(NOTE: my internet (and phone line!) have been down since Friday evening and my family has been borrowing a neighbor’s internet with permission, but my laptop haaaaaates it and will only connect occasionally for a short time. I will reply to comments after my internet is restored sometime on Monday, so I don’t run the risk of them being eaten by “Server can not be found”!)
For the first time I had a dream involving tumblr. While I don’t have a tumblr account I do spend quite a bit of time reading posts on there, especially because it has one of the most visible asexual communities on the internet outside of AVEN.
In the dream I was reading a conversation between two asexual people – one who is a actual person on tumblr and one who is not. They were discussing a post I did not read by someone who is not asexual, who used Athena’s mythology to attack certain kinds of aces. They held her up as an example of a “reasonable” asexual person, and while doing so said harsh things about aces involved in kink, those who have sex for any reason, and those who have romantic partners. (For the record, according to our last in-group census only ~16% of asexual people are aromantic – and even then that doesn’t eliminate the possibility of them having a romance-like primary relationship *coughpointstoself*.) To them, the above traits are incompatible with asexuality as an orientation while Athena is a perfect example of how a “real” asexual person would behave.
After briefly talking about how Not Cool it is for someone to dictate the behavior and feelings of a group they do not belong to, the two aces whose conversation I was reading moved on to an important point I am well antiquated with – moving goal posts. Being long-time members of the community who had weathered many storms, they were laughing at the concept of any type of asexuality being taken as “reasonable.” If a person criticizing the existence of asexuality finds an ace who fits within their standards, those standards almost always shift so that no one qualifies again. Sure there are those who bash mixed relationships (an ace with a non-ace partner) as being “abusive” to the non-ace partner if the ace does not consent to having as much sex with them as they want… but there are far more people who scoff at virgin aces, who tell them they can’t possible know if they’re ace or not unless they have had sex. And then turn around and tell those aces that since they’ve had sex, they can’t possible be asexual because a REAL asexual person would never have sex!
Specifically in the post they wound up talking about the myth where Hephaestus attempts to have sex with Athena, and how it can just as easily be used to bash sex-adverse and celibate aces as being “unreasonable” or “sex negative,” so holding it up as some kind of standard all aces must adhere to in order to be legitimate is funny in a sad way.
“Can you imagine if an ace responded to a sexual situation by running away?” one of them said, “The internet would attack them for being a mean slut-shaming prude!” The other one agreed and used italics to mimic/mock the response they’d get – “If you were a REAL asexual person you would be INDIFFERENT to an offer of sex; your repulsion is just evidence that you have a mental disorder!”
I think it’s interesting that my very first dream involving tumblr wasn’t just be scrolling through random pictures, but reading an articulate and all-too-true discussion about goal posts involving asexuality and Greek mythology. It felt so real and, well, plausible that one of the first things I did when my laptop finally connected to the internet was to check the blog in question to see if it was a real conversation or not. It wasn’t, but I would not be surprised if such a conversation did come about some time in the future…