Tag Archives: media criticism

Sexnormativity and the Android in Syfy’s Dark Matter

The last time I talked about asexuality and nonhumanity in fiction, I suggested that we ask, on a case-by-case basis, what role (non)humanity plays in how (a)sexuality is portrayed. When it comes to the television series Dark Matter (2015-2017), the answer to that question is simple: sexuality is framed as part of what it means to be “human.”

[Crossposted to Pillowfort.]

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Ace Media Analysis & Meta-commentary

A compilation of links to ace readings, analysis, and discussion of fiction and fan communities, including essays about interpreting individual characters as ace, evaluating canon portrayals of asexuality, and identifying ace-related themes. If you have suggestions on what to add, please link them in the comments!

[Crossposted to Pillowfort. Rebloggable on Tumblr. Preview image created from a photo by Teslariu Mihai.]

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Academics sure are bad at talking about abstinence, huh

lol nothing like a little academic reading on “purity culture” to reopen some old baggage

[cn: conservative Christian talk, anti-ace stuff, discussion of rape (fictional and political)]

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see, this is what I meant

Another short asexuality & racism post.

[cw: masturbation mentions in the video]

Like.  Okay.  There are good things in this video but come on.

  • every single one of the aces presented is (ostensibly) White
  • narration “So when everything around us is sexualized” overlays quick shots of dark-skinned women dancing, some of whom appear to have natural Black hair (it’s hard to get a good look at them because the lighting is so dim and the shots are cut so short — but the presence of one man standing still among the dancers makes this look like a clip from a rap video)

Hello?  Hello ?????  Are you trying to play into racist tropes?

Other things in this video:

  1. continuing the “asexual people have it harder than sga people” thing
  2. citing the 1% statistic, at least more appropriate in location this time
  3. mentioning the “oh you’re Christian too though? It’s just repression then” thing! which is actually good to mention!

Anyway, one of the aces in this claims that “the biggest problem” is that most people don’t even realize that they’re asexual or can identify as asexual, which I wouldn’t say is the biggest problem, but whether or not it is, videos like this are helpful to some people more than others.


AI, sex bots, and revolution

I want to get this one thought out of my head real quick before bed.

[cn for sexual harassment, just vague talk of fictional stuff]

A long time back, I was talking to the copilot about the “evil AI (artificial intelligence)” and “robot apocalypse” tropes, and how I’ve just never understood the fear, and I started going into my theory about how those Malevolent Robots Try To Take Over The World narratives are actually a stand-in for bourgeoisie anxieties and class conflict (these are the kinds of conversations we have, yes).

I’m not really sure how that idea fermented in my head or how I wound up there — but looking back, I recently realized where it might have originated.

I vaguely remember seeing part of the movie Westworld when I was young (read: maybe eleven at the oldest, possibly as young as seven).  It’s a movie about, you guessed it, rebellious robots.  More specifically, it’s about some theme park androids who start to develop wills of their own and start becoming disobedient.  For the gunslinger robot, this means shooting and killing people, but it starts out smaller-scale than that.  Some of the other theme park robots are “seduction” robots, and one of the first instances the viewers are shown of a robot expressing free will involves a “female” designed-for-sex bot refusing to have sex with a human man.  Multiple times in a row, he tried to hit on her, and she rebuffed him each time (I’m only half-remembering this, but I recall some kind of escalation).  The man was left looking confused and dismayed because she was refusing to bend to his will and operate according to her “purpose.”

It’s. Creepy.

And so I have to figure that influenced me, too, because even as a young kid, I sided with her.


The scariest part of Jurassic World was the heterosexuality.

Alright, well.  You know what they say about if you want something done.

This is a post about the movie Jurassic World and how its heterosexual timeline intersects with its thematic dichotomy of Wilderness vs. Order to frame sex-indifference as a personality flaw.

Hm.  That was a mouthful, wasn’t it?  How about: this is a post about how the sexual harassment scene fits into the thematic elements of the overall story and locates sex-indifference as one of the facets of contrast with an embrace of the Natural.  Or even: how the narrative framing of Jurassic World screams, “Owen Grady is always right and Aunt Claire needs to get laid.”

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“You gotta be able to relate to at least one of those things.”

I hope somebody has something to say about the sex indifference joke Owen made about Aunt Claire in Jurassic World because I got nothing coherent over here.


why why why why why why why why

why can’t the heteros just

take a day off

stop doing the romo/sex for once during every zombie apocalypse

and it would have been fine except I loved everything else about this book and then the one Good-Hearted character of adult age went and mouthkissed the Absolute Terrible Misanthrope With No Morals whom she hates?  Because?  Straighters gotta straight?  Even when there’s literally every reason for them not to.  Every single reason you can fathom.  The Show Must Go On.

If romo/sex is some sandpit that every character must fall into then no wonder I’m unfathomable.  No wonder.  No wonder I’m shaking again.


This is why we can’t have nice things

Hozier:

“Take Me to Church” is essentially about sex, but it’s a tongue-in-cheek attack at organizations that would … well, it’s about sex and it’s about humanity, and obviously sex and humanity are incredibly tied. Sexuality, and sexual orientation – regardless of orientation – is just natural. An act of sex is one of the most human things. But an organization like the church, say, through its doctrine, would undermine humanity by successfully teaching shame about sexual orientation – that it is sinful, or that it offends God. The song is about asserting yourself and reclaiming your humanity through an act of love.

  • sex is not “an act of love” or “one of the most human things”
  • rhetoric like this is what denies me my humanity
  • rhetoric like this is what teaches me shame about my sexuality
  • when are people going to quit acting like combining sex and Church stuff is new and subversive?  ’cause it ain’t.
  • if you want to criticize oppressive organizations like the Church, there are so many ways you could do that
  • and instead you went with this
  • and in the name of being “tongue-in-cheek” and celebrating things that are already celebrated, you call me unnatural and less than human and you pat yourself on the back for it

“Beliefs” can mean anything

Have I mentioned that I hate the way nonreligious people talk about religion?

I even have my grievances with the religious/nonreligious divide, but I’m using according to a self-identification standard for the moment, and sure, it’s not all bad, and I hate the way religious people talk about religion too, and there’s plenty of overlap besides, but: man, I hate the way nonreligious people talk about religion.  It’s even more cringeworthy than non-horsepeople’s ideas about horses, sometimes.

I’m just writing this to vent, not to write an instructional guide.  But if you want to know what brought this on, it was a dialogue option in Dragon Age: Inquisition, part of a video game series with a really lazy, derivative knock-off of Christianity whose relationship with the world lore is contradictory.  But I’ll try not to get off on a tangent about that.

There’s a bunch of trouble that the Chantry (i.e. the Fantasy-Church) played a big part in, and at one point, you’re given the option to say “Fanatical belief is to blame.”  In context, this is clearly referring to the followers of the Andrastrian religion (i.e. Fantasy-Christianity).

I don’t mind anyone blaming the Chantry, because the Chantry is pretty awful in some ways.  What I mind is this wording that implies only certain belief systems (read: religiously-coded ones) count as “beliefs.”  I know “fanatical” is in there to clarify it only means the extreme variants, but, y’know.  Extremity is relative.

I hate the word “belief”.  It’s so vague and broad and nondescript and toothless.  Maybe that’s the kind of word that works best sometimes, granted, but most of the time I hate the way people use it, because it’s so often used as this wishy-washy comprehensive blanket term for anything religiously-coded.  As if, y’know, nonreligious people don’t believe anything.

This is so frustratingly foolish I’m worried I’m not being coherent, but my main complaint is and will always be that people are so unspecific about what they’re criticizing that it lumps in things they don’t intend and robs the punch from their message.

Having a beef with the diehard Andrastrians is 100% understandable, but good grief, say what you mean.