The Asexual Market

On Tuesday (of Wednesday?), I clumsily wrote a post about asexuality and lack of representation and the demand for non – ace content by trying to bounce off Coyote’s blog (sorry if I caused any offence, Coyote. And no, the link didn’t work). So, I’ll try again.

It’s obvious there is a market for non – ace plots in major TV shows, movies and apparently video games. Most of the portrayals in pop culture is aimed at heterosexuals, although there is a small increase in the portrayal of LGBT people. It’s not a gimmicky thing anymore for the most part either. Shows like ‘Neighbours’ and ‘Glee’, I think have tried to portray the gay community in a relatively realistic light, (zits sues of coming out, homophobic bullying, etc have been a part of the shows).

But yet, there is still a lack of fair representation of asexuality in pop culture (there are a few shows and books that were listed by Julie Sondra Decker, none of which I’ve seen). In one way, I guess it’s understandable, that there would be minimal demand for asexual representation, partly because asexuals only make up 1% of the overall population and because asexuality visibility is still in it’s infancy.

Not only do people don’t know, or refuse to acknowledge that asexuality is real, the issues concerning aren’t that well known, from what I can tell. Mental health professionals are even (unfortunately), divided on whether asexuality is a legitimate orientation or whether it should be treated as a disorder, despite the fact that the American Psychological Association separated asexuality from Hypo Sexual Desire Disorder in 2013 (I think, feel free to correct me if the year’s wrong).

Would it be great for asexuality to be properly represented in pop culture? Sure. Will it ever happen? Maybe. We can always hope. In the mean time, maybe if you can you could write/ email producers, directors, etc to see if they could add asexual characters in their plots (in games, shows and movies). Maybe start a petition? Just running ideas through my head for those who do want to advocate for asexuality becoming more visible in pop culture. With me, I may do something like that in the future, however, at the moment my life is pretty full adept pp

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Acceptance

TW: suicide

The suicide of transgender teenager Leelah Acorn brung to light the conflicts that many LGBT face and the importance of acceptance, especially from parents. I just thought I’d talk about the term acceptance, including what it means in the context of asexuality.

What acceptance is NOT: 

  • Acceptance doesn’t mean understanding, in the sense that you know exactly what your LGBTA+friend/ child/sibling, etc is going through. Chances are you don’t really have a clue of what someone who is LGBTA+ is going through if you haven’t experienced things like they might. That’s OK. It doesn’t give your or anyone else the right to be rude or condescending though.
  • Acceptance doesn’t mean that you’ll immediately change your beliefs about things. Even on Tumblr, Alcirn admitted that. Some people have deeply ingrained views about sexuality and gender, particularly if they’ve been heavily involved in a religious organisation where certain views on gender and sexuality are very black and white, particularly in a highly conservative environment.

What acceptance IS:

  • Acceptance is believing what the person is saying, or at least respecting the person enough not to be dismissive about what the person’s been telling you.
  • Acceptance means your overall view of the hasn’t been negatively affected to devastating proportions. If someone has ‘come out’ to you, and you need time to process what you’ve been told, by all means do it. May I suggest maybe doing research on gender/ sexuality information relevant to the person who’s come out to you. Read blogs, research papers, books/ ebooks/ iBooks, articles,whatever you can, just to gain some insight into the worlds of the group of people your friend/ loved one identifies with.
  • Obviously, acceptance means not ostracising the person from you or others

Research indicates that if a LGBTA+ person is accepted by loved ones, they are are lipless likely to be suicidal or self – harm. I think too, they’re less likely to be involved in harmful activities (drugs, etc). So please, please love and/ or respect the person who’s just come out to you. Chances are, the decision for the person to come put wasn’t the easiest for them either. It can be a nerve wracking experience, even when the likelihood of something bad happening is slim.

Good News For Singles Apparently.

Scottish woman, Jessie Gallen, has just turned 109, making her Scottland’s oldest living woman. Her secret? Eating porridge for breakfast daily… and remaining single! She’s never married. So there IS good news for singles. Of course, she does keep active and lives a healthy lifestyle. Bit of a contrast though to seemingly endless data suggesting that married or people in long – term committed relationships live longer then people who are single.

Why Is Singleness STILL Looked Down Upon?

I was reading an article in this month’s issue of Australia’s Matie Claire today and there was an article on how women are still pitied or feel pressured by friends to find a partner. Seriously? This annoys me for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, it means we still value people (particularly women) on their relationship status, and ultimately, their sexuality. Apparently we haven’t got the whole ‘tolerance’ thing down pat, yet. Women still can’t choose how they express their sexuality. They have to still fit a ‘norm’. This is frustrating to hear, because, like I said in a previous post, it’s a barrier that asexuals, especially aromantic or non – partnered asexuals deal with. Why can’t we just stop judging each other on this issue so much? NEWSFLASH: some people actually LIKE being single. For some people, it’s hard to find a partner/ spouse. The last thing they need is to feel crap about it!

Secondly, there is a double – standard between men and women. It takes two to tango, right? I know there are women who’s ‘biological clocks’ are ticking away, and I do believe all women, when and if they decide to have children, should be mindful of their fertility. I’ve got to say that I don’t have any moral objections to procedures like IVF, but that’s no guarantee either. OK, I’m going to say something people will find controversial… currently, in New South Wales, I think IVF can be legally accessed by single women and same – sex female couples. In Victoria, before the last State election, Labor candidate (and current State Premier), Daniel Andrews did mention that he might also loosen IVF laws to allows same – sex female couples to access IVF. Also, recently, some foster care agencies have also allowed same – sex couples and singles to apply to take a foster child due to demand. Before anyone jumps on me, I’m not saying this to promote anything. I’m not trying to destroy the nuclear family. I’m just simply stating what’s currently allowed in Australia that I’m aware of. I get that people are morally opposed to these things. And if you are, then that’s fine.

Thirdly, let me ask a question: is it better for anyone (regardless of gender or orientation), to enter a relationship when they reakly don’t want to? Or get into a relationship with the wrong person because they feel like they’re under pressure? Do I really need to explain why this could be a really bad idea?

 

So, women (and men, and any other people of non – binary gender), shouldn’t be pressured into relationships. If you want a partner, good luck to you. If not, then people should be able to respect that. Stop valuing (or degrading) people due to their sexuality! That includes their relationship status.

 

Have you ever felt pressure to enter a relationship?

Asexuality and Symbolism

Since I’ve been coming to terms with my asexuality and getting involved and researching the asexual community (mainly through Facebook), I”ve become acquainted with the symbolism that is often used to represent asexuality.

First, the flag. For anyone who hasn’t seen an asexual flag, it’s purple, black, white and grey. Here’s one for people who don’t know.

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Sometimes the flag features a purple triangle shaded with white, grey and black.

 

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If I remember correctly, I think the flag was voted by members of the Asexuality Visibility and Educatoin Network by members in early 2000’s.

 

Second popular symbol in the asexual community is the black ring, which is often placed on the middle finger, rather than the ring finger. Some people use this as an outward expression of their asexuality.

Thirdly, the last major symbol attributed to the asexual community is that of cake. I think this was also decided on AVEN by users. In a way, it creates an endearing and social aspect to online communities for people who may otherwise feel isolated due to their asexuality ( along with other factors usually).

I’ve thought about getting a black ring before, however, I’m not really a jewellery wearer, so in that respect, there’s probably little point for me to get one. It may be an interesting way to start discussoin though (if it ever came up). But other than that…. I really see no need for one personally.

I like the flag. I guess it’s sort of the equivalent to the rainbow flag usuallly attributed to the LGBT community. I’ve never really felt overly attached to the cake idea. Not that I don’t like cake, but, as a symbol, it’s never really grown on me, although I respect other people who do.

To members of the asexual community (or other communities), how do you relate to symbols often associated to your particular group? Do you embrace it or don’t you really care either way?

 

 

Why Is Virginity Such A Big Deal (Or More Specifically Losing It Or Not)?

Earlier today, I was reading a blog post on Mamamia about a woman who was 28 and ‘accidentally’ a virgin.  She identified as straight (she specifically said she didn’t identify as asexual or gay). When I was reading the article, I thought to myself, why is it such a big deal? Why does this woman feel so much pressure and shame about the fact she hadn’t gone ‘all the way’ with a guy? Have we as a society gone too far the other way, in that people are, or at least feel shamed for not having sex?

These questions that ran through my head made me wonder if that ‘s one of the reasons why we still as a society have a fair way to go in fully accepting people who are asexual. Not only that, but this pressure is, obviously putting undue pressure on non – aces as well. Why do we value each other, and even ourselves on whether or not we’ve lost the ‘V – card’?

Last year, a story went global about a 58 – year – old man who hadn’t lost his virginity after being first published in ‘Science of Us’, then retold in the ‘New York Times’ and ‘Mamammia’. From what I read, his sex – life (or the non – existence of it) wasn’t his only problem. He seemed severely depressed and had issues from childhood it seemed like he hadn’t laid to rest. Yet, the title of these articles focused on the fact that he was a virgin. Click bait maybe?

On the last point, I think when talking about issues like this, I think it’s important to make sure we have to look at the full picture, not just focus on the fact on whether someone is a virgin or not. We shouldn’t pathologise people for not having sex yet(whether by choice or not). We should just accept the fact that people are different in many areas, when we lose our virginity, how and when we start dating, etc, etc. Can we just accept that?

I was heartened that most of the comments at the bottom of the post were supportive and saying that it shouldn’t matter. Some even said they’d lost their virginity in their late 20’s. So, there was support and empathy out there. Just a pity it’s deemed an issue at all.

 

What do you think? Is there too much emphasis on losing virginity?