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Emma

Aromantic Representation in the Media Research Project

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Hi everybody,

Earlier this year I realized I was aroace and I'm so glad I found the community, I want to get more involved. I'm taking a class at my college called Ethnographic Research Methods and I have to write a research proposal for the class. My topic for my proposal is: how do aromantics feel about the little representation they have in the media (pop culture) and do they feel the representation is accurate?

If you have opinions or comments on this topic please reply and let me know if it's okay for me to use your comments in my project. If you have any questions on my project feel free to ask and I will do my best to answer. Once my paper is done I will try to find a way to post it on here! 

Edited by Emma

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1.How do I feel about the little representation? Do I feel the representation is accurate? 

-Whenever I see aromantic representation, or a character has been confirmed to be aromantic, I always am really happy. From the media I've read and watched, it has been rather accurate. It's always appreciated whenever the word aromantic is used explicitly in the piece of media. A show that confirms their aromanticsm on the side is nice, but if the character says it that's the most ideal situation because it's raising awareness. I would like it if some media took more effort to show the struggles of aromantics, however. I don't want aromantics to look like gloomy people who are sad all the time, no no no. I simply want our struggles to be realized and sympathized with by others because that is something I feel like doesn't get communicated at all by most pieces of media with aromantics. We are shown as happy people who don't need romance to be happy. And while that can be true, it's not always true! Many aromantics often struggle to find their place in a world that so highly prizes romance and I want that to be shown and understood. It'd also be nice to show a range of romance repulsed to positive aros. I haven't seen many romance repulsed aros in the media, probably because they would receive more negative reactions from the viewers. Basically I'd like to see more varied aromantic representation.

(Ya it's cool to use my comments on this project. I hope my thoughts are concise enough!)

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I feel like it would have been easier for me to realize I was aro, and then for me to be comfortable being aro, if I had examples of people being aro in the world (or fiction). If I had known I was aro, I could have made different choices around dating and avoided painful experiences. Therefore lack of representation can be harmful to aros. 
I feel like what representation there is looks a lot like a character who happens to not be dating during the story. While lines like "I'm aro I don't date" can help spread awareness aromanticism exists, I don't feel my aro identity is explored and reflected in the media. 

Aspec representation is one of my interests. I want to make life a little better for people like me who don't know it yet by promoting aspec titles and lists. 

You can use my comments in your project. Here is a list of aspec fiction (and other media) databases and lists. 
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Yl1xsU2V_uXNfcw2g1iut6gBAizuQ4NxGDjqcO7tCaQ/edit#bookmark=id.nlntcw23pelm

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ok, here's what i would say, i dont mind whether you would use it or not.

Accuracy:

From the small amount of media I have seen that involves aro characters I have found it to be fairly accurate. Generally the characters behave in a way i would say is sensible and i cannot think of a moment where i have seen aro representation and thought, wow that's silly, or found a glaring problem with it. However accurate is not the same as extensive, and I definitely think it is slightly dissapointing how little aro representation  have seen that explores, say allo aro experiences, or aros who enjoy romance in fiction, just showing some of the variance in aro experiences. One thing that seems  to happen all the time in aro spaces is people questioning their identity simply because they have these slight variations in their aromanticsm. like, doubting because they desire sex, or shipping fictional characters, or can enjoy some actions which are often seen as romance coded.

I suppose this is just a side effect of having such small amounts of representation but it can get frustrating.

Amount:

Having little representation in media is very annoying when it comes to explaining who you are. there is no moment where you can point to a character the person you are explaining too and say, like that. having a common reference point is really useful. I suppose the bigger point though is that it is much easier to find out about aromanticism if you hear the term than if you try hopefully searching your experience on your own. This finding out about aromanticism is really good, I reckon I would be far happier if I had found out about the identity earlier rather than going through my late teens/early 20s just thinking I could power through and make romantic love work for me. This is also something which I think has more of an impact on mental health than many give credit for. certainly I feel that my level of comfort in life was far greater after I came to terms with the idea that my lack of romantic attraction was not some terrible failure on the part of my personality.

On the other hand I am in a way happy. Little representation of generally decent quality is not a bad position to be in. I would rather that than a large amount of negative representation.

Lastly I suppose I am happy that representation in media is lacking rather than outright hostile, this is a much nicer situation than many identities have or have had.

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