a little more nuance: to say that “queerplatonic is an aro term” is a statement that, if it is made, deserves to be qualified. And I’ll explain why.

[Note: this post has been crossposted to Pillowfort. Updated 3/8/19.]

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Quoiro/WTFromantic: a brief timeline of disidentification with & personal rejection of romantic orientation

[Note: this post has been crossposted to Pillowfort. Updated 3/19/19.]

Since I’ve been thinking lately on the topics of those-who-struggle-with-labels and the process of getting new terms to take root, I decided I’d put together a brief timeline of one specific subset of that: disidentification with and personal rejection of romantic orientation.

Featured in this post: the coinage and meaning of wtfromantic, the subsequent coinage and meaning of quoiromantic, some discussion over competing definitions, and a sampling of personal reflection posts on the topic demonstrating its continued relevance over the past eight years. Formatted by year, with select text excerpts in blockquotes.

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Insecurities and Consent

For some people, asking for consent feels like asking someone their opinion of your inherent desirability and maybe even your worth. Rejection of an activity can feel like a rejection of your entire self.

This is a problem. It’s not healthy for your entire relationship to be on the line every time you ask someone for sex. You need and deserve to be secure in your own desirability and worth without relying on the unpredictable sexual urges of other people to maintain that security. Your partners need and deserve the space to say “no” freely and without emotional pressure. […]

Plan ahead of time how you can work through these feelings without making your partner feel punished or obligated to change their mind. If you have a regular partner, it might be good to let them know about your insecurities and how you plan to handle your response, so they know, for instance, that if you need to go for a walk or take some alone time, you’re not punishing them and you don’t want them to change their mind to placate you – that you know it’s your responsibility to work through your feelings and that you’ve got it handled.

You can also preempt some of these insecurities by working on finding other ways to feel good about your body or to feel close and connected to another person in a way they do freely consent to.

–TDF, “Insecurities and Consent”

Today I’ve added this as recommended reading onto my sex-as-worth principle post.