On “Better Half” – Gregory House Is Not Infallible

…Or at least, that’s how it should be written.

I’ve been watching House for years now. When I first started watching, it was sometime between the end of season two and the beginning of season three, and I burned through the first two seasons very quickly and then showed it to my best friend and then-roommate, K, who eagerly awaited season 3 with me. We would stop all our other activities and watch it together when it came on. Sometimes other people would come over to watch it with us, and we’d have little “House parties” but more often, we’d just shut the door and get quite annoyed when other people would disturb us in the middle of the show. As the seasons have worn on the show has held my interest, but it’s been waning more and more. I no longer eagerly await each episode and watch it as soon as I am able. Now weeks or months will pass before I think about getting caught up again. But I’m still watching, even though I am losing confidence in the writers.

Last week, I happened to check the AVEN home page as I (too infrequently) do, and saw that an upcoming episode of House would feature an asexual couple. I watched the preview clip with a mix of hope and deep, cynical dread. I wasn’t surprised at all to see House opposing the existence of asexuality. I was glad that Wilson said it was a “valid sexual orientation,” although the preview (terrible as usual) proved to be misleading, because he was quoting a magazine article when he said that. The show’s formula includes House being nearly always right—could the writers really take the risk of showing House being wrong about this? (Spoilers below the cut.)

No, of course not. I didn’t think so.

For those of you who didn’t watch it, here’s the short version: the husband isn’t asexual because he has a brain tumor; the wife isn’t asexual either, she’s just been lying to her husband this whole time because she knew that being with him “meant making certain sacrifices.” She went on to explain that “a girl has needs, you know.” As an aside, I find it some ironic humor in that line, as I was told in a fiction workshop this past fall that the line “Everyone has needs” is very unrealistic. Apparently the writers of House find it just as realistic as I did. But that’s besides the point.

The episode’s writer, Katherine Lingenfelter, has been answering questions about the episode. Here are some of the things she has said to asexuals who have expressed their disappointment:

I am trying to communicate with several of the people of the asexual community who were displeased, so forgive me if I repeat myself. I did a lot of research on asexuality for the episode. My original intent was to introduce it and legitimize it, because I was struck by the response most of you experience, which is similar to the prejudice the homosexual community has received. People hear you’re asexual and they immediately think, “What’s wrong with you, how do I fix you?” I wanted to write against that. Unfortunately, we are a medical mystery show. Time & again, my notes came back that House needed to solve a mystery and not be wrong. So in THIS CASE, with THESE patients, it was a tumor near the pituitary. But I hoped I could (now it seems unsuccessfully) introduce asexuality to the general public and get them asking questions. All they need to do is one google search and they can see for themselves it’s a real community of great people. Originally, part of my dialog included thoughts about whether as a species we’ve grown past sex. Any time we tackle a subject, we risk the possibility of not doing it justice. I apologize that you feel I did you a disservice. It was not my intent. Asexuality is a new topic for me and definitely one I find fascinating. It is a subject I would like to continue to explore here or ..on future shows I write for. I think it speaks to where humans are now and where we are going. I will do my best in the future to do it justice. Thank you for feedback and please share any and all thoughts.

I appreciate your frustration. I can only say to you that through my research (Which included long visits to http://asexuality.org), I have my eyes opened to your community & if I did you a disservice here, I will try again in the future because I think your community is one that is growing and says a lot about what it is to be human today (tho historically there have been aces a plenty). Again, I’m sorry to do your community I disservice. I wanted to get a dialog going w/the public about asexuality but there are many masters to please in TV. I am open to any and all comments, suggestions, critiques. (This does remind me a a frustration for a writer for the CW who vented that they could never cast African American characters as criminals because the network was too afraid of offending them. Not a direct corollary, but perhaps speaks to the day when ppl respect asexuality as an orientation enough that we can do a story with the medical condition and it won’t discredit it all). Thank you for letting me explain myself/ramble.

These quotes were taken from this thread on AVEN, in case anyone is interested in reading more. Full disclosure: I haven’t read the whole thread, just the last couple of pages.

If what Lingenfelter says is true, and I have no reason to doubt that it is, it’s a pretty good demonstration of the reason why I think writing about asexuality in fiction is extremely difficult to do at this stage, if not downright untenable in some situations. Her original intention was good, laudable even, although a couple of quotes indicated to me that she may still have had some misunderstandings about asexuality herself—more on that later. Where it sounds like she went wrong—and I don’t really blame her for this too much, given her situation—is not sticking up for her idea enough in the editing process, not vehemently defending asexuality as a legitimate orientation enough to convince the other writers that it would be a better story, a more honest story, if House turned out to be completely in the wrong.

And no doubt it would have been a better story if House had been wrong. I can’t even begin to describe how much more compelling the story would have been if House had been wrong about this, even putting aside my own feelings about my already terribly misunderstood sexual orientation being portrayed in such a negative light. I don’t want to watch a show where the main character is always right. I want to see him struggle and FAIL sometimes. To the writers’ credit—and this is why I have continued watching—sometimes he does fail. Sometimes he does get things wrong. But it’s not nearly often enough.

My biggest problem with House is that it’s too formulaic, and while on special occasions the writers do write episodes where House fails, most of the time they’re not willing to take the risk of breaking their formula. Often, the formula works well enough. But come on, guys, it’s season eight. By now I am so sick and tired of House being right all the freaking time that my interest in the show—despite the fantastic acting, despite my continued love for these characters—is seriously flagging. And especially in cases where House would be very likely to get things wrong, like this one—I think it would, in fact, have been completely out of character for him to view asexuality as legitimate—he SHOULD. From one writer to another: if you ever find yourself saying that your main character “must be right” then you need to stop, take a step back. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. You’re character is coming dangerously close to becoming a Dreaded Mary Sue. You can write a character who is obsessed with being right, like House, but you don’t want to write a character who Must Be Right. If you won’t even at least consider the possibility that your character could be wrong, why write it at all?

And look, since there were two “asexual” characters, House could have even been just partially right and it still would have been a vastly more compelling story, although I would have preferred if he was just flat-out wrong about both of them. If the rest of the writing team just absolutely HAD to have House be right about something, why couldn’t he have been right about only one of them?

Here’s the thing: while I understand that writing workshops are tough sometimes, and especially in a group writing situation where you’re not in charge you can be easily overruled, intent still isn’t magic. And this episode is not just offensive, it actually does tremendous damage to the asexual community. (Protip: “Sorry if I offended you” and similar phrases are classic not-pologies that show that you do not actually understand what was wrong with what you did, and you should never say something like that.) It reinforces negative stereotypes and prejudices the audience—many of whom surely have never heard of asexuality before and put undue trust in medical drama shows even though they are fictional—to think that asexuality has been “debunked” by House. While it’s all sounds well and good to say that “all they have to do is google it” to find the community, this 1) overestimates the number of people who will actually be inclined to do so and 2) overestimates how likely they will be to a) find the actual asexual community instead of finding communities of people who hate us (like certain communities I won’t link to on Tumblr) and b) agree that it’s a “great” community despite their prejudice. I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears mentioning again that people are very likely to pay attention to things that confirm their existing attitudes and ignore things that don’t, so if they think that people only “claim to be asexual” and really must have something wrong with them, they’re much more likely to seek out things confirming that opinion than things contradicting it. And probably the majority of viewers will not seek out any kind of verification at all, and will just take House’s opinion at face value.

This post? This is damage control. I sincerely hope the writers of the show will read this and take it to heart, but even if they don’t, I hope at least some people who see the show and decide to google asexuality will see it and understand what’s wrong with the cowardly “debunking”—which would certainly not stand if this were homosexuality we’re talking about.

I won’t get into too much detail about each point, but here’s a list of reasons why this portrayal was awful:

  1. Does it even medically make sense? Asexuality is usually lifelong, and we know that this guy has been identifying as asexual for more than ten years, at the very least. He has either been asexual since puberty, or he once experienced sexual attraction and then lost it due to the pituitary tumor. If he has had this since puberty, even if it is slow-growing, shouldn’t there be some other symptom besides a lack of libido? I’m not a doctor, so this is a genuine question, and if anyone wants to inform me, please do. But it seems dubious to me.
  2. Asexuality is a lack of sexual ATTRACTION, it is NOT a lack of sexual interest or sex drive. I feel like a broken record saying this yet again, but it needs to be said. This distinction is not made clear in the episode. Quite likely the writer did not understand it herself. Some asexuals DO want to have sex for various reasons, and yes, some of us even ENJOY it (gasp!). You can have a sex drive and still not feel any kind of sexual attraction, so the treatment might not even make this guy sexual anyway, as was implied.
  3. Since some asexuals want and enjoy sex, why the deceit? You made this character lie to her husband for over a decade about her sexual orientation. That is a VERY LONG TIME to be lying about such a serious issue, and it paints us in a VERY BAD LIGHT. This is probably the very worst thing about the episode. Real asexuals? Real asexuals tend to be extremely hesitant to come out to people, especially to doctors, because of the way that people endlessly harass us about what they think “must be” wrong with us. It’s trivializing to show a character who so glibly “comes out” to a doctor and then, equally easily, admits to her husband that she’s been lying to him about her sexual orientation for over a decade. Worst of all? If someone can’t find a convenient excuse for why our asexuality must not be real, if someone can’t find anything wrong with us to explain it away, you’ve just given them an out. You’ve given them a reason to continue to be suspicious about our orientation. If they can’t say there’s something wrong with us, they’ll just say we’re LYING. Or delusional. Not that there wouldn’t be people who would say that anyway, but you seriously don’t need to reinforce it. Making reference to how Everybody Lies is a cheap shot in this circumstance, and it is SO NOT WORTH IT.
  4. Asexuality is not anti-sexuality, and asexual elitism is BAD. Upon learning that he has a tumor, Asexual Guy insists that he doesn’t want the treatment and that he’s “not one of them.” This implies that asexuals see themselves as somehow being “above” sexuals. Even more troubling, the writer notes that, “Originally, part of my dialog included thoughts about whether as a species we’ve grown past sex.” Seriously? Only a small minority of asexuals think anything like that, and these are soundly trounced by the rest of us when something like that comes up. We don’t think we’re better than sexual people, even if some religions treat celibacy as somehow more “transcendent” and godly and so sexual people sometimes just automatically assume that we do. Also, evolution is not teleological—in layman’s terms, that means that there is no “end goal,” there is no destiny or sentience of any kind involved—so it is wrong to assume that asexuality is the “next stage” as the idea of us “growing past sex as a species” implies. It is equally wrong to assume that asexuals will die out, not least because of the whole “it’s about attraction, not behavior” thing.
  5. Asexuality is not a world view. Nor is it a lifestyle, although I’ve covered that already in numbers 2 and 3. Asexuals are diverse and have many, many different world views. Some of us even have world views that tell us that asexuality doesn’t exist, that we’re wrong and broken. Pretty much the ONLY thing that all of us have in common is that we lack sexual attraction.

And just in case the damage that this episode has done isn’t real to you yet, let me share a personal anecdote. Once upon a time, I met this guy, who I refer to as M. He is extremely similar to House, so I introduced him to the show. I liked him far too much considering what an asshole he is. He has all of House’s terrible flaws, including his extreme arrogance and need to be right all the time. He is irrational in all the same ways that House is, including the skewed view of evolution that House demonstrated in this episode (“asexuals are either sick, lying, or dead,” given House’s world view, implies that House thinks this is true because asexuals “would have died out,” as M said), while priding himself in his cold, rational, cynical view of the world. He had the same misunderstanding about asexuality that House apparently does (asexuals would have died out because asexuals apparently just don’t want sex), the same propensity to make cruel jokes about it (he often alluded to me being inhuman, just like House’s “pool of algae” comment), and the same eagerness to seek a way to find what’s wrong and “fix” it. He unethically ignored my wishes on more than one occasion, just like House routinely does to his patients. He was unwilling to listen to me about what asexuality actually is, jumping to the conclusion that my attempt to correct his misunderstandings was a “rationalization,” and he loved to get into “point-scoring” debates where his goal was not to actually have a discussion, but just to win and prove himself right. He was also “fascinated” with me in both a sexual way and in the way that House gets fascinated with puzzling cases, including the case of the asexual couple.

While M prides himself as a skeptic, he is not (or was not, perhaps, but I suspect that’s being much too hopeful) actually open to hearing evidence that contradicts his prejudices. Whether he realized he was doing it or not (and I wouldn’t put it past him to be that manipulative, he is certainly smart enough), he led a gaslighting campaign against me on the basis of his belief that my asexuality isn’t real, and that I’m just delusional “like a five-year-old cross-eyed child trying to drive.” He was exceptionally nasty about it towards the end, when instead of listening to me about the problems I was expressing with his behavior, he insisted that I was wrong and that I somehow had a “disability” (I don’t; I have completely normal sexual function, as my current partner and this study will attest). This has done considerable, long-lasting damage to me psychologically.

M is the kind of person who will find this portrayal of asexuality on House validating. He is the kind of person who will be bolstered by it and will likely become more antagonistic and abusive towards any asexual he meets. I doubt he would bother to google the response to this episode, although if he did I suppose he would probably be looking for me. I’m very glad I’ve cut off contact with him. The thing is, though, there are people out there who are even worse than M. I fear that this episode of House will embolden those people, and multiply not just the number of frightened but well-meaning people who are now certain that their friends or family members must have something horrible and scary wrong with them, but also the amount of abuse and harassment that the less fortunate asexuals face from less savory types.

So while I think that Lingenfelter got House’s (and Wilson’s, for that matter) character exactly right, the presentation of “facts” in this episode was extremely dangerous and damaging. It’s naive to say “Oh, it’s only these particular characters who are like that.” At best, really. It’s a lazy cop-out, and one that trivializes these characters’ issues at that. When the only representation of asexuality on popular TV is this one, if you actually intend to be an ally, you have a responsibility to research your subject better than that (by the way, I don’t think that AVEN is a particularly good place to research asexuality beyond very, very basic stuff), and portray it accurately. This episode had the potential to explore House’s willful pathologization of certain groups of people in a really fascinating way, while also exposing the truth, but that opportunity was instead squandered on more stigmatization.

I’m not going to say that House has Jumped The Shark (I don’t know if there was ever any such dramatic moment where the show obviously started going downhill), and I’m probably not going to stop watching entirely, although I’m sure for many viewers this episode will mark the moment where they write the show off forever. But I hold the writers to a higher standard than this, and they have fallen way, WAY short of the mark. I can’t say I’m surprised, sadly. Being a writer myself, I can understand why it happened, and I’m glad that at least Lingenfelter is listening to feedback and apologizing, even if her apology comes off as rather… well, clueless. But again, intent isn’t magic.

EDIT: There is a petition to get the exec producer’s attention here, please sign it!

If anyone wants further reading, please check out Sciatrix’s House link roundup post here.

Also, while I wasn’t thinking about the Carnival of Aces when I wrote this, it dovetails nicely with this month’s topic of media representation so I think it totally counts. I will post what I originally planned to write for the carnival later on. If you’ve written a post about this, I’d encourage you to submit the link for inclusion in the carnival.

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19 thoughts on “On “Better Half” – Gregory House Is Not Infallible

  1. Pingback: House Linkspam « Writing From Factor X

  2. Pingback: My Initial Reaction to tonight’s (er.. last night’s) episode of #House … #spoilers | The Asexual Sexologist

  3. okay. i fall somewhere in the asexual spectrum,but i’m not sure where. and it has fluctuated over my fifty years plus,so i don’t know what THAT means. anyway,i guess i just don’t understand the definition of asexual as not having sexual attraction but still having sexual interest and/or drive. do you mean that you don’t find some people more attractive than others,but you still might like sex and/or have a good sex drive? sorry i’m dense about this. if you could point me to something i could read that would help,that would be great. thanks!

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    • “Sex drive” usually refers to just an urge to feel some kind of physical sexual release, which I do get on a low grade, very infrequently. This includes masturbation, and most asexuals who have a sex drive/libido prefer to just satisfy it through masturbation. Some describe it as being like “scratching an itch”—it’s not connected to any desire to be sexual with a partner at all, and has nothing to do with sexual attraction.

      What I mean by not experiencing sexual attraction is that there’s never a time for me when I look at a person and think, “Wow, I’d totally have sex with them.” I can find people beautiful, but when I stare at people because they’re pretty it’s sort of a similar feeling to looking at a gorgeous sunset—can be really breathtaking and awe-inspiring sometimes, but that never leads to me wanting to have sex with them. This I refer to as aesthetic attraction. Also included in this category is enjoyment of others’ voices and such.

      With some people (although only with a few), I get feelings of wanting to be physically close to them, wanting to cuddle and kiss and so on and so forth. This I refer to as sensual or physical attraction. These desires don’t progress to a sexual level for me. I want to JUST cuddle, kiss, etc. although I am not saying that I am always necessarily opposed to having sex. It’s just not something I actively desire, whereas cuddling etc. is. This is where it gets really tricky to explain—and you’re not dense for not understanding right away, it’s taken me years to figure this stuff out!

      My fiancée is sexual. Because she likes sex, and because I don’t find it repulsive or otherwise distasteful (prior to being with her I was pretty much completely neutral towards the idea of myself having sex), I wanted to have sex with her. This is not the kind of desire that we think about as a result of attraction, but rather a more intellectual sort of desire. I usually try to distinguish this kind of wanting from the kind of wanting that results from sexual attraction by calling it “sexual interest” rather than “sexual desire.” It is perhaps too subtle of a distinction, but the English language doesn’t really have any better terminology for it, so that’s what I’m stuck with. It’s not like I get this intense urge to have sex, I just want to because she enjoys it, and I’ve found that I can enjoy it too, so why not?

      What I’ve discovered is that I experience something called responsive sexual desire. What this means is that I don’t so much have a “drive” to have sex—I don’t really get an urge to do it, and I certainly don’t get inspired to have sex by other people’s appearances, voices, personalities, etc. Occasionally (now that I’ve found I can enjoy sex, anyway) I might think to myself, “Oh, that might be kinda nice right now.” But it’s in this very detached, intellectual sort of way. It doesn’t feel like the sort of desperate need that I see others describing. But when my partner and I agree to have sex, after she physically arouses me, THEN I get a strong desire for it. It’s a desire that starts for me only after the physical stuff starts happening. Here is an old post I wrote about this, if you want more of an explanation.

      So that’s how I can have interest in/desire for sex, even though it isn’t based on being sexually attracted to people. I hope my explanation made sense to you, let me know if you want me to try to clarify further. I hope this helps you figure out where you might be on the asexual spectrum! :) Fluctuation is quite common, too, and some people feel they are kind of in a gray area between sexual and asexual, with periods where they are more or less sexual.

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      • thanks so much for taking the time to explain that. it really does help me understand a bit more,so i appreciate it! diane

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  4. This is so well written, and expresses everything that I thought about the way the storyline was handled on the show. I’ve been trying to explain to other House fans, but they just laugh it off as “typical House behaviour” and that “If I’m so quickly offended, why do I still watch House” and even “Why would an asexual person even watch House, for whom sex is so important” (I’m not kidding).
    Also a lot of “I thought there was nothing wrong with the way asexuality was presented on House. To be honest I had never even heard of asexuality and I seriously doubt if it exists.”

    I still love the show, and I even thought that ‘Better Half’ was a good episode, apart from that storyline, but this is such a huge missed opportunity.

    Thank you for writing this. I hope people will read it and maybe gain some understanding.
    Peace.

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    • Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it. Honestly, I was a bit nervous to link it to general House communities where people don’t necessarily have any particular interest in or affinity for asexuality, because I’ve gotten that kind of thing, too. “Nobody cares that you’re asexual, shut up.” Or, “Boo hoo, you’re SO OPPRESSED,” things like that. I think M actually said something similar about how sex is so important to House once, too, come to think of it. I’m not keen on starting arguments about that, so I’m glad this hasn’t turned into a flame war.

      I thought that the writing was pretty good in this episode, too, apart from this subplot. The characters were spot-on in terms of characterization, and there were some really hilarious lines—the one that RSL had to keep redoing really made me laugh. I do wish I could have devoted a little bit of space to what I liked about it, but the criticisms were so pressing, and required so much lengthy explanation to write this properly, that the good parts just kind of got lost.

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  5. This is a really excellent analysis and explanation of why the portrayal of asexuality on House is deeply damaging. We have enough negative perceptions already – adding this one to the lot, in a way that gets a lot of visibility, undoes everything positive we’ve achieved so far as a community (in terms of visibility and representation). I haven’t even seen the episode yet, I don’t want to put myself through that (used to watch House but lost interest after series 6). But that they don’t even seem to realise that asexuality is lack of sexual attraction, not lack of sex drive/not having sex? URGH!

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  6. I really enjoy all your comments. Accurate.

    I was as you were huge fan on House. I’m still fan indeed but these kind of situations prove all the bad comments about the show and the major reason that I keep watching it is because of Hugh, because these scripts…

    They really should stop and think that if they are not tired of House being right all the time maybe (MAYBE) the viewers are. Ask for someone who watches the show since the beggining. Right there it was fun, the stories were different but now what?! The same old story where the woman or is lying because she is a slut or because she’s simply lying for being a woman. If you take the episodes you’ll see that the women for all the House’s writers are always no saint. In this episode for example;
    on the chat after the episode Katherine Lingenfelter was asked about the story between the pacient and his wife. Her response:

    “Kath Lingenfelter: 3) What was the point of the boyfriend? To demonstrate that the wife wasn’t the saint we first assume, and also to hint at how lonely it is being the caregiver of an Alzheimer’s patient. His role was cut down for time.”

    1)They always assume that girlfriends, wifes and women in a general way are no saints.
    2)There are plenty women that follow their companion and are lonely and doesn’t cheat. Don’t they know any?

    I could start talking about every episode on every season but I won’t.

    Backing to the story, they lose again a big opportunity to make something different. Asexuals can’t be asexuals unless they have a disease? He’s not right all the time and if he fail in relationships so much as Shore wants to show he is not that good as he think he is. He needs to fail sometime to grow up eventually. This is the human condition.

    I saw the things she said about the asexuals but the more she talks for me, more I conclude that it doesn’t mean anything. OK, I know you asexuals are offended and I’m sorry but we need to make this because this is House and he’s always right. Why she made her research if this is what it was going to happen? They were asexuals because the guy had a tumour and the woman was lying because well, let’s face it; she’s a woman.

    Anyway, I support your comments. But sincerely if they didn’t make this until now I don’t think they will. The show is going to end with House’s death (everybody knows) but he’ll be die proving he’s right LOL

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    • You bring up some really good points about how the show depicts women cheating/lying. The cheating I can kind of understand, in this particular case. The woman’s age was never stated but she appeared to be quite a bit younger (maybe 15 years?) than her husband, and I think at one point she said that she hadn’t known him for very long before she married him, and that she had known him longer WITH his Alzheimer’s than without. That certainly would be a lonely life, and I wonder how strong their bond was in the first place given their apparent rush to marry. The “Cyrano” scene (as I heard someone call it) was very nice, and I’m glad they included it. But did she necessarily have to cheat to get to that moment? Aren’t there other ways the writers could have used to show how lonely she was?

      As it is, the cheating was probably the most boring part of the episode. As you say, cheating really is overdone on House, and there’s nothing really here to distinguish this particular pair of cheaters from any other from the pool of guest stars. If the boyfriend had any distinguishing characteristics, they were cut. The woman herself wasn’t even particularly interesting as a character, and her motivations for marrying the guy in the first place are left so unclear that I just have to shrug the whole thing off. If it hadn’t been for the side story, this episode would’ve been kinda forgettable to me, even though there were some great comedic moments.

      It’s bad enough that we don’t understand the motivations of the cheating woman (for marrying the guy, I mean), but the lying woman? That’s just… so far out of left field, that I think it gives viewers a bad impression of women more generally. Her only apparent motivation for lying was “that’s what women do” I guess. And that’s the EXPLICIT explanation that SHE GAVE for her more-than-a-decade-long campaign of lies (“I knew I’d have to make certain sacrifices” and “A girl has needs, you know”). It’s not something that’s being applied to her by some other character. And she thinks nothing of dropping this bombshell. “Oh yeah, and I’ve been lying to you for ten years. What, did you think I was serious? Pffft. That’s just what girls do.” This makes her one of the most misogynist characters I’ve seen on television in a LONG time (granted, I don’t watch a whole lot of it, but still), and the worst thing is how insidious it is. None of the other characters call her out on it. They’re just like, “Yep, girls are girls.”

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  7. Pingback: take a wild guess « just a spinster.

  8. Pingback: March Carnival of Aces Roundup: Sexual Exploration « Shades of Gray

  9. Pingback: Q&A X « Shades of Gray

  10. I didn’t read all of this one, because it was very long. I just wanted to say that I loved House when it first came out, but like most television shows I got bored by the third season.

    Yes, I’d love for him to realize his ‘beliefs’ are wrong now and again. I don’t think I’d like it if his patients died, but it would be nice that he is wrong about things and learns from his mistakes.

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  11. “Asexuality is a lack of sexual ATTRACTION, it is NOT a lack of sexual interest or sex drive. I feel like a broken record saying this yet again, but it needs to be said. This distinction is not made clear in the episode. Quite likely the writer did not understand it herself. Some asexuals DO want to have sex for various reasons, and yes, some of us even ENJOY it (gasp!). You can have a sex drive and still not feel any kind of sexual attraction, so the treatment might not even make this guy sexual anyway, as was implied.”

    Now what the FUCK does this mean!?

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  12. Pingback: Shutting Up: On writing, audience, and representation | Prismatic Entanglements

  13. Pingback: There are a Variety of Ways to Be an Ally to Asexuals | From Fandom to Family: Sharing my many thoughts

  14. Okay, I know this is really old, but I’m really glad I found other people who were offended by it.
    I don’t watch House, particularly, but during this vacation, I was in my cousins’ house and, since they like to watch it, I figured, “okay, they were the ones who made me love Doctor Who, so well, why not?” So yeah, despite having watched a couple of episodes before, I had only watched this one during this year (yeah, I guess I’m pretty late, lol :P)
    Well, I was particularly interested during the Alzheimer dude’s storyline, but when it came to the Asexual one I felt offended beyond recognition. Keep in mind, I am not asexual myself, but trust me when I tell you I know what it’s like to have people telling you there must be something wrong with you just because you’re different from the “default”, “normal” standard. I started to be like, “is this for real? They can’t be serious, that is extremely offensive to asexuals” and my cousins were like “well, yeah, House is an offensive guy, but this seems to be pushing it a bit too far…” This episode felt like they were saying asexuality is a disease, as in, there is something wrong with you if you’re asexual. I don’t know much about asexuality, granted, but I definitely knew what the show portrayed couldn’t be it. Eventually, I became so baffled and angry that I refused to keep watching and went to the other room to play Guitar Hero 2, asking my cousins to tell me if they kept up with that major bullshit or if they fixed the damage in the end. Turns out, they didn’t. I figured the asexual community would be offended, because I would be offended in your place too (hell, I’m not even asexual and I swear to God I literally felt offended by that utter bullcrap. What a mess of a subplot, Jesus.) I’m glad to know people have spoken out against this, it’s this kind of portrayal that makes ignorant or naive people think prejudice is okay (because really, let’s be honest, prejudice, of any kind, IS ignorance.) They’ve done it with homosexuals and bisexuals (hell, religions do that with homosexuals and bisexuals every day, telling them they must be “cured”), so naturally it was only a matter of time until they did that with asexuals too; not that it was excusable of course. This line of thinking, quite frankly, sickens me, and it sickened my cousins as well. I get that it’s not what the writer intended, but ultimately it’s what came out of it and right now I don’t think an apology will repair the damage this episode did – they could fix that with another episode, but knowing modern TV media…

    Oh well, best of wishes :)

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