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Evy

Aromantic Asexuals in Literature

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Hi everyone!

 

I'm fairly new to arocalypse but I've been looking for forums for aro people for a while and this seems like a great place!

 

I was just wondering what you all think of the representation of aromanticism in literature? For one of my classes at uni I am doing a podcast where I hope to interview an aromantic asexual about acearos in literature, but I thought I might get a feel for the general vibe from a bigger audience first!

 

I, myself, am aromantic asexual and I find it incredibly frustrating that there is a major lack of representation of aros in literature.

 

So really this is a two part question:

 

1. What do you feel about aromantic and/or asexual representation in literature?

2. Do you have any aromantic and/or asexual book/film/tv recommendations?

 

Anyway, I'm Evy, I'm from Melbourne Australia, and I am very excited to be here!

 

Thanks!

 

p.s. I'm posting this in this forum because it's kind of research. but if there is a better place for me to post, I will happily move it. :)

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Hi Evy!

Most of the literature I have read is French literature, and I can say that romance is highly present when it's not the main inspiration of writers. However, the play En attendant Godot (Waiting for Godot in English)  by Samuel Beckett contains no explicit romance and no sexual references. The two main character kinda form an old couple, but nothings indicates that it is romantic.

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I haven't read any literature that explicitly stated that a character was aro or ace. There are many that don't involve romance but they don't explore the possibility of a person not desiring it.

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Jo in Little Women reads as aromantic asexual to me. She's based on the author who seems to have been gay (though that was no invented at the time ;)) So if you read "the extra material" so to speak she's not aro or ace. But the book just portray her as not being romantically or sexually interested in anyone.

The main character in Ann Leckie's Ancilary trilogy also reads as aromantic asexual to me. But it's complicated.

As for books not contaning romance or sex, I looked at all the books I have in my read list and it's interesting to note that fiction ones lacking romance and sex are either childrens books or old time classics. The only one that is neither is Elephant Gold by Eric Campbell. Also some books by Jodi Picoult but I don't really like them enough to recommend them.

   
   

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The protagonist of Heartless is explicitly asexual, and reading between the lines I think she's probably aromantic too. She doesn't seem to have ever fallen in love, and it seems unlikely that she will soon. (She's also a newly-turned vampire in Victorian England, whose asexuality makes her immune to the vampires' mind control ability.)

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Ooh that sounds like an interesting read, I'll have to check it out. 

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I'd say I'd like to see more aromantic representation; most of the only characters I've seen who reject romance are in kids books, with the implication being that it's a sign of immaturity and that they'll grow out of it. Same thing with asexual representation, though possibly because I don't like to read books that feature romance central to the story, it seems like it's hard to tell one way or another unless the character explicitly says so (like Jughead).

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On ‎12‎/‎10‎/‎2016 at 10:08 PM, Ettina said:

The protagonist of Heartless is explicitly asexual, and reading between the lines I think she's probably aromantic too. She doesn't seem to have ever fallen in love, and it seems unlikely that she will soon. (She's also a newly-turned vampire in Victorian England, whose asexuality makes her immune to the vampires' mind control ability.)

This sounds like the best book ever

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On 1/22/2017 at 5:40 AM, lollipop said:

This sounds like the best book ever

Webcomic, actually. But yes.

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On 2016-12-11 at 4:08 AM, Ettina said:

The protagonist of Heartless is explicitly asexual, and reading between the lines I think she's probably aromantic too. She doesn't seem to have ever fallen in love, and it seems unlikely that she will soon. (She's also a newly-turned vampire in Victorian England, whose asexuality makes her immune to the vampires' mind control ability.)


It's really good! Thanks for the recommendation.

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1. We need waaaaaaaaaaaay more.. that aren't children

2. Clariel by Garth Nix. I adore it :D Also, in some ways you could consider Skeeter from The Help (one of my alltime favourite books/movies) a greyromantic asexual

 

On 11/12/2016 at 3:08 AM, Ettina said:

The protagonist of Heartless is explicitly asexual, and reading between the lines I think she's probably aromantic too. She doesn't seem to have ever fallen in love, and it seems unlikely that she will soon. (She's also a newly-turned vampire in Victorian England, whose asexuality makes her immune to the vampires' mind control ability.)

This looks awesome, I wish it was a book

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On 12/9/2016 at 3:12 PM, Holmbo said:

Jo in Little Women reads as aromantic asexual to me. She's based on the author who seems to have been gay (though that was no invented at the time ;)) So if you read "the extra material" so to speak she's not aro or ace. But the book just portray her as not being romantically or sexually interested in anyone.

Jo March was, in fact, canonically aromantic. Louisa May Alcott was planning not to have her marry anyone, but, since her work came out in installments, her readers were furious with Alcott when Jo didn't marry Laurie, and they pressured Alcott into creating Professor Bhaer so Jo would be married "happily ever after."

 

this article talks about it a little bit:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.indiewire.com/2018/05/little-women-jo-laurie-bhaer-changes-1201966711/amp/

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i've talked about my favourite aro headcanon of all time: piper from rick riordan's 'heroes of olympus' series, followed by luna from 'harry potter' as aro/ace.  also arospec: the title character in jane austen's 'emma,'  rosa from 'brooklyn nine-nine,' joey from 'friends,' dean from 'supernatural,' and barney and robin from 'how i met your mother'.  i'm sure i'm forgetting some, i pretty much find an hc in every book/show.  i have some from the old movies i watch but i figure you wouldn't know them.

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On 1/31/2019 at 7:32 AM, mirithepuppy said:

Jo March was, in fact, canonically aromantic. Louisa May Alcott was planning not to have her marry anyone, but, since her work came out in installments, her readers were furious with Alcott when Jo didn't marry Laurie, and they pressured Alcott into creating Professor Bhaer so Jo would be married "happily ever after."

 

this article talks about it a little bit:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.indiewire.com/2018/05/little-women-jo-laurie-bhaer-changes-1201966711/amp/

I didn't know that. I think the author stayed true to her character though. I never read her feelings for Bhaer as romantic. More like trust and a longing for comfort.

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On 1/31/2019 at 2:06 PM, aro_elise said:

i've talked about my favourite aro headcanon of all time: piper from rick riordan's 'heroes of olympus' series, followed by luna from 'harry potter' as aro/ace.  also arospec: the title character in jane austen's 'emma,'  rosa from 'brooklyn nine-nine,' joey from 'friends,' dean from 'supernatural,' and barney and robin from 'how i met your mother'.  i'm sure i'm forgetting some, i pretty much find an hc in every book/show.  i have some from the old movies i watch but i figure you wouldn't know them.

Hmm, I've read almost all the Riordan books (minus the most recent Trials of Apollo book and the Egyptian series) but didn't pick up on the aro vibes from Piper. What were the clues to you that she was aro(spec)? Luna and Dean DEFINITELY 

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Let's see, this isn't really a character hc but I think "The Missing Piece" and "The Missing Piece Meets the Big O" both have possible aromantic readings because they're all about looking for something you think you need, then realizing that that thing is not going to give you happiness. The "main character" in the former ends up alone AND content in the end, its fundamental nature unchanged by the relationship with the missing piece. The Big O in the latter is whole to begin with and isn't convinced that it needs to find a missing piece at all. missingpieceshelsilverstein-60ddd762d108

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22 hours ago, SwoleBirder said:

What were the clues to you that she was aro(spec)?

this conversation:

 

piper: jason's great.  he's my closest friend, even more than annabeth.  but whatever i thought was there, my happily-ever-after...it just wasn't.

apollo: your relationship was born in crisis.  such romances are difficult to sustain once the crisis is over.

piper: it wasn't just that.

apollo: *anecdote about an ex*

piper: it was me.

apollo: what do you mean it was you?  you mean you realized you didn't love jason?  that's no one's fault.

narration: she grimaced, as if i (apollo) still hadn't grasped what she meant...or perhaps she wan't sure herself.

piper: i know it's nobody's fault.  i do love him.  but...like i told you, hera forced us together--the marriage goddess, arranging a happy couple.  my memories of starting to date jason, our first few months together, were a total illusion.  then, as soon as i found that out, before i could even process what it meant, aphrodite claimed me.  my mom, the goddess of love.  aphrodite pushed me into thinking i was...that i needed to...look at me, the great charmspeaker.  i don't even have words.  aphrodite expects her daughters to wrap men around our little fingers, break their hearts, et cetera.

apollo: yes.  your mother has definite ideas about how romance should be.

piper: so if you take that away, the goddess of marriage pushing me to settle down with a nice boy, the goddess of love pushing me to be the perfect romantic lady or whatever--

apollo: you're wondering who you are without all that pressure.

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On 2/23/2019 at 8:13 PM, aro_elise said:

this conversation:

 

piper: jason's great.  he's my closest friend, even more than annabeth.  but whatever i thought was there, my happily-ever-after...it just wasn't.

apollo: your relationship was born in crisis.  such romances are difficult to sustain once the crisis is over.

piper: it wasn't just that.

apollo: *anecdote about an ex*

piper: it was me.

apollo: what do you mean it was you?  you mean you realized you didn't love jason?  that's no one's fault.

narration: she grimaced, as if i (apollo) still hadn't grasped what she meant...or perhaps she wan't sure herself.

piper: i know it's nobody's fault.  i do love him.  but...like i told you, hera forced us together--the marriage goddess, arranging a happy couple.  my memories of starting to date jason, our first few months together, were a total illusion.  then, as soon as i found that out, before i could even process what it meant, aphrodite claimed me.  my mom, the goddess of love.  aphrodite pushed me into thinking i was...that i needed to...look at me, the great charmspeaker.  i don't even have words.  aphrodite expects her daughters to wrap men around our little fingers, break their hearts, et cetera.

apollo: yes.  your mother has definite ideas about how romance should be.

piper: so if you take that away, the goddess of marriage pushing me to settle down with a nice boy, the goddess of love pushing me to be the perfect romantic lady or whatever--

apollo: you're wondering who you are without all that pressure.

Wow, okay o.o That's pretty convincing. Guess I need to finish the Trials of Apollo series--thanks for sharing this! :)

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I highly recommend The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee. It is a sequel, but you don't really have to read the first book to follow the plot. The main character Felicity is aroace, although because it's a historical fiction book she doesn't use the terms explicitly. But she has experiences and feelings that I really relate with! And also the author has confirmed that if she were living today she would likely consider herself aroace. It's one of my favorite books.

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I second The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, and add Baker Thief by Claudie Arseneault. I can’t remember if the text explicitly says “alloaro” or “allosexual aromantic”, but it is made very clear that the MC is alloaro (and also genderfluid). And there’s representation of a lot (like a lot a lot) of other queer identities too. 

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