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Snao Cone

Do you feel represented/understood by coverage of asexuality?

Representation of asexuality  

65 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you feel personally represented or accurately portrayed by media coverage of asexuality (fictional or non-fictional)?

    • Mostly yes
      4
    • 50/50 or thereabouts
      17
    • Mostly no
      40
    • I'm not asexual
      4
  2. 2. Do you feel like asexuality is generally adequately portrayed/represented in media?

    • Mostly yes
      3
    • 50/50 or thereabouts
      15
    • Mostly no
      47
    • I have no opinion
      0
  3. 3. Do you think current portrayals/representations of asexuality in media are benefiting or harming the cause?

    • Mostly benefiting
      11
    • 50/50 or thereasnaouts
      37
    • Mostly harming
      9
    • I have no opinion
      8
  4. 4. Do you think portrayals/representations of asexuality in media are getting better or worse?

    • Mostly better
      30
    • Staying the same
      21
    • Mostly worse
      8
    • I have no opinion
      6


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Snao Cone

Hello and welcome to my poorly worded census forum poll. The first question is for asexual people (or people who are so closely adjacent to asexuality that it's basically their jam no matter the pedantics) and the others are just general opinions. I'm wondering if people feel like they're being heard, and if whatever the state of that is has changed over time.

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LeChat

Well, for me, personally, I don't really feel represented. It seems to me that romantic aces (particularly heroromantic aces in relationships) are discussed more, in interviews, documentaries, etc.--which is good for them, obviously, it's just that, like @yazybee has mentioned in the past, there are other types of aces who don't seem to be talked about by those who aren't ace and who only want to focus on heteroromantic aces in relationships for their documentaries, interviews, etc.

 

But I'm fine with that, as I can try to write my own ace character(s), if I want to.

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AceMissBehaving

It’s a little tricky to answer. In some ways I think better, especially in fictional representations since there actually has been some, and a fair few moments depicted through them have hit home in a way I never expected to see.

 

On articles etc it’s a mixed bag. I mostly see the grayer or demi identities explored lately. In part I think because they are a bigger audience, and maybe in part because it puts forward a more “comforting” face to a largely sexual readership.

 

I  find quite often pieces seem kind of rushed and superficial, which is were things seem to get jumbled up. Since the language around it can be messy and confusing, I find that is often reflected in the articles written with very little time or research put into the subject, which is obviously a good number of them. 
 

That said there is a lot more coverage, and more people are starting to understand we exist which is awesome, and there are a fair amount of articles I’ve seen which have been rather good too. I’m hoping to rather warm reception characters like Todd in Bojac have received will lead us to seeing more representation in the future since he did show us to be a group that proved worthy of exploration.

 

I’ll also be interested to see how things move forward as more and more research is put into studying our community and experiences.

 

I can say at least that we are light years ahead of where we were with it say 10 years ago, at least in terms of quantity and acceptance that we are “real”

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Remmirath

Overall I think that media coverage has improved, although a large part of that is because there is media coverage and there are characters who are definitely asexual. Having any sort of coverage, so long as it isn't actively bad, I see as a positive thing - so I checked the top boxes in the last two questions.

 

However, at the same time, I personally feel increasingly less represented in said coverage. There seems to have been a big push lately towards emphasis on romantic aces, which although I'm aro doesn't bother me particularly much - I figure those people probably actually have more trouble dealing with relationships and all (I mean, I just don't have 'em) - although I would prefer to see it pointed out more often in such articles that yes, there are also aces who are not interested in romance of any sort.

 

But more and more I see the whole "you can be ace and like having sex" thing, and that one feels actively alienating, because it kind of implies most aces need to find some term that's more ace than ace. That one I find counterproductive and consider to be a wholly inadequate (even false) representation, so that's where the 50/50 comes from in the second question. (Note that when this is mentioned under grey-asexuality or demisexuality or such I'm totally cool with that, and I think it's good for those to get more coverage - I just think lumping it entirely in with asexuality hurts way more than it helps.)

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Alejandrogynous

Maybe I need sleep but I'm genuinely having a hard time thinking of any fictional ace representation that isn't just speculation/headcanons. 

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crazy ace

"thereasnaouts."

I love it.

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Pan Ficto. (on hiatus?)
40 minutes ago, Alejandrogynous said:

Maybe I need sleep but I'm genuinely having a hard time thinking of any fictional ace representation that isn't just speculation/headcanons. 

Yeah and please no one say Varys because he is NOT asexual and it legitimately makes asexuality look really bad when people try to claim he's ace Y_Y

 

My opinion is that visibility is improving (because more people are hearing about asexuality) but the CONTENTS of that visibility is getting worse and worse 😧 

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Pinball Wizard

I really want the "Life with Lisa Ling" show to talk about asexuality if they are going to talk about porn and sex ed. I've had that thought for a long time lol

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Snao Cone
28 minutes ago, crazy ace said:

"thereasnaouts."

I love it.

:ph34r: 

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crazy ace
4 minutes ago, Pan Ficto. (on hiatus?) said:

Yeah and please no one say Varys because he is NOT asexual and it legitimately makes asexuality look really bad when people try to claim he's ace Y_Y

There's a difference between a physical eunuch and an asexual

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Alejandrogynous
3 minutes ago, Pan Ficto. (on hiatus?) said:

Yeah and please no one say Varys because he is NOT asexual and it legitimately makes asexuality look really bad when people try to claim he's ace Y_Y

Oh ugh, I forgot that people tried to say that, not the same not the same not the same

 

5 minutes ago, Pan Ficto. (on hiatus?) said:

My opinion is that visibility is improving (because more people are hearing about asexuality) but the CONTENTS of that visibility is getting worse and worse 😧 

I agree with this. My encounters with people who've never heard of asexuality are decreasing, but my need to explain what it actually means is, unfortunately, not.

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Pan Ficto. (on hiatus?)
8 minutes ago, crazy ace said:

There's a difference between a physical eunuch and an asexual

Yeah. Varys makes it very clear in the TV series and the books that he was castrated 'root and stem' (testicles and penis) as a very small boy, while his voice was still high. Ergo he never would have been able to develop enough testosterone (having never gone through puberty) to be able to develop any form of sexual feelings anyway.

 

Then when Varys and the Viper are having their discussion by the throne, Varys makes it clear that his lover, his desire, is power.. his will to reach greater and greater heights. That is what he is interested in. It's not that he's not interested in 'boys' or 'girls' because he is literally physically incapable of desiring them sexually (which he is), it's just that his interest is power. A throne. And peace in Westeros.

 

Someone isn't asexual just because they are more interested in success than sex!!! That would be the case even if he hadn't had his testicles and penis removed before he was old enough to experience sexual desire as a result of them! :cake:

 

The Viper was the only one who used the term asexuality, when he was asking why Varys didn't want a young boy or a young girl in his bed. Varys looks at the throne gleefully before explaining what he truly desires (very different from the books, mind you!)

 

So it infuriates me when everyone tries to say he's asexual!!!

 

That may just be a smidgen off topic though :P 

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Knight of Cydonia
50 minutes ago, Alejandrogynous said:

Maybe I need sleep but I'm genuinely having a hard time thinking of any fictional ace representation that isn't just speculation/headcanons. 

Todd from Bojack Horseman is the only one I can think of, but thankfully he's an example of really wonderful representation, and there's also no speculation required - he comes out as asexual, refers to himself as an asexual person, etc.

 

- asexuality is just one aspect of his character, not his defining trait

- his character finds out about the term "asexual" and learns more about it as the show goes on, making for great opportunities to educate the audience and challenge a ton of misconceptions (e.g. how asexuals can still feel romantically towards others, and others can be aromantic; how it's not weird for asexuals to get married, or to have sex)

- he even goes to an "asexual meetup" that's decorated with the purple/grey/black colours of asexuality!

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thylacine

Nothing can be worse than that notorious episode of "House".

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SithEmpress

I'd need a master list of confirmed asexual characters that are represented that way in the media. But it's difficult when a character in, say, a kid's show is labeled "asexual" but isn't expected to present any kind of sexuality anyway, so does it count? No. Like Dumbledore with gay representation. He's only representation when you've reached a point where you want your orientation present but not stereotyped or in-your-face.

 

I think Varys for aro only because he clearly doesn't pursue anyone, but his castration makes it a problematic displays.

I haven't seen Bojack, but I heard it was decent.

Archie comics was good with Jughead, but the show Riverdale threw that out the window. 

 

It's a bad example and not American, but the manga Challengers has an asexual character of unknown romantic orientation. It mostly focuses on another characters pursuit of the ace character and not being rebuffed, and they're later canonically married in the spin-off Koisuru Boukun (married in America, so not legally recognized in their country of birth, but they're living and working in America). 

It's pretty clear Tomoe is ace since he says he's never felt "that way" towards men or women, which he explains to the main protagonist when he confesses. But the reason it's bad representation is because sexuality itself is rarely treated well in manga. And we also have his homophobic older brother running around acting like a maniac... god I hate Souichi in Challengers. But he's so sweet in Koisuru Boukun...

 

So in the end, I'd say it's a net positive because there is representation, but that the media also fucks it up a lot. It's generally only hetero-ro aces shown, or else it's just characters not being given romantic partners and it never being elaborated on. 

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Alejandrogynous
20 minutes ago, Knight of Cydonia said:

Todd from Bojack Horseman is the only one I can think of, but thankfully he's an example of really wonderful representation, and there's also no speculation required - he comes out as asexual, refers to himself as an asexual person, etc.

 

- asexuality is just one aspect of his character, not his defining trait

- his character finds out about the term "asexual" and learns more about it as the show goes on, making for great opportunities to educate the audience and challenge a ton of misconceptions (e.g. how asexuals can still feel romantically towards others, and others can be aromantic; how it's not weird for asexuals to get married, or to have sex)

- he even goes to an "asexual meetup" that's decorated with the purple/grey/black colours of asexuality!

Oh yeah, I forgot about that one. I never saw it but I heard it was good!

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Nowhere Girl
3 hours ago, LeChat said:

It seems to me that romantic aces (particularly heroromantic aces in relationships) are discussed more

Which can lead to asexuality being perceived as "heterosexuality lite", or aces as "almost straight" or "cishet people (who have nothing to do with the queer community)". And obviously, not all aces are heteroromantic and even if a fair number of aces is, it should never be used to invalidate asexuality.

 

I personally don't feel represented well every time when sex-averse people are "treated like a dirty secret of the community". The "aces can have sex" rhetoric is factually correct, but still harmful because it can increase the pressure. And, anyway, most aces prefer a sex-free lifestyle and some aces could never have sex without inflicting serious harm on themselves.

Yes, aces who are fine with having sex for a partner deserve validation, deserve being reminded that it doesn't make them "no longer asexual". But it shouldn't be done at the expense of aces who would never be willing to have sex. The asexual community shouldn't try to show oh how "normal" we are by distancing itself from those embarassing, "abnormal" sex-averse aces. And if an asexual's natural preference is always "no sex" (which can, or cannot, be modified by other factors such as feelings for a partner), it's even more pressing to remind people that they don't have to have sex. It's about more than just asexuality, it's an opportunity to denormalise unwanted sex. A lot of people - particularly, though not exclusively, women - have sex without wanting to and it should finally be reminded everywhere that only fully mutually wanted sex can count as "good", that unwanted sex is always, by its very nature, coercive.

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Pan Ficto. (on hiatus?)
1 hour ago, SithGirl said:

I think Varys for aro only because he clearly doesn't pursue anyone, but his castration makes it a problematic displays.

 I don't like that idea personally just because he clearly expresses that his passion lies in achieving power. It always makes me stressed out when people claim someone is aromantic just because they don't actively pursue romance. I mean, he could be kissing all the boys behind the shed, but as he's only a side character we don't see that :P But there are also romantic people who for whatever reason don't pursue romantic relationships. 

 

Another two that are NOT ace despite everyone claiming they are: Elsa and Merida. (Well, we just don't know what Elsa wants, she's got issues she's dealing with. But Merida definitely isn't ace lol)

 

Sorry sorry, I keep going off topic!!

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Pan Ficto. (on hiatus?)
1 hour ago, thylacine said:

Nothing can be worse than that notorious episode of "House".

 Yeah that was horrendous Y_Y Their episode on vulvodynia (a sexual pain disorder) was also atrocious. They literally just injected her with botox and she was instantly having pleasurable, orgasmic sex. Uuuuum.. this is an almost always untreatable condition that causes women massive physical and emotional suffering and it's literally offensive to act like you can magically fix it with a frikken botox shot to the vaj Y_Y

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SithEmpress
10 minutes ago, Pan Ficto. (on hiatus?) said:

 I don't like that idea personally just because he clearly expresses that his passion lies in achieving power. It always makes me stressed out when people claim someone is aromantic just because they don't actively pursue romance. I mean, he could be kissing all the boys behind the shed, but as he's only a side character we don't see that :P But there are also romantic people who for whatever reason don't pursue romantic relationships. 

 

Another two that are NOT ace despite everyone claiming they are: Elsa and Merida. (Well, we just don't know what Elsa wants, she's got issues she's dealing with. But Merida definitely isn't ace lol)

 

Sorry sorry, I keep going off topic!!

I actually enjoy debating characters' sexualities as they're shown in media. A LOT could unfortunately be spun as ace just because they're so background, or the focus for their character lies elsewhere, that it doesn't count because they're just on a "no sexuality" rather than "asexuality" if that makes sense.

 

Like how many aces related to Charlie Weasley because JKR wrote in a tweet or something that he's more interested in dragons than people, but he has like .01% presence in the entire 7 book series, so does it count? NO! But I can get behind people who enjoy the idea, just not ones who think of it as representation. 

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Alejandrogynous
5 minutes ago, Pan Ficto. (on hiatus?) said:

 I don't like that idea personally just because he clearly expresses that his passion lies in achieving power. It always makes me stressed out when people claim someone is aromantic just because they don't actively pursue romance. I mean, he could be kissing all the boys behind the shed, but as he's only a side character we don't see that :P But there are also romantic people who for whatever reason don't pursue romantic relationships. 

My biggest pet peeve ace speculation was always Daryl from the Walking Dead. Like I'm sorry, they're in the middle of the zombie apocalypse, you think he doesn't have bigger things to worry about than sex?? This idea that if someone isn't constantly pursuing sex or romance even in literal apocalyptic situations, they must be ace/aro. No dude, sometimes they're just doing other stuff. 🙄

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fuzzipueo

To be honest, I don't pay much attention to TV for representation, so I'm a bit behind on that area. Books on, the other hand, are actually doing somewhat better when it comes to showing not just heteromantic aces, but also homoromantic aces as well as demi/gray sexuals. Admittedly, they are more niche than TV, in part because more people would rather watch TV (a passive occupation) than read (an active occupation).

 

I agree with others who've pointed out how interviews and the like tend to feature romantic asexuals over all the other types. And the emphasis on aces being able to have and like sex? While people are free to enjoy what they like, I feel it gives an uneven view of the wide range of asexual experience.  I think

@Nowhere Girl said it best above.

 

5 hours ago, Alejandrogynous said:

Maybe I need sleep but I'm genuinely having a hard time thinking of any fictional ace representation that isn't just speculation/headcanons. 

These lists have a lot of overlap in them, because the books available are still limited, but there are new books showing up and being written, all the time:

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/116320.Books_With_Asexual_Main_Characters

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/105434.Aro_and_Ace_Spectrum_Characters_in_SFF

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/95185.Ace_is_the_Place_Fiction

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/61456.Asexuals_In_Fiction_

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Nowhere Girl

@fuzzipueo - in fact, I mostly meant press articles about asexuality. I don't watch TV at all and I still haven't read any books with confirmed asexual protagonists, likely because I generally prefer non-fiction (reportage, history, books on sociopolitical topics...).

However, I like the Blackwell game series ("Blackwell Legacy", "Blackwell Unbound", "Blackwell Convergence", "Blackwell Deception", "Blackwell Epiphany") and while it's not confirmed either, for me Rosa Blackwell seems clearly ace. Worth trying for people who like adventure games, particularly retro ones (like I do).

Even though I consider myself to lack visual imagination, I love collecting game screenshots; here's a few.

blackwell-000.png

("Blackwell Epiphany": Rosa with her aunt's ashes.)

blackwell-006.png

("Blackwell Convergence". Already in the first game Rosa becomes a kind of a supernatural detective; here they meet quite a cliché case: an actor who died while shooting a movie and stays there, unaware that he's dead.)

be1.png

("Blackwell Epiphany": the first scene of the final game.)

The first four games can be bought as a bundle on GOG, "Epiphany" is sold separately, but they're not very expensive and there are also periodic sales, for example on Christmas.

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fuzzipueo
17 hours ago, Pan Ficto. (on hiatus?) said:

Yeah and please no one say Varys because he is NOT asexual and it legitimately makes asexuality look really bad when people try to claim he's ace Y_Y

 

My opinion is that visibility is improving (because more people are hearing about asexuality) but the CONTENTS of that visibility is getting worse and worse 😧 

I would like to add my own pet peeve into the mix and say the same for androids (Data) and angels (Castiel - from Supernatural; Michael - from The Good Place; and yes Aziraphale - from Good Omens [book and series]).

 

By their very nature, androids are sexless/genderless unless specifically programmed to be sexual/gendered (like, yes, sex-bots).

 

Angels, too, are by long, ancient, tradition, asexual, in just about every permutation of the meaning of the word - they have no sexual genitalia, are essentially androgynous, and have no real concept of sex as more than a biological function mortals use to procreate. I wondered, as I sat watching The Good Place this past weekend, if the people gleefully sharing memes about Michael's announcement about his lack interest in sex were aware that he's technically an archangel*, one of the big, important angels in the "host"? He is, by default, asexual. He was never human to begin with, so while I get the joy people are getting out of Michael's telling the MC (whose name escapes me), it falls rather flat to me. Not good representation. Not really. Now if the MC were to announce that she never was interested to begin with, I would be crowing with joy myself, but she is quite obviously not asexual or aromantic, so: meh.

 

*Despite the show's non-partisan stance on religions, it's still drawing from Judaeo-Christian traditions ...

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