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What aspects of being aro would you like to see presented in fiction?


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So two years ago I wrote a short story for a fiction class that accidentally (read: purposefully) became a metaphor for the aro/ace struggle (primarily the aro struggle in retrospect), and I have decided I want to rewrite it and expand upon it now that I have more experience (both with writing and with being aro).

 

So, in the interest of doing the aro experience justice, what are some things you wish were portrayed in fiction about being aro?

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Hmm... this is interesting and I'll probably get more ideas from seeing what other people think, but I have a few initial thoughts...

At the very least (and this is in general, not really to you) is that I would like to see aromanticism acknowledged (and we're not just guessing that a character might be aromantic, which is what I have experienced so far in fiction).

I would like to see being aro portrayed as not just one experience, but a very diverse set of experiences.

In particular, I would like to see being aro portrayed as being a positive part of someone's life, not just there, or something that causes problems, but something to be proud of and celebrated.  

Note that these are more for fiction in general... (I'm not sure how I could fit a diverse set of experiences into one shot story.)

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1 hour ago, Star Girl said:

In particular, I would like to see being aro portrayed as being a positive part of someone's life, not just there, or something that causes problems, but something to be proud of and celebrated.  

 

I agree; I think it's important to show that it's an important part of who a person is, and not a bad thing. However, I also think it's important to include ways that aros are oppressed, and how it does actually cause problems, and how they can struggle with their identity because of society's biases, both casual and outright.

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I think that the invisibility and erasure we face are things that could be presented in fiction. As well as the fact that being aro is not comparable to being a single allo.

12 minutes ago, Shroomie said:

I think it's important to show that it's an important part of who a person is, and not a bad thing. However, I also think it's important to include ways that aros are oppressed, and how it does actually cause problems, and how they can struggle with their identity because of society's biases, both casual and outright.

Also, all of this.

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There's not really anything that ever deals with what it's like to be aro in a society that's set up for all the people who aren't. Nobody ever talks about amatonormativity or romance repulsion or how frustrating it can be to try and figure out whether or not you feel something that's apparently so important but is still incredibly poorly defined aside from just being taken as universal and inevitable, and that can be really alienating for those of us whose interactions are often heavily colored by all those factors. (Also, I really wish there was more representation of queerplatonic relationships, but that's not strictly an aro matter.)

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I was wondering about something set in a society where romantic attraction is unusual, possibly even pathologized.
Similarly a setting where a romantic, sexually monogamous, escalating, co-habiting, finance/identity entangling, etc relationship is unusual, to the point of typically getting a "WTF, why would anyone want to do that?" type of response.

Definitely depictions of relationships which are clearly neither "romantic" nor "platonic". Whilst including things like sexuality, sensuality, affection, deep emotional ties, etc.
Covering primary, secondary and tertiary characters.
Not always an aro protagonist in an amantonormative world though. Even then that might be better as a secondary plot element. (So as to avoid "token aros".)

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6 hours ago, Mark said:

I was wondering about something set in a society where romantic attraction is unusual, possibly even pathologized.
Similarly a setting where a romantic, sexually monogamous, escalating, co-habiting, finance/identity entangling, etc relationship is unusual, to the point of typically getting a "WTF, why would anyone want to do that?" type of response.

Definitely depictions of relationships which are clearly neither "romantic" nor "platonic". Whilst including things like sexuality, sensuality, affection, deep emotional ties, etc.
Covering primary, secondary and tertiary characters.
Not always an aro protagonist in an amantonormative world though. Even then that might be better as a secondary plot element. (So as to avoid "token aros".)

All of these are also great ideas, and any one of them would probably be enough to get me to read/watch whatever fiction involves it without knowing anything else about said fiction.

 

Also, just to be clear, I don't mean by my original post that everything should be Aro Angst™, I'm just saying that there's practically no fictional representation of any of those issues and it would be nice if that weren't the case. Really, there's so little out there in fiction of literally any facet of aro existence that almost anything that just acknowledges our experience without being problematic about it is much-needed representation.

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I really want more strong platonic bonds. Especially between men & women. And people trying to find those kinds of bonds.

 

I also want more characters who are being pursued romantically, think the one pursuing them is a decent person, but have no interest in being involved with anyone.

 

And I want more allo-aro characters. The only fictional aros I can think of are aces. (And usually have only their sexuality, not their romantic orientation stated.)

 

And more grey characters. I can't think of a single fictional grey-ace or grey-aro.  

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2 hours ago, Ettina said:

I also want more characters who are being pursued romantically, think the one pursuing them is a decent person, but have no interest in being involved with anyone.

Maybe they are oblivious to the romantic interest. Alternatively do want to "be involved" but not in a romantic way.
You could flip this as a romantic person being "persued" by an aro

It would also be possible to look at things from the POV of an aro character who finds it strange and frustrating how important romance can be in terms of social interaction.
 

2 hours ago, Ettina said:

And I want more allo-aro characters. The only fictional aros I can think of are aces. (And usually have only their sexuality, not their romantic orientation stated.)

Maybe some varioriented allo allo characters would help get over that romantic and sexual orientations are different things. It's too often assumed that these always go together.
Even with aro ace characters it could be good to avoid making them haphephobic. Since this is an unfortunate stereotype of both orientations.

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8 hours ago, Mark said:

Even with aro ace characters it could be good to avoid making them haphephobic. Since this is an unfortunate stereotype of both orientations.

(Had to look up haphephobic - it means touch averse.)

I agree. I'm a cuddly aroace. I don't like being touched by strangers (but most don't, right?). But I need regular cuddles in my life. Ironically, I'm also autistic, making my craving cuddles even more stereotype-breaking.    

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I'd like the depiction of a queerplatonic relationship: the two parties involved become best friends (everything happens naturally), and the feelings developing afterwards should be described properly. No butterflies, no thundering heartbeat, no blushing, no nervousness. Simple words to emphasise the feeling of safety, comfort, warmth, trust, affection, appreciation. Sexual attraction may or may not be present. In case it is, it should be presented as a desire, and the act as a way of having fun and showing that the two feel at ease around each other. :-?

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I think if any media ever goes with QP route, I would like to see the Aro side describing other as their "partner in crime". I also would like to see aro one being confused over what they feel because it is STRONG, really strong and they love other person so much and get really protective and to some level, might be a bit possessive of other, but when they think about it or try "dating", it just doesn't seem to work out/feel right? I want to see the aro person who ends up in QP to have a talk with said person over their confusion, they LOVE other, just... not THAT way. But it isn't any less. I just. I just want to see a good squish example and a confused aro being told it is OK to feel that way and it is not weird or wrong and for other side to accept that?

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2 hours ago, Ice Queen said:

I'd like the depiction of a queerplatonic relationship: the two parties involved become best friends (everything happens naturally), and the feelings developing afterwards should be described properly. No butterflies, no thundering heartbeat, no blushing, no nervousness. Simple words to emphasise the feeling of safety, comfort, warmth, trust, affection, appreciation. Sexual attraction may or may not be present. In case it is, it should be presented as a desire, and the act as a way of having fun and showing that the two feel at ease around each other. :-?

 

2 hours ago, ApeironStella said:

I think if any media ever goes with QP route, I would like to see the Aro side describing other as their "partner in crime". I also would like to see aro one being confused over what they feel because it is STRONG, really strong and they love other person so much and get really protective and to some level, might be a bit possessive of other, but when they think about it or try "dating", it just doesn't seem to work out/feel right? I want to see the aro person who ends up in QP to have a talk with said person over their confusion, they LOVE other, just... not THAT way. But it isn't any less. I just. I just want to see a good squish example and a confused aro being told it is OK to feel that way and it is not weird or wrong and for other side to accept that?

 

 

^^ Both of these. YES. So much yes. I need these fictional QPRs yesterday. If I ever recover enough spoons to get back into writing, you can bet this is going to happen.

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1 hour ago, Dodecahedron314 said:

 

 

 

^^ Both of these. YES. So much yes. I need these fictional QPRs yesterday. If I ever recover enough spoons to get back into writing, you can bet this is going to happen.

 

Idk if you would be OK with fanfic, but I found those fics with AroAce!Sherlock (+ John) yesterday when I felt same way you do:

http://archiveofourown.org/works/159406

http://archiveofourown.org/works/2063853

http://archiveofourown.org/works/5331365

 

First two are definitely favourites for me, even if I don't follow BBC Sherlock by now, and third one is not bad either and actually is good for some sense of aro acceptance feelsies. They are not much but hey, it wouldn't hurt to share..?

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On 4/30/2017 at 11:24 PM, ApeironStella said:

 

Idk if you would be OK with fanfic, but I found those fics with AroAce!Sherlock (+ John) yesterday when I felt same way you do:

http://archiveofourown.org/works/159406

http://archiveofourown.org/works/2063853

http://archiveofourown.org/works/5331365

 

First two are definitely favourites for me, even if I don't follow BBC Sherlock by now, and third one is not bad either and actually is good for some sense of aro acceptance feelsies. They are not much but hey, it wouldn't hurt to share..?

I wasn't much of one for fanfiction in the past, but I've gotten into more and more fandoms with unexplored facets that seem to require it, so it's perfectly all right. (I will neither confirm nor deny that I also have multiple ideas for QP fics...) These are all quite good, though none are flawless, and certainly do bring out some of the better aspects of the show and Sherlock's all-but-canonical aroace-ness.

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This isn't really about being aro, I just want someone to say they are aro. Not that they're aromantic per say, I don't really care about the label, I just want them to verbally say they're not interested in anyone romantically. I just want someone to be like "yeah, I'm not really into the whole dating/relationship thing", or "I'm not much of a romantic guy/girl". Even "I've never had a crush on anyone". Like a close friend can question them about it and they have a serious discussion. Or parents and relatives are always like "why haven't you found yourself a woman/man yet?" and they'd be like "I don't want one", or "I'm not interested in dating". Or they have a fwb or one night stands that mention something about furthering their relationship and they're like "nah, I'm not into the whole romance thing, this is as far as I'd wanna go". I just want the aro character to actually say it one time (or more). To say they're not interested or they don't want it. Like, yeah, we can assume someone is aro if they don't have any romantic interests, but I want them to actually say it. So it's true, and we're not just assuming. 

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On 2017-04-22 at 0:45 PM, Mark said:

I was wondering about something set in a society where romantic attraction is unusual, possibly even pathologized.
Similarly a setting where a romantic, sexually monogamous, escalating, co-habiting, finance/identity entangling, etc relationship is unusual, to the point of typically getting a "WTF, why would anyone want to do that?" type of response.
 

That would be a lot of fun :)

I've been thinking before that it would be interesting to read an historic novel with an aromantic main character. Like maybe a woman who lives in a time where her only expectation is to marry and she doesn't want it at all and is trying to figure out another option.

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12 hours ago, Holmbo said:

That would be a lot of fun :)

I've been thinking before that it would be interesting to read an historic novel with an aromantic main character. Like maybe a woman who lives in a time where her only expectation is to marry and she doesn't want it at all and is trying to figure out another option.

Sounds very interesting. 

 

I know in many places, a woman like that might find her place as a nun. But not every woman had the option of being a nun (eg if they're Protestant, or if their family insists on them marrying for political reasons).

 

Incidentally, the webcomic Heartless features an aroace woman in Victorian times who gets turned into a vampire. It touches on some of those themes, especially right at the start.        

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49 minutes ago, Ettina said:

Incidentally, the webcomic Heartless features an aroace woman in Victorian times who gets turned into a vampire. It touches on some of those themes, especially right at the start.        

 

I read that one, as far as it was written a while ago.

It's very good. But I had trouble reading it on my phone. The strips wouldn't come in order.

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On 4/30/2017 at 10:40 AM, ApeironStella said:

I think if any media ever goes with QP route, I would like to see the Aro side describing other as their "partner in crime". I also would like to see aro one being confused over what they feel because it is STRONG, really strong and they love other person so much and get really protective and to some level, might be a bit possessive of other, but when they think about it or try "dating", it just doesn't seem to work out/feel right? I want to see the aro person who ends up in QP to have a talk with said person over their confusion, they LOVE other, just... not THAT way. But it isn't any less. I just. I just want to see a good squish example and a confused aro being told it is OK to feel that way and it is not weird or wrong and for other side to accept that?

 

On 4/30/2017 at 10:18 AM, Ice Queen said:

I'd like the depiction of a queerplatonic relationship: the two parties involved become best friends (everything happens naturally), and the feelings developing afterwards should be described properly. No butterflies, no thundering heartbeat, no blushing, no nervousness. Simple words to emphasise the feeling of safety, comfort, warmth, trust, affection, appreciation. Sexual attraction may or may not be present. In case it is, it should be presented as a desire, and the act as a way of having fun and showing that the two feel at ease around each other. :-?

Wise people who describe my heart, please if you can, tell me, what is the difference between this and romance? I can't tell if what I have for a friend is a crush or a squish...

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6 hours ago, Dragonheart said:

 

Wise people who describe my heart, please if you can, tell me, what is the difference between this and romance? I can't tell if what I have for a friend is a crush or a squish...

Romance is a type of attraction, which means it appears involuntarily, sometimes out of nowhere. It is accompanied by symptoms varying from one person to another, symptoms such as butterflies in the stomach, nervousness around the person, increased heart rate, blushing, pallor, loss of appetite, giddiness, and so on. If it is a crush, it can happen that one crushes on someone they don't know at all. It's like that spark people describe. They don't know the person, yet for inexplicable reasons, they can't help but feel an intrinsic desire to pursue a relationship with the person in question. The symptoms are present, too, but not to that high a degree. Romantic attraction basically means anything from crushing to falling and being in love with someone for a while.

 

A squish is like a desire to become close with someone. The desired bond can vary from friends to best friends, and so on. As for queerplatonic feelings, well, I do experience such feelings at the moment. To me, it is like a BFF (best friends forever) upgrade. I have strong feelings, but my body doesn't react at all because there's nothing chemical about it. It all developed based on what I know about the person, on a strong bond that formed naturally over time. Simply put, that person turned out as worthy of a special place in my heart. So these feelings go beyond typical friendship, but they are born out of it.

 

What kind of connection do you desire with that friend? Best friends, or partners? If it is the latter, I have a thread in which I tried to explained the differences between being in love (aka romantic attraction) and, love without that attraction, as we, aromantics, experience it: http://www.arocalypse.com/forums/topic/960-compare-and-contrast/

 

 

Hope I didn't baffle you xD. 

 

 

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40 minutes ago, Ice Queen said:

A squish is like a desire to become close with someone. The desired bond can vary from friends to best friends, and so on. As for queerplatonic feelings, well, I do experience such feelings at the moment. To me, it is like a BFF (best friends forever) upgrade. I have strong feelings, but my body doesn't react at all because there's nothing chemical about it. It all developed based on what I know about the person, on a strong bond that formed naturally over time. Simply put, that person turned out as worthy of a special place in my heart. So these feelings go beyond typical friendship, but they are born out of it.

This is a great explination :)

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I also want to see dysfunctional QPRs or aro/allo romances that fail for reasons completely unrelated to the characters' respective orientations or the basic nature of the relationship. (And the same with ace/allo romances.) 

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On 5/17/2017 at 4:30 PM, Ettina said:

I also want to see dysfunctional QPRs or aro/allo romances that fail for reasons completely unrelated to the characters' respective orientations or the basic nature of the relationship. (And the same with ace/allo romances.) 

This kind of happens in the webcomic Homestuck--I'm thinking specifically of the moirallegiance (essentially the in-universe equivalent of a QPR, and pretty much the closest thing QPRs have ever gotten to canonical representation in something reasonably popular) between Equius and Nepeta, and possibly that between Karkat and Gamzee as well.

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