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Coyote

What can we do besides wordsmith?

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Previous thread titles: "Aro community terminology & hyperspecificity," "Why do we need a word for that?"

 

Today I encountered some pieces of this conversation (featuring Alex @Jot-Aro Kujo) via @raavenb2619's tumblr blog about neolabels & what they are or aren't capable of on their own. I didn't see a corresponding Arocalypse thread, so I figured I'd start one. A quote from one of those posts, to give you an idea:

 

Quote

That “default” is so overpowering that those of us who do not fit into this description often feel excluded from the aro community, or like our voices are not heard, which leads some of us to try to create words to explain how we are different, so we’re not assumed to be this default model. But instead of things getting better for us as a whole, people just bicker over these labels without really trying to address the root of the problem.

 

So, I figured maybe we could talk about that. In those posts I linked, Alex went into two particular examples: labeling aros by how they feel about QPRs & labeling aros without sexual orientations. Some links to further context:

 

  • On aros who do/don't do QPRs: so far I've found a few related posts and threads here, here, and here talking about not wanting a QPR/not feeling squishes & feeling out of place for that, plus a related reassurance post here from five years ago. The recent posts I've encountered on labeling these things are this one just expressing an interest in having a word and from this post suggesting "callistic" (alongside "europic" and "iodic"). 
  • On aros w/o sexual orientations: I've written a compilation post on some of the different narratives expressed by non-rosol aros, or aros whose identities are in tension with the romantic/sexual dyad one way or another. The most recent suggestions for labeling I've seen for these experiences are unit aro and neutral aro ( @bananaslug @Magni @running.tally @arofrantics are users from those posts with Arocalypse accounts).

 

The meta question being raised about all this by Alex and others, as I'm hearing it, is this: What pushes people to form/seek labels for these specific things in the first place? And I think addressing that question, for me, has to involve breaking it down into taking one step at a time -- 1) What are people trying to describe? What are the narratives? 2) What is it being describe on contrast to? What is that narrative? 3) Where are these narratives coming from? Where, specifically, can you point and find them? and 4) What makes these narratives salient? Why does having a different experience matter? 

 

For example -- here's a compilation of some non-rosol aro narratives. These narratives are being described in contrast against the romantic & sexual dyad, or the norm (in the ace & aro communities) of labeling yourself with one orientation of each of those. Any text that lists "aroallos and aroaces" as if that's a list of all aros = examples of the romantic & sexual dyad in action. These narratives are made salient by aroallo/ace conflict, wherein labeling your sexual orientation as an aro becomes relevant. Some elements of this conflict include silencing aroallos and the misuse of the Tumblr tagging function. Relatedly, on the former there, I'd like to remind folks about the sexuality board suggestion. As for the latter, that one is a concern because Tumblr tags are unmoderated, making misplaced posts more difficult to address than they would be in a space with moderation tools. Because of things like this, aros positioning themselves as either-allo-or-ace becomes relevant in the discussion of these issues; because of things like that, not fitting that binary becomes important. Labeling not-fitting-that-binary, by itself, while fine, does not address the underlying problems.... So what would?

 

From what I'm hearing so far, both example issues involve some umbrella crunching & prioritization of certain narratives. So here's what I'm thinking: Where are those narratives being encountered, and what are the counternarratives? Can we get together a pile of examples? And what's the pattern to it all? What's facilitating or motivating the way things are being talked about in the first place? Addressing that, I think, might be how to start getting at the roots. What do y'all think?

 

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I understand the desire to have concrete examples of narratives that leave people out, and I think having those examples can be really useful at times, but I'm not convinced that they're absolutely necessary. One of the things that I gathered from the conversation is that it's not a case of the easily cited "if you're not X (or Y) then you're bad", but instead the more nebulous implication of "everyone is X (or Y)". I could be entirely wrong about that (and if so, ignore this entire paragraph), but in that case I think simply talking about a counter-narrative, "Z people exist" might be more productive than searching for specific examples of narratives. (I'm also wary because requiring evidence also feels a little like asking someone for "proof that they're oppressed" which aspec exclusionists on tumblr love to ask for)

 

That said, I do think identifying the mainstream narratives and who's left out by them is still important, because then we can figure out why the narratives proliferate and hopefully raise awareness so that people stop repeating them. 

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9 hours ago, raavenb2619 said:

I understand the desire to have concrete examples of narratives that leave people out, and I think having those examples can be really useful at times, but I'm not convinced that they're absolutely necessary. [...] I could be entirely wrong about that (and if so, ignore this entire paragraph), but in that case I think simply talking about a counter-narrative, "Z people exist" might be more productive than searching for specific examples of narratives.

 

With all due respect, isn't that what people are already doing? Asserting "Z people exist" and devising a specific term to condense "Z" into a one-word label, so that the statement "Z people exist" can more easily be made? Please feel free to fill me in with more context, but for now that's a part of how I was interpreting those initial posts on hyperspecific language -- reacting to the efforts to devise terms for "Z people" in any given case, as opposed to interrogating what makes a statement like "we need a term for Z people" get said in the first place. The former, just talking about a counter-narrative and talking about different ways to express the statement "Z people exist," is already happening. So while it's fine for that to continue happening, I would also like, in addition, to have the discussion that Red, Ollie, and Alex are saying it's important to have at the meta level. Are you... saying you disagree with them on that, or are you saying something else?

 

9 hours ago, raavenb2619 said:

One of the things that I gathered from the conversation is that it's not a case of the easily cited "if you're not X (or Y) then you're bad", but instead the more nebulous implication of "everyone is X (or Y)".

 

Yes, those are some of the things I am interested in collecting examples of first. For comparison, in this post, there's links to specific examples of people giving lists (aroallo/aroace/alloace), advocating compulsory romantic orientation (implying everybody uses the concept), and taking an approach of non/romantic absolutism toward certain vocab, which takes that vocabulary away from people who don't make stark romantic-or-not distinctions. Those links include examples of the "everyone is X (or Y)"-type statements and other statements being discussed for their implications. "Easily cited" is... relative (ease is in the eye of the beholder, so to speak), but if we could just compile anything that gives off The Vibes, that would be a start. You start with your examples first, then do the analysis. We don't have to expect everything to happen all in one blow. A discussion, unlike an essay, means a work in progress.

 

9 hours ago, raavenb2619 said:

(I'm also wary because requiring evidence also feels a little like asking someone for "proof that they're oppressed" which aspec exclusionists on tumblr love to ask for)

 

...Well that's certainly not good.

 

The people you're talking about, if we're thinking of the same people, are people who come to a conclusion and then act like the guy with the Change My Mind booth. They proclaim a given stance, and from there they demand that their opponents submit to them their dutiful "proof" if they disagree, only for them to then immediately reject that proof as not good enough. They do this because it helps them gleefully celebrate thinking they were right all along and reveling in how bad their opponents are at challenging them. It's an entirely self-gratifying exercise that begins from a position of hostility and is entirely about shutting discussion down, not opening it up. Those demands for "proof" are never supposed to "go" anywhere. They're not supposed to develop or lead to new conclusions that none of the participants had thought of before. They're just a sparring ground. Specifically, they're a sparring ground over whether a given pain should even be recognized in the first place. In demanding "proof" of "being oppressed," they are demanding a tour of people's scars. The premise "people are alienated" is held in question, for the "proof" to either support or fail to support.

 

It hadn't even occurred to me that asking for links would come off anything like that. Probably because I make a habit of limiting my exposure to that environment, so it's not really fresh on my mind any time I talk about aro stuff, but in any case: The premise "people are alienated" is not being held in question, here; it's being accepted as a starting point for other questions. Nobody's "requiring evidence" or demanding that anything be "proved." What is being said is that it's important to have a discussion. In order to start a discussion about all this, I suggested we start with examples. My reason for making that suggestion is because that's how my brain works. Without specific examples or things to respond to, I find it very hard to synthesize, describe general patterns, or really say anything. Maybe other people can. That's great for them, and I look forward to the conversation they can start, if they choose to dive in using a different approach. People don't have to come at it the way I would. This thread is just meant for the discussion in general, not for saying we have to start the discussion in a particular way, and I tried to start it my way because, well, it's me. Does that make sense?

 

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2 hours ago, Coyote said:

With all due respect, isn't that what people are already doing? Asserting "Z people exist" and devising a specific term to condense "Z" into a one-word label, so that the statement "Z people exist" can more easily be made?

In parts yes, and in parts no. If the narrative is so vague that we have a hard time seeing, we need to first understand who doesn't fit. (Fwiw, when I said "simply talking about a counter-narrative, 'Z people exist'", I should have really said "people who aren't X or Y" exist because the latter more readily identifies the narrative without automatically creating a new label). But it seems like, at least right now, we're focusing on the more concrete examples of people not fitting into narratives, and in that case, I agree that while making labels can help some people, it's also important to have the meta-discussion and interrogate the narratives in question.

 

2 hours ago, Coyote said:

It hadn't even occurred to me that asking for links would come off anything like that. [...] The premise "people are alienated" is not being held in question, here; it's being accepted as a starting point for other questions.

I'm glad that's the case (and to be clear, I didn't doubt that that was the case).

I think the main sticking point for me, is that in your original post, you said "Where, specifically (specifically as in with links please)" and I think that people saying they've been harmed by some narrative, without links to where it's happened, should still get into this list and be given equal weight/consideration to harmful narratives that have links. 

 

That said, so far we've spent more time having a meta-meta conversation (that is, talking about how the meta-conversation should happen) than actually having the meta-conversation we want to happen, so I'd be interested to hear what other people think. 

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3 hours ago, raavenb2619 said:

In parts yes, and in parts no. If the narrative is so vague that we have a hard time seeing, we need to first understand who doesn't fit.

 

Hmm. Alright. Here's a start on that, then: on the subject of sexual orientation, I've compiled some non-rosol aro narratives here, and on the subject of queerplatonic, I haven't seen as much but I did find Siggy's post here. In the first one, Ib commented to point out a fourth additional dynamic around talking about "attraction," as well.

 

3 hours ago, raavenb2619 said:

I think the main sticking point for me, is that in your original post, you said "Where, specifically (specifically as in with links please)" and I think that people saying they've been harmed by some narrative, without links to where it's happened, should still get into this list and be given equal weight/consideration to harmful narratives that have links. 

 

Okay. I think I see what you're saying. I'm going to edit that part of the post.

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Update: added Siggy's Tumblr post, a Tumblr post by Kris, and a recent Arocalypse thread on squishes to the first post. Those latter two don't really get into labeling or creating new labels for those experiences, but they are examples of alienated narratives, like you were saying. @raavenb2619

 

Anybody have examples of those things getting labeled, besides aplatonic?

 

ETA: found one. This is from just two days ago, so presumably it may have been a part of the discussion sparked around why these things are being labeled. One of its suggested terms:

 

Quote

Callistic: Someone who doesn’t want a qpr or something similar. They may want platonic bonds but some might not. It’s similar to aplatonic or nonamorous.

 

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Why do we need a word for that? Probably because it helps some folk ( not all) to place themselves in the scheme of things.

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7 hours ago, Chandrakirti said:

Why do we need a word for that? Probably because it helps some folk ( not all) to place themselves in the scheme of things.

 

You know, I had figured that changing the thread title to something more provocative might help it get responses, but it seems I failed to apply that same effort toward making sure people read through the entire first post. It's a string of thoughts that I find hard to condense down into something simpler, I'm afraid.

 

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Maybe retitle it (again) to "What can we do in addition to making new words?" to shift the focus towards other actions that would target the underlying problem.  "Why do we need a word for that?" can be read as implying "We don't need a word for that" which in turn implies "Your underlying motivation is invalid", but the point of this post is to talk about the underlying motivation and to find more productive ways of dealing with these sorts of problems than creating new words.

 

Idk, it is a tough title. Here are a couple other options I came up with: 

"What makes people make new words?"

"Why do people feel like they need to make new words?"

"What's the underlying motivation when people make new words?"

"What could we do besides making new words?"

"What can we do instead of making new words?"

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9 hours ago, Coyote said:

 

You know, I had figured that changing the thread title to something more provocative might help it get responses, but it seems I failed to apply that same effort toward making sure people read through the entire first post. It's a string of thoughts that I find hard to condense down into something simpler, I'm afraid.

 

I'm probably one of those whose shutters come down when I see a plethora of anything, labels included.

Also, renowned for skim reading.😆

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On 6/11/2019 at 8:57 PM, raavenb2619 said:

Maybe retitle it (again) to "What can we do in addition to making new words?" to shift the focus towards other actions that would target the underlying problem.  "Why do we need a word for that?" can be read as implying "We don't need a word for that" which in turn implies "Your underlying motivation is invalid", but the point of this post is to talk about the underlying motivation and to find more productive ways of dealing with these sorts of problems than creating new words.

 

I can see what you're saying, yeah. hm. I'll give it another shot.

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sigh so I think that the problem may be in the interaction of most common, or the loudest perspectives and uhh insecurity or the desire for people not to assume anything about them..?? and the most common/loudest voices don't have to be the same for every person either. so one person is gonna see someone talk about their nonamorous, 0 attraction aromanticism and think "oh this is *the* aro experience", while another is gonna see someone talk about squishes and qprs and think that's aromanticism for everyone. but well, idk, that's where I think the insecurity comes in for some (that'd be the questions "can i be aro if [insert sth other than "i dont relate to aromanticism"]" or the desire for people not to assume anything incorrect about them (that'd be, in an environment where qprs are talked about a lot, terms like nonamorous or aplatonic)

 

as for what we can do about it, bc I too think that too many terms probably aren't helping much, other than helping the long discussions about what a certain term mean, I'm not sure, except for on every forum post on some topic there should be someone saying "oh no, this is not my experinece at all". or having contact with diverse aros... or using language like "some aros" instead of just "aros" when you wanna talk about some generalized experiences... 

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13 hours ago, bydontost said:

and the most common/loudest voices don't have to be the same for every person either. so one person is gonna see someone talk about their nonamorous, 0 attraction aromanticism and think "oh this is *the* aro experience", while another is gonna see someone talk about squishes and qprs and think that's aromanticism for everyone.

 

The see-saw cycle.

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On 6/16/2019 at 12:04 PM, bydontost said:

the most common/loudest voices don't have to be the same for every person either. so one person is gonna see someone talk about their nonamorous, 0 attraction aromanticism and think "oh this is *the* aro experience"

With "nonamorous" being a term which is likely to confuse people. Since it's a synonym, in Latin, for "asexual". Whilst meaning something entirely different.
With the definition "Describes a person who does not wish to form a significant partnership with others." not excluding all sorts of attraction (even romantic).
It seems to be about not following the relationship escalator and avoiding "nesting behaviour". With these being concepts which came from outside of the aro (or aroace) community...
 

On 6/16/2019 at 12:04 PM, bydontost said:

while another is gonna see someone talk about squishes and qprs and think that's aromanticism for everyone. but well, idk, that's where I think the insecurity comes in for some (that'd be the questions "can i be aro if [insert sth other than "i dont relate to aromanticism"]" or the desire for people not to assume anything incorrect about them (that'd be, in an environment where qprs are talked about a lot, terms like nonamorous or aplatonic)

With the additional complication that terms like "platonic" can be used to mean different things from colloquial meaning. Not always in consistent ways within aro dialogue either.


There's also the likes of this which uses the semi-major axis of the Galilean moons as a metaphor for "closeness". (Whilst ignoring both the properties of the moons or the origin of their names.)

 

12 hours ago, Coyote said:

In the aro community physical affection appears to be a similarly divisive issue. Possibly also dating and other romantic coded activities.

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2 hours ago, Mark said:

With "nonamorous" being a term which is likely to confuse people. Since it's a synonym, in Latin, for "asexual".

Honestly I haven't seen anyone be confused about this. in my experience people get confused, but mostly about how it relates to polyamory. i dont think nonamory was supoosed to be about any attraction. anyway, this is not a terminology discussion, or is it..??

2 hours ago, Mark said:

In the aro community physical affection appears to be a similarly divisive issue. Possibly also dating and other romantic coded activities.

And I'm not surprised in the least, since so much of it is romo coded and what is romo and what isn't to an individual person is highly subjective 

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7 hours ago, Mark said:

With "nonamorous" being a term which is likely to confuse people.

 

Depending on how familiar they are with the term polyamorous, I would think. The term was derived as a spinoff of that one.

 

7 hours ago, Mark said:

With these being concepts which came from outside of the aro (or aroace) community...

 

huh? Nonamory was suggested by anagnori, who is aromantic.

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13 hours ago, Coyote said:
21 hours ago, Mark said:

With these being concepts which came from outside of the aro (or aroace) community...

 

huh? Nonamory was suggested by anagnori, who is aromantic.

I think mark meant concepts "relationship escalator" and "nesting behaviours" 

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13 hours ago, Coyote said:

Depending on how familiar they are with the term polyamorous, I would think. The term was derived as a spinoff of that one.

According to the coiner, Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart, the "amorous" part was intended to mean "sexual".
Thought the FAQ uses the rather convoluted

Quote

Polyamory means "loving more than one". This love may be sexual, emotional, spiritual, or any combination thereof, according to the desires and agreements of the individuals involved, but you needn't wear yourself out trying to figure out ways to fit fondness for apple pie, or filial piety, or a passion for the Saint Paul Saints baseball club into it. "Polyamorous" is also used as a descriptive term by people who are open to more than one relationship even if they are not currently involved in more than one. (Heck, some are involved in less than one.) Some people think the definition is a bit loose, but it's got to be fairly roomy to fit the wide range of poly arrangements out there.

Which is very much an umbrella term.

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back on track...?? what can we do other than wordsmith?? I'm really interested in suggestions

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Getting to the root of the issue, could it just be that for some parts of the internet it has become normalised to make up words and flags. I know there are some 'pride' flags that are based off orientations created for a work of fiction that may or may not have anthropomorphic characters (I avoided reading it because if it isn't anthropomorphic then it is gonna be pseudo-bestiality, so I just wanted to avoid it). 

 

I know that in my own experience I rejected the asexual term because I couldn't connect with any experiences in the community back in 2007, and ultimately I think it is the experiences rather than the dry, simplified dictionary explanation which people use to find labels for themselves BUT when they can't find shared experiences they make something up. Maybe it all started because the communities started small and skewed towards people who felt most different/alienated. So the labels have sprouted like mushrooms as the communities move from being extreme-end to more mainstream as they embrace more varied people and experiences.

Now people are just making up labels (and flags) because they find it an enjoyable hobby or something, and do it all on the expectation that someone out there 'might' need it because 3 or 5 or 10 years ago there was a need for different or broader terms.

 

The best solution would be to pop the label and flag producing pimples on the internet and advocate the broader understandings of terms like grey- 

Seriously, I do think we already have all the labels we could possibly ever need, and even now many of them severely overlap. 

 

I say all of this, but even I use a microlabel sometimes. I have searched. Apparently only 2 people use it, me included. I have also seen 5 or 6 people questioning and thinking it might fit them only to be shut down (fairly brutally in some cases) but 'well-meaning' people trying to reduce the usage of microlabels. It is all a bit of a mess. If we could tuck it all under the carpet of grey- or aspec it would be much tidier, but people would have to search much harder to find shared experiences because there wouldn't be specific terms they could put in a search bar to pinpoint people who may be the same as them. 

 

(edit: I can give links later, if you want them)

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13 hours ago, Apathetic Echidna said:

Now people are just making up labels (and flags) because they find it an enjoyable hobby or something, and do it all on the expectation that someone out there 'might' need it because 3 or 5 or 10 years ago there was a need for different or broader terms.

I don't think this is just a hobby. I think we are in a era, in particular in anglo-saxon country, when it is all about "communities" or "finding your identity name". And if the word or the community you find doesn't fit 100% of your experience, you want a new term.

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13 hours ago, Apathetic Echidna said:

(edit: I can give links later, if you want them)

 

I always appreciate links. :icecream:

 

13 hours ago, Apathetic Echidna said:

I know that in my own experience I rejected the asexual term because I couldn't connect with any experiences in the community back in 2007, and ultimately I think it is the experiences rather than the dry, simplified dictionary explanation which people use to find labels for themselves

 

Hard agree. I haven't adopted the labels I have just from staring at the definitions alone. I even wrote a post about that in 2015, although it could really stand to be updated... There's things I'd say differently now.

 

6 minutes ago, nonmerci said:

And if the word or the community you find doesn't fit 100% of your experience, you want a new term.

 

I think that's a bad outlook to have -- where "bad" here means "detrimental to having a community." I've mentioned this elsewhere before, but communities will always, always have people who are different from each other... because people are different from each other, period.

 

13 hours ago, Apathetic Echidna said:

Now people are just making up labels (and flags) because they find it an enjoyable hobby or something, and do it all on the expectation that someone out there 'might' need it because 3 or 5 or 10 years ago there was a need for different or broader terms. 

 

I... hate this, to be honest. Whipping up an endless conveyor belt of neologisms to send them off like paper boats on the off chance that someone out there might appreciate it is like spending your days adding tape to paper towels because somebody might want a bandaid. That's not how you make sure this stuff is useful. And that frustrates me, because it means people are pouring energy into things other than (and basically at the expense of) community building.

 

This isn't just some generic commentary about there being "too many" or the terms not being "respectable" enough, to be clear. After all, I'm someone who identifies with a concept that's pretty undignified & that was first named on a whim (wtfromantic). And there have also been... an endless array of gender terms that I've looked at and been like... maybe? Maybe this could work, I guess, but let's see how it's used first/what the community looks like, in order for me to tell if this is an identity that works for me, and then [insert surprised gru meme] there is no community. There's no one posting about what it means to them or hardly using it at all. So it's practically useless to me. What am I supposed to do, start an entire community myself? Around a term somebody else created? Why's there a term at all if you can't find out anything about it besides the name? It feels like a bait & switch and I feel cheated.

 

I don't necessarily want to make things "tidier." I just want to see some actual follow-through.

 

But there won't be, because aro, ace, & nb online communities (as far as I can tell) are majorly based on Tumblr, and Tumblr overall prioritizes images, not text. Consequently: endless autocratic flag generation & moodboards, far surpassing any actual in-depth discussion. There are some terms I can find more flag/moodboard posts about than people identifying with them, let alone talking about it. You want to stem the flow of neolabels generally, you're going to have to form a bigger aro community off Tumblr.

 

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12 hours ago, nonmerci said:

I think we are in a era, in particular in anglo-saxon country, when it is all about "communities" or "finding your identity name".

Yeah, this would come under specificity. People are less happy with having a broad/vague label. Maybe the internet has changed the dynamic and subject but I don't think it is new to this era. An example of it happening in the past would be people defining themselves by their home-town or state rather than their country, like the wonderful old lady I met when I was a kid: Someone asked her if she was from America and she said 'No. I'm from Texas'. "Texan" was much more important than "American" to her. 

 

@Coyote  I couldn't find the link to support my hobby comment as it was from Tumblr, but basically someone was dissecting Latin and French usages to create a label and they ended the post with something like '..and now it is here I hope someone out there finds it useful' 

 

Some links:

Here is the book, which has always been posted in the Shitposting category, and the description was always that it is a satire (however the author has had to put more warnings of its fictional content because people kept stealing their work and treating it as serious/public property (<which is specifically against the rules of the site))

https://www.wattpad.com/341462536-complete-list-of-genders-the-complete-list-of-all

 

This is (one of the many) places flags are being churned out. They do requests, so there is some need, but it seems those are on hold while they try to document new flags for new labels. As you can see in the comments section they have gotten a lot of hate recently for making a gender flag for Autigender which was taken straight from JotaroKissesDolphin's satiric book. 

https://www.deviantart.com/pride-flags/

and maybe just have a look at some of the other flags they have given to already existing labels (pride-flags only does flags, they don't make the labels)

https://www.deviantart.com/pride-flags/art/Arogender-749624700

https://www.deviantart.com/pride-flags/art/Vixengender-749229354

https://www.deviantart.com/pride-flags/art/Nebulagender-748751971 (I think this one is legit pretty, but as art, not as a pride flag)

https://www.deviantart.com/pride-flags/art/Sodagender-751775285

https://www.deviantart.com/pride-flags/art/Cake-Gender-Cakegender-751776538

https://www.deviantart.com/pride-flags/art/Icecream-Gender-Icecreamgender-751776754

and those flags are all mixed in with bigender and lesbian and aromantic flags. *sarcasm*and don't you just love a gender that melts given the same attention as the trans flags*sarcasm*

 

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2 hours ago, Apathetic Echidna said:

and those flags are all mixed in with bigender and lesbian and aromantic flags. *sarcasm*and don't you just love a gender that melts given the same attention as the trans flags*sarcasm*

 

No, that doesn't bother me.

 

For all I know, there's a lively and close-knit icecreamgender community out there -- I'm only annoyed when it seems like people are churning out words before/without communities instead of letting that be a co-constituative process. I'd rather this thread not turn into taking shots at unfamiliar terms just because they seem odd conceptually.

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I feel as tho the aro community is trapped in an echo chamber of sorts. Maybe not agreeing opinions but no matter what platform you're on people do tend to be doing the same things, the same way. I can't say specifically what we can do other than create words and flags, other than reprioritise? And I say this as someone how uses 'aromantic' and no other terms from within the aro community, which makes this easy for me to say for sure. But truly I believe if focus was shifted elsewhere things would change. The problem of course is if you aren’t out - which I believe is the majority of aromantics - then what else can you do but be present online? And where the culture across the board is to create vocab and flags? The forums here are discussion based and lots of the topics of discussion in the aromantic community rn lead back to vocab. Tumblr is heavily image based yes so sure you could create aro art but the tagging system is shit and people don’t reblog art. For those who use tumblr for writing again it leads back to vocab discussions and, like art, stories don’t get reblogged. I see polls or surveys happening on tumblr too but what do they talk about? What's your orientation and what labels do you use. Discord is purely a chatting platform, which can lead to the same vocab issue again. I'm not involved in any other platforms or areas of the aro community but I expect it's the same. I would be greatly surprised if it were different and I hope I'm wrong. I think I'm simplifying this down a fair amount but its safe to say all our community building is happening online and that’s not bad thing but it is clearly limiting atm. People want to build and create but lack outlets. We need something to put our energy and drive into and vocab is relevant and can somewhat satiate the feeling of 'I don’t fit in this amatonormative world' that every shade of aro feels. Within the confines of the closet creating language that describes yourself in a world that ostracises you is probably the most convenient way to dismantle that issue. So where do we go from here? I don’t have an answer unfortunately.

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