11 days ago I wrote a post called “Why AroAce Jughead Is Important: A Message To The Riverdale Writers” and I’ve decided to write an update on it, mainly for my own purpose to help get out all of the emotions and feelings that I’ve felt because of it. Because to be honest it’s been a tough week.
Let’s just say that this matter has got worse, so to speak.
The first thing, the first episode aired and we held a Twitter party run by the wonderful Tumblr account FuckYeahAsexual called #AroAceJugheadOrBust during the time Riverdale aired, which started at 2:00am for me here in the UK (I stayed up until 5:00am to participate!!). I am so glad that I participated in this I feel like I’ve gotten closer to the aroace communities because of it, and seeing so many participate in it really made my heart warm.
Now to the negative. We are being ignored. Not only by the writers, but also by the fandom. The episode aired, and people have decided to ignore us. I know we as a community cannot stop anyone from watching a show they want to watch, especially if it’s due to erasure of a lesser known identity. The sad truth, which I’ve said many times before, is that if a sexuality that is more known was being erasure then a lot more people would boycott it. But after the episode aired a lot of people have started calling Jughead a “closeted gay” because that’s the vibe that they got from the episode. I have not watched it, and I do not plan to but this stuff cannot stand. Jughead Jones is aromantic and asexual. Nothing will change that. Not the writers of the show, nothing. And by doing this you are feeding to the erasure. And to be honest it hurts. A lot. They are choosing to ignore the aroace communities who send them panels of the comic, which show Jughead’s aroacesness. For example there’s a part in the comic where he says “I don’t date” and how he doesn’t like dating. Yeah that really screams “straight” or “gay” to me.
The Riverdale writers are allowing this erasure to occur in the fandom, they are feeding the aphobes who, by the way, attack and bully the aroace communities already with their discourse. They are being told that it is okay to erase the lesser known queer identities, aroace identities, because Riverdale has chosen to not go down this important route. Not only are they gatekeeping us from the communities they are now able to say “ha, you don’t have this character anymore this shows that you are not welcome”, which shouldn’t stand. You are allowing bullies to attack your viewers that you are supposed to protect.
Not only that, a recent interview was released where the actor who plays Jughead was saying how this one thing about Jughead’s character has become the sole thing that is being talked about. Well I’m sorry that we are so deprived of representation that we’ve latched so hard onto this one character, that is comic canon aroace. Sorry that we felt the need to educate and tell people that this character is one of us. Sorry that we finally just wanted to be represented. Sorry that this clouded everything that you’re doing for the character. Sorry we care so much about our unknown identities. Sorry. (Sarcasm obviously). I gave him so much props and respect for how much he “fought” for asexual Jughead, but it seems that even he doesn’t really care, when it comes to that, apparently, being the only thing that is talked about of his character.
I’m going to be so honest I have cried at least three times over this erasure. Because this was finally my chance, and I’m saying this as someone who has never read the comics (I plan to) and only seen parts of it in screenshot form. You know what this erasure has told me? It has told me that my sexuality, the way I identify is not worth it, that no one cares. That we are invisible, broken, and need to be fixed. That is what you’re telling your asexual and aromantic viewers when changing Jughead’s identity. I literally do not want to see the word “Riverdale” because of this erasure, it makes me so angry and upset that even though we protest, raise our voice, and educate no one listens.
You know what I said to myself yesterday? I said to myself that I will have to learn to be okay with this erasure, because that’s seems to be the only thing that will come out of this. And that shouldn’t stand. I shouldn’t have to accept it, our voices should be heard and something should be changed. But can I see change coming? No. I fear each day as it comes when it comes to this topic, because each day something worse happens.
AroAce Jughead being on screen in a day like this is so important because of how the world views sex and relationships. I know if I had a character like me on screen when I was 14/15 I wouldn’t have done so many things that I regret today. I would have realised that it’s okay, I’m okay. I am valid. But I feel like Riverdale doesn’t care about this, they don’t care about the possible education they could tell through this character arc. It’s so easy and simple to just add it into a scene. Literally you could make it into a joke. Or, you know, take it right out of the comic. Have Kevin say the line he does about Jughead’s asexuuality, have Jughead say how he doesn’t like dating. It is so simple, I just don’t understand. Why wouldn’t Riverdale want to educated and help people discover who they are? I would’ve thought they wanted to jump on this, but I guess not.
The sad truth is Riverdale isn’t the first, and it probably won’t be the last. I just wanted Riverdale to take this step forward. But I guess we’ll have to wait.
I want to end in a positive. To all the aro, aces and aroaces who are sticking together and standing up for what is right, who are participating in #AroAceJugheadOrBust on Twitter I’m proud of us, I’m glad there’s some light in this darkness. And to allos (allosexual = non asexuals) who are standing with us, who are helping us, who understand this erasure is not right and shouldn’t stand: I see you, I respect you, and you don’t know how much it means to us. Seeing your support means so much.
Also sorry if this doesn’t make sense, or if I repeated myself a lot, I just really needed to get my thoughts and feelings out there before I burst. I hope Riverdale changes their erasure. But I won’t get my hopes up.