Asexuality alerts: Week 1

The asexuality alert journal is a miniseries where I journal my way through the Google alerts for asexuality during Pride month. This is the second post, where I talk about June 2-8.

Classification

Part of the point of this series was to compile statistics, to get a sense for where asexuality appears in the “mainstream”. So during this first week, I thought a bit about the best way to classify the alerts. This classification is still a work in progress.

Asexuality mentions – These are articles aren’t really about asexuality at all, but happen to include the word in a list of other identities. I have two subcategories: articles that spell out the LGBTQIA+ (or similar) acronym, and articles that explain what all the flags mean.

Reddit – I have no idea how Google Alerts decides what websites are worth including, and this is something that has changed a lot over time. At the moment, Google Alerts seems to like a particular website that appears to mirror Reddit. But like, the website itself is blank?? Gosh, I don’t know how to explain it. Long story short I got a lot of Reddit.

Most of the Reddit alerts are things I don’t want to talk about, but I still include them in the statistics. I also have a subcount of alerts from ace and aro subreddits.

Complete misses – I try to filter out articles about asexual reproduction of microbes, but they still get through sometimes. One got through this week, and well now I need a category for it.

Articles focusing on: a) Educating the reader, b) personal stories, c) TV, d) celebrities, e) books, f) memes. So far, some of these categories are still empty, so it’s based on a bit of speculation and past experience. The line between personal stories and the others can get quite blurry, but well I put each article into only one category.

In addition to the categories above, I’m also recording statistics on a few “themes”. Every article fits into exactly one category, but not every article fits into a theme. Currently, the themes I’m tracking are: demisexuality, rainbow capitalism, “bad”, and “hostile”. You’ll see examples of “bad” and “hostile” this week—a “bad” article is well-meaning but goes horribly wrong, while a “hostile” article is not well-meaning at all. I might add more or remove themes as I go.

Finally, I mentioned that I started tracking aromantic alerts this month. I’m afraid that I’m getting very few alerts, so I’ll just have three categories: Those which overlap with the asexuality alerts, complete misses, and the hits.

Statistics for June 1-8

  • Total asexuality alerts: 39
    • Asexuality mentions: 15
      • Acronyms: 9
      • Flags: 6
    • Reddit: 8
      • Ace/aro subreddits: 4
    • Complete misses: 1
    • Articles focusing on…
      • Educating readers: 3
      • Personal stories: 4
      • TV: 5
      • Celebrities: 0
      • Books: 2
      • Memes: 1
    • Themes…
      • Demisexuality: 2
      • Rainbow capitalism: 1
      • Bad: 2
      • Hostile: 1
  • Total aromantic alerts: 5
    • Overlap with asexuality alerts: 3
    • Complete misses: 1
    • Hits: 1

Notable articles

In past experience, TV shows tend to drive a lot of news coverage, especially whenever some character comes out as ace. Among the 5 articles this week, there was one that mentioned Bojack Horseman and a fan-analysis of Star Trek DS9. The other three were about Everything’s Going To Be Okay. The tricky thing about TV articles is that I don’t know anything about TV, so I have no idea if this is a new or ongoing thing or what. Well, let’s take a look at one of them.

A teenage girl on the autism spectrum tells her girlfriend, who is also on the autism spectrum, that she realized she actually isn’t sexually attracted to women.

Cool. Here’s another one:

Unfortunately, G.L.A.A.D. signs-off on most Hollywood scripts nowadays and is the arbiter of an increasingly extreme Gay, Inc. agenda. Therefore, these ludicrous storylines will only increase.

Oops, I stumbled into the one “hostile” article in the list! Let’s not link that one, it’s just not that interesting.

The “bad” designation goes to a Popbuzz article declaring the greatness of some Twitter meme. The meme places “asexual” on a “libido/sexual drive” scale, opposite to “hypersexual”, and “aromantic” is placed opposite to “hopeless romantic”. As a scholar of terrible graphs of orientation, I give this one a 3/10, slightly above the layer cake thing.

What about the good articles? Well at this point I’m just previewing stuff that will go in the linkspam…

There was a personal story about the impact of finding representation in Alice Oseman’s Loveless. Now, I have a small complaint about this one, in that the author leans a bit much on platonic love as a way to humanize people. Although, that’s kind of on Oseman IMHO. In the aro community there’s an identity/submovement about rejecting the centrality of love as a humanizing force–ironically the identity is called “loveless”, sharing a name with Oseman’s book.

On the subject of aro articles, there’s the one article I found via aromantic alerts, that didn’t show up in asexual alerts. It’s written by an allo aro, and it spends a lot of time going through aro 101. But there’s also a personal story in there about wanting to be a mother. This is exactly the kind of article I love seeing in my alerts–well written, thoughtful, and completely outside my usual circles.

See you next week!

About Siggy

Siggy is an ace activist based in the U.S. He is gay gray-A, and has a Ph.D. in physics. He has another blog where he also talks about math, philosophy, godlessness, and social criticism. His other hobbies include board games and origami.
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8 Responses to Asexuality alerts: Week 1

  1. Coyote says:

    In the aro community there’s an identity/submovement about rejecting the centrality of love as a humanizing force–ironically the identity is called “loveless”

    Is there a movement? I thought about making a post about it a while back, but while I can find plenty of posts sort of talking around the idea or saying “I don’t identify as loveless, but…,” I’ve only found maybe one aro blogger who seems to self-classify that way.

    • Siggy says:

      AUREA had a couple articles about personal narratives relating to lovelessness recently.

      “Loveless” is nominally a personal identity, but I wonder if it might be better conceptualized as a conversation, because that’s how people seem to treat it in practice. It’s funny, even when they set out to interview “loveless” people, one of them straight up says they don’t identify as such.

  2. Two of us in TAAAP, plus another blogger I recognize, were interviewed for that aro article. It was great! She was such a friendly, thoughtful journalist to talk to and I’m very pleased with how the article turned out.

  3. i recently watched all of Everything’s Gonna Be Okay, both seasons 1 and 2, which is under 7.5 total hours of television – i watched it over the course of about 4 days.

    The asexuality representation both thrilled and disappointed me at different times. I love that they let an asexual character on television be autistic, have other disabilities too, be homoromantic for once!, be (relatively) okay with an open relationship where she is letting her partner have sex with other people, and even have a wedding!! That’s a bunch of exciting stuff to see.

    They also equated asexuality with not having sex in a more extreme way than I’m used to seeing. I am one of the aces who feels represented by all the ace characters who don’t want sex ever but even so… When the homoromantic asexual 18 year old girl, Drea, in episode 2×05 asks the character in his twenties Nicholas “Do you understand what asexuality is?” and he says, “Well I didn’t, um, to be honest. Because, well, it’s never piqued my interest. But i researched it last night.”

    Drea replies, “What do you think about it?”

    Nicholas: “Well, um, i kept trying to look for things that would explain what it is. And all anything said was that the person doesn’t want to have sex.”

    Drea: “Yeah. That’s- that’s what it is.”

    Nicholas: “Yes. It’s just one of those things that it is exactly what the person says it is, and that’s that, and there isn’t really anything to add.”

    I really dislike the implication that apparently that’s what asexuality is when obviously many asexuals would vehemently disagree with that definition, and not only that but that the show heavily implied that if you go about searching the internet for explanations of what asexuality that’s all anything will say. What in the world? Why did they have to write it that way?

    The next part about how some people like Drea can still feel the romantic feelings without the sexual feelings whereas for Nicholas “sex and love are so intertwined” was more well done i thought but that little thing bothered me a lot, i feel like that’s more egregious than I’m used to in asexuality rep.

    • It seems even more frustrating, reading that Variety article linked here, where the creator of the show,

      did his own research on asexuality before embarking on crafting the story, to see what he wanted to say about it and how, and then he drafted his script and sent it to writer Mary Kate McAlpine, who served as a consultant to the show, connected through GLAAD’s Nick Adams.

      McAlpine notes that the “main thing” they wanted to make sure “Everything’s Gonna Be Okay” didn’t do was imply that all autistic people are asexual and vice versa.

      Because… Well. You know they were so concerned that asexuality not seem to be linked to autism that they didn’t bother even considering at asexuality be otherwise not implied to equal not wanting sex for all aces. They didn’t consult with anyone about that part of it i guess…

      I am glad the show makes it clear not all autistic people are asexual, i suppose, but also there’s nothing in the show to imply there are allistic people out there for sure who are asexual, for the record.

    • Siggy says:

      Thanks for your insight!

      If you’re interested, the third article about the show was an interview with the actress who plays Drea.

  4. Pingback: Asexuality Alerts: Week 3 | The Asexual Agenda

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