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bydontost

Acephobic antagonism in aro spaces

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There's a lot of cooperation between aro and ace activists, initiatives, orgs. There's also hostility in some aro and ace spaces, which is usually aimed at one identity. So it can be aimed at aces, at aros, at alloaros or at alloaces, maybe to a lesser degree at aroaces (they deal with being caught in the crossfire of aces vs aros antagonisms instead), but that happens too. There's a lot of hurt and bitterness, and the communities are linked (by people, by history), and it creates tensions, because we have our differences. Some people would like to be separate - alloaces were vocal about asexuality not always going together with aromanticism, now alloaros are starting to be more vocal about the differences and not wanting to associate with aces. This creates an identity split in some places - it's aros against aces, aces against aros and everyone with the same label gets thrown into the same bag. That leads to divisions, because we have our differences, but what the "aros this", "aces that" actually achieve? Hurt, alienation, helplessness..? Cool, very constructive, we'll go far on this. This split also creates an allosexual vs ace division in the aro community, which puts non-sam aros and greyaces in a weird vacuum.

 

Say an aro person is angry at an ace person for doing something a bit insensitive. We create anger and guilt, and people who are feeling guilty don't make good progress for a cause, because they don't want to actually do it, they feel shitty, they burn out. And if someone feels wrongly accused, they're probably not going to listen to the points another person is making anyway.

 

There will be assholes everywhere, and it's important to correct them, stand up to their assholery, or not give support to their harmful behaviors, because it's impossible to get rid of them all. They can't take over the conversations and narrations though, because that just leads to toxic communities.

 

That was a rather large introduction, but: aros who act acepobic. They're there and we need to address this problem. For the last few years we've been steeping in acephobia (exclusionist crusades on tumblr and other social media) and we're not immune. The way our communities are linked creates strong and contradictory feelings. They're our strongest allies and we want them to remain so, we're grateful, but there's also jealousy - they're bigger, more visible, have more resources, people often ignore aromanticism when it's paired with asexuality.

 

There have been instances of aros invalidating, diminishing ace people's struggles, when we get so angry when it's in reverse. There were aros saying that if you're asexual or you define your relationship as nonsexual, you're oversharing about your sex life - "you're asexual, so what, no one needs to know about your sex life" is a common acephobic talking point. There are aros taking a thing one ace person said, generalizing it to all aces. They were dismissive of things an ace person said on the basis of their asexuality. Any disagreement with an aro person by an ace person was treated as an example of arophobia, instead of someone else's opinion. "Aces are less oppressed than aros" is... an argument, suddenly (please, this really isn't oppression olympics). Ace people can be treated as if they have privilege..?? There's this mentality that if your group (aros) is more oppressed on average, it's impossible really do harm to a person from a group that is less oppressed. (No, I'm not getting into who and why and how is more oppressed, pls do me a favor and don't start that topic on this thread.)

 

I think we need to realize that some aro spaces are getting acephobic, realize that there's potential in aros to be acephobic, and try to combat that, so that we're like you know, decent humans, and don't start alienating aroaces who identify strongly with their asexuality.

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38 minutes ago, bydontost said:

That was a rather large introduction, but: aros who act acephobic. They're there and we need to address this problem.

 

Interesting choice of topic.

 

Since you raised it, I'd like to bring in this question I asked in February:

 

https://theacetheist.wordpress.com/2020/02/23/what-would-anti-ace-problem-aro-community/

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11 hours ago, Coyote said:

Interesting choice of topic.

Yeah, it evolved when i started thinking about things that were bothering me most recently

 

11 hours ago, Coyote said:

Since you raised it, I'd like to bring in this question I asked in February:

 

https://theacetheist.wordpress.com/2020/02/23/what-would-anti-ace-problem-aro-community/

It's a food for thought, and I think that what we have now is an acephobia problem

 

Some more links:

a person saying they can't interact with ace or aro communities anymore https://asterosian.tumblr.com/post/611325453799702528/i-wont-unfollow-you-i-still-love-the-content

a post specifically about allo aros not being free of ace antagonism https://shades-of-grayro.tumblr.com/post/613597892756799488/just-like-allo-aces-can-sometimes-say-things-that

some more perspectives on the things that are happening, started as talking about the tone of our interactions https://shades-of-grayro.tumblr.com/post/613603658970644480/my-problem-with-current-intracommunity-issues-tm

 

some background:

qprs are a term coined by people who identified primarily as ace; queergamic is a new word created by an ace, who wanted a word that means "qpr but explicitly nonsexual"; the first carnival of aros was on the topic of "the relationship between aro and ace communities" that left many allo aros feeling that they have nothing to contribute or that everything they have to contribute is negative experiences

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2 hours ago, bydontost said:

It's a food for thought, and I think that what we have now is an acephobia problem

 

I'm glad you said it so that I don't have to.

 

What are we using as criteria, though? Asking because I want to know what other evidence would be relevant to bring in. I've got some links stored, but I want to make sure I'm not wasting anyone's time with anything not salient enough.

 

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Since a lot of your examples are simply people talking about it, I'd like to offer some specific examples.

 

Probably the most egregious example I've seen so far is this bulleted list of criticisms of the word queeragamic. (Which to be clear, I don't like the word and think there are valid criticisms/concerns/worries to have about it, just, not the main point the person is making below.)

Quote

I’ll go through some of the highlights from the discord server where we’ve been having a long discussion about this.

  • Needlessly gives other people private information about your sex life
  • Implies that qprs are inherently sexual
  • The coiner has classified criticism from alloaros as “hate” instead of valid critisism
  • Qprs don’t have to be sexual in nature to begin with
  • Needlessly telling people it’s not sexual enforces the exclusionist rhetoric that aces overshare about their sex lives
  • Coiner also said something along the lines of being tired of having to explicitly state that their qpr isn’t sexual. Which like. You definitely don’t have to do.
  • Especially to people who didn’t ask.
  • How weird would it be to introduce a romantic partner to someone and then say “we don’t have sex” like………
  • QPRS ARENT INHERENTLY SEXUAL ANYWAY AND COINER KNOWS THIS
  • Theyve acknowledged that qprs can be sexual, not that they are inherently, and still decided that they need to go out of their way to say their own isn’t. It rubs me as purity culture as hell
  • Again they refuse to listen to any alloaro that are trying to explain the problem, specifying that they’re not gonna answer any more asks from “aros who are angry about queeragamic”, do I have to tell you why specifically calling out aros to ignore is bad

It’s not the fact that they decided to use another label thats alloarophobic. It’s literally everything else about it. Everything about it screams “person who doesn’t wanna be associated with alloaros even in an abstract way”.

 

The similarities between the sentiment being expressed here and anti-ace rhetoric that identifying as ace means you're "oversharing about your sex life" make me highly uncomfortable. Especially considering this was based on a conversation on a discord server that has over 100 people on it and apparently no one pointed out that this isn't okay? However, as an ace person bringing that up, my concerns get dismissed as an ace person who's ignoring allo aro's complaints, and I don't really know how to address this issue without that being the perception?

 

One person recently called this out (which... not a huge fan of their approach, but agree with the point), and the op just dismissed them, then doubled down on the point by making this post.

 

And another angle that people were taking with the queeragamic criticisms, which you can see a little bit of at the end of the above post, is that by being uncomfortable with others assuming that you're having sex, the coiner is somehow sex-shaming allosexual aros? Which again, to me just sounds like typical anti-ace rhetoric that says identifying as asexual is sexualizing everyone else (an argument usually made in the context of minors):

Quote

Yeah okay keep your “””pure””” term for the Valid Aros who don’t have these dirty, impure sexual relationships you hate so much.

I’m gonna be over here knowing that aroaces aren’t the Superior Aro who’s inherently better than aroallos or whatever the fuck 

note: this isnt me hating aroaces in general, this is about a qpr blog i used to like deciding that aroallos are ruining the term qpr by having sexual elements in their qprs, and decided to make a “new term” thats basically just a qpr except you cant use it if your relationship is sexual. which is completely unecessary because qprs have ALWAYS included only the elements the participants want and is a highly versatile and fluid term thats personal to a relationship.

but i guess us filthy, depraved aroallos need a term we’re explicitly excluded from so that we don’t ruin the precious image of our community or whatever.

i am so fucking tired.

 

Like, the coiner of the word did coin it in reaction to realizing that there are plenty of people who use qpr to describe relationships that are also sexual, but I think they were just wrong for assuming that it wasn't sexual before? (Though, because the etymology of the word is weird, it's an understandable mistake.)

 

Idk it's a really common experience for aces to be uncomfortable with others seeing them in a sexual way. Whether that's being hit on by others, having others assume they're having sex, realizing others are seeing their body in a sexualized way -- this is a really common ace experience, and it's totally separate from sex-shaming others. Being personally uncomfortable with others assuming you're sexual is very different from shaming others for being sexual, and confusing those two is a common anti-ace sentiment.

 

1 hour ago, Coyote said:

What are we using as criteria, though? Asking because I want to know what other evidence would be relevant to bring in. I've got some links stored, but I want to make sure I'm not wasting anyone's time with anything not salient enough.

 

The criteria I used for the above was whether or not the statement was something I've heard non-aro/non-ace people say before and considered it to be anti-ace sentiment at the time, excluding generalized statements of frustration that don't deal directly in issues (e.g. "I'm tired of aces" or something like that, which would be very different coming from a non-aro/non-ace person vs. an aro person who had been hurt by aces.)

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Posted (edited)

I'll offer up a discussion I had with someone about using "dirty allosexuals" which is just straight up ace discourse rhetoric....

 

The person I brought it up with was good about it, but it's relatively common and it's just straight up ace discourse rhetoric. 

Edited by Lokiana

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Just now, Lokiana said:

I'll offer up a discussion I had with someone about using "dirty allosexuals" which is just straight up ace discourse rhetoric....

 

The person I brought it up with was good about it, but it's relatively common and it's just straight up acephobia. 

 

That person would be me. Hello!

 

I definitely do recognize that allo aros need to be careful not to repeat acephobic rhetoric, and some people are... worse about that than others. 🙄 It's something I've been trying to keep in mind lately. That being said, I definitely agree that aces also need to recognize the line between "this is genuine acephobia and I should ask this person not to talk like that" and "This person is angry about legitimate injustices done to them and I Am Feel Uncomfortable When We Are Not About Me so I'm gonna tone police them".

It definitely is a very difficult line to identify though. Allo aros need to be allowed to express frustration with the way the ace community treats us, and we need our frustration to be respected regardless of if we're being "polite"- But we also need to be very, VERY careful that we do not express this frustration via straight up repeating acephobic rhetoric, in the same way that aces need to be careful that they don't express their frustration via repeating homophobic rhetoric.

It's a very difficult line to navigate for both parties. But it absolutely needs to be navigated.

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2 minutes ago, Jot-Aro Kujo said:

That person would be me. Hello!

 

 

I thought it w as but wasn't quite sure. Connecting across platforms is not my strength. 😅

 

(Also, I know it's kind of strange, but I just wanted to sidenote here that I no longer id as ace, but I'm not iding as aroallo either. So I'm just...here. I know a lot of y'all on a personal level so figured I'd disclaimer that.)

 

4 minutes ago, Jot-Aro Kujo said:

It's a very difficult line to navigate for both parties. But it absolutely needs to be navigated.

 

100%.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, LauraG said:
2 hours ago, Coyote said:

What are we using as criteria, though? Asking because I want to know what other evidence would be relevant to bring in. I've got some links stored, but I want to make sure I'm not wasting anyone's time with anything not salient enough.

 

The criteria I used for the above was whether or not the statement was something I've heard non-aro/non-ace people say before and considered it to be anti-ace sentiment at the time, excluding generalized statements of frustration that don't deal directly in issues (e.g. "I'm tired of aces" or something like that, which would be very different coming from a non-aro/non-ace person vs. an aro person who had been hurt by aces.)

i'd say that everything that resembles things that exclusionists say is fair game, including things that imply aces are privileged are imo in, taking sth an ace does as a personal attack on your group (like with queergamic, which was not really a word for allo aros)... also, if we think sth doesn't look like discrimination, I'm sure we'll tell you C;

eta: I wouldn't count people being misinformed about where qprs came from as acephobia, unless they were given sources and repeat it or say they don't care

 

40 minutes ago, Lokiana said:

I'll offer up a discussion I had with someone about using "dirty allosexuals" which is just straight up ace discourse rhetoric....

i wish it wasn't used by exclus as sth ace people say

 

34 minutes ago, Jot-Aro Kujo said:

It definitely is a very difficult line to identify though. Allo aros need to be allowed to express frustration with the way the ace community treats us, and we need our frustration to be respected regardless of if we're being "polite"- But we also need to be very, VERY careful that we do not express this frustration via straight up repeating acephobic rhetoric, in the same way that aces need to be careful that they don't express their frustration via repeating homophobic rhetoric.

i... agree, tho i also think that we could get a bit more done if we were polite while explaining more often. the anger is going to be there, im angry a lot, but it's easier to say sth insensitive then, want to hurt the other person

i think not generalizing could help, when we're talking about a problem?? instead of talking about aces doing this and that, we could say that a certain thing happened idk, with aces?? an ace person did sth and other aces didn't react?? i think framing the problems as sth that happened or a behaviour, instead of a thing a person or group is, could help avoid the anti-ace sentiments??

 

Edited by bydontost

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8 minutes ago, bydontost said:

i... agree, tho i also think that we could get a bit more done if we were polite while explaining more often. the anger is going to be there, im angry a lot, but it's easier to say sth insensitive then, want to hurt the other person

 

 

Well, yeah. But not everyone is constantly looking to do Activism™ every time they talk about their identities. Definitely if someone is setting out to say something with the intention of getting people to listen and think, then yes, it's probably in their best interests to not simply scream about things, but sometimes people just... Are venting, on their own blogs? Allo aros are allowed to be angry. We don't have to "get things done" every time we speak. Again, we do need to be really, really careful that our anger does not dip into outright acephobia- But so long as it doesn't cross that line, there's no real reason we shouldn't be able to just talk about our emotions sometimes.

Being polite while explaining is good, definitely! But when not explaining, the language allo aros use to make personal posts on our own blogs- Again, so long as that language is not straight up acephobic rhetoric- Is our business, imo. 

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1 hour ago, LauraG said:

The criteria I used for the above was whether or not the statement was something I've heard non-aro/non-ace people say before and considered it to be anti-ace sentiment at the time,

 

Asexual privilege?

 

2 minutes ago, bydontost said:

including things that imply aces are privileged

 

Asexual privilege. Got it.

 

Okay, here's some examples of what I've seen on that front:

 

***

 

3 minutes ago, bydontost said:

i think not generalizing could help, when we're talking about a problem?? instead of talking about aces doing this and that, we could say that a certain thing happened

 

Further thoughts on that point.

 

2 minutes ago, Jot-Aro Kujo said:

Definitely if someone is setting out to say something with the intention of getting people to listen and think, then yes, it's probably in their best interests to not simply scream about things, but sometimes people just... Are venting, on their own blogs?

 

Further thoughts on that point as well.

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21 minutes ago, Jot-Aro Kujo said:

Well, yeah. But not everyone is constantly looking to do Activism™ every time they talk about their identities. Definitely if someone is setting out to say something with the intention of getting people to listen and think, then yes, it's probably in their best interests to not simply scream about things, but sometimes people just... Are venting, on their own blogs? Allo aros are allowed to be angry. We don't have to "get things done" every time we speak. Again, we do need to be really, really careful that our anger does not dip into outright acephobia- But so long as it doesn't cross that line, there's no real reason we shouldn't be able to just talk about our emotions sometimes.

Being polite while explaining is good, definitely! But when not explaining, the language allo aros use to make personal posts on our own blogs- Again, so long as that language is not straight up acephobic rhetoric- Is our business, imo. 

I definitely agree with all of this.

 

One thing I'd like to mention is that sometimes, especially on Tumblr where everything's out in the open for everyone to see, it can be unclear which the op is trying to do. I don't have the exact link, but once I encountered a post that, based on how it was written, sounded more like an explaining/Doing Activism type post (it was written with the framing as if it were giving advice to non-alloaro folks), but it also had a dni banner that made it very clear that it actually wasn't for that audience? That post made me think a lot about the potential for confusing a vent post for a Doing Activism post, because without the dni banner I definitely would have misinterpreted that.

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, LauraG said:

One thing I'd like to mention is that sometimes, especially on Tumblr where everything's out in the open for everyone to see, it can be unclear which the op is trying to do. I don't have the exact link, but once I encountered a post that, based on how it was written, sounded more like an explaining/Doing Activism type post (it was written with the framing as if it were giving advice to non-alloaro folks), but it also had a dni banner that made it very clear that it actually wasn't for that audience? That post made me think a lot about the potential for confusing a vent post for a Doing Activism post, because without the dni banner I definitely would have misinterpreted that.

 

Yeah posts like that confuse me too, what is up with those? I'll see a post that's a politely worded statement like "Aroaces tend to assume that all aros share their experiences, and this can be really harmful to allo aros when they make sex-antagonistic statements and expect everyone to agree" and I'm like yeah you're right! Good explanation! And then they have a banner that says, like "Allo aro only post, non-allo-aros don't interact" and I'm like... ???? So it's... So you're talking exclusively to allo aros, to tell us things that we already know because we experience them? Ok... Why..?

(Not to mention that banner DNI's are useless if someone can't actually see the image, e.g. visually impaired folks using screen readers or even just people with shitty wifi who can't even tell that there's an image because it won't load. But I digress)

Edited by Jot-Aro Kujo
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16 minutes ago, Jot-Aro Kujo said:

Well, yeah. But not everyone is constantly looking to do Activism™ every time they talk about their identities. Definitely if someone is setting out to say something with the intention of getting people to listen and think, then yes, it's probably in their best interests to not simply scream about things, but sometimes people just... Are venting, on their own blogs? Allo aros are allowed to be angry.

That's sth that I agree with to a limited extent, bc if we're talking about tunglr dot hell, there's not really a way to make sure a post stays personal (for example by making it non-rebloggable). And that's especially true if you do some activism from a personal blog, but then also do some venting from a personal blog, it can get muddled up. Though it isn't a problem objectively unless it does dip into acephobia.

 

23 minutes ago, Coyote said:

"Aces hold power over aros!" (link)

take a look at: "Aros deserve to be angry at you for contributing to our oppression! We get to be mad! We get to hate you for it! Stop calling us acephobic for being angry at our oppressors!!" it doesn't talk about being allowed to feel angry when you've been hurt, it talks about people *deserving* to be angry, about being allowed to hate aces! This person says that they hate aces (that literally means they're acephobic), but not to call them acephobic. Also, obviously, aces are a marginalized group too, not the allonormative society that's the source of our oppression, etc., intersectionality anyone, etc.

 

29 minutes ago, Coyote said:

"allo aros are kind of at the bottom of the barrel in the aspec community"

this is not a post i loved, but it is very much an example of an personal vent post on a personal blog that i argue isn't really personal on tumblr. this statement in particular doesn't strike me as wrong - out of all a-specs, allo aros are for example the least represented, the least visible, etc. and imo doesn't imply that other a-specs have it good or are to blame for this.

 

35 minutes ago, Coyote said:

"allaros [are] literally the most poorly treated aspecs"

i sign under everything @Jot-Aro Kujo said in this reblog with both hands, that comment about sex-favorable aces was tone deaf. "Yeah, there are sex positive aces, but they’ll never be treated the same way that alloaros are. And like, it all started when allaros started getting mad at the fact that we’re literally the most poorly treated aspecs." on the other hand implies that aces are privileged over alloaros imo.

 

49 minutes ago, Coyote said:

Further thoughts on that point.

going to also pull this on tunglr dot hell from there "First, at the most basic level, we don't even know from context whether or not the OP intended the original post to be an announcement post or just a vent post, because Tumblr doesn't allow people to disable reblogs or anything -- yet various tumblr users seem to have reblogged it to their aro blogs, turning it into a kind of announcement post regardless of whether it was ever intended as one. Reblogability controls and privacy controls could have allowed a post like this to stay a private vent post instead of spreading around in the way it did."

 

26 minutes ago, Jot-Aro Kujo said:
31 minutes ago, LauraG said:

but it also had a dni banner that made it very clear that it actually wasn't for that audience? That post made me think a lot about the potential for confusing a vent post for a Doing Activism post, because without the dni banner I definitely would have misinterpreted that.

 

Yeah posts like that confuse me too, what is up with those? I'll see a post that's a politely worded statement like "Aroaces tend to assume that all aros share their experiences, and this can be really harmful to allo aros when they make sex-antagonistic statements and expect everyone to agree" and I'm like yeah you're right! Good explanation! And then they have a banner that says, like "Allo aro only post, non-allo-aros don't interact" and I'm like... ???? So it's... So you're talking exclusively to allo aros, to tell us things that we already know because we experience them? Ok... Why..?

omg yeah that is so weird. and i really don't like the way it doesn't set up conversations?? this doesn't feel like wanting to solve a problem for me, it seems like wanting to be angry for anger's sake, and pitting one group against another, bc you were hurt in the past

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26 minutes ago, bydontost said:

This person says that they hate aces (that literally means they're acephobic), but not to call them acephobic.

 

And they've been largely getting away with it, from what I can tell.

 

This would be one thing if they were just some weird anomalous fringe element, but they do seem to be getting listened to, and their posts merely strike me as the most blunt and obvious expression of a framework that other aros have been operating on more implicitly.

 

30 minutes ago, bydontost said:

and imo doesn't imply that other a-specs have it good or are to blame for this.

 

It sets up a linear hierarchy, doesn't it? "Bottom" can only exist in relation to something else positioned higher.

 

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Guest Sennkestra

Changing subjects a bit, but on thing I'd like to see more of in these conversations is differentiating between different common types of ace antagonism in aro spaces:

 

1. Internal community antagonism, often (but not only) of [aro] allosexual folks perpetuating antagonistic assumptions about [aro] asexual folks in situations where everyone involved is still some kind of aro and in explicitly aro-focused settings.

 

2. Antagonism by aro folks against the asexuality community or concepts (both aro and non-aro aces) more generally, particularly in mixed ace and aro spaces or public spaces more generally.

 

3. External antagonism specifically against aces who are not aromantic, or antagonism against non-aro people more generally which overlaps with ace-antagonism, homophobia, and other biases  - this in particular is something asexual aromantic folks are often just as guilty of - we don't get a pass just for being ace!.

 

In particular, I feel like a lot of internal ace antagonism issues in aro spaces are presented with wording that makes it sound like an external issue instead, such as by framing things as an issue of "aces vs. aros", when the reality is that it's more about tension between allosexual aromantic folks and asexual aromantic folks - aros on all sides of that equation. When we abbreviate "asexual aromantic" to just "asexual" but abbreviate "allosexual aromantic" to "aromantic" instead of "allosexual", it feeds into to a (false and extremely problematic) assumption that asexuality somehow disqualifies aro aces aro-ness, or assumes that allosexual aromanticism deserves to be an unmarked, default, assumption, and positions aces and outgroup other - and positions their hurts as basically someone else's problem rather than an attack on a major part of aro communities themselves.

 

Framing these issues as "ace vs. aro" issues also implies that this antagonism is somehow inherently tied to being aromantic, rather than something that's a problem with mainstream allosexual society that aro groups have just inherited. This phrasing also makes many people emotionally  feel like any attempts to talk about ace-antagonism in aro spaces are attacks on aromanticism, which further derails conversations.  

 

It's not that aromantic communities are specially antagonistic against ace people - the anti-ace things that bother me in aro communities are often the same behaviors I see and hate in straight society and even LGBTQ groups in general. It just becomes an especially visible and urgent problem to solve in aro groups when such a huge percentage of the community is asexual. (To be fair, there are some issues that are unique to aro communities, too - like some of the specific tropes around ace/aro history - but those tend to be the minority imo, and larger societal issues are often still at the root of those more specific complaints).

 

I know that use of "ace vs. aro" type wording that we're seeing in this thread is an unconscious act for most people, who just mirror what they've heard elsewhere and have never thought about it that much. But being able to question the problematic assumptions and attitudes we have inherited from wider society, and putting the work in to change them, is one of the most important ways to fight this kind of bias and antagonism. We can and should do better.

 

(now, that said, I want to also add that there are also good reasons to not use "asexual" vs. "allosexual" wording either, given that not all aros identify with either of those terms and it's not a clean binary, and given that identifying as ace doesn't actually make anyone exempt from performing ace-antagonistic actions.  So we shouldn't just switch to that  in general, I prefer to just talk about "ace antagonism" in general, since these kinds of biases often arise from larger structural issues on a societal levels that affect everyone, not some kind of individual vs. individual conflict. "intra-community" and "inter-community" are also ways to distinguish antagonism or even just regular conflicts by context without using  "us vs. them" type phrasing.)

/note: this is sennkestra, I'm just on a different computer than usual and can't log in at the moment

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Just as a reminder, um, I am here. You can, like, you know... Ask me for clarification about things I say on Tumblr instead of discussing my posts in the hypothetical. Just sayin. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, bydontost said:
2 hours ago, Coyote said:

"allaros [are] literally the most poorly treated aspecs"

i sign under everything @Jot-Aro Kujo said in this reblog with both hands, that comment about sex-favorable aces was tone deaf. "Yeah, there are sex positive aces, but they’ll never be treated the same way that alloaros are. And like, it all started when allaros started getting mad at the fact that we’re literally the most poorly treated aspecs." on the other hand implies that aces are privileged over alloaros imo.

 

I also agree that that particular commenter was out of line. I do think there are times that sex-favorable aces face similar issues to allo aros (such as finding community space where talking about sex is okay), but that fact should never be used to downplay those issues, it should be used to bolster them. (And also it shouldn't be used as "this is only valid cause it also affects aces" either)

 

I would like to (gently) push back against the bolded sentence up there, though. There is a very long history in the ace community of shitting on sex-favorable aces. Broadly, I think the ace community does a pretty good job of addressing it when it comes up; so much so that I think the ace community as it stands now places too much emphasis on sex-favorable aces. But the reason that happens is because of that long history of people trying to kick sex-favorable aces out of the ace label or community. To take an example from early ace history, there was the Official Asexual Society (source) :

 

Screenshot of an early 2000s website, The Official Asexual Society, page 'The Test': 'If you have any doubts wether or you you are REALLY asexual, cut and paste this test into an e-mail file, answer the questions and e-mail it to; webmaster...', the set of 15 frankly horrible questions ask about whether you felt different in childhood and if you've ever been abused, sexually assaulted, masturbased or enjoyed sex in any way.

 

I certainly don't want this to devolve into "who has/had it worse" but I just want to point out that it's a little more complicated than you might be thinking.

 

(Alex I also don't mean to be talking about you in the hypothetical; I'm hoping this response doesn't come across that way?)

Edited by LauraG
weird smilie face appeared, added a point

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I think one thing the queer community in general has had a hard time separating and recognizing is the coexisting ideas of 1) different queer sexualities don't necessarily oppress each other and different queer genders don't necessarily oppress each other - ie, cis/het are the oppressive systems here, and 2) people can act crappily and with prejudice without specifically being an oppressor.

 

Cis/heterosexism and cis/heteronormativity impact us in different ways, but that doesn't necessarily make us privileged over each other or oppressive towards each other as a result of that. (Of course being queer doesn't erase but in fact interplays with other factors like race, disability, weight, etc.)

 

And I've definitely seen behaviors that make me feel that the aro and ace communities have fallen victim to this as well.

 

I've sometimes been made to feel like I, as an aroace, made some specific and active choice to somehow oppress and erase alloaros and non-sam aros from aromanticism simply by the fact that I'm aroace (and that if I want to participate in aro spaces, then I need to disregard my asexuality). Which is decidedly untrue. The lack of visibility and acceptance for these aros is an issue for sure, but it's not one that I specifically created just by existing or being asexual and I shouldn't have to abandon my asexuality to be valid as aro or to have my aro experiences treated as accepted and valuable.

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17 minutes ago, Guest Sennkestra said:

Changing subjects a bit, but on thing I'd like to see more of in these conversations is differentiating between different common types of ace antagonism in aro spaces:

 

1. Internal community antagonism, often (but not only) of [aro] allosexual folks perpetuating antagonistic assumptions about [aro] asexual folks in situations where everyone involved is still some kind of aro and in explicitly aro-focused settings.

 

2. Antagonism by aro folks against the asexuality community or concepts (both aro and non-aro aces) more generally, particularly in mixed ace and aro spaces or public spaces more generally.

 

3. External antagonism specifically against aces who are not aromantic, or antagonism against non-aro people more generally which overlaps with ace-antagonism, homophobia, and other biases  - this in particular is something asexual aromantic folks are often just as guilty of - we don't get a pass just for being ace!.

 

Another type I've seen (that probably overlaps with all three of these?) is downplaying legitimate issues that aces face, or implying that aces, especially allo aces, don't really have it all that bad. I think this often happens simply because the people saying this don't know a lot about issues aces, especially allo aces, face (maybe they're thinking of issues aros face, and thinking that aces/allo aces don't have to deal with those, forgetting that there are additional issues that being ace/allo ace might add into the equation?). But when that's combined with "everything's always about aces all the time so I don't want to hear/learn anything new about aces because I'm tired of it" it doesn't work out so well.

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21 minutes ago, Coyote said:

And they've been largely getting away with it, from what I can tell.

yeah it doesn't seem like there's an opposition bigger than their following to what they say...

 

26 minutes ago, Coyote said:

their posts merely strike me as the most blunt and obvious expression of a framework that other aros have been operating on more implicitly.

what group does "other aros" mean here?? all aros, certain aros..?? could you say sth more about the implicit framework, how that looks to you??

 

29 minutes ago, Coyote said:

It sets up a linear hierarchy, doesn't it? "Bottom" can only exist in relation to something else positioned higher.

it does set up some hierarchy... i do think other a-specs can have it marginally better in some ways (for example representation and offline resources). but idk if it has to imply that all aces are privileged over all aros at all times (tho I may be biased here!!)

 

re: what @sennkestra said: I wanted to encompass in this thread instances where all aros say sth against mostly allo aces (for example: if you're not aro, shut up about qprs), and instances where allo aros go against all aces, but all examples in the thread are actually about the second type.

 

14 minutes ago, pressAtoQUEER said:

I've sometimes been made to feel like I, as an aroace, made some specific and active choice to somehow oppress and erase alloaros and non-sam aros from aromanticism simply by the fact that I'm aroace (and that if I want to participate in aro spaces, then I need to disregard my asexuality).

I'm sorry that you feel this way, that's a big problem

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6 minutes ago, LauraG said:

(Alex I also don't mean to be talking about you in the hypothetical; I'm hoping this response doesn't come across that way?)

 

Nah you're good, don't worry! I was mostly talking about @Coyote.

 

To actually clarify: What I meant when I said that aros were "at the bottom of the barrel in the aspec community" (which, yes, is maybe not the greatest phrasing, I will admit) was NOT "aros are more oppressed than everyone else". I apologize that it came off that way. What I meant was that in terms of aspec community activity, the greatest emphasis is generally placed on alloromantic asexuals (note my reference to the classic "but aces can still love!" rhetoric), then after that comes aroaces, and then allo aros kind of fall to the wayside, if we're mentioned at all. I do not, and have never believed that allo aros are "more oppressed" than allo aces, aroaces, etc., I was referring to who gets the most support within the aspec community as a whole. Hence, my mixed feelings allo aces using the aro flag, something I created to raise awareness for allo aros (since our voices so often go unheard within the aspec community) as the basis for their own flag. My comment was not about which group is "more oppressed", because the whole oppression olympics is fucking stupid and we all deal with different issues at different levels.

 

You may also note, @Coyote, the following paragraph in the same post:

 

Quote

I hope I phrased all of that in an ok way..? Again, I’m sorry if I offended anyone. My intention is not to make any sweeping statements about allo aces as a whole, and I understand why they want a flag and I support them.

 

Even if I may have admittedly not fully succeeded, I did try my best to be as polite as possible and avoid ace antagonism, and I expressed this intention clearly. Had you simply gone directly to me and said "Hey, that phrasing isn't very good, here's why" I would have listened and rephrased it in a better way.

I'll be honest, this is why the QPR thread turned out the way it did. It's not because people weren't willing to listen. It's because you saw people who made mistakes- Including people who likely did so by accident- And instead of attempting to resolve the situation by speaking to them directly, you took their words out of context and used them on a different platform as an example of People In The Aro Community Doing Bad Things™ without even notifying them that you were doing so, despite many of those people being actual users on this site. That's... Pretty uncool. It's one thing to say "Yeah, this person said this thing and I talked to them about it and they ignored me", it's another thing entirely to just go "This person said this thing" and leave it at that without trying to talk to them first.

It's like if someone said something that unintentionally hurt your feelings, and instead of saying "Hey, that hurt my feelings, could you not do that?" you stood up in front of the whole room and yelled "HEY, SO-AND-SO HURT MY FEELINGS!"; Now so-and-so, who wasn't initially aware that they had done anything wrong, feels put on the spot, and their first instinct is likely to defend themselves to this room that is lacking in context, rather than to ask what they can do better. That doesn't really foster open conversations and a willingness to learn from each other, it fosters distrust.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Jot-Aro Kujo said:

Nah you're good, don't worry!

 

:)

 

1 hour ago, Jot-Aro Kujo said:

And instead of attempting to resolve the situation by speaking to them directly, you took their words out of context and used them on a different platform as an example of People In The Aro Community Doing Bad Things™ without even notifying them that you were doing so,

I'm sorry if I did this in this thread at all? I know this is directed at @Coyote but I can't help notice the similarity between that and my own post further up this thread. I didn't reach out to both of the people I quoted up there, mostly because best case scenario I didn't think they'd listen to me... worst case I'd get hate mail... How do you suggest people balance making the effort to reach out to people yourself, when you are fairly certain they won't listen to you (or you've seen them fail to listen to others in the past), versus trying to reach out to others who might have a better chance of getting through to the people making the comments in question or at least try to draw attention to the issue so that others know it's not okay?

 

I certainly prefer friendly one-on-one conversations where you're both trying to understand the other person, but sometimes I doubt that the other person would be willing to engage in that with me.

 

(Edit: I also value giving evidence and examples to back up claims, that way people can know exactly what you're talking about. I've definitely thought people were talking about one thing when they were actually talking about another in the past, so I usually try to give specific examples myself so we're not talking around the issue too much.)

 

Edited by LauraG
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36 minutes ago, pressAtoQUEER said:

I think one thing the queer community in general has had a hard time separating and recognizing is the coexisting ideas of 1) different queer sexualities don't necessarily oppress each other and different queer genders don't necessarily oppress each other - ie, cis/het are the oppressive systems here, and 2) people can act crappily and with prejudice without specifically being an oppressor.

 

I was going to say something about that too. Basically, I have a hypothesis about some of this -- and y'all can dismiss this if you want, I'm not that attached to the thought -- but my hunch is this: One of the factors involved here is that some folks are really, really immersed in a discursive regime where the only way to talk about hurts and harms between groups is in terms of the oppressor/oppressed framework. Therefore, in order to say that your own hurts are real and deserve to be taken seriously, you need to position yourself not just as a victim, but as a victim being categorically oppressed by a comparably favored class. The idea that you can say "hey, stop attacking that group" and "it was wrong for some of them to attack you too" at the same time is treated as... unthinkable, basically. A concession to one feels like a betrayal of the other.

 

I also have another hunch about the term "aspec" and its role here, but I'll set that aside for a moment. 

 

1 hour ago, pressAtoQUEER said:

I shouldn't have to abandon my asexuality to be valid as aro or to have my aro experiences treated as accepted and valuable.

 

On that note, that's another thing that I would classify as anti-ace: when people treat "aro" as a term that doesn't include aro aces unless otherwise specified (and sometimes vice versa, like "aces" necessarily means "alloromantic aces" unless otherwise specified). You would think that sounds ludicrous and it should be a really easy mistake to avoid, but I've seen it happen plenty. And the end result is a lot of aros feeling like they need to check their asexuality at the door if they're going to be allowed to engage with the aro community or talk about their aro identity.

 

29 minutes ago, bydontost said:

what group does "other aros" mean here?? all aros, certain aros..?? could you say sth more about the implicit framework, how that looks to you??

 

Yes, I can say more about that. Just certain aros; I'm not laying a charge against all aros as a whole here (far be it from me to treat the aro community like a hivemind). I'll also add that this is admittedly colored by what I personally happen to run into, and therefore I may be missing a significant part of the picture, and complicated by the fact that this doesn't necessarily involve anything that, as an isolated statement, is specifically wrong per se. It's more than some of it just raises questions for me in terms of what's being said vs. what isn't.

 

Keeping this brief, so leaving out examples for now: what I'm talking about is a disproportionate emphasis in discussions of aro-ace allyship, where implicitly, some aros speak as if there is a certain hierarchy in place that only needs to be addressed in one direction, ex. by positioning aces as people who need to be allies to aro allos, while omitting any reciprocal expectation. This doesn't actually mean that aro allos benefit more in practice, naturally, since that talk can be very superficial (as Alex has talked about before). Again, it could be more stuff out there that I'm just not happening to encounter, which I would welcome as good news. This is something of a loose impression right now, not something I'm confident I could build a solid case about.

 

56 minutes ago, Jot-Aro Kujo said:

What I meant when I said that aros were "at the bottom of the barrel in the aspec community" (which, yes, is maybe not the greatest phrasing, I will admit) was NOT "aros are more oppressed than everyone else". I apologize that it came off that way.

 

Thank you.

 

57 minutes ago, Jot-Aro Kujo said:

I was referring to who gets the most support within the aspec community as a whole.

 

I have a question about this.

 

58 minutes ago, Jot-Aro Kujo said:

I'll be honest, this is why the QPR thread turned out the way it did.

 

...That, exclusively?

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9 minutes ago, Coyote said:

...That, exclusively?


Not exclusively, no. In the end it did just devolve into a hot mess as all forum threads do. But I can say for myself and others I know who were involved, that’s what was the initial catalyst.
I was certainly far more concerned with the fact that I had just seen someone take my beloved friend’s words out of context and prop it up as an example of Bad Behavior on another platform without telling him than I was with anything else. I knew that you had not attempted to discuss your claims with Annest directly, just as I know that you did not attempt to address your issues with my wording just now directly either. This led to a lot of hostility and a thought of, “Wow, this person was really rude to my friend. I don’t like that. They didn’t even try to talk it out! Do they actually want to solve the problem or are they just here to accuse people and stir up drama? Why would anyone go around talking about other people’s bad behavior without trying to address it with them first?” and these feelings of distrust and anger made me feel a lot less willing to listen to what you had to say.

 

Yes, I do want to listen to what people have to say on important issues. But if you want someone to listen, you must first speak to them. You can’t stand there silently and then walk into another room and yell “SO-AND-SO DIDN’T LISTEN TO WHAT I HAD TO SAY!” because then so-and-so is going to be like, “What the fuck are you taking about? You didn’t say anything. Why are you trying to get me in trouble?”

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