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I've seen a few people (often allos, for some reason) saying that aromanticism and asexuality aren't spectrums, and that calling them so is watering them down. People who experience attraction no matter how small or rare would actually be allospec.

What do you think about that?
 Honestly, it just sounds like exclusionist rhetoric to me.

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imo it's not good to shut down literally any questioning of anything someone aro or ace does or says as "aphobic" or "exclusionist." People pointing out that we're not perfect and infallible are not oppressive to us, and if we act like they are we just come across as kinda cultlike tbh. shutting out outsiders and painting them as hostile, yk?

now, as a questioning arospec who does feel romantic attraction, i think whoever said this definitely has a point. there's no solid boundary for who is or is not arospec, and therefore someone could feel romantic attraction exactly like i do but choose not to identify as aro. and if we say otherwise, we're invalidating them, which is against the rules of this site.

Edited by El011
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do think there is a great deal of exclusionary thought going into that though. these labels serve best in finding people who are similar to us. maybe you do occasionally experience romantic feelings. to say that makes you allo though, that because you experience romantic attraction once or twice is enough cause to make you allo, ignores the fact that you don’t experience romantic attraction by the same norm that others do. but you don’t have to identify as aro-spec, even if you fit it definitionally. that’s not the point. the point is that you can choose to identify as aro-spec and find a community of people who have more similar experiences than the mainstream.

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4 minutes ago, cyancat said:

do think there is a great deal of exclusionary thought going into that though. these labels serve best in finding people who are similar to us. maybe you do occasionally experience romantic feelings. to say that makes you allo though, that because you experience romantic attraction once or twice is enough cause to make you allo, ignores the fact that you don’t experience romantic attraction by the same norm that others do. but you don’t have to identify as aro-spec, even if you fit it definitionally. that’s not the point. the point is that you can choose to identify as aro-spec and find a community of people who have more similar experiences than the mainstream.

there is no "norm" by which every single person or even most people experience romantic attraction.

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7 minutes ago, El011 said:

there is no "norm" by which every single person or even most people experience romantic attraction.

(perhaps not, but there’s definitely the idea of the normative.)

people can still have more similar experiences with one person or group of people to another. labels help finding those people, so saying that aro/ace-spec doesn’t exist can alienate a lot of those people. where they may relate far more to ace/aro, they’re told that their experiences aren’t valid and they’re still allo; more akin to the media portrayals and common conversations that they’ve likely discovered they don’t really relate well to in comparison with aro/ace experiences

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I think it won't solve anything to answering erasure by erasure, you know what I mean?

Grey area is not allo or aro per se. Some people consider themselves allo, others consider themselves aro. And we shouldn't say that one of them is wrong, because it depends to their personal experience of attraction. I think it is up to the person to define which group they feels closer to.

Also, I really don't see how saying that aro and ace are spectrum is watering them down? How could it do them wrong? I can get why a grey person would feel upset if they consider themselves allo. But alloromantic who are in the "norm"? That's not their role to decide where a person fits.

Edited by nonmerci
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2 hours ago, nonmerci said:

And we shouldn't say that one of them is wrong

Yeah, I agree. My main problem with this allospec line of thinking is that it's trying to gatekeep who gets to identify as aro or ace.

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3 hours ago, nonmerci said:

I think it won't solve anything to answering erasure by erasure, you know what I mean?

Grey area is not allo or aro per se. Some people consider themselves allo, others consider themselves aro. And we shouldn't say that one of them is wrong, because it depends to their personal experience of attraction. I think it is up to the person to define which group they feels closer to.

Also, I really don't see how saying that aro and ace are spectrum is watering them down? How could it do them wrong? I can get why a grey person would feel upset if they consider themselves allo. But alloromantic who are in the "norm"? That's not their role to decide where a person fits.

some people consider themselves allo, others consider themselves aro — yeah, that was my point. i said as much that it was about was allowing the choice if you identify as allo or aro. it’s not anyone’s business where that line is drawn except for themselves. i focused more heavily on the idea of someone identifying more as aro because the concept brought up was the idea that there was no aro/allo-spec, which just seems like classic gatekeeping rhetoric, like vhenan said.

Edited by cyancat
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12 hours ago, cyancat said:

(perhaps not, but there’s definitely the idea of the normative.)

How do we know, though? We can't read minds, we don't know how other people feel and can't assume they fit into a certain box just because they don't share our identity. And some things associated with aromanticism are slowly becoming more socially acceptable, like preferring friends with benefits or not wanting to get married or wanting to prioritize other things over romance. Wanting or feeling those things doesn't automatically make you aro.

And what about people who don't use the split attraction model? Just like there are non sam aros, there could be someone who fits the definition of aro but doesn't use that label and prefer to just identify as bisexual or gay or straight or asexual with no romantic orientation.

Edited by El011
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Well the "norm" is being 100% allo. I'd say that If you don't experience sexual attraction or romantic attraction in the same way that most people are expected to (aka "normally", aka completely), then you are different from that normal and therefore belong in a different category: namely, under the asexual or aromantic umbrellas.

^Obviously "normal" doesn't exist and everything's a spectrum etc etc etc, but the way I see it is like, I dunno, a color spectrum. If the whole world was "supposed to be" blue, and some people were green or shades of teal, you would categorize the green and teal people together as "different from blue", since blue is the cultural norm and green and teal are both deviations from that norm. Green and teal are obviously different from one another, but the more important distinction is that they are both "not blue". 

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Just now, Queasy_Attention said:

Well the "norm" is being 100% allo. I'd say that If you don't experience sexual attraction or romantic attraction in the same way that most people are expected to (aka "normally", aka completely), then you are different from that normal and therefore belong in a different category: namely, under the asexual or aromantic umbrellas.

What is 100% allo? And how are most people expected to feel that way?

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1 hour ago, El011 said:

What is 100% allo? And how are most people expected to feel that way?

I don't know if it needs to be said, but obviously I don't agree that one way of experiencing romantic/sexual attraction is "correct."

"100% allo" in my eyes would be the societally "acceptable way" of experiencing attraction, as in completely. As in, the way nearly all (American, at least) media depicts attraction. Romantic attraction is widely considered an inherent human trait, we are all "expected" to feel it, etc etc. Asexuality is becoming more of a mainstream idea, but there is still an underlying societal assumption that everyone experiences sexual attraction. Obviously, both of these attractions are felt on a spectrum, and labeling one side of the spectrum as "normal" is not a helpful way of looking at things-- and it is also the way that the world looks at things. "Normal" (or, until very recently, "correct") means allosexual/alloromantic.

You can see how most people are expected to feel that way by pretty much every step of the way. Baby onesies say things like "watch out, I'm already breaking hearts" or "hey baby, your crib or mine?" Books written for preteens and teens often throw in romantic subplots because they believe it to be an excellent marketing tool for their demographic. So, so, so many books/movies/shows that are written about high-schoolers practically revolve around relationships and/or sex. Questions like "when are you going to find a boyfriend", "when do you want to get married", and "who do you like"  are constantly prevalent from the moment you emerge from puberty. The entire concept of virginity! Society is built to support an allosexual, alloromantic world.

Being allosexual or alloromantic is obviously not a bad thing. But the narrative that the "norm" is to be so can be hurtful. I'm allosexual and I can still understand that it's a very sex-centered world. I feel for my ace friends; it can't be easy to realize that you don't relate to what feels like a central part of the human experience. It's similar to realize you're aromantic.

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Personally, I think it is up to the individual to define themself and the label (or lack of) that they feel comfortable with.

27 minutes ago, Queasy_Attention said:

Questions like "when are you going to find a boyfriend", "when do you want to get married", and "who do you like"  are constantly prevalent from the moment you emerge from puberty.

Not just puberty, this has been a thing for me since 3rd grade at the latest...

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6 minutes ago, Neon Green Packing Peanut said:

Not just puberty, this has been a thing for me since 3rd grade at the latest...

I think @Queasy_Attention was talking about the books. And indeed, there can be sometimes romantic connotation in some bookds for young children, but the romance becomes more important when the books are adressed to teens.

 

2 hours ago, El011 said:

How do we know, though? We can't read minds, we don't know how other people feel and can't assume they fit into a certain box just because they don't share our identity. And some things associated with aromanticism are slowly becoming more socially acceptable, like preferring friends with benefits or not wanting to get married or wanting to prioritize other things over romance. Wanting or feeling those things doesn't automatically make you aro.

I think this logic is flawed because, in that sense, what is the purpose of the word aromantic too? If we can't read minds, how can we know that alloromantic does feel romantic attraction and not just pretend? And on the other hand, that aromantic people don't feel it and are not just pretending because they are single (or not even single, some can be in couples too for their own reasons).

I think we can all see that a norm exists. Feeling attraction when we see a pretty person, being excited by certain things... We can see the norm everywhere and allo people don't seem to say it is false. And if someone tells me that they experience attraction like, once in a week, or once in a month, I can see that this person is not in the norm.

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16 minutes ago, nonmerci said:

I think @Queasy_Attention was talking about the books. And indeed, there can be sometimes romantic connotation in some bookds for young children, but the romance becomes more important when the books are adressed to teens.

 

I think this logic is flawed because, in that sense, what is the purpose of the word aromantic too? If we can't read minds, how can we know that alloromantic does feel romantic attraction and not just pretend? And on the other hand, that aromantic people don't feel it and are not just pretending because they are single (or not even single, some can be in couples too for their own reasons).

I think we can all see that a norm exists. Feeling attraction when we see a pretty person, being excited by certain things... We can see the norm everywhere and allo people don't seem to say it is false. And if someone tells me that they experience attraction like, once in a week, or once in a month, I can see that this person is not in the norm.

Does there need to be a purpose? If it feels personally useful to you, is accurate, and isn't hurting anyone then why should there be?

The way that I personally gauge romantic attraction is basically robert sternberg's definition, passionate feelings (limerence) plus liking them as a person and wanting emotional intimacy with them. I think the defining feature of romantic attraction is limerence, and I like this definition since it's founded in science and not a few people's unfounded assumptions of what everyone else is feeling.

What I don't like is the assumption that you must feel a certain amount, strength, or frequency of romantic attraction, or you're automatically arospec even if you have no desire to identify that way. Most non-aro people aren't falling madly in love with a new person every week or even every month and don't want to constantly be in a relationship, and the ones that do feel that way should probably get therapy because it sounds like attachment or abandonment issues.

I know non-aro people who didn't start dating until college or who prefer to take it slow or who only want to start dating when they meet someone they can see themselves marrying or who choose to prioritize other things over relationships or who didn't get crushes until they were older. I also think that someone could relate almost exactly to a gray-aro or gray-ace and not identify as one, just because we find that identity useful and they don't.

Edited by El011
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2 minutes ago, El011 said:

What I don't like is the assumption that you must feel a certain amount, strength, or frequency of romantic attraction, or you're automatically arospec even if you have no desire to identify that way. Most non-aro people aren't falling madly in love with a new person every week or even every month and don't want to constantly be in a relationship, and the ones that do feel that way should probably get therapy because it sounds like attachment or abandonment issues.

I know non-aro people who didn't start dating until college or who prefer to take it slow or who only want to start dating when they meet someone they can see themselves marrying or who choose to prioritize other things over relationships.

As I said, it is to the grey person to decide if they condiser themself allo or aro. People who don't want to identify as aro don't have too, of course!

However, I don't think romantic attraction is falling madly in love every week (or there would be no difference between having a crush and being in love). ALso, often see the "attraction is not the same for all allos, there is no norm". But to take the example of @Queasy_Attention with colors, there is yellow, green, blue, etc, on a spectrum. And there is a lot of different blue. Some are even close to green. But at the end of the day, they still share some thing in common : they are all blue. That's the same things with allo people. They may be all different, not feel attraction in the same way, and that's ok because we never say they did. It doesn't change the fact that they are all allo in the end.

And I think saying to grey person who identified on the aro spectrum because, I don't know, they had felt attraction only ten times in their entire life,.. To tell that person that there is no difference with an allo people because "they don't fall in love every week" doesn't makes sense for me. The person probably identify like that because they feel a huge difference betwee their experience and the experience of people who feel romantic attraction daily. Or because they feel alienated by allo people. And we should not erase that.

Again, it is up to the person to decide.

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@El011 the only thing being pointed out is that the idea that "ace-aro spectrum does not exist" is just shit used to keep people from identifying with what they feel most comfortable with.

that the ace-aro spectrum might exist as a valid model does not mean you have to identify with it at all! it just means that you can if you want to.

Edited by cyancat
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4 hours ago, nonmerci said:

But to take the example of @Queasy_Attention with colors, there is yellow, green, blue, etc, on a spectrum. And there is a lot of different blue. Some are even close to green. But at the end of the day, they still share some thing in common : they are all blue. That's the same things with allo people. They may be all different, not feel attraction in the same way, and that's ok because we never say they did. It doesn't change the fact that they are all allo in the end.

I think this is really interesting! It's like a spectrum between being totally aro or totally allo- if you fall somewhere on the spectrum, then you're free to describe yourself as part of either category. I just think colloquially, "not allo" identities (aka greyromantic, frayromantic, cupioromantic, demiromantic, aromantic, etc) are collected together because the fact that they are not the "norm" (alloromantic) is significant in a society that doesn't enthusiastically acknowledge the existence of anything but the norm.

But that's just the way I've understood it! Of course individuals are free to identify themselves in whatever way makes them the most comfortable!

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