Recently, there’s been an asexual advice blog that’s been getting a lot of flak on my tumblr dash. I’d been ignoring tumblr in favor of other shiny things for a few weeks, so a few days ago I wandered over to see what the fuss was about.
I was somewhat astonished to find the advice bloggers listening to anon experiences and going “well, this is what I think your identity is.” Maybe more astonished than I should have been.
See, when I was a baby ace on the AVEN forums, telling people how they should identify was considered taboo. It’s not that people didn’t ask—then, as now, it was really common for people to assemble lists of desires, experiences, and feelings, and ask whether they were ace or aro or something else. When you’ve just encountered a new identity and you’re not quite sure of yourself, and there’s this established community of people already there and discussing that identity and you don’t know whether you fit with them, it’s really tempting to ask for that validation. By getting other members of the community to say “yes, you’re asexual,” new people get told that yes, you really DO belong here.
Unfortunately, validation aside, I still think that it’s a terrible idea to give people a straight answer on whether they’re asexual or not (or whether they’re demi or aromantic or whatever). I had a very good conversation with several advice blogs about this issue and how to make it less common on Tumblr over the last few days. The ace advice community is coming up with some awesome new initiatives (like a dedicated aceadvice tag and a list of people with specific experiences to send questioning people over to). But what I don’t think I did over there is explain why it’s a bad idea.
In which I explain why I’ve been harping about this all week over at the Agenda. Go check it out!