Asexuality Alerts: Final week

The asexuality alert journal is a miniseries where I journal my way through the Google alerts for asexuality during Pride month. This is the fifth and final post, where I discuss the final week of June and make some concluding remarks.

Statistics for June 2021

These categories and themes were explained in week 1.

  • Total asexuality alerts: 132
    • Asexuality mentions: 34
      • Acronyms: 27
      • Flags: 7
    • Reddit: 8
    • Articles focusing on…
      • Educating readers: 18
      • Personal stories: 21
      • TV: 11
      • Movies: 1
      • Celebrities: 15
      • Books: 7
      • Memes: 7
      • Video games: 3
      • Research: 5
    • Complete misses: 1
    • Themes…
      • Demisexuality: 4
      • India: 3
      • Philippines: 3
      • Rainbow capitalism: 6
      • Bad: 4
      • Hostile: 2
  • Total aromantic alerts: 16
    • Overlap with asexuality alerts: 6
    • Complete misses: 5
    • Hits: 5
  • Articles making it to the linkspam: 13

Notable articles

This week, the biggest splash came from Ikea’s “Love Seats” campaign, which involves designer couches inspired by various pride flags, as well as a few videos with first person accounts. A higher variety of rainbow capitalism to be sure, but I was surprised when it became a meme–especially the bisexual couch. Now the funny thing is, on day one I criticized shallow rainbow capitalism for just slapping flags onto products. Ikea went a bit further by including actual stories, but it seems that what people really want is slapping flags onto products but make it art.

Every week I find new personal stories–5 a week on average, so say the statistics. Most of these are fairly uninteresting, or else they’re fairly short profiles like this one of Yasmin Benoit. I mean that with all due respect to the people to whom these stories belong, but I’ve heard it all before. This week, the personal story that stood out was from a partner of an asexual. Precisely because I’ve seen it all before, I know that stories like these are rare and precious, because most people are unwilling to talk about their relationships.

This week I put one article in the “bad” theme, an article on demisexuality. I haven’t really mentioned any articles on demisexuality up to this point, because they tend to be fairly generic, but this one is just so lazy. It just quotes a hodgepodge of different sources, including the AVENwiki, which talks about some very dated models.

There was one notable aromantic alert this week, which was a cosmopolitan article on greyromanticism. It’s pretty basic, and honestly if it were about demisexuality I wouldn’t have bothered mentioning it. But greyromanticism is a less common topic, despite it being a fairly common label, so I guess I appreciate this one.

The storied landscape

Let’s step back and take stock of all those articles about various forms of media. 11 for TV, 7 for books, 3 for video games and 1 for movies.

The one movie article hardly counts, it was just a mind-numbing trailer joke that I already talked about in week 2. Worse than nothing.

All three video game articles mention asexuality in relation to Outer Worlds. That’s desolate. You know, there are a lot more games if you look at, for example, itch.io, but I guess people only care about the commercial stuff, which is totally fair.

The book articles break down as follows: 2 for Ace by Angela Chen, 2 for Harry Potter (which was just the same meta-fanfic published in two locations), one for Loveless, one for AZE (which isn’t a book, but it was listed among speculative fiction magazines so *shrug*), and one article that listed five novels. I suspect there’s more representation in books than any other medium, but they just don’t generate as much discussion as TV does.

The TV articles break down as follows: 3 for Everything’s Going to be Okay, 2 for Spongebob Squarepants, one each for Bojack Horseman, Star Trek: DS9, Bloom Into You, Emmerdale, Here it all begins (a French soap opera), and one that mentioned both Riverdale and Big Bang Theory. I’m surprised that people are still talking about Spongebob of all things. Yes, the creator says he is asexual because he is literally a sponge, yes some people read him as gay because he’s campy, this is all old hat.  I am vaguely curious about that French soap opera, since soap operas historically have the most extensive representation. But I’ll probably never know.

Concluding remarks

At the start of this series, I predicted 175 alerts, a record breaking month. I got somewhat less than I expected, at 132, but that’s still breaking the old record of 85.

I remember the old days when there were only a few articles, and each of them would be communally picked over in dedicated AVEN threads. I remember later, when Asexuality Archive had a project to classify thousands of comments, all on just a single news story. Now there are so many articles, that our attention is completely scattered.

I suppose you could say that news stories obey the law of conservation of ninjutsu. One news article is a formidable beast, but a hundred articles are just so many forgettable mooks.

But there’s still a sense in which media attention on asexuality is more important than ever, reaching a larger audience than ever, and touching on more topics than ever. I hope this series brought a sense of proportion that you might not get in a more curated social media environment.

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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4 Responses to Asexuality Alerts: Final week

  1. aceadmiral says:

    Thank you for this series! It’s really interesting to see all these different things and the larger picture of what patterns they fall into. (Although I did track down the article on Bloom Into You and I am mad about it ><)

    • Siggy says:

      You mean “Bloom Into You Is a Triumph For Asexual Representation“? IIRC you wrote a critical review of the manga?

      …yeah, I’m guessing you’re more literate in the genre than the author of that article, so you might have better insight into the direction it’s heading.

      • aceadmiral says:

        That’s the one. Honestly, I see what the author is getting at, but at least in the manga I think the author kiiiiiind of goes out of their way to make Maki particularly alien to the audience. I’m not criticizing that he is that way–which is what I think the author of the article is reacting to–but rather the way being that way is framed, especially through the artwork. Oh, and in that convo he’s Elitist in a cruel way to Yuu’s face, forcing us either to discard the gray/demi reading of Yuu people love to pretend is there so much or to accept a narrative endorsement of the idea that gray/demi/varioriented people are Not Real aroaces and don’t belong in the community 🙃 (which, given the ending of the series, you could make a pretty good case the author has argued for).

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