Thursday, August 23, 2012

Asexuals called Lepers on Fox News

Two days ago Fox News decided to use Tony Bogaert’s new book as an excuse to discuss the ace community:



The clip, while pretty grim, is also somewhat unsurprising. It’s a pretty accurate (if confusingly kooky) representation of the kind of ignorant and dismissive comments that asexuals and grey-a’s receive when we talk about our experience.

Unlike gay, lesbian, bi, pan and trans folks, who get discriminated against with much more direct hate speech, our community tends to get dismissed offhand and told that we’re broken. It’s a different experience than that of many other people in the queer community, but I can tell you from experiencing it firsthand that being told that you’re broken still sucks. It’s why a lot of people out there (especially young people) beat themselves up unless they can meet some cosmo-defined manifestation of sexual desire. It’s why a lot of people are afraid that if they can’t find sexual intimacy they won’t be able to find intimacy, period.

I’ve talked about asexuality a LOT, and noticed that it does a funny thing to many people’s brains. A lot of people out there have so deeply internalized the idea that sex and intimacy are velcroed together that their brain skips around the idea of asexuality like a damaged CD. Something about the idea of asexual people doesn’t fit into their worldview, and so they make up any ridiculous excuse they can to unmake or ignore us.

A great example is this segment on Fox, where the presented asks “do asexual people exist?” and all anyone can do is come up with reasons to avoid the question. They hypothesize that all women are asexual (really?!?), and talk about how we must be lepers that no one wants to touch. Then they talk about how if we DO exist we’d have to be boring and lifeless.

This kind of mental glitching definitely creates problems for the ace community, but I’m not bringing it up because I think that we’re victims. I’m bringing it up because it seems like something worth investigating, a bug in the code of our cultural understanding of sexuality that talking about asexuality lays bare. I have many sexual friend’s who’s understanding of concepts like sexuality and intimacy has been fundamentally transformed by thinking about the asexual community, and they tell me that that’s a good thing.

There’s a petition asking Fox to actually INTERVIEW asexual people next time they cover us. I guess my final thought is this: If people are finding excuses to dismiss us, if their mind immediately jumps to all of the ways that we’re broken, then maybe they should ask themselves why that is.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

"a bug in the code of our cultural understanding of sexuality"
Very well said! and I don't understand all the anger and fear that they show about the "1%" or growing number of sexual orientation labels.

kristi said...

My favorite comment "How are these people being discriminated against?" REALLY?! Have you listened to your ENTIRE CONVERSATION Fox news panel?!

Anonymous said...

This segment is fucking disgusting. I just...I'm going to throw up. Why can't you people just understand not everyone is made just like you!

Anonymous said...

"A lot of people out there have so deeply internalized the idea that sex and intimacy are velcroed together that their brain skips around the idea of asexuality like a damaged CD."

This, so much this. I mean, where the fuck did the idiotic idea arise that you HAVE to have sex to have intamacy? Did it ever occur to anyone that the primal urge to mate and reproduce is a WHOLE DIFFERENT THING than the emotions of love and intamacy?

WHAT?! You mean you can have a sucessful relationship with someone elses mind, feelings and emotions alone rather than their bodies? MADNESS I SAY, MADNESS!

Really what it comes down to is that people fear and shun what they don't understand. They rather live in their own little fantasy world than accept the fact that not everyone is built like them, or rather, built like the "Social Norm."

Fuckin' FOX, the ignorance never fails with them.

Anonymous said...

Stop and consider the source. FOX is hardly a major source of any sort of sensitivity, and the program "Red Eye" in particular seems to be fond of people behaving badly. A year or two back, they had a "trash Canada" program. (Canada, of course, is the number one trading partner of the U.S., and they got at least some hostages out of Iran during the 1979-1981 crisis. I guess neither facts nor gratitude even phase some people.) Anyway, best of luck in doing whatever you think will be constructive. I'll be honest...I don't hold out much hope for a constructive resolution...but I'll still support any good effort.

Jeanne Sans said...

What is wrong with FoxNews? Really? They say nothing worth listening to. They fail at logical argumentation. Really. They didn't bother checking/defining their concept before debating them. They're just blind ignorant oppressors. It's ugly. What is worse is that even serious (no irony there) French channel do the same...

Mahendran jaganathan said...

Thanks for sharing.
Fox News Channel always the Best

PleaseStopGropingMe said...

I really need some help with this. I believe I am an asexual person, but I really enjoy masturbation--does enjoying sex-with-myself disqualify me from being accepted by asexuals? I find sex with others to be kind of disgusting and a disappointing waste of time, but is it okay for asexuals to enjoy masturbation, or possibly mutual masturbation?
I am female, 35, and I have, LITERALLY, NEVER had a friend or relationship with any other person (except family) where sexual tension, and the other person's refusal to accept my sexual disinterest, didn't COMPLETELY ruin it. Even all the married women I have tried to befriend have turned out to be "swingers" who secretly think they can convince me to participate in their sex life, or they become scared their husband might be attracted to me. I am not trying to seem arrogant or special, I'm not very attractive; I have just found that this seems to be the way ALL sexual people conduct their lives, and I really can't stand it. I have isolated myself from other people as much as possible, both personally and professionally, in an effort to get around this problem. I am certain that the only way I will ever have a genuine intimate connection or friendship with another human being (though after my experiences, I'm really not even sure I want one anymore) is to limit my contact with others to people who are asexual. I am really lost as to where to start with trying to meet this type of people. I really hope it doesn't turn out like every friendship I ever tried to have with gay men, who eventually, once they became comfortable with me, revealed that, yes, they would just love to have sex with me (apparently I am gender-neutral enough to appeal to most sexual-orientations, at the right time, lol). Again, I am not special or attractive and I don't "turn" gay men straight; I have come to the conclusion that all (or nearly-all, if asexuals really exist, and I hope they do)humans are biologically programmed to seek sex at every possible opportunity, even with people who aren't their 'type', just with anyone who happens to be nearby. I think nearly everyone is pan-sexual, and just waiting for the right 'opportunity'. Until I found out about asexual people, I had completely given up on the possibility of ever having contact with another human that didn't eventually become uncomfortably sexual. I really hope this is real and not some kind of joke, or people pretending to be non-sexual in order to draw others close to them and lower their guard by seeming innocent and disinterested in screwing. LOTS of people do that, I'm sure most asexuals must have experienced it; people who pretend to be okay with the way your are, but who secretly think they can change/manipulate you into being what THEY want.
Anyway, thanks for listening/reading, and any advice you can give on getting started to try to meet other asexual people is greatly appreciated.

PleaseStopGropingMe said...

Sorry if this doubleposts, but I don't think I got the Captcha right the first time.

I really need some help with this. I believe I am an asexual person, but I really enjoy masturbation--does enjoying sex-with-myself disqualify me from being accepted by asexuals? I find sex with others to be kind of disgusting and a disappointing waste of time, but is it okay for asexuals to enjoy masturbation, or possibly mutual masturbation?
I am female, 35, and I have, LITERALLY, NEVER had a friend or relationship with any other person (except family) where sexual tension, and the other person's refusal to accept my sexual disinterest, didn't COMPLETELY ruin it. Even all the married women I have tried to befriend have turned out to be "swingers" who secretly think they can convince me to participate in their sex life, or they become scared their husband might be attracted to me, etc. I am not trying to seem arrogant or special, I'm not very attractive; I have just found that this seems to be the way ALL sexual people conduct their lives, and I really can't stand it. I have isolated myself from other people as much as possible, both personally and professionally, in an effort to get around this problem. I am certain that the only way I will ever have a genuine intimate connection or friendship with another human being (though after my experiences, I'm really not even sure I want one anymore) is to limit my contact with others to people who are asexual. I am really lost as to where to start with trying to meet this type of people. I really hope it doesn't turn out like every friendship I ever tried to have with gay men, who eventually, once they became comfortable with me, revealed that, yes, they would just love to have sex with me (apparently I am gender-neutral enough to appeal to most sexual-orientations, at the right time, lol). Again, I am not special or attractive and I don't "turn" gay men straight; I have come to the conclusion that all (or nearly-all, if asexuals really exist, and I hope they do)humans are biologically programmed to seek sex at every possible opportunity, even with people who aren't their 'type', just with anyone who happens to be nearby. I think nearly everyone is pan-sexual, and just waiting for the right 'opportunity'. Until I found out about asexual people, I had completely given up on the possibility of ever having contact with another human that didn't eventually become uncomfortably sexual. I really hope this is real and not some kind of joke, or people pretending to be non-sexual in order to draw others close to them and lower their guard by seeming innocent and disinterested in screwing. LOTS of people do that, I'm sure most asexuals must have experienced it; people who pretend to be okay with the way your are, but who secretly think they can change/manipulate you into being what THEY want.
Anyway, thanks for listening/reading, and any advice you can give on getting started to try to meet other asexual people is greatly appreciated.

meagan le rawls said...

I talked with my conversative grandmother recently, and she admitted in hushed tones she thought her nephew in Germany, my cousin, may be asexual. It made me feel comfortable for the first time telling her I am, and that it doesn't mean we can't have loving relationships. She loves Fox News. She also asked about Asperger's, which I have, and it was so nice to talk as an individual about social constructs and how we view social-sexual norms and behavioral norms. I really appreciate your having a blog about this, because I'm just deciding to do one on my personal experiences and views as a grad student of sociology, but it's so lovely to have a kind of community voice, as it were.

Thank you. I hope one day people decide to listen to us over Fox News, or whatever news it is they watch, instead of assuming they already have all the facts.