This post is my entry for this month’s Carnival of Aces, on the theme of “telling our stories.” In it, I’m trying to make three main points: One, aces cannot live on glossaries alone — we need stories, not just to demonstrate what ace experiences are like, but also to address internal intracommunity dynamics among ourselves. Two, because stories are so important, it is doubly a problem when our fellow aces foster an environment that makes sensitive and painful stories that much harder to tell. In other words, I’m saying our own community is contributing, in part, to why it feels like certain stories can’t be told. Three, there are things we can do and things we can use to foster a different environment — that is, to do right by each other and to make our stories easier to tell.
[Content Notes: this post does contain some discussion of violence, including sexual violence, conversion therapy, and murder. There’s an especially severe section on disrespectful treatment of these matters with a separate, additional warning — you’ll find it between the second header and the third, enclosed with the tags <severe section begins here> and <end severe section>.]
Been disappointed to see more joining onto the “-phobia” bandwagon with (spreading?) use of “aphobia” and “acephobia,” trading on an equivalency between a phobia and an evil ideology. Really not keen on that. Instead of saying “aphobic” or “acephobic,” it’s easy enough to just say anti-ace.
If you need a noun, there are lots of nouns that can be applicable. Anti-ace prejudice, anti-ace bigotry, anti-ace harassment, anti-ace vilification, anti-ace abuse, anti-ace violence.
For hetero-focused things, you can specify anti-ace heteronormativity.
There’s also compulsory sexuality and sex-normativity as decent terms.
And I’m not sure why “acemisogyny” isn’t already a thing.
Lots of options! Lots of ways to get at the idea of ace-targeting wrongness and harm without resorting to “-phobia.” I know it’s just to follow an established pattern — and my beef is with the entire pattern, too, but I’m just addressing one of the groups I’m part of here.
Can we please agree to put this one on the shelf?
One fun thing about disclosure (I’m being sarcastic, it’s not fun) is that even when the listener believes you, even when they get the severity — there’s a risk that it’ll pan out like giving away your True Name to a sorceress, a carte blanche window into your soul, a contract signed in blood. Because now they have something on you and by God, that something has summoned an authoritative confidence that knows know bounds. They have one narrative in their head about what this Means About You and what you’re supposed to be Doing about it, and you, as an entity, cease to exist under the projected image of the character in their head.
They’ll feel entitled to reinterpret your experiences for you. They’ll feel entitled to tell you what to pursue, what to terminate, what to prioritize, what to feel. You continue to exist in spite of violation, you survived, you’re still here, but a TV mystery has no room for anything but a dead body — an inert corpse, to be puppeteered by their self-applied authority. Because the fact of a legitimized violation eclipses all else about you, and you become, again, that object and unsouled mannekin for anyone’s posing. Because you’re damaged — unwhole — sentience undermined — agency written off like a totaled car. It’s like a version of the sick role where the ironclad obligation of “cooperating with a treatment agent” features limitless application, and where appointing themselves as treatment agent requires no credentials. You tell them one thing, and it’s like they own you.
People use the word “violence” in a myriad of confusing and contradictory ways when they talk about kink, so I figure I might as well get this out of the way. But for anyone with any kind of interest in ethics, especially any kind of interest in how to class anti-asexuality, this discussion might still be relevant.
[tw: description of racist violence]
The lynching tree — so strikingly similar to the cross on Golgotha — should have a prominent place in American images of Jesus’ death. But it does not. In fact, the lynching tree has no place in American theological reflections about Jesus’ cross or in the proclamation of Christian churches about his Passion. The conspicuous absence of the lynching tree in American theological discourse and preaching is profoundly revealing, especially since the crucifixion was clearly a first-century lynching. In the “lyinching era,” between 1880 to 1940, white Christians lynched nearly five thousand black men and women in a manner with obvious echoes of the Roman crucifixion of Jesus. Yet these “Christians” did not see the irony or contradiction in their actions.
As Jesus was an innocent victim of mob hysteria and Roman imperial violence, many African Americans were innocent victims of white mobs, thirsting for blood in the name of God of the Anglo-Saxon race. Both the cross and the lynching tree were symbols of terror, instruments of torture and execution, reserved primarily for slaves, criminals, and insurrectionists — the lowest of the low in society. Both Jesus and blacks were publicly humiliated, subjected to the utmost indignity and cruelty. They were stripped, in order to be deprived of dignity, then paraded, mocked and whipped, pierced, derided and spat upon, tortured for hours in the presence of jeering crowds for popular entertainment. In both cases, the purpose was to strike terror in the subject community. It was to let people know that the same thing would happen to them if they did not stay in their place.
–James Cone, The Cross and the Lynching Tree, p. 30-31