Recently Tristifere and Katie both called for Americans to make room for more international perspectives on asexuality or its analogues. The tendency so far, is that voices from the US, Canada, UK, and Australia dominate the discourse, and universalize their own experiences. In the past, a few blogs have discussed asexuality in Spanish and German, and we here have discussed asexuality in Japan, and antisexuality in Russia, but clearly there could be a lot more.
We are interested in showing more international perspectives, especially ones that challenge the predominant English-speaking views. If you can offer such a perspective, either because you’ve lived outside the dominant countries, or because you’ve participated in non-English communities online, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may do a guest post or interview (in text, not in person). We prefer interviews simply because it’s common for people to offer guest posts and then never get around to writing them.
There’s something kind of ironic about this. We see that English and English-speaking people from North-America especially dominate online, so we’re going to do something about it – By having a non-anglophone person/person from somewhere else write a post in English, for an anlgophone mostly North-American audience!
Don’t get me wrong, it’s important that American people realise that their culture and experiences aren’t universal, but it’s more important to me that there be online communities in our native languages, where we can find words for our own identities in our own languages, consistent with our own cultures, where we’re not relying on our second language or on mediocre translations to identify ourselves, and where our system of reference can be our own, rather than American. I’m just tired of American cultural imperialism that Americans don’t even realise that they’re enforcing, is what I’m saying. Ignore me, I’m a bitter radical.
I do love this, though! It’s not that I think this is bad or unnecessary, because it is needed and a great initiative, it really is. And it’s not like doind this and creating conversations in different languages are in any way mutually exclusive, in fact, stuff like this might even be a pre-req. I don’t know if my English is good enough or if it’s enough to identify as “not hetero-anything and also kind of asexual-ish idk”, but if it is, I would love to help out!
I am aware of the irony that we are challenging American/UK dominance by asking international voices to speak to a predominantly American/UK audience. The very word “international” suggests “other”.
But ultimately we have little ability to build non-English or non-US/UK spaces. If a bunch of Americans were to take leadership of non-English spaces, now that would be imperialism. The only ability we have here is to facilitate exchange of information. Usually it’s only a one-way exchange, with US/UK people creating resources, which are consumed by the rest of the world. I think a two-way exchange is an improvement.
can I just say … building communities in our native languages doesn’t exclude us participating in Anglophone communities. In fact, I think it’s in our best interest to have both – and by “us” I mean non-native speakers of English. I completely agree with you that we need to build communities and resources in our native languages (and I am pretty frustrated by the apathy of some people who just rather use the second-rate tool that is the Anglophone community instead of getting their ass into action to build communities around their language and culture).
BUT the English language is the linga franca of the world and if we want to have an international exchange of ideas, it’s going to be in English. That’s not just an exchange about how we experience our own (a)sexuality, but also with regards to activism, visibility, etc.
For me, the biggest concern isn’t just challenging Americans/Anglophones in their thinking that their experiences are universal (though every single person who starts thinking about this is a big bonus!), but it’s the non-Anglophone aces that read this. We also tend to think the American experience is universal. To see that challenged is huge. Because if you don’t see that challenged, it’s far too easy to attribute the disconnect you feel when reading American discourse to something else as it’s harder to realise it’s a cultural difference. This can get us non-native speakers of English to think about how our own experiences differ or are unique to our own culture.
I agree with all of this! I do! I am just perpetually bitter about Americans as a phenomenon (and possibly extra fueled by anger towards American cruise tourists wandering into our garden like it was a public park), I did not mean to criticise this wonderful initiative. I also really agree about anglophone control of non-anglophone spaces being imperialism and it is so so true that it is important to reach non-anglophone aces who participate in the English-language community, because, wow, it is so easy to feel left out and weird and disconnected and think it has to do with you being weird when it is really about cultural differences. English is our lingua franca, also true, and using it can give us a lot.
hey, looks like we pretty much agree on the subject! I completely understand your frustration (seriously don’t get me started on tourists…) and I share your concerns about the cultural imperialism aspects of our ace communities, just in case that wasn’t clear. I didn’t really state that in my previous comment.
btw, can I ask you – as one european to another – do you think the explicit American presentation of the (Anglophone) ace communities can become a problem for our identity being seen as legitimate in Europe? I noticed there are some Europeans* who tend to think that asexuality is an American phenomenon, and subsequently dismiss it as “those weird Americans”. They seem to think that it’s only Americans who identify as ace, and therefore think it doesn’t apply to their own country.
* One place I can quickly direct you to for proof is the negative comment analysis on the Asexuality Archive, where the comment of “lol… only in America” is listed under “conspiracy theories”. Link: http://www.asexualityarchive.com/the-comment-section-everythings-political/
I’ve seen this attitude in some other places too, though.
I don’t really know? I don’t think I’ve ever presented myself as asexual in a real life setting, so I don’t really have any experience to draw from. I kind of doubt it, though. I think, maybe, the narrow defintions of specific words and the splitting of identities into different parts is seen as an American thing, but the concept of asexuality in itself…. We see abstinence as an American thing, and tend to think of Americans as slightly sexually repressed, whether because they’re hiding a queer identity or because they’re commited to abstinence, (and I guess this repression might be seen as the cause of the desire to split up identities into different parts), but we also see American culture as thouroughly sexualised and sexual, both openly and in a “don’t think about a pink elephant” kind of way, maybe because they’re so …weird about sex? It might be seen as in internet thing, though, and everyone knows internet things are really just americana things… I give up. In summary I really have no idea and end up talking nonsense to myself, as always.
Well. I have time issues, otherwise I’d love to add my two EURO-cents. You may expect an e-mail about an interview, though, Siggy.
I can’t seem to reply to Arrela directly, but, yes, Americans sometimes seem so very weird. About sex, about religion, and you people effectively live with only two political parties in your version of parliament, and they’re both conservative parties, from a German point of view. *headscratch*
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As said Ace in Translation, this is read also by non-native English-reading people. Knowing of another non-Anglo-Saxon community is interesting even if it has nothing to do with your own culture, at least for me.
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