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treepod

frustrated by lack of representation and fandom

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Anyone else get really disappointed when a character you related to as possibly aro turns out not to be, or fandom for the character ships them relentlessly? It's nobody's fault really (people deserve to write about and imagine whatever makes them happy), but it still makes me sad and lonely in my little aro corner. I have a few examples.

 

My first (and probably most traumatic) encounter with this was when I was in high school, my best friend recommended the book Graceling to me. It was a great book, from what I remember, and I really enjoyed the magic system. And at first, I was so ecstatic about the main character's distain for the guy who kept flirting with her. She seemed decidedly repulsed and offended, and was determined that she didn't need or want a relationship. But when she slowly fell in love with him and especially when they had sex, I was so mortified. I felt deeply betrayed by this character, who I'd been totally rooting for as an independent badass. But I didn't have the heart to tell my friend that it put a huge damper on the whole book for me (of course she shipped the two pretty hard).

 

Jughead from the Archie comics is a really particularly odd example. I personally knew nothing about the comics before the Riverdale show was announced, but in the midst of it I did find out that Jughead was intentionally asexual and most likely also aromantic (google image search "Jughead asexual" and you'll find all kinds of hilarious quotable moments). Sadly, even though his actor in the show was all for the idea of keeping this canon, the writers didn't agree. Instead I guess he's ambiguously angsty and brooding and """different""" for no actual reason, and he still gets a girlfriend. ¯\_()_/¯  I don't actually know because I've tried to stay as far away from Riverdale as possible. But so much for educating pop culture on an aro/ace narrative...

 

Next, since the new season three of Stranger Things, there seems to be a bunch of people anxious to know whether Will might be gay. This is a nice thought, sure, but given that the only evidence is his lack of a girlfriend and Mike saying he "doesn't like girls," it's not very compelling... most people seem to be ignoring that not liking girls does not equal liking boys. Obviously for us, this is very frustrating. And actually, one could much more easily make the argument for him being aro/ace because he always seems so tired by his friends' relationships, always wishing they could play D&D like they used to. Poor guy. He even told his mom, at breakfast after being grossed out by his older brother and Nancy, "I'm never going to fall in love." Like hello

 

And finally, I just finished watching the recent tv adaptation of Good Omens. I get particularly mixed feelings here. On the one hand, I totally get why people really really love shipping Crowley and Aziraphale because their dynamic is such a good mix of comical shenanigans and genuinely touching moments. But while I was watching the way they interacted over the course of the show, instead of hoping they'd kiss, I was just thinking "wow I want whatever this is real bad" (speaking as someone who's hoping for a QPR type of thing in my own life). Like, I'm really invested in how their relationship develops in canon, but I don't feel the need to imagine it going any """further""" because it's already my ideal situation. But the fandom is downright obsessed with them as a romantic and sexual thing. Like it's literally all there is. The whole "ineffable husbands" thing gives me war flashbacks straight to 2014 johnlock. Yeesh... 🤢

 

Well this has been a rant. Again, people can enjoy whatever they want, I just wish there was a little more room for me.

 

 

 

 

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Me, furiously digging myself further and further into the hole I have created within my fandoms by blacklisting every ship tag and blocking half the fandom and only interacting with the 5 people in my gen servers and churning out 20 genfics a year: Sorry did someone say something I think I have dirt in my ears

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@treepod I can completely relate to this (though I do not have as many examples as you do). Unlike what you mentioned, I do not plan to have a QPR in the future. I plan to remain completely single. My example may have made it a bit more "explosive" to bear than were I planning to have a QPR.

 

Anyway, here's my example:

My dad had shown me the movie trilogy of Back to the Future in late June or early July 2019 -- somewhere around that period. There was a character in there named Emmet "Doc" Brown. Emmet is a mad scientist who focuses on his crazy invention ideas. I envisioned him as an ace/aro because he had not had any romantic/sexual relationship pushes in the trilogy (he even reminded me of a teacher/counselor at my university who looked like Doc AND was good at math AND whom I suspect may be ace/aro! -- I greatly respect this counselor/teacher.). During Back to the Future III, it was revealed that Doc had fallen into love and, at the end, had children with the woman with whom he'd fallen into love. I was a little disappointed about this, realizing he would never live up to my "ideal" of what he should be. I still like Doc just as much as before, though, and I have accepted this revelation. After all, it's not wise to be too attached to one's expectations of what another should be. That will be detrimental to one upon realizing that person cannot and will not live up to those expectations.

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6 hours ago, treepod said:

Next, since the new season three of Stranger Things, there seems to be a bunch of people anxious to know whether Will might be gay.

I also see people say that he may not be interesting in relationships right now, but will be in the future.

Honestly I don't particurly assume that characters are aro, but if Will isn't I will be so disappointed. His arc like season was really one of an aro. All hus character is screaming "I am aromantic" so hard, if he is not I will be disguted.

 

And about visibility, I posted a comment on YouTube about him being aro, and an idiot answer that aromanticism doesn't exist. So yeah it would be cool to have an aro character in such a popular show.

 

6 hours ago, treepod said:

 I don't actually know because I've tried to stay as far away from Riverdale as possible. But so much for educating pop culture on an aro/ace narrative...

Don't mention Riverdale or you won't stop me and my anger lol. There is just so much to say about it.

1. The fact that it is praised as a good show for LGBT people after having be so direspectful for aro and aces. Of course you don't need to have an aro or an ace character in a show to be a good LGBT show. But when their is a character that has been declared officially asexual (meaning aroace in this case I think, considering the character and the lack of information), and that people change this just so he can date Betty?  This is an insult to us and to asexuals. And let's be honest : if they has done that with a bi or homo characters, the show would have been boycotted. But aro or ace? Nobody cares and this is unfair.  And the worst is that even the actor playing Jughead wanting him to be a-spec, he did researches and all about it, and the producers ig ore it because they thought Jug and Betty was cute together.

2. People saying things like "Jughead was gay in canon, because at this time to portray a gay character you had to portray him with a lack of interest in girls". Hello? How do you portray an aro ace character without a lack of interest in relationships? Plus it is official that he is asexual since 2015. I understand that people can be sad if they think about it as gay, but saying this like that is so aphobic : they say that as if they made him ace just to be cool or whatever, and ignore all the signe that he was aro and ace from the begining.

3. Some asexuals saying "asexuals can fall in love too"! Of course they can, but we all know that Jughead was also aro. And I don't like how they say it as if their orientation matter,  but not aromanticism.

 

(I told you, don't let me started on Riverdale lol; fortunately the show became such a non sense that I feel glad to not watch it)

 

About shipping a QPR, I understood a posteriori that watching the Originals, I was shipping Cami and Klaus as a QPR. Well not exactly, but I remember that I like their relationship the way it was, and that I didn't wanted them to date (or maybe at the end of the show when I won't watch lol). I thought that them kissing would mean the end of their relationship, not the begining. They really had a strong platonic thing, and for me romance would destroyer what they had. Of course I didn't understand d why the fantôme didn't share my opinion, as I didn't know about aromanticism at that time.

 

6 hours ago, treepod said:

Anyone else get really disappointed when a character you related to as possibly aro turns out not to be, or fandom for the character ships them relentlessly?

As I know aromanticism is not well known,  I don't expect characters to be aro, instead of really obvious case like Will to mention (I will be very disappointed if he is not aro in the end), or Riverdale because they change his identity.

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I think shipping is always gonna be a big part of fandoms. And no couple is safe from it, not even siblings. 😝

 

I think the amount of shipping is different depending on fan site though. Places that have a lot of memes and sharing of quick reactions will in my experience have more than those who are more about text.

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1 hour ago, Holmbo said:

I think shipping is always gonna be a big part of fandoms. And no couple is safe from it, not even siblings. 😝

 

*sigh* I wish you were wrong :( 

 

 

2 hours ago, nonmerci said:

Don't mention Riverdale or you won't stop me and my anger lol. There is just so much to say about it.

1. The fact that it is praised as a good show for LGBT people after having be so direspectful for aro and aces. Of course you don't need to have an aro or an ace character in a show to be a good LGBT show. But when their is a character that has been declared officially asexual (meaning aroace in this case I think, considering the character and the lack of information), and that people change this just so he can date Betty?  This is an insult to us and to asexuals. And let's be honest : if they has done that with a bi or homo characters, the show would have been boycotted. But aro or ace? Nobody cares and this is unfair.  And the worst is that even the actor playing Jughead wanting him to be a-spec, he did researches and all about it, and the producers ig ore it because they thought Jug and Betty was cute together.

2. People saying things like "Jughead was gay in canon, because at this time to portray a gay character you had to portray him with a lack of interest in girls". Hello? How do you portray an aro ace character without a lack of interest in relationships? Plus it is official that he is asexual since 2015. I understand that people can be sad if they think about it as gay, but saying this like that is so aphobic : they say that as if they made him ace just to be cool or whatever, and ignore all the signe that he was aro and ace from the begining.

3. Some asexuals saying "asexuals can fall in love too"! Of course they can, but we all know that Jughead was also aro. And I don't like how they say it as if their orientation matter,  but not aromanticism.

 

I wish you were wrong too. I hate all of this...

 

 

9 hours ago, treepod said:

Jughead from the Archie comics is a really particularly odd example. I personally knew nothing about the comics before the Riverdale show was announced, but in the midst of it I did find out that Jughead was intentionally asexual and most likely also aromantic (google image search "Jughead asexual" and you'll find all kinds of hilarious quotable moments). Sadly, even though his actor in the show was all for the idea of keeping this canon, the writers didn't agree. Instead I guess he's ambiguously angsty and brooding and """different""" for no actual reason, and he still gets a girlfriend. ¯\_()_/¯  I don't actually know because I've tried to stay as far away from Riverdale as possible. But so much for educating pop culture on an aro/ace narrative...

 

If only they also said "aromantic" in the comics.. they probably used "asexual"  for aro ace, unfortunatly. And that was only in one spin off ><

 

But i agree, i would have loved to see aroace jughead in a tv serie ! I heard the show was actually good for other lgbt+peoples. Too bad. I am very disapointed in Riverdale.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Holmbo said:

I think shipping is always gonna be a big part of fandoms. And no couple is safe from it, not even siblings. 😝

 

I think the amount of shipping is different depending on fan site though. Places that have a lot of memes and sharing of quick reactions will in my experience have more than those who are more about text.

True that! I guess when I said people should be able to enjoy *whatever*... there are some limits. What you say about different fan sites makes a lot of since. The wild thing I discovered about Good Omens is that shipping overwhelms everything everywhere. I’m sure there’s other stuff out there from more mature people but of course the really avid ones drown them out and it overwhelms me a lot. I think I may have found one podcast that looks like it will be all or mostly free of it. 

 

51 minutes ago, Cristal Gris said:

If only they also said "aromantic" in the comics.. they probably used "asexual"  for aro ace, unfortunatly.

Yeah I had a feeling that was a case. It seems that general lexicon isn’t usually aware of the split attraction model, so since the words people are already familiar with are terms like bisexual, asexual looks like the corresponding term for somebody who’s interested in nobody (as in one or the other, both/all, or neither/none, where asexual = neither/none). It looks from the outside like a complete system. Also people have a hard time imagining what a relationship without a sexual element would be like, so that’s probably part of it.

 

3 hours ago, nonmerci said:

I also see people say that he may not be interesting in relationships right now, but will be in the future.

Honestly I don't particurly assume that characters are aro, but if Will isn't I will be so disappointed. His arc like season was really one of an aro. All hus character is screaming "I am aromantic" so hard, if he is not I will be disguted.

 

And about visibility, I posted a comment on YouTube about him being aro, and an idiot answer that aromanticism doesn't exist. So yeah it would be cool to have an aro character in such a popular show.

Yeah this here is really a great opportunity to educate pop culture en masse because this show is so beloved. If they pass it up I’ll be crushed. Not to mention how insulting it is when someone “gives in” to a romantic relationship. Like Jughead would have basically been cut and paste easy representation if they’d let it. But instead they made a self-indulgent social-outcast-meets-popular-kid trope that no one needs any more of. Our identities get boiled down to social ineptitude and coming of age sexual awakening narratives and it drives me up the wall. 

4 hours ago, nonmerci said:

About shipping a QPR, I understood a posteriori that watching the Originals, I was shipping Cami and Klaus as a QPR. Well not exactly, but I remember that I like their relationship the way it was, and that I didn't wanted them to date (or maybe at the end of the show when I won't watch lol). I thought that them kissing would mean the end of their relationship, not the begining. They really had a strong platonic thing, and for me romance would destroyer what they had. Of course I didn't understand d why the fantôme didn't share my opinion, as I didn't know about aromanticism at that time.

“The end of their relationship, not the beginning” yes! QPRs are pretty ambiguous as a term and don’t have a lot of good examples in fiction, so I was actually really grateful for the way the main characters in Good Omens displayed intimacy on an emotional level while remaining at somewhat of a distance. But when fandom turns this into a juicy will-they-won’t-they thing, it occurs to me that to most people this stuff is just like foreplay to the main event. But to me, them “getting together” would spell the end for the dynamic I loved so much.

7 hours ago, The Angel of Eternity said:

@treepod I can completely relate to this (though I do not have as many examples as you do). Unlike what you mentioned, I do not plan to have a QPR in the future. I plan to remain completely single. My example may have made it a bit more "explosive" to bear than were I planning to have a QPR.

 

Anyway, here's my example:

My dad had shown me the movie trilogy of Back to the Future in late June or early July 2019 -- somewhere around that period. There was a character in there named Emmet "Doc" Brown. Emmet is a mad scientist who focuses on his crazy invention ideas. I envisioned him as an ace/aro because he had not had any romantic/sexual relationship pushes in the trilogy (he even reminded me of a teacher/counselor at my university who looked like Doc AND was good at math AND whom I suspect may be ace/aro! -- I greatly respect this counselor/teacher.). During Back to the Future III, it was revealed that Doc had fallen into love and, at the end, had children with the woman with whom he'd fallen into love. I was a little disappointed about this, realizing he would never live up to my "ideal" of what he should be. I still like Doc just as much as before, though, and I have accepted this revelation. After all, it's not wise to be too attached to one's expectations of what another should be. That will be detrimental to one upon realizing that person cannot and will not live up to those expectations.

It can be extra frustrating when writers feel the need to give a character an obligatory “happy ending”/wife+kids because that’s what’s expected. It’s like they don’t know how to finish the job when it comes to creating a character with an unconventional lifestyle. Still I’m glad you can enjoy Doc’s character regardless. I totally see why he’s appealing and how he’s one of those special ones to keep with you for a long time. Ultimately it’s better to focus on what mattered to you about him in the first place.

 

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, treepod said:

It can be extra frustrating when writers feel the need to give a character an obligatory “happy ending”/wife+kids because that’s what’s expected.

cough good omens cough

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1 hour ago, raavenb2619 said:

cough good omens cough

(how do I do strikethrough on mobile?)

Are you referring to the story itself or the fandom?

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4 hours ago, treepod said:

Are you referring to the story itself or the fandom?

The TV show. It's been a bit since I've watched it (and this based only on the TV show, not anything else), so I'm a bit hazy on the details (and very hazy on the names), so correct me if I'm wrong about any of the following, but...

Aziraphale is with Crowley (makes sense. this show is about their interpersonal relationship and we get a lot of chemistry between them, so I have no complaints about this)

Guy who breaks computers ends up with witch lady (ok sure? they had some on screen chemistry in the show this is sort of plausible)

Old witchfinder cult leader guy ends up with lady who shared a body with Aziraphale briefly (seriously? didn't he super hate/distrust her for like 90% of the show? is he ending up with her because we need a happy ending and it's not a happy ending if their are single adult humans? i think so)

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4 hours ago, raavenb2619 said:

The TV show. It's been a bit since I've watched it (and this based only on the TV show, not anything else), so I'm a bit hazy on the details (and very hazy on the names), so correct me if I'm wrong about any of the following, but...

Aziraphale is with Crowley (makes sense. this show is about their interpersonal relationship and we get a lot of chemistry between them, so I have no complaints about this)

Guy who breaks computers ends up with witch lady (ok sure? they had some on screen chemistry in the show this is sort of plausible)

Old witchfinder cult leader guy ends up with lady who shared a body with Aziraphale briefly (seriously? didn't he super hate/distrust her for like 90% of the show? is he ending up with her because we need a happy ending and it's not a happy ending if their are single adult humans? i think so)

Ahhh. Yeah that about describes my scope of understanding/comfort level with those relationships too. The last one I remember did baffle me a lot and it did feel obligatory. But it’s a comedy so maybe it was meant to be sort of a gag pair. Usually when it’s minor characters I just tolerate/ignore it. I’m glad personally that they didn’t feel the need to define Crowley and Aziraphale’s relationship at least, embracing that it’s unconventional instead of trying to “tie up loose ends”

 

EDIT: I just found this and I’m living for it: 

basically it sounds like Neil is saying that because they’re beings not of this world, anything is possible, and thus he prefers to leave it up to the viewer’s imagination. Their love for one another could be interpreted as being on a different level apart from the friendship-romance dichotomy. Neat!

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14 hours ago, treepod said:

Yeah I had a feeling that was a case. It seems that general lexicon isn’t usually aware of the split attraction model, so since the words people are already familiar with are terms like bisexual, asexual looks like the corresponding term for somebody who’s interested in nobody (as in one or the other, both/all, or neither/none, where asexual = neither/none).

but that is a correct definition of asexual? not all aces use the split their attraction and saying that if you're not interested in anyone than you have to identify as aroace is erasing a lot of people's experiences. if the creators say that jughead is asexual, than that means that he's asexual. it supposes nothing about his romantic orientation, or whether he has one at all.

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2 minutes ago, assignedgothatbirth said:

but that is a correct definition of asexual? not all aces use the split their attraction and saying that if you're not interested in anyone than you have to identify as aroace is erasing a lot of people's experiences. if the creators say that jughead is asexual, than that means that he's asexual. it supposes nothing about his romantic orientation, or whether he has one at all.

I mean yeah. My point was that the general public isn’t very aware of aromanticism as a thing that can be separate from being asexual and that can be a little annoying sometimes. I never meant to say that someone has to use the split attraction model. This is coming from someone who used to use asexual as a blanket term for my own aromanticism as well, so I know what that’s like.

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On 8/7/2019 at 8:20 PM, treepod said:

Anyone else get really disappointed when a character you related to as possibly aro turns out not to be, or fandom for the character ships them relentlessly?

 

 

 

 

all the time! When I watched Captain Marvel back in March I really saw Carol and Maria as a qpr, but I got totally stomped on by even my close friends who saw them as lesbians. I just wish that queer allos got as excited about aro and/or ace representation as I get about other kinds of queer representation. 

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On 8/8/2019 at 3:20 AM, treepod said:

And finally, I just finished watching the recent tv adaptation of Good Omens. I get particularly mixed feelings here. On the one hand, I totally get why people really really love shipping Crowley and Aziraphale because their dynamic is such a good mix of comical shenanigans and genuinely touching moments. But while I was watching the way they interacted over the course of the show, instead of hoping they'd kiss, I was just thinking "wow I want whatever this is real bad" (speaking as someone who's hoping for a QPR type of thing in my own life). Like, I'm really invested in how their relationship develops in canon, but I don't feel the need to imagine it going any """further""" because it's already my ideal situation. But the fandom is downright obsessed with them as a romantic and sexual thing. Like it's literally all there is. The whole "ineffable husbands" thing gives me war flashbacks straight to 2014 johnlock. Yeesh... 🤢

 

 

I was literally just moaning on Twitter about this.

 

Good Omens: "angels are sexless unless they really want to make an effort".

Me: "So Aziraphale's asexual, right?"

Good Omens fandom: "Wrong. Here's some porn."

 

I know shippers are gonna ship, but it is frustrating. And the Riverdale thing is not OK at all because that's not just people writing shippy fanfic, it's professional writers getting paid to erase a queer character's identity.

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On 8/25/2019 at 10:26 PM, Skittles87 said:

And the Riverdale thing is not OK at all because that's not just people writing shippy fanfic, it's professional writers getting paid to erase a queer character's identity.

This This This. 

 

I'm relaxed about fandoms because it is basically peoples' hobbies, or they use it as a way to improve their writing skills like essays you have to do in school. However when professionals get praised by the masses for 'representation' when it is clearly not 👹 🚫(we have no poop emoji?)

 

I find being really strict about what I watch/ read is the only way I can deal with it. Mostly I avoid fandoms if I love the canon. :( 

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On 8/8/2019 at 3:20 AM, treepod said:

Anyone else get really disappointed when a character you related to as possibly aro turns out not to be, or fandom for the character ships them relentlessly?

First question: Fuck canon, that's what fandom is for and they can still be aro in my AU

 

Second question: Only in the same way I get disappointed when I ship something different to a fandom juggernaut. I'd always like to have more content that caters to my personal interests, but I won't begrudge other fans their fun. (Obligatory "shipping is not activism" mention) 

 

I'm 100% here for critically discussing professional shows with poorly-executed "representation" though. 

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3 hours ago, eatingcroutons said:

First question: Fuck canon, that's what fandom is for and they can still be aro in my AU

 

I rather like this approach. Reminds me of a podcast I listened to where the hosts stated that there's always one correct ending for a TV show. Which excist regardless of how the writers actually end it.

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