Tag Archives: words

on visibility, erasure, and other sight/image metaphors

Here’s a post on the use of terms like “visibility” in the context of asexual & other minority issues, brought to you by nothing in particular besides the fact that I’m unfocused and restless.

See, “visibility” is a fine word to express a specific abstract idea of societal access, awareness, and circulation, and yet… seeing it used too often, in certain ways, has begun to grate on me.

Not as much as “erasure” does, though my bristling at that one does feel more petty, to be honest… Could be just a matter of personal distaste, I guess.  When something is “erased” what my literal mind interprets that as is a literal cessation existence, like in sci fi when memories get erased… as opposed to how I’ve seen people using it politically, as a verb for when a fact is ignored, overlooked, covered up, or denied.  I don’t think erasing is a good metaphor for misrepresentating, obscuring, and lying, but maybe that’s just me.

As a side note — there’ve been select times when I’ve seen “erasure” used on something specific being conspicuously omitted or obscured for historical record, and… y’all.  We have a word for that.  Please don’t leave “censorship” to its misuse by various misogynists.  It’s a real, actual bad thing to be opposed.  But hey, me preferring one word to another… maybe that’s also just me.

If there’s anything that’s not just me, here, it’s a concern that “visibility,” as a fair goal, seems to sometimes gain too much focus and centrality as a priority in some ace rhetoric.  I think of visibility as an along-the-way kind of goal, as opposed to an end goal unto itself.  And sometimes, the way some people talk… I’mmm not so sure they agree.

More times then I can count, I’ve seen this “asexuals are invisible” idea forefronted as a core of asexual issues (complete w/ “invisible” as something we *are*, rather than something that is *done to us* — which it is. by the way. mass-scale process that is done. to. us.).  And I understand how, with so many of us having been kept in the dark with monolythic images of sexuality and internalized hetorosexism, resolving that seems like it could resolve a lot.

But when the issue’s highlighted just a little too much, I want to grab someone by the shoulders and say, hey, you know a demographic that’s also highly “visible”?  Women.  Women are visible.  Images and depictions of women would be hard to avoid, frankly.  Everyone knows that women *exist.*  And yet, by golly, it’s almost as if that hasn’t solved sexism.  It’s almost as if that wouldn’t solve challenges faced by ace survivors and antiace sexual entitlement, either.

Being seen, or being seen more often, is not liberation.  Visibility is not liberation.  Visibility, sometimes, can be so far from liberation, that in the case of misogyny they even have a term for that: “the male gaze.”  Being seen and looked at and openly perceived are not some unqualifiedly good thing regardless of the how.  I want to believe that if you think about it for more than two seconds, you’ll understand why “invisibility” is just a symptom, not a source.  A symptom, an outgrowth, a byproduct, of societal browbeating and a culture of rape.

Fact of the matter is, no amount of Horton-hears-a-Who-ing at folks with a chant of “We are here! We are here! We are here!” will ever sway the people who know you exist and who hate you for it.


it happened again

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.”


On “A-” Homogenization

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

…Yeah.

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 act 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.”


🍂

I just saw someone use “chemophobia” now.  Bury me.


💢

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?


cheat code

[cw: contentious ace stuff, Christian dialect (sin talk) ]

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late night religion adventures

Haven’t had a contentious conversation with an atheist like this in… a while.  Probably because I tend to just get casually ostracized first, which usually preempts this sort of thing.

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?

Reddit informs me that “outrage culture” is apparently a term that some people are using, with enough popularity to be in the name of a subreddit, whatever much that’s worth.

You’d think my main question would be “why is this specific page in my referrers when there’s not a link to my blog anywhere on this specific page” but actually, the main thing I’m wondering is… if there’s a subreddit dedicated to “outrage culture” — does that mean someone is having a strongly negative reaction to outrage culture?


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for the language nerds and gender nerds

(I know there are at least… two of you)

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