A few days ago, when I mentioned on Pillowfort that I wanted to write something about the development of the “romantic orientation” model, I was helpfully pointed toward this post on the “split attraction model” at Historically Ace. I appreciate that, and I think it’s a handy collection of information. However, I have a problem with that post: it’s not actually a history of “the split attraction model” as a term itself. The phrase “split attraction model” appears in the post only three times, two of those times being as introduction and the other solely to specify that something else would not be considered an example of it. The timeline of that post ends at 2007, which is actually before the phrase “split attraction model” even entered into circulation in the ace community.
For comparison, I think this is like if I had written “a history of relationship anarchy” and then only, solely charted examples of the use of queerplatonic — which is to say, maybe it’s not wildly-off base, but it still falls short of what it actually promises. As related as they are, and as much sense as it makes to discuss the two alongside each other, the history of one is not the history of the other. A history of the “split attraction model” still remains yet to be told.
Or, now that the clickbait title has got your attention, let me make that a claim with a little more nuance: to say that “queerplatonic is an aro term” is a statement that, if it is made, deserves to be qualified. And I’ll explain why.
[Note: this post has been crossposted to Pillowfort. Updated 3/8/19.]
[Note: this post has been crossposted to Pillowfort. Updated 3/19/19.]
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.
Here is a post I saw today about how defining monogamy becomes tricky with aro spectrum and ace spectrum folk in the mix. Go read it. It’s got interesting points and I don’t have much to say on it, besidessss in response to this part added by paradife-loft:
Companion piece to this post on lgb homogenization, I suppose.
A while back, when I criticized the terms acephobia/arophobia/aphobia for the phobia suffix, I got a comment disagreeing with my replacement suggestions on the basis that we supposedly need “aphobia” or some equivalent in order to bundle anti-ace and anti-aro concepts together in one term. A short argument resulted.
In light of that, this post and its tags feel like support for what I was trying to say there:
#the replacement with ace- and aro-spectrum with a-spec; and allosexism and amatonormativity/ace- and aro-phobia with aphobia?#really really obnoxious and lazy and imprecise and it drives me up a wall ok#there are REALLY DAMN GOOD REASONS both in terms of denoting ideologies and being able to point out intracommunity issues with having those#*having those terms and ideas be SEPARATE THINGS
And granted, Sangam did say:
I never argued for doing away with the terms you proposed entirely — I simply don’t think they are sufficient to act as a REPLACEMENT for what “aphobia” already covers, which is the subject of this discussion.
…but while anti-aro acts and anti-ace acts do have overlap, sure, I still don’t think a combo-term (1) deserves to be used to the exclusion of specifics (as I’ve seen some people doing — using “aphobia” in all cases instead of using more specific terms like compulsory sexuality, amatonormativity, etc. as the case may warrant) or (2) does what Sangram says it does, re: “solidarity.” A non-aro-spec ace using “aphobia” doesn’t communicate anything to me as a quoiro and doesn’t do me any good on that front, so I don’t know what model of solidarity we’re using there. And anyway — being able to label amatonormative junk that goes on in the ace community is more important to me than having a term that homogenizes aces and aros in a way that doesn’t distinguish where populations and experiences diverge. I mean, maybe that should be important to me, but right now it’s not really.
…So it’s actually quite fascinating to me to see “a-spec” proposed as something that could mean “a spectrum of nonattraction, unspecified” (or as James puts it, “a specific phrase meant to emphasize inability or lack of desire to distinguish one’s own aro and ace identities as separate pieces rather than a composite whole”) as opposed to its current meaning of “aro spectrum and ace spectrum combined as one umbrella for all.”
Related addition 1/19/18: Vesper tweeted about the relationship between the ace community and the aro community
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.
She was talking to me today about topics for her new blog, brainstroming questions to ask people.
“Are these questions like for a poll or for an interview?”
“It’s for a blog. You know what a blog is, right?”
She tells me she’s changing directions from what she used to write about, broadening her subjects to three main things: the local job market, “inspiration,” and dating and relationships. She acknowledges that I may not have much experience with the first one, being that I’m just out of college, but — she looks at me, and with *such dead certainty*, she says, “I mean, you– I know you’ve dated.”
So I try to keep a very plain tone of voice as I’m put on the spot to reply, “I haven’t, actually. I know that’s weird.”
Which had me immediately thinking, now she’s going to want to know why. She may not ask, because she’s nice, but the moment you fess up to something like that people are going to want to know why.
It was an awkward expectation to have to confront, but! I’m glad this was just a totally abnormal crazy random happenstance and that no other aces have similar stories of their dating history becoming salient in casual relationships like with acquaintance coworkers! So glad this is the Only and the Worst of how I’ve been affected in my daily life in regards to romantic and sexual issues (lol)! So glad that people who assume these kinds of things are completely rare and unheard of! What a relief that this is definitely the *only* time that my orientation has impacted my interactions with someone I’m not dating! And anyway how dare I even describe mundane and minor events in my life such as this because as we know, as long as I’m not presently in the process of being physically assailed, nothing that happens is worth acknowleding! Aaaaaaaaaaaaa and I’m sure I have no reason for this post to turn so suddenly bitter because no one ever tries to gaslight aces at large about these exact things! That never happens either!