Tag Archives: media criticism

Romance, Sex, and Christmas

I don’t get why Christmas is seen as romantic.  an ornament on an evergreen tree

Alright, allow me to clarify: I do get why Christmas is seen as “romantic” in the classical sense of “an idealized version of reality,” what with the sparkling trees and the spirit of generosity and chestnuts roasting on an open fire and all that.  I even associate the idea of Christmas with the idea of snow, even though I’ve never experienced snow during Christmastime once in my life (I live in Texas, so this is to be expected).

What I don’t get is why Christmas is seen as romantic, in the sense of kisses and dates and amatonormativity.  And by “seen as”, I’m referring to everything from the romantic-sexual Christmas songs on the radio (from the uncomfortable “Santa, Baby” to the even more uncomfortable “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”) to all the Christmas romcoms that exist for some unholy reason.

Admittedly, the mistletoe thing may have a big part in it.  But according to my cursory research, the symbolism of mistletoe used to be more broad as well.

The Christmas holiday is not all that ideologically important to me, I should note, so this isn’t much of a bother besides the heterosexuals throwing their stuff in my face yet again.  I just find it kind of mystifying.

Why not Easter, for example?  I hardly ever hear of people romanticizing/sexualizing Easter, even though it’s traditions are ripe with potential.  It has pagan origins as a fertility festival, for Pete’s sake.  Rabbits and flowers and eggs as its symbols?  What do you think all that is about?

Easter hasn’t made as much of an imprint on the American imagination, however.  Granted, out of the two, Christmas is the holiday that’s easier to monetize (“celebrating the giving of gifts” vs. “celebrating new life”).  But does it necessarily follow that what’s easier to market becomes that which is given more cultural precedence becomes that which becomes more romanticized and sexualized?

You might also argue that it’s because Christmas is in the winter (in this hemisphere), and cold weather inspires people to huddle together and share warmth.  In the context of a culture in which personal touch is heavily coded as sexual and/or romantic, the entire idea of winter itself could be romanti-sexualized.  But we equally sexualize the summer when it’s expected for people to show more skin and wear less clothing, for similar reasons.  So why isn’t the Fourth of July, a summer holiday in America that encourages spending, given a similar treatment?

The romantic discourse swirling around Christmas may be intuitive on some levels, but it remains strange to me, not only because its current rendition is so far removed from the shabby Mediterranean birthday story it’s supposedly based on, but because I and so many others associate Christmastime with family time, for better or for worse.  That doesn’t mesh naturally with dating and romance, from my point of view.

You could say I’m overthinking it, but it remains pretty dang weird.

The Scarlet Sash: Nonsexuality, Aversion, and Mythical Oppression

When I wrote this post, I claimed that my orientation does not invalidate my right to a voice in the particular context discussed.  Obviously, in other contexts, such as those involving a discussion of same-gender attraction, it would be fair to say that my input has less weight and relevance due to the particulars of my identity.  However, the discussions under review in that post did not frame crux of exclusion as as a matter of LGB vs. not-LGB.  The logic used by the silencing allos in those two examples is a logic that would only make sense in a world which asexual people are oppressors or have a particular kind of asexual privilege.

That’s the idea I intend to unpack some of in this post — the idea of the oppressive prude.

CW: sex and oppression talk, so the subject of rape does come up in this post

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Ace headcanons?

More like this gifset.

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A Brief Meditation on Souls

I probably wouldn’t think about souls much if it weren’t for the number of times I’ve been hit in the face with how much other people’s opinions diverge from mine on the simple matter of what souls even are.

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An Exoneration of Adventure Time

Tumblr user Dragon (of thedragonandthefox) has written a response to my touch escalator post, and you should go read it.  Continue reading

Todd in the Shadows & Gendered Compulsory Sexuality

Ace Admiral’s post about the Artemis Fly Trap reminded me of the same gut reaction I had to his Top Ten Worst Hit Songs of 2012 video.  I like watching Todd’s reviews because I like watching people get angry at bad media, and he’s entertaining sometimes, but there are also times when he makes cringeworthy mistakes that cut down on the enjoyment — and when it came to the song “Wanted”, the disheartening thing is how many people would unthinkingly agree with him.

Why wouldn’t they, you know?  Because “men only want one thing” = men are categorically incapable of genuinely wanting nonsexual relationships with women, right?  Asexual men, those can’t exist, right? Continue reading

Sexplanations Video Response

I’m working on some more thoughtful posts off to the side, but in the mean time, I need a moment to vent about this video.  What’s most frustrating about it is that she even mentions how many online resources there are for explaining asexuality, and then she goes on to talk about it in ways that prove she wasn’t actually paying attention.  Either that, or her research wasn’t very thorough.

0:45  She describes her “sexual sonar”, a sort of reverse gaydar for asexual people, wherein she fails to detect the presence of people who are asexual, accounting for our excellent capacity to become unseen assassins.  This might have been okay except for the fact that she describes the sexual sonar as sending out an “echo device” of libido.  No no no no no.  Stop making it sound as though asexuality is equivalent to not having a libido.

0:55  She relays a story in which she didn’t recognize that David Jay was in the room with her, something she attributes to her sexual energy going through him rather than bouncing off back to her for echolocation… which is uncomfortably reminiscent of how most allosexual people see us: unfinished, unwhole, missing a crucial part of being human.  His asexuality made him invisible to her.  As jokes go, this is one of the eerie ones where I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be laughing at.

2:51  She talks about how people with little or no sex drive have been pathologized for that, which… yes, that’s true, and that’s very important to talk about.  It’s a key part of the discussion around asexuality.  Now would be a good time, however, to point out that sex drive is not the determining factor of asexuality.

3:13  She outright refers to low sex drive as asexuality.

3:26  “One of the greatest things about sexuality, asexuality or not, is that you get to navigate whether you want this to change and how you’re going to find the resources to do that, or you’re going to love on you just the way you are.”  That’s one of the greatest things?  Really?  The possibility of self-hate and going on a futile and miserable search to change something that’s not under your willpower?

3:41 She tells a story in which she pitched asexuality as a conundrum to a clergy panel.  I actually liked this story, if only because of how it ended: they were stumped.  Since asexuality doesn’t have much visibility, the chances are pretty low that the clergyfolk would have preformulated any responses to it.  Them admitting to that is far better than responding with unconditional hate for it being a non-het orientation and better than responses that refer to it as “the gift of celibacy” and “natural purity”, a couple of things asexuals have run up against with religious people before.

4:09  As she’s telling the story, she refers to asexual people as people who “aren’t experiencing sexual desire.”  No no no no no.  Attraction.  The word you’re looking for is attraction.

4:15 “…somebody of the same sex, opposite sex, trans, et cetera–”  Not all trans* people are non-binary.

Considering the fact that she referred to celibate people as people who do experience sexual attraction but don’t have sex (which is itself inaccurate because some asexual people are celibate) you’d think she’d know how to contrast that with asexuality.  Instead, she refers to asexuality as low sex drive (and, later, as lack of sexual desire) but never as lack of sexual attraction.  This kind of thing is important, and I shouldn’t be seeing this continual conflation in a video that’s supposed to be already past Ace 101.