Aren’t You GLAAD? – The History of “A is for-” & #GiveItBack

I was recently reminded that if want the history of disabled friendly online activism remembered I actually gotta recap it. So this is about the blog’s 2015′s #GiveItBack campaign and how cool @glaad was about it, and how they continue to really show the fuck up lol 

The earliest post I can find is from 2003, and it shows that debating if we (as aces) wanted to add an A letter to the English speaking alphabet soup that is was and is the acronym has been a thing for at least then if not before. There’s always been thoughtless reasons and thoughtful reasons why A could be ally or an endless amount of things. 

But our story really starts in 2015, with GLAAD’s #GotYourBack campaign. GLAAD as a nonprofit is huge, and really a media watchdogs for the community at large. They will praise good representation of LGBTQ characters and call out harmful stereotypes or even the lack of diversity itself. 

#GotYourBack was an ally focused events for people should visibility show up for the community. As you can see in this screencap below it is focus was #GotYourBack but also [A] if for Ally.

And for much of the non-AVEN ace community that praising felt like non-queer allies were being centered at the cost of our communities.This was on the heels of years of feeling excluded from the community at large. While that wasn’t GLAAD’s intent, it was a sign that the asexual community was not on their radar. Awareness and fighting invisibility was key issue to the community at that time, despite where your personal ace group was.

#GiveItBack was the hashtag coined by FuckYeahAsexual to ask GLAAD to change their phrasing so we could be included. So that allyship was not praised at a cost to us. When I started it was A for Asexual and very quickly it was debated that even we could do better than that. Why not share the A with any queer identity that inherently faced a negative? Within the first day of reaching out to GLAAD, A then stood for Asexual, Aromantic, and Agender. While aces and aros didn’t feel included at all, tons of agender people also didn’t feel seen in ‘big tent’ organizations, and we a-specs said ‘we get that, you can be heard with us.’ 

GLAAD agreed within 3 days. Which is really such an impressive feat for a group that large. (AVEN disagreed. And made its first public statement in 3 months a belittling the work of non-AVEN activism, and was a message that stayed of AVEN’s front page for at least another year. Despite their founder praising FuckYeahAsexual’s lead activism.)

“Acceptance of LGBT people, not just among non-LGBT folks, but also members of our own community. And this includes increasing acceptance of and being good allies to the Asexual, Agender, and Aromantic community.

“Let us say without equivocation, the ‘A’ in LGBTQIA represents millions of Asexual, Agender, and Aromantic people who are far too often left out of the conversation about acceptance.

“Part of being a good ally is learning how and when to do better for those people you support. For us, that means making sure the Asexual, Agender, and Aromantic community knows we’re #GotYourBack.” 

This is the best apology I’ve even seen in my life. May ever see. It not only says sorry, it says it is their duty to constantly do better based on community sentiment. It also absolutely follows the meaning of their #GotYourBack campaign. 

Not only in that, but in next few days did GLAAD further change the campaigns branding to no longer center A is for Ally.

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This is absolutely how you do it. The respect communities cheered for this really first huge endorsement of “Yeah, you’re us, we see you. #GotYourBack”

And the following year in 2016, #GiveItBack was used against to call out American Apparel’s ally focused rainbow capitalism. Further raising awareness for asexuals, aromantics and agender people. It trended as an article on Buzzfeed, Yahoo News wrote about what the A was supposed to mean and so on. 

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And American’s Apparel also used both hashtags from the GLAAD precedent in their apology. Not as good as GLAAD’s declaration of acceptance but again it’s a clothing company. 

And not only did GLAAD help set the standard by listening to use “tumblr aces” it also continued to include more queer diversity in other projects they did. Like in these 2016 #SpiritDay posts.

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And in 2020, I learned that because of the 2015’s #GiveItBack campaign, GLAAD reached out to ace communities to include such a-spec heavy arcs in Bojack Horseman from 2016-2020.

Like GLAAD originally said, your voice matters. Use it. You just might accidentally sent a new standard for how people treat you, and your whole community, with respect.

How Acephobia in Fandoms Spread Ace Terminology

Truly one of the funniest moments in a fandom for me was in 2016 when Ubisoft posted under a long tumblr post debating Jacob Frye’s sexuality this simple message:

It was after witnessing a post on tumblr where a straight woman showed off her emails to and from a random Ubisoft staff member demanding that Jacob Fray be declared straight. It’s also among the best usages of an official platform using it to protect bisexuals and end biphobia.

But there’s more to this story. The woman who felt entitled enough to email random Ubisoft staff members was what some aces knew as an “Allo Solas Fan.” The term allo means other, and allosexual meaning someone sexuality attracted to others. Basically a word based on existing naming conventions to mean non-ace.

Enter Dragon Age: Inquisition released late 2014 and a huge active fandom until around 2016.

This is also when allo stopped being used near exclusively in ace circles as a nondescript marker when discussing non-aces and started to be used about specific fans. Now why did a bunch of aces call a group of predominantly straight women allo rather than straight?

It’s because for every ace fan in a fandom space there were also camps of acephobes who would harass asexuals for seeing themselves in the characters. The allo Solas fandom in particular did this like no other. By setting themselves up in direct opposition to aces, their behavior became defined by their allosexuality, not their heteronormativity.

Some of the allo dragon age fandom was also really racist and declared they’d “give us” a black character in the game as a “trade”. Why? It’s because they didn’t feel sexually entitled to black women being a largely straight white group of women. They wanted Solas. A “bad wolf” and all the ace coding in the world did not stop from their violently aggressive patriarchal projections onto his character. These fans also would tweet the Dragon Age writers asking to confirm that Solas had sex with the player character. The writers never did. It was so highly debated that in DLC the following year the writers confirmed in dialogue that he did not sleep with the player. (Which was also among the funniest fandom moments I’ve been a part of.) But stopped short of giving Solas a label.

Calling people “allo” was never about aces discussing fellow lgbtq people, it was pointing out the sexual entitlement of characters who weren’t sexual.

Aces showing up in the fandom. Using Solas to help explain the nuances of asexuality to groups who never heard it before helped spread asexual visibility.

And it’s also why I have such a strong negative reaction to those who try to “reclaim allo” or stick allo in front of any character who is often headcanoned as ace. Because the history of that is one of white sexual entitlement. The assumption that those who weren’t overtly sexual were secretly dirty, nasty, and kinky underneath. Words used by straight women about their own desires.

As time went on with any headcanoned or canon ace character more lgb people started using it too. It became a near meme to stick “Allo” before character name, or brand your url with it. Some would say “I’m a proud Allo!!” instead of embracing their own queer identities. They picked up the sex negativity left by those straight fans and turned it on themselves, saying aces were the ones called themselves dirty because they too related to the sex negative nature of it. But while the straight women were gleeful with it their kinkiness and acephobia, in gay hands because they were choking on homophobia they didn’t unlearn and started in on their own acephobia as if that was the cure for it.

“Allosexual” is not an sexuality on its own, it’s sole purpose was to help explain asexuality and acephobia. It’s far more like “cis” than any other community term.

For good or bad, asexuality and allosexuality became far more common words after this. In my mind, the biphobia around Jacob Fyre and the acephobia surrounding Solas are linked by women who wanted bad boys who only wanted women. Nothing else would do.

The blue canary in the coal mine

I’ve been thinking a lot about social media and the activism that takes place on it. Largely on twitter, but similar could be said about Facebook and Instagram, and the general “Headlines Only” absorption of news and the increasing polarity of people.

But let’s focus on twitter. In college, I gave a speech about how activists during the Arab Spring used twitter to effectively organize and fight back. And as a disabled person, digital activism allows me to participate in ways inaccessible before. Since there’s so much advertising on Twitter it’s also useful when trying to reach a company to ask for change. Which makes it’s impossible for me to just shrug and say “twitter is pure evil what can I say.”

As I was discussing this with the ace community, someone anonymous messaged me to say, ‘twitter is also more full of minors than tumblr. And minors are more prone to spreading misinformation about events because they weren’t there for it.

And I thought on that for a second. It absolutely is common issue that queer history not being taught. And I don’t think this behavior is for a lack of critical thinking either on “the youths” part, or compete lack of care for it. I think it’s an issue of speed.

Twitter moves at such a fast pace, and with so many people trying to get attention on so many valid concerns that in order to even attempt to address all the ills in the world you have to juggle it all. Sometimes literally only taking a second to decide on an issue. “Does that sound like some other thing? Close enough, toss in the same pile. Whatever, we got 12 other things to focus on.”

Since twitter comes at you so fast, and often in an such unfiltered way, it’s overwhelming. So instead of technology adding in productivity that leads to a next level of consciousness type of singularity, it creates more of a mental DDOS attack.

And it’s not all that different from capitalism demanding you be productive at all costs, and that by the end of the day you are so tired you can’t sort out things. That’s a feature of it, not a bug. You want to strike for better working conditions? Have fun risking starvation during the process.

And I think the “turn yourself into a commodity via your tweets” is most evident by the fact that any popular tweet’s second reply is often “I don’t have a sound cloud to promote but here’s my—“

It’s actually kind of funny because a big sticking point of people leaving tumblr a few years ago was that it was too slow. Without realizing that twitter is a multi-lane highway that every user often has to cross on foot. And that result ends up with a bunch of banged up people who feel so beaten down that any criticism is meet with “please don’t cancel me!!” Which is not anyone’s goal when correcting false information or asking for accountability.

I’ve gone on multiple twitter hiatuses after abuse I’ve faced on the platform and each time to do I’m struck with this sense of how quiet it is despite twitter’s feed making no noise. It feels like you just left a room full of people screaming, that to some level had been such a constant you didn’t realize just how loud it was until it wasn’t there anymore.

Maybe you hear it too.

The erasure of “tumblr aces”

People don’t like listening to my commentary when I attach ‘potty mouth words’ to them so I’m just rewriting it here. This post is a reference to another that said tumblr doesn’t have a “celebrity class” yet it reach on culture is equal to that. 

The erasure and vilification of “tumblr aces” “A is for Asexual, Aromantic and Agender” was not common until “a bunch of tumblr aces” told GLAAD that one of their campaigns would harm our communities.  

 GLAAD agreed.

Maybe it’s just because I work in publishing but Big 5 ace books used to be very allo written about how aces were weird to be with. But tumblr bloggers keep collecting our history, and those books over the next years turned into ace written even at least twice mentioning in the books themselves mentioning what it felt like to first see themselves via a tumblr post.

There’s been a literal explosion of asexuals canonically in fiction around this time as well. Because as the community stopped out from AVEN’s forums to more shared spaces we gained a visibility that was more consolidated before. Tumblr allowed aces to be in spaces shared by everyone, instead of their own spaces online.  

Mirco-labels are a tumblr thing. Because they were labeled as such as a push back against those communities were gathered socially and publicly on tumblr.The queer theory written about them furthered that lexicon both on and off tumblr.  

What community coined allosexual? Tumblr aces. I was actively there for, and debated on which label should be use and why and what all the nuance of that specific choice and others should mean.  

What community re-popularized the split attraction model and saved the gay history behind it? Tumblr aces. It allowed for an more open and sure complex discussion on how we are the same and how we are different but how we are still one with not only ourselves but the wider queer community.  

“Ace-spec” and “A-spec” were also fyeah heavy because it was a reaction making sure the whole of the community feels seen. And the push back is largely here and spread just as far as people using the term.

“Inclusionist” was specifically used to allow aces and any one else others targeted by Trans Exclusionary Radical Fems. So in 2018 if someone said “They are an exclusionist” probably mean they are an acephobic. In 2020 they may use it more widely but its use is still heavily a-spec leanding. Even though it was indeed the opposite of the E from TERF. This is because it phrasing was popularized by trans aces. 

Making fun and shunning tumblr has always been about attacking the ones most vulnerable in a fight about respectability politics. “Those non-binary colored hair queers with micro-labels.”

So my question about even the phrasing of “tumblr aces” or “tumblr queers” as an insult is this: Do we want to be a community that fights oppression wherever we see it. Or do we want to remake Mean Girls one tweet or post about superiority over those who debate and advocate? What happens when people on tumblr even start saying “Oh those parts of “ace tumblr;”  vaguely without context what is actually being discussed?

There’s no citizenship under a platform. The fact that tumblr is supposedly full of “cringe kweers” is and always was ableism mixing with racism and transphobia to create new brand acephobia that eats at ace history and those who laid the bedwork of everything that is commonly found across all ace spaces.

Tumblr’s power, and fyeah’s contributions, and the contributions of all  “tumblr aces” is the same that was AVEN’s before they came so allo facing. It’s decentralized, allows for anonymity to safely join, no one’s opinion was inherently worth more simply because they aren’t public facing or a “celebrity”.

Looking back at the 10 Year Anniversary of the Asexual Flag!

Asexual Pride Flag – Pride Basics

A few days ago, on June 30th the asexual flag hit it’s 10 year anniversary. It was made by community polling and design scouring then more rounds of discussion on AVEN. Not by, on the website in a really collaborative way. You can see a more complete history collected by Asexuality Archive which comes into more detail about why the flag is the way it is.

You also my or my not know each stripe was given a meaning.

  • Black:  Asexuality
  • Grey: Grey-Asexuality and Demisexuality
  • *White: Non-asexual partners and allies
  • Purple: Community

*Over the past at least two years people have said, ‘hey we are no longer mostly on AVEN and our direction isn’t so ally focused maybe we should change the white’s meaning.’ Common suggestions include romantic variation, to other white means the sum of all colors so the white stripe should reference some other diversity within. Which would help tie it to the aro flag more, and the trans’ white stripe.

With that preface, I want to talk about where the purple came from. Which is actually a really cool story I have never heard before in my 7-8 years of being in the community.

Before 2010, ace symbols included shades of grey gradient. AVEN’s logo is a prism for that reason. The demisexual’s flag is also reference a prism. But, I never knew why purple was added into the mix. Never even thought of it.

The story goes purple was a 2001 addition. Specially choosing the amethyst crystal shade for it’s relationship to the Greek (or French Poet 1528 – 1578) story that mentions a nymph named Amethyst (or Amethystas). In it, Dionysus was hitting on her and she wasn’t into it so Artemis helped protect the nymph by turning her into white quartz. Dionysus then showed he made a mistake and poured wine over the amethyst stone, staining it purple.

Here’s some art from a different version of the story, where Dio was less hitting on her, and more accidentally on purpose angry with her, risking a mortals life via threat of tiger. It ends with Dio crying wine in remorse turning the stone purple.

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As you can see above a white to purple gradient appears. Whatever the original version of the story the heart of it is: Artemis saved someone from harm and the person who caused the harm realized their grave mistake. 

The dating of the story is debating because it’s thought in Greek/Roman times, wine goblets were carved out of Amethyst to protect royalty from getting too drunk and making fools of themselves in the same way Dionysus had before them. 

Which not only makes my pagan heart happy to know forever now know the ace shade of purple has Artemis meaning, but also how that shade of purple meant that people were reminded to ‘not make the mistakes of the past and make fools of ourselves that harm people who aren’t interested.’ 

Which in a strange way makes me like that the pesky white stripe could be an ode to allies (ace or not) protecting aces. Because no matter where the story came from isn’t it such a timeless, thought out, over arching connection that goes back far more than just the 10 years of the asexual flag itself?

Asexuality history goes back so much further than just that flag. The easiest I know of is from a translated Sappho poem.

There’s so much even recent ace history that has been saved for us thanks to aces, thanks to projects like The Wayback Machine, thanks to how threads work, how google works. I know it’s technology, but it can be pretty magical if you have a curiosity to learn. It’s a gift we mustn’t ever lose to a click bait nature of social media today.

As Sappho also said, “Someone, I tell you, in another time will remember us.”

Ace Day History Through My Eyes

Hi! My name is Rose and in 2013 I founded the FuckYeahAsexual blog. Two years later, The Asexuality Blog and I created Ace Day!
It’s a cheerful, digital event that focuses on celebration of self and the whole asexual spectrum.
Some day in April 2015, I was asked to help with Ace Day. There was some raised concern about its proximity to 2015’s Blackout Day (a tumblr event of selfies) and Trans Day of Visibility both of which probably did have an influence The Asexuality’s Blog’s (TAB) desire to make an event for aces. Personally I was just asked thing? And I was like wooo thing! You see, everyone on tumblr was trying to make new things to celebrate and find a way to have a moment. Twitter still does this, but tumblr doesn’t anymore really. Anyways, Ace Day wasn’t themed off Blackout Day, but I can’t deny the repeated word usage between Ace Visibility Day and TDoV. A solution to which I pretty such said, ‘Ace Day works better anyways. Let’s go with that instead’. The event was also never meant to be a selfie only event. Sure they were totally encouraged, and were popular way to celebrate the day in 2015. (Tumblr doesn’t do selfies a lot anymore, even though lgbtq selfies are now a weekly Twitter thing, but I digress.)
It’s important to note, if TAB and I had to make a choice and were torn between us on something I’d make my point but deferred to her since it was her idea first. (This didn’t happen on anything important until later.)
The date of Ace Day was an issue from the start. And continues to be an issue to this day. In 2015, largely aphobes, but also some good people very early on were roughly like “Hey, this is so close to other stuff it’s getting distracting. Let’s move it.” We both agreed that time.
So I ran a poll with the most common suggestions of new days. It was a strawpoll so people on tumblr, twitter, and elsewhere could take part. 5200+ people voted, 2100~ people picked ‘May the 8th. (May The Ace)’. It’s the only time it was put up to a clear, correct, and multicommunity wide vote.
In 2015, I wrote a lot about why the asexual community deserved a pride focused day in the first place. Pointed out there shouldn’t be restrictions to when, where, and how pride is shown. That some ace events should be reserved for us, instead of actively working on allo awareness that day. I also made it clear on which day I thought was best (I wanted a front half of the year day away from other pride events and I loved the word play of “May the ace be proud”. Also pointed out that people did not want aces to celebrate at all so no matter what we did or what day we picked there would be a pushback. (Which isn’t an ace specific problem either.)
During the following months, TAB and I, decided to put an Art Book together because so many people drew things specifically for the 2015’s Ace Day. It had also been first time I remember anything ace focused trending on Tumblr. TAB did the legwork of buying our Creative Aces domain, and I contacted all the artists, formatted, published what turned into the first ever asexual art book, What You See. It released in October 2015 during Asexual Awareness Week as a throwback to everyone’s celebrations in May.
TAB around this time, after getting more criticism largely about the date, tells me she wants to move it to November. I told her that was silly given she had agreed with general consensus of everyone, and extra silly seeing as the art book was already done and mentions the celebration earlier that year. But in the end, she wanted to move it to November. I don’t have the message anymore but it was clear she was run down with people still trying to pick a new day and she thought people would allow the ace community “international cake day”. Yet, that caused its own problems being so close to the American Thanksgiving and some people not liking the further associations with cake memes. (Which is totally unfair.) I basically told her something like “okay, do what you want. November is really bad for me, I won’t be able to participate much at all.”
Ace Day personally went pretty dormant after that. It didn’t trend, but that wasn’t the importance or goal of the day anyways. Any really fond memories with other dates are wonderful, just not a history I have to share with you. To me it felt like how someone celebrates International Something-You-Like Day. You remember it only days before, or even the day of, and you cheer for a bit then move on.
5 years later, its now early May 2020. An active aro ace on twitter tweets me saying “May 8th Ace Day?” and AVEN cheers them on. So I basically reply “Awesome! My favorite day for it! Here’s all the fun things I did in 2015 with the “May the ace” slogans, the call for “No pride restrictions”, and mentioned the card suit selfies. And that joy further sparks wide participation. There’s whole threads I wrote about what that original date meant to me, and the now 5 year old history I was personally there for.
If you never saw The Asexuality Blog running, it’s heartbreaking to say TAB is gone. Has been for a bit now. It broke my heart when she vanished, and so when people came to me on their own, like “Hey the 8th?” I thought if anyone is in charge of this thing TAB and I did, it’s me. I’m the only one left. To make an overly dramatic metaphor it was like our baby was now abandoned and I decided to take care of it the way I knew how. By returning to the heart and origin of the Ace Day. It was heartfelt, and a historical touch point of aces of 5 years ago to aces now.
Things went pretty off the rails shortly after again. Because there’s a history of undermining the community works of tumblr aces. Things are willfully misrepresented, out right ignored, or deliberately underminded. Worse to me is when aces do it to each other.
For an aged example, it happened when AVEN broke a 4 month radio silence earlier in 2015 to roughly say “Eh ignore those other aces, you can share our A.” A statement that did nothing since days later, GLADD released an apology to the asexual, aromantic, and agender community and followed through with remembering a-spec inclusion that reshaped media representation for years. Point being? Similar is happening again.
I felt as if Tumblr aces were being sold out for hypothetical future allosexual acceptance of us, when Ace Day was always meant to be by us and for us. I think that’s why it trended on Tumblr in 2015, and trended on Twitter in 2020. It never needed media attraction. Was never about allosexuals doing something that day. It was about self love, and love of the whole asexual spectrum.
If you really want a deep dive, you can view the blog’s history on Ace Day here: fuckyeahasexual.tumblr.com/tagged/aceday or use the archive feature and sort by date here: fuckyeahasexual.tumblr.com/archive.
Yeah, those are both tumblr links. And I will never apologize for that. Because “tumblr aces” were the ones who had articles written about how they were piecing together historically lost ace history, the ones who made GLADD show up big time, had Big 5 books published staring the very same “tumblr aces.”
Activists there get belittled at every turn. Making fun and shunning people from tumblr as a whole has always been about attacking the ones most vulnerable in a fight about respectability politics. It’s targets are largely the trans community and really anyone who breaks a binary.
I think a lot these days about a line from a TAB Ace Day Post in 2015. It read: “We can all be infinitely visible” and got choked up when I first saw it again 5 years later. Nearly just another line, another post, that would have been lost to history forever if not for tumblr’s reblog style of blogging. The days after this years Ace Day was a floodlight on of how easy history is forgotten if no one looks in places that are new to them. How eagerly context is stripped away to replace it with whatever someone else wants.
I often think about all of the other activists that said it was too hard, unsafe, financially, or just emotionally unfeasible to continue. So they become quiet. There are wonderfully clever and effective aces who are activists that refuse to touch the community because of subtweeting nature of things. I want the community to be safer, I want it to love itself.
On the blog three of us are disabled and the amount of “Oh, do you need help to get more attention?” ever since we’ve spoken more about being disabled blew my mind. I’ve always leaned towards online activism (another dismissed and mocked tactic) because it’s more sustainable for me, and encouraged people to do the same for them.
Ace Day wasn’t ever about seeking allo attention like it’s going to bring our One True and Only source of liberation. It’s goal was to help teach yourself and be an example for aces around you now how to grow your own self love and celebrate the differences in even the seemingly the same so aces may have a stronger future.

#PrideMonth @ GreatAce.Club

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Normally I tease the theme, ask you to sign up and wait for the surprise book in your inbox. But this month I think it’s important to be decisive and vocal, wasting no time.

Hello World is science fiction that verges on thriller because I wanted to see an asexual protagonist be the action hero, show how important a single voice can be to bring about change.

You can read the full blurb or buy a paperback here, otherwise drop your email here to get the free ebook in your inbox on June 26th.

For librarians, or the accessibility of those who need a paperback version but cannot afford it or instead would like to donate to a BLM group, I have two copies I can send to fellow US addresses. Send me a message here with your full address to claim one.

Please note because of lack of publisher support, the book has an old name on it until our rights return to us in February. The future sequel will have the correct names of Rose Sinclair and Alexandra Tauber.

And to quote the book remember:
Binaries can be smashed, and systems can be subverted.

Press Start – YA Book Trailer

Woo! In an effort to celebrate things in these times I have a happy to show off the trailer today! The book is out May 5th and you can preorder the ebook  now!

Cool things about this book:

  • Demigirl lead
  • Demisexual love interest
  • Low stakes equal a low stress fun read
  • Own voices on multiple fronts
  • Party game fun in a book

Blurb: A new app has turned the whole world into an augmented playground. By reinventing retro party games, HoloHeroes makes sure it has something for every player. However, Loren worries she’s been missing out. The death of her father and a move across the country makes it feel as though she has to start life over. As a sweet sixteen gift, Loren’s given Ghost Glasses, allowing her to be her own HoloHero. Local meetups serve as a jumping-off point to make new friends, find herself, and win cash prizes. But what started as casual fun turns into an accidental rivalry with a veteran champion of the game and a race towards the national stage.

Growing Up Ace: First Lessons In Transaction Sexuality

I’d be willing to wager that phrasing makes you think of sex work, and while that is one type of transaction, it’s definitely not the first I learned. The first example of this for me was in the animated Aladdin. I can still picture Jasmine in the red outfit, flipping a switching and beaconing the bad guy with a come hither tone of voice.

That is my first memory knowing that sexuality, particularly women’s asexuality, was something that was not so much felt, but offered. The next time I saw this type of behavior was a Stargate SG-1 episode where the men were chemically seduced by Hathor. The women were locked up since they are unable to be controlled in this fashion, hick up their shirts and get their flirt on with the male guards.

Science fiction is a common offender of this trope, which says fair reaching things about the assumed submission of women to men, and how men are slaves to their urges.

But today, I’d like to highlight how these examples teach aces that sexual behavior is something offered in exchange for something. This is a wildly dangerous situation when aces date simply because a friend is needed, or when aces have sex because protection is wanted. These events are at times consensual, but are transactional in a less obvious way than sex work.

For aces in particular, depictions of Jasmine’s red outfit inspired sexuality, or Stargate’s flirt ploy, can dangerously misinform aces about how to navigate the topic. Women’s sexuality is displayed as a weapon towards men, and one that far to easily can turned against us. A weapon not of our own consumption, and not for our own empowerment.

And without feeling earnest sexual attraction we have less of a chance to make course corrections into situations that make us feel respected.

While this article does not paint a complete picture of all the reasons aces might have sex, but it does ask for a growing awareness that the behavior of aces, and many other groups, are the result of simply trying to survive in a world where compulsory sexuality and amatonormaity are demanded.

And acknowledgment that aces face this, that women face this, that anyone may face this, might be able to keep our sexualities from feeling as if they were for sale to the hetro-patriarchy.