Hello everyone! Welcome to the May 2018 Carnival of Aces!
What is the Carnival of Aces?
This is a monthly blogging carnival, a long-running event organized by The Asexual Agenda to spur discussion among asexual and ace-spectrum people. Each month, a volunteer host sets out a topic for discussion, collects responses, and posts links to all of the responses at the end of the month. Anyone can participate, and I’ll have further details about how to participate below. If you’d like to volunteer to host a future month, please check out the Carnival of Aces Masterpost for instructions.
Last month, the Carnival was hosted at Demisexual and Proud, and the topic was inspired by a very old Flemish-Dutch saying, “All the birds have begun nests except me and you, what are we still waiting for?” Please check out the responses at the round-up post!
This month’s theme is…
Nuance & Complexity
Asexuality is a complex topic, and often difficult for people to understand. Because of this, we sometimes have a tendency to elide nuances about our experiences in an effort to explain simply enough that others can understand. This month, I want us to focus on those things that we tend to avoid talking about, for fear of being misunderstood, or anything that we may have felt we can’t quite (openly) articulate.
Sometimes, people accuse aces of overthinking things or “making everything too complicated,” without having any understanding of why we talk about things the way that we do. I think that from the beginning, the ace blogging community has had a lot of focus on exploring complexity and nuance, and a lot of previous topics for the Carnival of Aces also apply here. But instead of focusing on complexity/nuance of just one topic, like identity or labels/models (which have been chosen multiple times), this gives people the freedom to choose whatever kind of complexities they’re interested in discussing, or zoom way out and analyze the ace community itself. So it’s kind of a meta topic.
Here are some prompts to get you started:
- When it comes to being on the ace spectrum, what complicates things for you? Trace some of the nuances of your experience of asexuality.
- What are some models that you have used to explain or understand asexuality or the ace spectrum? In what ways do you feel that these models exclude you or oversimplify your experiences?
- Are you Gray-A or demisexual? Or perhaps greyromantic? What are some experiences related to grayness that you typically minimize or don’t know how to explain?
- Do you have any thoughts about words typically used as synonyms that the ace community has differentiated? (For example, “sex averse” vs. “sex repulsed.”) Do you differentiate certain words used within the ace community in a way that most people unfamiliar with the ace community don’t recognize or understand?
- Are there stereotypes that you’re sometimes assumed to fit that you don’t really? How do you defy them? How do these stereotypes flatten you and erase the realities of your experience?
- What other aspects about you intersect with your asexuality? How do these things inflect and inform your experiences, viewpoints, and approach to the ace community?
- If you sometimes find the ace community inaccessible or too exhausting to engage with, what are the reasons for that? What would make it easier for you?
- Are there certain words or labels that you have found in the ace or aro communities that are meant to describe something close to your experience, but still don’t quite fit or feel comfortable enough for you to adopt?
- Are there any words or labels associated with another community that you’re a part of that you feel uncomfortable with because of your asexuality or aromanticism?
- If you are multilingual, what is it like to describe your experiences related to asexuality in one language compared to another? Do certain connotations exist in one language that aren’t there or aren’t the same in another?
- What topic do you feel is still taboo in the ace community, that makes it difficult to discuss your experiences? What do you wish you could talk about?
- What assumptions do others in the ace community sometimes make about you that you feel are unwarranted? Do you feel that others tend to think of you in terms of a model or framework that doesn’t really apply?
- What is something related to asexuality that you don’t totally understand about yourself? Something that, perhaps, you haven’t really mapped yet but you’re actively working to discover? What is this process like for you?
- What do you feel is the best way that you know of to illustrate the complexity and diversity of the ace community as a whole? How does it compare to any other ways you have tried to do so with less success?
- How do you feel about the idea of “overthinking” or “over-complicating” things?
- What are the benefits of closely examining and analyzing aspects of your own asexual experience? What are the drawbacks? Do you feel comfortable with the ace blogging community’s culture of exploring nuance and creating new language to describe things, or do you feel frustrated or conflicted about it?
Please feel free to submit anything else you can think of that addresses nuance or complexity and asexuality.
How to Submit
- Write about the topic in a blog post—or record a vlog or podcast, or draw a comic or other illustration instead if you’d rather do that—and post it to your own space. Usually this means your own blog, but of course if you made a video or something, you would host it on YouTube or wherever (please see #4 for more on that).
- What if I don’t have my own blog? That’s okay too! I will be happy to host a guest post for you here on my blog. Please email me your submission at prismatic.entanglements at gmail.com and I will post it here. Remember to let me know what name you want me to use, as well as what pronouns I should use to refer to you. If you want to be anonymous, that’s okay too.
- Once you have published your submission, post a link to it in the comments of this post. Or email it to me at the address above. I will usually see pingbacks too, but they do require moderation so they may not appear right away. I may have some days this month where I’m not able to approve comments, just so you know, and don’t worry about it if you happen to submit on one of those days.
- For alternate media posts: In the interest of making this as accessible as possible… Preferably, if you can, please also make a blog post with the media embedded along with a transcript of your submission, so that those who cannot watch/listen will still be able to participate in the conversation. Images should have descriptions for those who cannot see them as well. If you cannot host a transcript yourself, I can make a post here to host it. Please email me to let me know you’d like me to do that, with the transcript included. (I probably won’t have time to make a transcript myself, sorry!) If you can’t make a transcript, let me know and I can ask for a volunteer to help out with that. I know this is extra work and it’s understandable if it takes time to make a transcript, so it’s okay to submit without one and try to make one later. I just want to try to do what I can to make it easier for everyone to participate.
That’s it! Let me know if you have any questions.
Remember, the deadline for submissions is May 31st, 2018. The round-up post will be scheduled to go up on June 1st at 10 a.m. EST. Late posts will still be accepted in June, and edited into the post as they come in.
I look forward to seeing what people have to say!