Tag Archives: labels

On Identification as an Act

In this post, I’m contrasting a more conventional outlook on identity (identity as trait) against another way of thinking about it (identification as an act). The first one is mostly fine to fall back on as a useful simplification, but there are also times when it can lend itself to problems, which is why I think it’s sometimes worthwhile to shift into another mindset. Note this post was written with orientation/sexuality/gender identity in mind, and whether it’s more broadly applicable is a question I leave to your judgement.

[Crossposted to Pillowfort. Preview image by Reinhard Link.]

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

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.

[Note: this post has been crossposted to Pillowfort. Updated 1/5/22. Preview image by Darkday, CC BY 2.0.]

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Tapping at “Stone”: me & a stone (a)sexuality

asexual flag stonesThis 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.

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it happened again

Mermaid friend was making a comparison between me and someone else, and so she gestured to them and said “small gay” and then gestured to me and said “small…” and then just trailed off.  So I asked something like, “What?  You couldn’t decide on a noun?  Ace can be a noun,” and she said, “No, I just don’t know how you feel about being referred to as a gay.”

…I don’t know how to explain to her that “how I feel about it” is mainly this strong sense of you’ll get in trouble.

What I actually said, for the record, was something along the lines of “the real gay people wouldn’t like that.”


[note: looping animated gifs under the cut]

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Re: Asexual Advice’s Official Response — Filbert

This is a reply to AA’s post here, which was itself a response to my list of bad advice examples.

In my previous post, I answered Kiowa.  In this post, I’m responding to Filbert’s section.  There’s also one for Di published after this one.

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We-statements, soft language, and identity policing

…You ready for more conflict with advice blogs?

The story starts here, with this ask/answer on Asexual Advice about “apothisexual” & “sex-repulsed.”  You may remember this as the post with the phrasing I balked at earlier in the month.

Hezekiah has since made two submissions (that I’m aware of) to Asexual Advice, one of them directly related to the aforementioned post.

I am… concerned about this.  But “this” is a vague name for it, so I am going to try and pin down some specifics here.

[cw: homophobia]

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on the proliferation of identities

So this wasn’t what I was looking for, but when I came across this passage, it prompted a tangle of thoughts on the mushrooming fragmentation of obscure, specific identity labels.

We argue that the prevailing constructivist stance on identity – the attempt to “soften” the term, to acquit it of the charge of “essentialism” by stipulating that identities are constructed, fluid, and multiple – leaves us without a rationale for talking about “identities” at all and ill-equipped to examine the “hard” dynamics and essentialist claims of contemporary identity politics. “Soft” constructivism allows putative “identities” to proliferate. But as they proliferate, the term loses its analytical purchase. If identity is everywhere, it is nowhere. If it is fluid, how can we understand the ways in which self-understandings may harden, congeal, and crystallize? If it is constructed, how can we understand the sometimes coercive force of external identifications? If it is multiple, how do we understand the terrible singularity that is often striven for – and sometimes realized – by politicians seeking to transform mere categories into unitary and exclusive groups? How can we understand the power and pathos of identity politics?

Brubaker, Rogers, and Frederick Cooper. “Beyond ‘identity’.” Theory and society 29, no. 1 (2000): 1.

I’m not sure I agree with or even entirely understand what they’re saying there, but it does remind me… that while there’s no particular reason for me to oppose people giving names to the patterns they’ve noticed in themselves, I don’t want the ace community to direct its real focus anywhere but on the material impacts of amato/heteronormative societal structures & the medicalization of sexuality.  I don’t want us to lose sight of criticizing overarching coercive forces in the name of nominal visibility and awareness.  I want us to break these structures, not carve out additional spaces within them.  And while we deserve to create the terms that help us make peace with ourselves, verbage alone does not interrogate what stole that peace to begin with.

groggy after-work blogging

This rant turned out longer than I expected.  Maybe I should clean it up and make a post on TAA?

Put my vote down as yes.

Also for the record I was fuming at that “you’re not gray-a, you’re burstsexual” thing you mentioned.

Okay that’s all I can type for now.  Good night.

On Labels and What They Need

blank labelsOr 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.

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