Tag Archives: gender

Ace Community Issues Linkspam

A short linkspam of linkspams (and some individual posts) on ace intersections, including intracommunity issues and problems faced outside the community.  I’m still not all there in the head but, hey, wanted to do a thing, still.

Note in case of tumblrwarp: please visit the original wordpress post in case of future edits/updates.

Gender (Identity and Alignment) – Carnival of Aces November 2011: Gender and Carnival of Aces March 2016: Gender Norms and Asexuality feature posts on being trans, being female, and being nonbinary.

Race and Ethnicity – Vesper’s APoC Resources page has tons of links to content on/by/for asexual people of color, including articles and videos on racism inside and outside of the community, such as The Large Space That White Supremacy Occupies In Conversations About Sexuality.

You can also find some posts on being Jewish in the roundup for Carnival of Aces October 2014.

Gay, Bi, and Queer – On this subject, I’d highlight Living gay (and ace), On “no romo”, and Being asexual, “of the bi-ish persuasion,” and afraid, as well as this post on guilt over desire for representation. For further reading, see Queenie’s so-called teeny tiny linkspam on asexuality and queerness.

Illness and Disability – Carnival of Aces June 2015: Mental Health  and Carnival of Aces October 2013: Disability and Asexuality feature posts on being mentally ill, being disabled, and choices on the part of the ace community, disability activists, and health care providers.

Sexual Violence – Queenie’s Ace Survivors as Rhetorical Devices series explains how to avoid damaging rhetoric about survivors of sexual violence.

The RFAS (Resources for Ace Survivors) Recommended Reading page covers a broader range of topics under the same umbrella of asexuality and sexual violence.

Miscellaneous – Examples of Bad Ace Advice and Hezza’s Asexual identity prescriptivism linkspam address identity-policing and other issues.

what does stone even mean, anyway

After having seen this:

…and now this:

…I have to wonder what’s going through people’s heads, that they’d position “stone butch” and “soft butch” at spectral poles, as if stone butch is just the extreme end of butch expression and doesn’t mean anything else beside that.  It would almost make me doubt my sense of the term was grounded in anything after all, if I hadn’t managed to read what little I did of Stone Butch Blues.  Has the meaning shifted, since then?  I hope it hasn’t.

Cuz, look.  Out of the unintelligible soup of gendersense in my mug, I’ve picked out a kind of loose connection with butchness — that I feel hesitant naming that way, because I feel like I don’t have the skill set or hardness or the qualifications to claim it.  So the concept of partial/medium butchness, or soft butch, is appealing for that reason.  Meanwhile, I feel kind of stone, too. Not stone as in sexually giving or whatever, but stone as in “don’t touch me, gtfo.”

And so, seeing them positioned as mutually exclusive like this?  Is… confusing.  Like apparently I must be reading myself wrong, one way or the other, or both.

But you know what, forget that, suck it.  Softstone is a viable combination and I’m not ready to let anyone take it from me.

a shift in perspective

Fun fact, when I was first exposed to consent seminars and deliberate education on that kind of thing, I was a little wary of it at first but also quickly impressed with it as a good idea, because prior to that point in my life (college), people just didn’t talk about this stuff.  So I remember having a tentative positive impression of the whole thing.  Because I believed “people in my culture just don’t know how to communicate about this, or that it’s okay and good to communicate about it explicitly.”  That’s what I believed.  And maybe that still is partially true.

But the more I’ve grown and the more I’ve developed my thoughts on the subject, the more I’ve become dissatisfied with their surface approach toward basic communication templates instead of underlying values, because the actual larger problem at hand is that American masculinity is a cult of violation.

healthism and femininity

[cw: Christianity comparison in post; sexually-toned “reparative therapy”-toned psychiatric abuse, misogyny, and anti-sex worker sentiment at link]

Anyway this is the kind of thing I’m talking about when I say the concept of “health” has been used to abuse and control people.

And I should be able to drop a sentence like that and leave it, without anticipating someone seeing it and coming back to me with “It’s good to be healthy though.  Don’t shame people for trying to get healthy.”  Of course it’s convenient to be healthy.  But I should get to be able to say “be wary of how people deploy the concept of ‘good for your health'” without getting inane responses, the same way I should be able to say “be wary of how people deploy the concept of ‘it’s God’s will'” without someone replying, “But some things ARE God’s will and it’s important to follow it.”  I mean, I expect even very sheltered Christians to get the idea that some Chritianities are worse than others and do lead people astray, but I swear I don’t know how to get through to some people about healthism, not when it’s as ingrained in my culture as it is, I dare say more than Christianity is.  Critiquing healthism is incomprehensible blasphemy.  I might as well tell someone “I want to be sick and always getting sicker.”  It’s…  I don’t know.  I worry.  I worry about the pervasiveness of a faith that strong.

Here are some quotes for those of you who didn’t click the link.

A quote from user lesbian-lily in the linked comment chain:

I’m too tired to find sources and images and whatever, but this is literally how they used to assess women’s mental health and still is a lot of the time. If women wore baggy clothes, didn’t wear make up, didn’t have perfect hair or rejected femininity in any way it was used as a sign of their mental health, a sign that they were crazy and needed fixing. Women wouldn’t be able to free themselves from institutions until they began to conform to femininity. Associating self care with femininity is kinda really fucked up considering we used to get sectioned purely for not being feminine enough.

A quote from Beauty and Misogyny: Harmful cultural practices in the west screenshot’d by user nineteencigarettes:

Pertschuck’s big worry is that, “The woman who feels unable to meet the demands of a female identity and who grooms and dresses accordingly is indeed likely to be viewed as asexual by those around her” (1985, p.221).  The woman may desire precisely such freedom from men’s gaze but Pertschuck will not allow it.  He sees the solution for such women who refuse to service male sexuality as “appearance training.”

What’s got me hecked up is that I can’t even be properly horrified at just the passages themselves, because I’m also thinking…

I’m imagining that someone would tell me the use of the word “asexual” here has nothing to do with the modern usage by the ace community, not even a little bit.  Which makes about as much sense to me as saying that there’s no anti-butch sentiment in trying to “help” an unfeminine woman engage in more feminine beauty rituals, as long as the reason for that “help” isn’t paired with suspicion that she’s attracted to women.  Or as much sense as saying that this “appearance training” to make her sexier (to men) has nothing to do with heteronormativity.  Just misogyny.  Just misogyny alone.  Because those two systems don’t overlap like that and aren’t enmeshed in each other or anything.

I’m so hecked up by the homophobia of saying homophobia doesn’t care about making women attractive to/attracted to/”sexually available” to men.  It’s just so patently false, so black is white and red is blue, it springs up in my brain now when I read about this stuff.  God, I want to fight someone.  But this is down the rabbit hole deep.

no time limit

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nb x nb

[cw: not hellenist friendly]

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me literally 5 pages into Stone Butch Blues: holy moley I don’t know if I can do this

so I bought some new books…

Group reproduction – both biological and social – is fundamental to nationalist practice, process, and politics.  While virtually all feminist treatments of nationalism recognize this fact, they typically take for granted that group reproduction is heterosexist.  I refer here to the assumption – institutionalized in state-based orders through legal and ideological codifications and naturalized by reference to the binary of male-female sex difference – that heterosexuality is the only “normal” mode of sexual identity, sexual practice, and social relations.  Heterosexism presupposes a binary coding of polarized and hierarchical male/masculine and female/feminine identities (ostensibly based on a dichotomy of biophysical features) and denies all but heterosexual coupling as the basis of sexual intimacy, family life, and group reproduction.  And heterosexism is key to nationalism because today’s state-centric nationalisms (the focus of this chapter) not only engage in sexist practices that are now well documented by feminists, but also take for granted  heterosexist sex/gender identities and forms of group reproduction that underpin sexism but which are not typically interrogated even in feminist critiques.

[…] Heterosexism as sex/affect involves the normalization of exclusively heterosexual desire, intimacy, and family life.  Historically, this normalization is inextricable from the state’s interest in regulating sexual reproduction, undertaken primarily through controlling women’s bodies, policing sexual activities, and instituting the heteropatriarchal family/household as the basic socio-economic unit.  This normalization entails constructions of gender identity and hegemonic masculinity as heterosexual, with corollary interests in women’s bodies as objects of (male) sexual gratification and the means of ensuring group continuity.

–V. Spike Peterson, “Sexing political identities/nationalism as heterosexism,” Women, States, and Nationalism, p. 59-60


To display the falsity of the “natural” nuclear family, Michelle Barrett explored the many different forms that family takes in human societies by examining anthropoligical and historical works.  “At an ideological level,” she wrote, “the bourgeoisie has certainly secured a hegemonic definition of family life: as ‘naturally’ based on close kinship, as properly organized through a male breadwinner with financially dependent wife and children, and as a haven of privacy beyond the realm of commerce and industry.”  If we reject the ideological assertion that the state is merely protecting natural relationships, then we need to ask whose interests the family-household system embedded in twentieth-century American liberalism serves…

[…] The ability to create a privatized household depends on financial resources that are unavailable to many, particularly families that do not have a white, male wage-earner… Those who cannot satisfy the material prerequisites of family life do not create the same kind of privatized units as those of the more economically privileged…

[…] Although the contractually agreed-to marriages of today may seem like a significant advance over the pre-arranged, clearly economic arrangements made for many men and women in the past, this understanding presupposes that monogamous, dyadic sexual relationships should have higher status and receive greater benefits than other forms of relationships.  This superiority is asserted often through a variety of disciplinary mechanisms, including mental health experts, the media, schools, religious institutions, and the law.  In this sense, marriage itself can — and should — be understood as a disciplinary system…

–Valerie Lehr, Queer Family Values, p. 19, 20, 23

it was strange

Very strange to be talking to a 42-year-old trans man who has lived so much trans community history — who knows Monica Helms, the woman who designed the first trans flag, and who used the very original copy to drape over the coffin of one of his friends, and who has been personally targeted by the KKK for his activism — and to have to explain to him the phenomenon of trans medicalism.

Very strange to be talking to this man who told me that the trans flag and the trans symbol were both originally designed to include nonbinary people, who kept following up what he was saying about trans history by saying “I was there,” who emphasized the initial, intentional value of “unity” in the trans community, and to find myself trying to explain to him why there are people who don’t feel like “transgender” is truly the broadest umbrella term.

Very strange to be talking to this man, who explicitly believes that “queer” is useful and appropriate as a substitute to “the alphabet soup,” who explicitly counts an a-for-asexuality as part of that string of initials, and to try to relay my personal sense that it’s wrong of me to even get my fingerprints on the word “queer.”

He looked at me like that shouldn’t even be in question.

It was strange.


[note: looping animated gifs under the cut]

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