This is kind of a silly post. Not in a laughing your butt off kind of a way (although, I am sure someone could pick this apart and think it’s hilariously awful. I will probably do that at some point. And then hate myself because why am I so ridiculous?) but in that I’m overreacting a tad bit. But that’s the point of it.
I was overreacting to something and I couldn’t figure out why.
It was something that deserved a reaction, but not quite the reaction I wanted to give. If I hadn’t been at work with multiple people around, I probably would have started throwing things and shouting angrily at the top of my lungs and throw some curse words around. I was that pissed.
Something that both is and is not that hard to do. In general, I don’t get pissed off that easily. I’m something of a pushover. I’m too busy trying to be polite and nice and non-confrontational but if you say anything sexist/racist/so damn moronic I’m not sure how people talk to you, I become a little ball of fury.
Possibly the best way to piss me off is to invalidate asexuals and aromantics. I am really freaking touchy about that. But I’m really freaking touchy for a reason. Partially because it’s something I personally experience but a large part of it is that there aren’t enough people saying things and when there aren’t enough people saying things and bringing attention to issues, the few people who do need to shout. Most people are still learning about ace/aros and quite a bit of the people who have learned they exist dismiss them and I’m really good at shouting so… Yeah, I’m going to have a strong reaction.
Before I even knew asexual and aromantic as terms (well, before I knew asexual as a term that didn’t mean an organism reproduces without help from a fellow organism), I was constantly being invalidated for what I would realize was my being asexual. I couldn’t say that I found sex to be gross or I didn’t want to get married or make a comment about how I didn’t understand sexual/romantic attraction without hearing something stupid. “You’ll grow out of it”. “You’re too young to know what you want”. “You just haven’t met the right guy”. Blah blah blah. All stupid, by the way, because I’m pretty sure that if you’re a teenager, at the height or hormones and all that, and you don’t understand the sexual/romantic world, you probably never will and there’s a reason for that (you’re probably ace or aro) (that could be a gross overgeneralization, but from what I’ve read/talked to people about/experienced myself it’s not).
Those were mostly well intentioned females. Then males happened. Thankfully, most guys I talked to didn’t give a damn. If anything, awesome. If they aren’t going to get anywhere with me, it’s not nearly as ego-smashing because, hey, no one is going to get with me. But then there are the guys who get angry. I will never understand why guys take my being ace/aro as a personal affront to them, but they do.
Or they think they can make me romantic and/or sexual. Which… no. Just no. I have tried to make myself “normal”. All that did is drive myself and my ex and probably a friend or two crazy.
Or I’m being a crazy feminist who is making stuff up in my need to defy the patriarchy. I mean, sure, defying the patriarchy is definitely a plus, but I promise you, I could defy the patriarchy while being romantic and sexual (I write characters who do that for me since I can’t – well, I could, but not without awful personal repercussions).
Or I’m exaggerating. Or “that’s not possible/natural” – because everyone has to be sexual/romantic. (I’d like to point out that it was thought unnatural/insane for a woman to enjoy sex for any other reason than that it was another way for her to please her husband. By the same group of people who believed in God as Creator who would have endowed women with the ability to orgasm and feel pleasure and whatnot but nope, it’s totally unnatural to enjoy sex. So I’m not sure I’m going to believe anyone who tells me anything to do with my sexuality isn’t natural.)
Or, you know, it’s really not fair of me to take myself off the market (ew. That term. Just ew. Why do people still use that term? I’m not a goshdarn slab of meat at the butcher’s) when I’m so pretty/nice/fun/appealing to males (even though being in a monogamous relationship would also mean being “off the market”… So, what’s the big difference??). Or I’m such a tease for talking to guys when I’m not sexually/romantically interested in men.
But, I think my favorite one is the most recent one. That I am “practically a lesbian”.
I had seen various things on the internet trying to lump ace/aro people as straight/bi/homosexual/whatever the heck someone wanted them to be and was pretty annoyed. But then this past week happened and I’m a human and humans are really good at not getting mad about something until they experience it themselves.
During a conversation, someone who knows I am asexual and aromantic told me that I’m practically a lesbian and I immediately asked why. I couldn’t think of any reason why that would make sense. But, oh, right, I forgot that I, apparently live in a solely heterosexual male world because that was the answer. “To heterosexual males, you might as well be.” I was kind of pissed then, but just pointed out that’s not the only sexuality and walked away. And then it was brought up again two days later and, again, I was told that I am practically a lesbian because to the heterosexual world I might as well be and an argument commenced that ended in me walking away and trying to avoid conversation for the rest of the night because, well, furious Autumn is not exactly a pleasant person to behold.
The person who had said this is a friend of mine who had previously referred to me as his not-so-lesbian friend, because I’m like having a lesbian friend. I thought this was hilarious and probably pretty true.
But that doesn’t make me practically a lesbian. That means having a female friend who is ace/aro when you are a guy is like being friends with a lesbian. There will be no romantic interest and I will point out the really (aesthetically) attractive chicks while we’re watching movies. Granted, I’ll do the same with guys, but they’re a lot harder to find. Like The Avengers. Mostly male cast. They aren’t unattractive, but if I’m drooling over anyone, it’s Black Widow. Okay, there is no if. If I hated those movies, I would watch them just for her kick ass self. But, when watching Becoming Jane, I turned to my mother, pointed at James McAvoy and said “If you find me someone with that accent and those looks who meets my standards, you might actually get yourself those grandbabies you want. By might I mean, I’ll consider it and then laugh and platonically drink tea with him, but, hey, I considered it.” And since she was half asleep, she just sort of rolled her eyes at me instead of pointing out how entertaining my children would be and the world will be a more boring place without them.
But, while I find no shame in identifying as lesbian, I also find no shame in identifying as ace/aro. And when I am constantly being told that there’s something wrong with me in some way, shape, or form for not being attracted to people (or reciprocating their attraction. Blegh), I don’t want to be smushed into another category.
I am as attracted to women as I am to men.
So… aesthetically. As friends. As squishes. As people who are so awesome and attractive as individuals that they get me flustered and I walk into poles or trip over things or develop a stammer.
But not sexually and not romantically.
And that’s really freaking important to me.
Because that greatly impacts how I view and interact with the world. Because my goal and value hierarchy is (usually) somewhat different from most allosexuals. Because there are very few things I would say have shaped my entire life but my being ace/aro is definitely one of them.
So to try to take away my identity as ace/aro – especially if you’re someone I have a relationship with – is going to make me a tiny bit pissed.
But then to back it up by saying it’s because to the heterosexual male world, I might as well be lesbian – ahaha, no. I’m going to want to HulkSmash you through a wall.
Because that’s ignoring at least half, if not more, of the world’s population and since most of my friends are heterosexual males and can manage to respect the fact that I am not attracted to males without having to pretend I’m a lesbian (granted, the fact that they respect people for such things is why they are my friends), I’m pretty sure I might as well be straight, too. Or bi. Or pan. Or whatever. Because either way, we are friends. Either way, I am a person in their life that they enjoy and care about (or seem to, anyway, since why else would you be friends with someone you have to actively work at being friends with because of time and distance and the fact that I’m hard to have a relationship with because of social anxiety, self-defeating habits, and various other things). Because no matter who I am or am not dating, what matters is that I am happy and healthy.
Because I am not some object whose worth and meaning is dependent upon whether or not I am romantically/sexually available. I’m kind of tired of so many things I have been told as both a female and someone who is asexual and aromantic boiling down to my availability to men sexually and romantically.
You know, I might as well have been a lesbian when I was with my ex because I have always been ace/aro (or gray ace/aro, but like I’ve said before, there were very, very special circumstances around my ex. So outside of him, I’m pretty sure there isn’t even any grayness. It’s just a lot of “yup, definitely ace. Definitely aro. I’m going to go fantasize about quiche and dumplings and cheesecake now.”) and then on top of that, I was even more unavailable because I had a person. But no one would have said to me “you’re practically a lesbian” during that time of my life, even though the reasoning is exactly the same – my availability to the (single) heterosexual male world.
So maybe that’s only part of it? Maybe it’s also that, for whatever reason, quite a few allosexuals are made really uncomfortable by something that has absolutely no affect on them (unless you are dating an ace/aro, but otherwise, no) and really, it’s not something they necessarily need to know about. People need to know asexuals and aromantics exist, but is that something someone needs to know about you? Probably not. But if someone does tell you they’re asexual and/or aromantic, let’s not be idiots about it, ok?
And, maybe I need to stop over thinking everything, but maybe people could also try to figure out why what they’re saying could be offensive and we can meet somewhere in the middle (instead of insisting something isn’t offensive while someone is obviously upset. That goes for every offense, by the way).
(And maybe I need to stop using so many parentheses, eh?)