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fail, sf_d (and me, too)

Recently, there have been several posts at sf_drama denigrating so-called demisexuals. There have also been posts that rip apart asexuals and/or "tumblr assexuals", but I specifically want to focus on the anti-demisexual posts because of a comment I read in one of them. And because of several comments I read in another of them.

I'm going to preface this post with "I have no love for the term "demisexual" myself, even though it is a label I might have identified with if I'd learnt about it in any other way than the one I did. I just hate the way it's being talked about in sf_drama. While I can agree the labeL can be problematic, I can't agree that the experiences the term is supposed to envelop fits "the norm" or that no one faces problems for having those experiences. (I know this because I faces problems because of it, even if it was down to me being surrounded by asshats from my early teens to my late twenties.)

It's the judge-y erasure of the experiences of attraction, not the label, that prompted me to make this post. That, and the willful refusal to understand that what some people who identify as deminsual are describing their way of experiencing attraction has fuck all to do with "choice".

Unfortunately, the first comment I wanted to address has been deleted. In the comment, the poster expressed SHAME at having — at the behest of his or her therapist following a sexual assault — identified as demisexual.


The comment stood out to me for two reasons: first, there was only one response to it (I was too cowardly to respond to it myself, and I regret that more than I can say). Although that particular response did express a modicum of support to the commenter, it felt short of mitigating the shaming the rest of the whole damned posted had apparently imposed.

Secondly, the comment stood out because it was clearly not a case of some "special snowflake, looking for attention for being what 90% of people 'wanted' to be".

Here was a person showing that the identity hadn't been a "choice" and that the label hadn't been something they'd sought for themselves. And yet, comments all around it continued on the "so you don't want to have sex with people you don't know? what the fuck makes you special?" vein.

It pisses me off that the people saying these things don't seem to realise that they are doing exactly what they accuse the so-called demisexuals of doing: shaming others.

Only related in that it also addresses the existence of demisexuals, I also didn't respond to a comment saying something like "since no homosexual or bisexual demisexuals have come forward, blah blah blah the slut-shaming assholes don't exist."

Well, for myself, I happen to reject the label "bisexual" much as I reject the label "demisexual", albeit for different reasons. But if I were to explain my unique experience of sexual attraction, I'm willing to bet that members of both of those groups would claim I fit their profiles. Hell, my experience of gender-identity would probably place me in another camp whose label I reject: gender-queer.

But I reject all of these labels for different reasons which I'm don't feel to go into here. Because the reasons are complicated and irrelevant to this particular post. That isn't to say I wouldn't welcome a label that accurately defined the me I believe myself to be; I totally would, but I don't think it exists.

And that's part of why I hate seeing what these people who supposedly stand up social justice are doing to all people who identify as demisexual.

They are telling them that they don't exist. That the identification is shameful, and in at least one comment, equivalent to being an "ASSHOLE".

But about 90% of the comments are treating the feelings and experiences of the self-professed/diagnosed(whatever that means on an individual basis)/what-have-you demisexuals as exactly the same as the obviously slut-shaming "tumblr demis".

The level of dismissal and hatred really turns my stomach.

But it's the ignorance that saddens me. It's the absolute refusal to see/read/hear that for some of these people, the way they experience (or don't experience) sexual attraction has nothing to do with a choice about who they will have sex with. It's solely about their personal experience with sexual attraction. (In my own experience, sexual attraction is something separate to sex drive, but I'm not going to get into that here.)

I sickens me that only one person in that whole comm ever acknowledged to me that everyone's experiences are different and that there is danger in expecting a "norm", and yet no one did that for the survivor whose therapist called them a demisexual and who felt fucking shamed after reading all the horrible things sf-d had to say about demisexuals.

What the fuck? Why did this person walk away shamed? Why did so many people — me included — allow them to continue to be shamed, their circumstances going unacknowledged?

What the fuck is wrong with the members of sf_d that they think they can judge others whose experiences they have no fucking clue about, or whose experiences they ignore for the sake of spouting their set-in-stone opinions?

If their arguments made sense, it so many hadn't continued to use words like "want" and "choice" and if someone had said to this person that, "hey, don't feel shamed; what you're describing is different to what the slut-shamers are decribing" rather than just "I'm sorry you had to go through", I would never have made this post.

But it happened that way, and I don't feel up to expressing all this there.

1) because there is a whole lot more background I think I'd need to add to make this argument successful
2) because I don't thin it would fucking matter. I've really become disillusioned with the majority of the members of that comm. they don't seem to really want to further social justice; they want, instead, to aggrandise themselves by saying "look at me! I'm standing up for the oppressed ones" even if that means stepping on people who, while not oppressed, are at least not believed and erased*

*and that brings me to another problem I've noticed with that comm. but I'll save that one for another day

Some final notes:

I'm not White or male, not quite cis-gendered, not quite straight, and, yep, sexual attraction goes hand-in-hand with emotional attachments for me, though I'll never call myself "demisexual".

Aloso, they might not want it after everything I've written above, but I still need to give belly_savalas huge thanks for reminding me about the non-existence of a "norm" — because that helped me work out why, while rejecting all these labels, I still hate what I see happening at sf_drama.

For those who can't deal with my teal deer, read pennfana's comment, which says clearly and succinctly what I made a mess of trying to say.


5th Jul, 2012 16:22 (UTC)
The absolute and utter FAIL that you describe reminds me a little of a post at Womanist Musings last Tuesday that particularly infuriated me, for many of the same reasons. (Admittedly, the writer makes some good points about most of the things she discusses in the post, but her words about demisexuals were unnecessarily insulting.) I'm not demisexual either, but—as someone who tends to only feel consistent sexual attraction to people with whom I have some kind of emotional attachment—it does bother me that anyone should be shamed for the way that they experience attraction of any kind. Sneering at people for being "vanilla" or saying "Shut up, your pain doesn't matter because you're claiming to be what most people want to be" or any of that other nonsense shouldn't have a place in a community like the one you've described in which most people claim to be trying to advance social justice.

This kind of shaming is, in its own way, as harmful as any other. It may not manifest itself in the same ways, and the potential for actual physical harm may not be the same, but in the end, the result is still a hurting human being—especially when they might have had some reason to expect that the people who decided to mock and invalidate their experiences might actually have been sympathetic instead.
5th Jul, 2012 16:26 (UTC)
Gosh, Penn. You said all so clearly! You absolutely expressed the heart of why this bothered me so much when you wrote:

This kind of shaming is, in its own way, as harmful as any other. It may not manifest itself in the same ways, and the potential for actual physical harm may not be the same, but in the end, the result is still a hurting human being—especially when they might have had some reason to expect that the people who decided to mock and invalidate their experiences might actually have been sympathetic instead.

Thank you so much for that. I'm going to edit the post to direct people to your comment.

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