Sign in to follow this  
K. Derrick

Co-Opting Asexual Symbols

Recommended Posts

K. Derrick

Hi,

 

I am fairly new to this forum, but I stumbled upon something that struck me as odd the yesterday and thought I had better share it.  A kickstarter project keeps popping up on my facebook feed.  At first I ignored it, but then something struck me about it.  They are crowdfunding a smart ring.  The problem I found with it is the color.  As many of you know, a black ring is considered an identifier for asexuals.  The ring in question is black.  I am concerned that this might co-opt a useful tool we use to identify one another without having to have those awkward conversations.  I sent them the following e-mail:

 

Greetings,

Congratulations on your accomplishment.  This is truly something to be proud of.  I am contacting you today to mention implications of your product that you might not be aware of.  Wearing a black ring is actually considered a self identifier in the asexual community.  It is a way for an asexual to identify another asexual without having to go into the long and awkward conversation of what an asexual is and whether they are one or not.  I can't tell you how useful this is as a member of a marginalized community.  Asexuality is often called the invisible sexuality because there are few advocacy groups making it a point to spread asexual awareness.  Even LGBT groups like the Human Rights Council have at times made it clear that asexuality education is not a priority if it is even a consideration at all.  Former HRC president Dan Savage is famous in the community for saying that asexual rights are laughable.

Please don't misunderstand me.  I am in no way saying that you are of the same mind as Dan Savage.  I am simply concerned that by using black as the color of your ring, you are inadvertantly and without malice, co-opting a symbol of a marginalized group.  

I was hoping you might reconsider the color of the ring for two reasons.  One, out of consideration for what the asexual community has to do to meet one another, and two, because of the possibility of your product being identified as an asexual product and hurting your bottom line.  I remember a time when pierced ears on a man was considered "a gay thing" so most men didn't get their ears pierced.  That same mentality is present today.  But if you changed the color of the ring to white, or grey, or gold, you could avoid all of those problems.

Thank you for your time and consideration,
Keith Huntington Derrick
T: @khderrick

 

 

 

I'm not sure if they will respond.  You can check out the kickstarter campaign here.  I'm curious what others think of this.  I've found the ring quite useful.  It has prevented me from striking up what could be an awkward conversation.  It has also helped strike up unique friendships.  I'm just worried others might not have that same chance if this catches on.  Thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
element83

The asexual ring is specifically worn on the right hand middle finger.  Most people purchasing this product are going to wear it on their left hand, and even the lefties who wear it on their right hand will likely not wear it on the middle finger, so I don't see it being a particular issue.  Maybe the swingers might have more of an issue, since they seem to use the black ring on one of the other 9 fingers as their symbol.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alejandrogynous

Black rings have been around eons before the asexual community started using them and they have a multitude of different meanings, not the least of which being simply fashion. We didn't invent them, anyone can wear black rings and it would be silly to expect everyone else to stop just because they're An Asexual Thing now, especially because we probably co-opted the symbol from some other community too. I'm glad that the ring has been useful to you but we don't have ownership of them.

 

Also it's only when the black ring is on a specific finger that it's supposed to indicate asexuality, not that I think anyone takes it that seriously. (Or at least I dont.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
K. Derrick

Interesting.  I was unaware that the back ring had other contexts.  I just thought it was similar to the hanky code used in the latter half of the 20th century.  I've always felt it was similar to the rainbow flag or the pink triangle.  It's very interesting that the black ring had a different meaning in 2005, and I can understand why it would be confusing.  Perhaps a different symbol would be more appropriate given other communities use it as well.  Before I knew about the ring, I always found it difficult to talk about asexuality with other people, even other members of the LGBTQ community.  I remember one time being told I don't belong in a group focused on empowering LGBTQ youth in high school.  Seeing someone else with the ring was useful as it let me know that it would be safe to open up to this person without fear of being ridiculed or outright dismissed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alejandrogynous
4 hours ago, K. Derrick said:

I've always felt it was similar to the rainbow flag

Sure, but even here - the rainbow flag might be a very strong symbol for gay rights but it doesn't mean only LGBT+ communities are allowed to wear rainbows. Anyone can wear rainbows. The gays can't copyright light refraction, lol.

 

Again, it's great that you find the ring so helpful, but we can't expect the rest of the world to give up a very basic type of jewelry just because we sometimes use it to mean something. I mean, we also use 'ace' as a nickname, which can also mean a pilot or someone good with cards. But if you find it too confusing, maybe you could start incorporating the ace flag colors into your wardrobe too, which might be easier to spot as a deliberate asexual thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this