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.Continue reading
Tag Archives: labels
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.Continue reading
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.
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.”
In contested questions regarding the asexual umbrella, I’ve seen a lot of this “you either are or you aren’t” approach to classing identities. “You either are or you aren’t” binary talk is pretty familiar to me as a gray-a, as you can imagine, if you know anything about 2012-era ace-intracommunity conflicts.
So that’s what I think about, naturally, when I see framing like “are you trans y/n” and “are you attracted to ppl of your own gender y/n” deployed in flowcharts aimed at telling aces what things are and aren’t for us. I saw one such flowchart today, didn’t save the url, and when I decided to reference it in this post, went, “eh that’s okay, I have the url of a different reblog of the same thing saved somewhere” — and then, upon checking, I realized that the url I had saved was actually of a different flowchart featuring the same questions, distinguishable only by the style of arrows.
This post isn’t about the controversial q-word or how many letters should be in lgbt or any of that. This post is is just some wondering aloud about the metrics I’ve seen used to discuss those issues.
…You ready for more conflict with advice blogs?
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.
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.