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DavidMS703

Alloromantic Fragility

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Hi all. So I learned about the concept of White Fragility at school. This is a basic description of it:

 

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White Fragility is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable [to white people], triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation.

 

I found online that there is a similar thing called Straight Fragility, which is basically the same but about sexual orientation. And recently, I was talking with my family about the movie "The Dating Project," based on Boston College professor Kerry Cronin's dating assignment. I haven't seen the movie, but I've read articles about it and a discussion guide I found online. And the discussion guide says that Shanzi, one of the people in the movie, said that everyone secretly wants to date and just doesn't want to admit it. I mentioned this and my sister said in a defensive way that she probably just meant most people, or everyone who is "normal" or not aromantic. I know she said everyone and meant it. Does anyone else have experiences with responses like this, which are what I think should be called Alloromantic Fragility?

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Great thread! I can definitely say that I encounter this with some people I am not out to that still know aros and/or aces exist. When people don't know about aros/aces, it comes out more like regular amatonormativity and I don't take it as them being defensive or shutting down aros; rather just being uninformed that there are aros that exist. I have met some people that know aros exist, though, who have behaved in ways like you mentioned. It always comes out as them feeling threatened by my contentedness with not feeling attraction, as if my feelings will somehow affect their relationship(s). It might be a way these people use to affirm amatonormativity, even if they claim to be against that notion. If they were conditioned to want romance their whole lives, they might feel threatened on behalf of societal norms when aros come up in conversations, even if these people claim to be (or even /are/) supportive of aros and singledom. It's hard to break habit.

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See, I don't necessarily see that as paralleling White/Straight/etc Fragility because that's not coming from a place of having social power that could be threatened in the first place. It's not the individual's feelings but the individual's position in society that are threatened, hence why straight men are so afraid of being seen as feminine or gay. Those things would lose them privileges and looking at their own privilege is hard and the reaction is to be either defensive or aggressive. 

I don't think the same power structures exist in this case, so the term wouldn't really be an accurate parallel. 

However, I do think there's something to be said about people handwaving off the anger and frustration of others they don't share the struggles of and especially when they consider those struggles to not be a big deal or a problem at all. 
That's something I've run into as an objectum person that I find overlaps a lot -- when people don't actually think it's a problem at all, they'll tell you you're overreacting, have no right to be upset, of course they don't count fringe groups/people like you, or worst of all "that's not even a real problem."

I think the issue here is far more one of denial, ignorance, and erasure of the struggles of arospec people than one of non-aro folks feeling threatened. This seemed like a case of ignorance leading to denying that there's any problem there instead of looking at why you're upset because they don't understand or believe (not that that's an excuse) that there's an actual problem at all. 

So I don't think "alloromantic fragility" is appropriate here, I do think there's a problem to be named in the denial of the struggles of other groups, especially struggles that may not manifest as systemic social and legal discrimination and violence in the same way that other struggles might. 

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I can see where you're coming from, but I do think my sister felt like the narrative she grew up with and still believes, that romance is basically a universal human thing, was threatened by any movement we might start to fight against amatonormativity. I feel like alloromantics do have the majority of the power to control the media, which is why most of us grow up believing that romance is for everyone and we will have a romantic relationship someday that will be the most important relationship of our life. You mentioned straight men being afraid of being seen as feminine or gay, but I don't think most white people are afraid of being seen as black; they are more afraid of having their narrative about the Dream and its accessibility being challenged by counter stories from members of other races. I feel like any group that puts out a dominant narrative can have fragility if they feel like the narrative their group is putting out and they feel is the "truth" is being challenged by someone they don't understand as well.

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I agree with @nixian_hound. "Alloromantic fragility" isn't really a sensible term because there is no threat to them. We're not even seen as existing, so they don't have any reason to feel threatened by us; Alloros don't fear the possibility of their place in society being taken away, because they so firmly believe that there is no other possibility. 

In some ways we're privileged for our invisibility. Which is pretty fucked up tbh.

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I hadn't come across those terms before so I looked for more information and examples. For the term White Fragility, did it come out of America or was it just all the top articles I found were from America? It just felt very disjointed from the racial dynamics I have seen in my own country (which are probably very similar to the issues glossed over regarding Indigenous issues by selecting a black/white binary view for the term). Straight Fragility though, well we still have 'gay panic' laws on the books that counter argue murder charges and basically protect a straight person's right to feel aggressive when 'threatened' by someone of the same gender. An idea of Alloromantic Fragility doesn't really fit, that seems more a case of ignorance or narrow mindedness, probably he reactions are a better parallel to religious rivalries in zealots: My way is the one and only and the best, not believing in my way makes you a heretic and I refuse to stoop to your level to try and understand your view, which is wrong. 

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