This post is for the July Carnival of Aces, on the theme of “then and now.”
In the past five years or so, my relationship to the ace community has changed, gradually. There’s a difference between saying that and saying that the ace community has changed, and I don’t think I’m in touch enough now (or have ever been) to confidently make a case like that… but, because there are so many bloggers I know who are burned out on ace discussions or dead sick of the usual unmerry-go-round, I also know I’m not alone in feeling tired, and drifting, and withdrawing, and sometimes, closing the blinds. But this isn’t a post about being jaded and frustrated with the state of things (as fair as those posts are). This is also a post about changing my online practices to better suit what I actually want out of ace blogging, and how that’s still a work in progress for me.
This post is my submission to the January 2018 Carnival of Aces under the theme of “Identity.” Specifically, this post deals with topics of sexuality, identity, alienation, labeling, doubt, touch, trauma, and abuse.
This impetus for this post is a tumblr post about “being stone vs. being asexual” that Rowan shared with me, after it came up as a recommended post on their dash. There’s maybe a few different things I would question in that post (emphasis on question, since some of it is beyond my depth), but maybe chief among them is how stone sexuality & asexuality are being presented as either/or, i.e. mutually exclusive.
…I’ve seen them get a few things wrong.
This post is my submission for the March 2016 Carnival of Aces.
For the August 2015 Carnival of Aces, I wanted to write about my ideal version of the ace community & convey some big thoughts in a clear and compelling manner, but… it doesn’t look like I’m going to be able to write my ideal post on ideals. For the time being, the best I can offer is a few unrefined fragments like these.
If: any, then:
- an ace community with no rhetoric of “progress,” no depiction of change and improvement as a linear process, of gains as squares on a board game — no treatment of the work to be done as a mere matter of putting in elbow grease and tearing pages off the calendar; no expectation that matters will fall into place with time like we’re simply mining for bitcoins.
- proactive responsibility, accountability, and a readiness to accept criticism in those who set themselves up as authorities; an end to prescriptivism and Sorting Hat advice blogs and Platonic statements on What Is
- better yet, some recognition that the idea of “natural” category systems, especially w/r/t categorization of people, has a relationship to colonial science and the legacy of the Enlightenment
- space for grayroms, upsetting the strict and arbitrary het/aro/lgb division (when aros get mentioned at all) that keeps getting summoned; a community culture where supporting the model of romantic orientation for aces who use it goes hand in hand with acknowledging that it’s not useful for everyone
- an ace community that turns up its nose at disclaimers and tokenism and asks for a new rule
- an ace community that understands the difference between “equality” and liberation
- I’m already treated like I’m the same as a straight person, and that’s the problem.
- a lower value accorded to visibility, a widespread understanding that hypervisibility is not a privilege, and less enthusiasm and more disgust at “representation” in the form of a White woman called “Voodoo” whose asexuality serves as joke fodder; an ardent rejection of the elitist mind vs. body binary that would have White aces celebrating “One Night in Bangkok”
- enough self-awareness and ace-led conversations on abuse tactics for us to recognize en masse that wanting to be more visible at any cost, even if it exposes us to more anti-ace vehemence — and the implicit belief that toxic acknowledgement is better than none at all — is itself a product of internalized abuse
- more discussion of how asexuality, aromanticism, & nonamory impact access to material resources, more interrogation of the financial benefits to marriage, more analysis of how we define “ending up alone” & societal expectations w/r/t medical care and social connectedness for the elderly
- ace critiques of the sex industry replacing the fear of being deemed Not Sex-Positive Enough
- interrogation of the classic Victorian prudery we’re associated with as the hand-wringing of sexist, classist moralists scrutinizing the pursuits of lower-class poor women with limited choices
- respect for the histories of other communities (not mutually exclusive with this one), enough to where you don’t get aces suggesting a lethal STI as a good movie idea or ace organizations using an image of a white fist on vis/ed materials
- further distance from the rhetoric of Moving Forward and Modernity and Individual Liberty and the reverence for capital-s Science and written documentation that all together have long been put to colonialist ends; an end to liberalism in the ace community
Or rather, what I need from them.
This is a short post on label formation for this month’s Carnival of Aces on identity, labels, and models.
On the one hand, it’s not unheard of for people to discover a label that works for them and feel immediate relief upon seeing the word next to the definition. That’s a valid experience. It’s just as valid, however, to take the scenic route.
I’m talking about the experience of staring at the words in front of you and thinking “But what does that mean, though?” I’m talking weeks of research and doubt and waffling. But mostly what I have in mind is the inadequacy of Label (adj.): definition as the key to unlocking identification & the psychological necessity of seeing it spelled out in detailed, personal, narrative form in order to feel comfortable enough to describe yourself as One Of Those. I’m talking about needing to read whole stories, dozens of them, before you’ll take on a new label for yourself.
A Carnival of Aces on “asexual culture”? So many possibilities. Cake. Rings. Graphs. Puns. Crocheted winter accessories. Existential crisis.
There are a lot of ways I might characterize asexual culture(s), but if I had to pick one to talk about for a Carnival of Aces, it would be this: asexual culture is a culture in tension. By the nature of its existence, its constituents, and its particular place in history, asexual culture is a taut patchwork of conflicting goals, the contested ground of very different ideologies, and even at their most irreconcilable, neither can ever fully go away.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
This is a post about ace discourse, identity politics, and rape culture, in which the blogger argues that liberalism and liberation are both inherent to the fabric asexual culture and fundamentally incompatible with each other.
Inspired by the August Carnival of Aces theme, this post is about a notion that’s the near inverse of “the unassailable asexual” concept. Rather than the idea that certain traits can invalidate the apparent validity of an asexual identity, this post is about the idea that an asexual identity or a sex-averse identity can invalidate the apparent validity of one’s opinions and perspectives, nullifying their weight under circumstances where it’s presumed that sex-favorable allosexuality is a necessary prerequisite to a legitimate verdict.
Sorry, that was atrociously wordy. Let me get into a couple of examples.