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Common Misconceptions About Aros

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4 hours ago, Mark said:

many cool things seem only possible if you can put up with the romance junk.

 

Hah. I do wonder though to what extent 'allos' also agree with this sentiment, but are just more easiy cowed by societal expectations than we might be? 

 

Random aside: I've always been (pathologically!) stubborn/uncompromising when it came to bending to popular pressures (it got me into some trouble early on at high school; until people figured out that I would stand up for myself physically and so left me alone...) But actually, bending to popular pressure does make a certain amount of sense to me. I suppose if you were in a tightly-knit tribal group (i.e. most humans for most of human history) then a degree of social ostracisation might be the difference between life and death. It's not so relevant now, but could go some way towards explaining the degree of conformity to societal expectations a lot of people seem to display? (as in: conformity has a sizeable survival advantage vs. my own idiosyncratic non-conformity?)

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The biggest misconception I've come across is that "aromantic" is a temporary description, not an identity. That I'm completely aromantic this week, but next month I'll change my mind. I've even had friends tell me they might be aromantic, but then immediately forswear it when they realized it was an innate quality. 

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These have probably been said already, but I'm too lazy to read all the responses lol.

 

  • We just can't get a partner/no one likes us that's why we're alone
  • We have some sort of mental illness (depression usually) that makes us this way
  • We don't like physical contact
  • We don't like romance in media
  • We just have intimacy issues
  • We just have commitment issues
  • We can't form emotional attachments
  • We can't love anyone
  • We were involved in some sort of trauma that made us this way
  • We're asexual too
  • That's not a real thing/stop trying to label everything
  • If you enter a relationship you're no longer aro
  • H E A R T L E S S 
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@IceHurricane Note the presence of the word "just" in three of those points.

 

Whenever I talk to people, I make a point of leaving it out. Nobody ever just wants something. Nobody ever just is something. People are far too complicated to box in like that. It's a word intended to compartmentalize the subject into something manageable and comprehensible to the user, often at the cost of any real meaning. "Just" is a tool used to create and implement the Straw Man Fallacy. It's a way of saying "that's all they are," or "that's all they do." Perhaps something like, "that's all you need to know about them." It is a tool to simplify the complicated, and for that it's often misused. Certainly not just in dismissing aromanticism.

 

When someone tells you you're just afraid of commitment, keep that in mind. I'll actually admit I am afraid of commitment, but I am absolutely not JUST afraid of it.

 

There's a whole other argument to be made about the use of the word "can't" but I feel it's less relevant here. 

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2 hours ago, IceHurricane said:
  • We have some sort of mental illness (depression usually) that makes us this way

Without considering that social isolation is often harmful to people's mental health.
 

2 hours ago, IceHurricane said:
  • We don't like physical contact

Including specific examples of physical contact such as kissing or hand holding.
 

2 hours ago, IceHurricane said:
  • We just have intimacy issues
  • We just have commitment issues

But an allo who will abandon friends for a (new) romantic interest or turn down a QPP with someone they have known for years, apparently, has no such issues.

 

2 hours ago, IceHurricane said:
  • We were involved in some sort of trauma that made us this way

It's the idea that everyone who dosn't fit with social expectations must have somehow become that way.
Related to this is pathologising minorities, even to the point of quack cures.
With there being no such assumptions if someone is allo (or heterosexual, monogamous, cis, NT, etc.)

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On 5/25/2017 at 2:02 PM, NullVector said:

 I suppose if you were in a tightly-knit tribal group (i.e. most humans for most of human history) then a degree of social ostracisation might be the difference between life and death. It's not so relevant now, but could go some way towards explaining the degree of conformity to societal expectations a lot of people seem to display? (as in: conformity has a sizeable survival advantage vs. my own idiosyncratic non-conformity?)

 

1. Evolutionary psychology makes me happy. It hits me right in the feels. Especially when I see other people who understand selection pressure.

 

2. I think you're right about social instincts being selected for. Unlike aromanticism, there's a huge body of research on that subject.

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On 25/05/2017 at 10:02 PM, NullVector said:

But actually, bending to popular pressure does make a certain amount of sense to me. I suppose if you were in a tightly-knit tribal group (i.e. most humans for most of human history) then a degree of social ostracisation might be the difference between life and death. It's not so relevant now, but could go some way towards explaining the degree of conformity to societal expectations a lot of people seem to display? (as in: conformity has a sizeable survival advantage vs. my own idiosyncratic non-conformity?)

A tribal group seems a sensible social construct to me. Whereas a couple dosn't.

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On 5/25/2017 at 2:02 PM, NullVector said:

Random aside: I've always been (pathologically!) stubborn/uncompromising when it came to bending to popular pressures (it got me into some trouble early on at high school; until people figured out that I would stand up for myself physically and so left me alone...) But actually, bending to popular pressure does make a certain amount of sense to me. I suppose if you were in a tightly-knit tribal group (i.e. most humans for most of human history) then a degree of social ostracisation might be the difference between life and death. It's not so relevant now, but could go some way towards explaining the degree of conformity to societal expectations a lot of people seem to display? (as in: conformity has a sizeable survival advantage vs. my own idiosyncratic non-conformity?)

 

From a historical sociology perspective, conformity (to some extent) makes sense within the context of a close-knit social group. If you alienated yourself/the other group members by behaving inappropriately (defined as something not acceptable to the rest of the group), then you would certainly be putting yourself more at risk (and as humans are predominantly social creatures), and it was probably a tool used to bring harmony, or enforce social norms/order - conform or die, basically. It might not as useful today, but that hardwiring to conform is still there. The only problem is, that love/romance has become ingrained as a socio-cultural construct/norm - everyone 'needs' to do/experience it (even though it's not especially necessary). I think the biggest problem is that our society/culture has less room/demand for people who fall outside of the socio-cultural norm. Historically, close-knit social groups had a variety of roles that people could be in, not just pair-bonding/procreation, and all members were seen as of equal importance to the safety/culture of the group. Now there is a distinct pressure to do/have/want it all, and it's shoehorning people into roles to conform to societal expectations. It's interesting, but doesn't particularly make a lot of sense - I wonder what the 'inciting incident' for this socio-cultural shift was?

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2 hours ago, ladyasym said:

I think the biggest problem is that our society/culture has less room/demand for people who fall outside of the socio-cultural norm. Historically, close-knit social groups had a variety of roles that people could be in, not just pair-bonding/procreation, and all members were seen as of equal importance to the safety/culture of the group

 

Yeah, I agree with that. For example, in primitive cultures, even if you didn't have children of your own, I assume (although I've not done any detailed study of the anthropology) that you'd still play an active role in raising and teaching the children of the tribe. Whereas today most of that happens in the private context of the nuclear family setting and you're unlikely to have much intereaction with children if they're not your own (outside of specific jobs like teachers). So you're left a bit at sea re. partaking in certain natural human roles and responsibilities (like childrearing) outside of assuming very prescriptive and restrictive relationship archetypes.

 

2 hours ago, ladyasym said:

I wonder what the 'inciting incident' for this socio-cultural shift was?

 

Hmm, interesting question. I dunno. The agricultural revolution? The industrial revolution? Something else?

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35 minutes ago, NullVector said:

Hmm, interesting question. I dunno. The agricultural revolution? The industrial revolution? Something else?

All of these appear to be too early given that the shift towards the romantic marriage becoming normative appears to have started in the 19th century.
I'm going to guess that the "something else" is a person. Queen Victoria.

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9 hours ago, Mark said:

All of these appear to be too early given that the shift towards the romantic marriage becoming normative appears to have started in the 19th century.
I'm going to guess that the "something else" is a person. Queen Victoria.

 

That would make sense - her romantic relationship with her husband was very public and well-known, especially after he died. Marrying for status/wealth was more culturally-accepted at the time too though. Perhaps it had more to do with cinema idealizing on-screen romances, and from there, love, romance, and finding 'the one' became more of a socio-cultural norm? 

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2 hours ago, ladyasym said:

 

That would make sense - her romantic relationship with her husband was very public and well-known, especially after he died. Marrying for status/wealth was more culturally-accepted at the time too though. Perhaps it had more to do with cinema idealizing on-screen romances, and from there, love, romance, and finding 'the one' became more of a socio-cultural norm? 

I was trying to find out how much influence she might have had outside of the British Empire. Especially mainland Europe and The USA.

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I do think it's probably cinematography and hollywood that started this trend about romance being the centered of everything. I watched a lot of old movies from differents countries, because I really love cinema and the history behind it. Romance is a must in everyone of them even if it's secondary to the plot there must be romance. I think it's probably related to sexism in a way. The world being a bit more evolved you probably had to have a female character in the movie because representation was important and you wanted for woman to be intetested in the movie. They needed a character to relate to. The thing is even if society was evolved enough to put woman as important character I think it's still wasn't enough for having a female character as a whole deep and complex character and not just as a sort of trophy for the male protagonist. Display of affection not really being accepted at the time the female character was more of a romantic trophy than a sex trophy. 

 

Anyway that's my interpretation about it I'm not sure in any way that it's that but it would make a lot of sense to me and it would also probably explain why stereotypically woman are supposed to be more interested by romance. If they could only relate to female characters being romantic trophy they could feel like it's what they need to be and to achieve because if they're not they're not valid in any way. In old movies you can see men without women being an interesting part of the plot as secondary characters but for women secondary characters if they're not widows they're always married (or too young to be like the younger sister). 

 

In forms of quotes of reaction about aromanticism I've got this one which is...something: 

 

"Be careful it (being aromantic) will likely attract weirdos" 

 

Hmmm okay wuuut?! Am I supposed to..stop? because it's dangerous?! I mean I don't think the guy was being offensive but I remember being confused by this comment.

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On 2018-02-24 at 1:29 AM, Costati said:

I do think it's probably cinematography and hollywood that started this trend about romance being the centered of everything. I watched a lot of old movies from differents countries, because I really love cinema and the history behind it. Romance is a must in everyone of them even if it's secondary to the plot there must be romance. I think it's probably related to sexism in a way. The world being a bit more evolved you probably had to have a female character in the movie because representation was important and you wanted for woman to be intetested in the movie. They needed a character to relate to. The thing is even if society was evolved enough to put woman as important character I think it's still wasn't enough for having a female character as a whole deep and complex character and not just as a sort of trophy for the male protagonist. Display of affection not really being accepted at the time the female character was more of a romantic trophy than a sex trophy.

 

I think you're on to something. Historically women were allowed to care about marriage, homemaking and children, so that's the roles they could have in entertainment.

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On 4/3/2018 at 7:40 AM, Holmbo said:

Historically women were allowed to care about marriage, homemaking and children

… and religion. And if they only cared about that they were married to Jesus (Catechism of the Catholic Church 923). O.o

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Just aro things: spending the afternoon researching when and why monogamy became the norm.

 

Here's a neat article I found (note that the main picture at the top is a kissing scene, for those who don't like that sort of thing): https://www-m.cnn.com/2016/05/17/health/sti-infanticide-human-monogamy/index.html

It's essentially agreeing with what @Mark said - it's more about marriage and keeping wealth than childrearing effectively for the survival of a species. I also think that those people in power (those who were the wealthy) imposed the monogamous structure on society (like Queen Victoria or through media productions like novels or visual media like films), like @Costati mentioned. Fascinating stuff, anyway. A move to individualistic culture and the importance of the self over others seemed to play a role in all this.

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On 12/3/2017 at 12:08 AM, IceHurricane said:

If you enter a relationship you're no longer aro

Definitely not true. It could be a sexual or sensual relationship, no romance involved.

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On 5/22/2018 at 11:33 PM, Spirit of God said:

Definitely not true. It could be a sexual or sensual relationship, no romance involved.

 

It's a shame that for most people sensual and/or sexual relationships are associated with romance.

 

Hmm the most common misconception I hear is that a traumatic event made us aro. That or we're psycopaths (obviously... *sigh*)

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The greatest misconception I've heard was in an "educated" article about less known orientations which included aromantics. But it was explained as "unable to give to accept romantic gestures but will totally fall for you". :D It really made me wonder what that person was on. Being aromantic is not autistic or having no social skills and thus there is no logic behind claiming that we don't understand romantic gestures. Not to mention that it went directly against aro definition by claiming that the do fall in love. My brain couldn't comprehend that.

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people just not understanding that not all aros are romance repulsed. while some are, a person's attraction has nothing to do with their personal view on romance or relationships.

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Misconceptions that I've heard, from my own personal experience:

"You just haven't found Mrs. Right yet!"

"You need to stop feeling sorry for yourself."

"You're not ready for a relationship."

"Do you like both girls and guys then?"

"You'll think differently about this if a girl came up and asked you out on a date."

"Love will come around when 'the time is right.'"

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On 8/24/2018 at 4:35 AM, mika-mok said:

people just not understanding that not all aros are romance repulsed. while some are, a person's attraction has nothing to do with their personal view on romance or relationships.

I think also failing to understand that romance repulsion does not imply being repulsed by romantic coded activities.

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I really dislike when people say stuff like "oh aros can't be in romantic relationships otherwise they're not aros !" What we do or don't do doesn't change what we are.

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14 minutes ago, Silyun said:

I really dislike when people say stuff like "oh aros can't be in romantic relationships otherwise they're not aros !" What we do or don't do doesn't change what we are.

Well cupioromantics desire romantic relationships.
It's also possible that some aros may tolerate romance so as to be able to do romantic coded things.

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1 minute ago, Mark said:

Well cupioromantics desire romantic relationships.
It's also possible that some aros may tolerate romance so as to be able to do romantic coded things.

 

Yeah everyone's different ! Being in a romantic relationship doesn't make you less aro. That's one of the reasons I really thought about before coming out. I didn't want to come out as aro to my friends and then hear those kind of comments if I ever get into a romantic relationship (not likely but we never know).

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