Why AroAce Jughead Is Important: A Seventh update.

Fair warning this one is going to be full of anger, sarcasm and swear words. This is mostly a rant to be honest. Trigger warning: A LOT of aphobia. 

Every time something happens I tell myself “it can’t get any worse than this” and to my shock and amazement something worse happens. And this time this article by TeenVogue. An interview of Cole Sprouse about his character Jughead. And what has sparked this update is this section of the article:

“Jughead is 16 going on 17 (as  of episode 10),” Cole wrote. “Sexuality is fluid. And where his sexuality is headed has, already, been heavily discussed…Riverdale is a new universe, and we first need to think of Jughead as a human agent within his environment, his decisions about his sexuality are going to be informed by his upbringing and his immediate and longterm desires. Betty and Jughead’s coupling are a great example of such an informed decision.”

Let’s start off with the fact that in the beginning Cole was fighting for us, he even said that this part of Jughead’s character is important and should be shown. And now he’s saying this?! What aphobic bullshit is this?! Because what Cole said above is quite long I’ve decided to break it into parts because each section makes me angry in a different way.

First the aphobia and just blatant queerphobia in “Jughead is 16 going on 17”. This implies that being 16 or 17 is too young to know for certain what your sexuality is if you aren’t straight. The heteronormativity and amatonormativity in these couple of words are enough to boil my anger. How comes is okay to know for certain that you are straight when you’re 16 or 17 but if you’re figuring out you’re queer you’re suddenly “too young”. If I had the words aromantic and asexual I probably would’ve identified as them since I was probably 13/14. But because I didn’t I suffered through a lot of hurt and pain. Feeling broken. Not understanding who I was.

“Sexuality is fluid” I really love how sexuality being fluid only comes up when talking about a character who is or might be queer. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this come up when a character is straight. It’s only when people see them and headcanon them as queer or if they are queer. Yes sexuality is fluid in some cases. But it’s not for Jughead. Jughead is aroace. He is touch adverse and he is romance repulsed. He has been for years. This is no excuse for this aroace erasure or aphobia.

“Riverdale is a new universe”  THIS IS NO EXCUSE FOR AROACE ERASURE. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again if Jughead was gay the writers would have kept him that way. That outcry would have gotten this show cancelled in the first two weeks. This excuse means nothing. You don’t suddenly get to use that “it’s an adaption” excuse because you don’t want to play a character who you don’t understand. I’m so annoyed and shocked that this is okay with so many people. I just can’t see how they can’t see that this is so damaging. When has it ever been okay to change a queer character’s identity in the adaptation. NEVER until now. Just because being aromantic and asexual is lesser known and “more invisible” to a lot of people does not make this okay! It will never be okay.

“We first need to think of Jughead as a human agent” oh what lovely dehumanisation of aro, ace, and aroace people we have here. It’s not like I’ve not seen this before. Are you serious right now. Was Jughead not human before? Was aroace Jughead not human? Was he an alien? Was he a vampire? This is news to me. This is what amatonormativity it tells sex and romance is “what makes us human” and if we don’t experience it well boy do I have news for you, we are no longer human. I’m so infuriated with this sentence alone. Stab me in the heart it would heartless…oh wait…what heart? I mustn’t have a heart because I’m not human right? Fuck you.

“His decisions about his sexuality are going to be informed by his upbringing and his immediate and longterm desires” WHAT THE FUCK DOES THIS MEAN?! “By his upbringing” what bullshit is this? “his longterm desires”. The only desires Jughead should have is for eating burgers. Anything else is aphobic. Jughead has never shown interest in anyone or anything but burgers. I don’t understand how Jughead’s upbringing could affect his sexuality, especially his aroaceness. I swear if they are going to do the “his only aroace because he hasn’t met the one, and he closed himself off to romance because of his troubled past and didn’t want to go through what his parents did” (and what I mean here is experiencing his parents having a divorce) I’m going to flip. I’ve seen this so many times. Being closed off to romance and being aroace isn’t the same thing!

“Betty and Jughead’s coupling are a great example of such an informed decision” well this is just the icing on the cake isn’t it? The aphobia, the erasure, the amatonormativity, just I can’t put it into words. You know what Bughead is? Bughead is a great example of aphobic writers taking a character they know is aromantic, asexual, touch adverse and romance repulsed, stripping him of everything he is and forcing him into a relationship because they are so aphobic that they can’t see that not everyone, not every character, needs romance to “be human” and to be happy. It’s a great example of how much hurt they can bring to two communities because of a damn ship. It’s great example of stripping one of the few characters like me and telling me you know what we don’t like you like this, this is how you should be. Bughead is a great example of dehumanisation of aromantic people. Bughead is great example of heternormativity. Bughead is a great example of dehumanisation of friendships.

Riverdale is aphobic trash
Bughead is aphobic trash
Cole Sprouse is aphobic trash
The CW is aphobic trash

On a last note ALLIES WHERE ARE YOU? Why are you supporting this show that is giving us so much hurt? Why are you allowing it to carry on and have another season? Why are you not speaking up about this erasure? Why are you shipping Bughead? Or Jughead with any character for that matter? Why are you only speaking up about the Beronica queerbaiting but not the queer erasure? Why are you not here when aros and aces need you the most? Why don’t you care?!
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Let’s Talk: The Weaponisation of “Cishet” [Aphobia TW]

“Cishet” was a term that meant “cisgendered, heterosexual, and heteroromantic”. It was usually used by the LGBTQIA+ community to identify people who were not like them, otherwise known as people who are straight. But as technology has improved,  and social media has improved and become more popular it has become a weapon against asexuals, aromantic, and aromantic asexuals of all genders and/or sexual or romantic orientation.

If you are asexual, aromantic, aroace, or even questioning any of this I would either recommend you don’t read any further or you read with caution. I’m going to discuss why I hate the word “cishet” and how it’s been used against me a nonbinary aromantic asexual, and the aro and ace communities in general.

If I’m honest I don’t think I’ve ever seen “cishet” used in a non aphobic manner. I don’t even know how it started but I do know it’s the main thing that is used in “ace/aro discource”. Ace/Aro discourse, usually found on Tumblr (I think it originated there), is when people try to gate keep aromantic and asexual people from the LGBTQIA+ community and/or invalidate our experiences. Just all out horrible things said towards the ace and aro communities.

Aros, aces, and aroaces are not “cishet” because they either aren’t (depending if they are aro, ace, or aroace) heteroromantic or heterosexual. And a lot of the time the aro, ace, or aroace person who is being called “cishet” isn’t/aren’t cisgendered.

The usage of “cishet” has been used to invalidate all and every aro, ace, aroace person’s identity by saying we are “basically straight”. It has been used to tell us that our experiences aren’t “that bad” and that we should “suck it up” because we could have “had it worse”. It tells aros, aces, aroaces, who have suffered from abuse, rape, etc because of their identity that it doesn’t matter, that they should just accept it and move on. Which isn’t true. Every aro, ace, aroaces experience is valid, whether they be good or bad experiences.

When I see the word “cishet” used naturally in a normal conversation I’m really wary of it. It makes me nervous, because I try to make my experience safe around social media (I’ve never heard or seen the word used outside of social media). Because I use social media to help talk about issues, and educate people, as well at times to remind myself I am valid as an aromantic asexual. But the usage of “cishet” against me sometimes stops that.

I’ve heard that in the past “Cishet” was also used to gatekeeper and invalidate both bisexual people’s experiences and identity as well as trans people’s identities and experiences. But because I was introduced to the word “cishet” through “ace/aro discource” I don’t really have the right to talk about this.

Before I started questioning my gender I thought I was a cisgendered heteroromantic asexual before I realised I was aromantic so it changed to cisgendered aromantic asexual. And during that time I did not once have the word “cishet” used against me. But since I realised I was nonbinary it’s been used against me multiple times. I talk a lot about asexuality and aromanticism on Tumblr and people who don’t even know or follow me will tag my posts, comment on my posts, about how I’m “cishet” and how “aro/aces aren’t queer” or aren’t “valid in the queer community” or that we “don’t have the right to reclaim the word queer”. (I use queer because I have so many labels, but that’s a topic for another day). I have enough trouble as it is in real life with my gender because I’m “seen as female” I don’t need the term “cishet” thrown at me as well. It invalidates me as an nonbinary person, as someone who hates the fact that they are perceived as the assigned gender at birth. It also invalidates my experiences as both an asexual and aromantic person.

A good (probably a bad choice of word here) example would be when I made a post about respecting aromantic and asexual characters (this one). And one of the comments, in a mocking tone a similarly to how I wrote it, was something along the lines “you know what would be nice? gay/lesbian/trans characters. You know what would be nicer? People respecting those characters are gay/lesbian/trans and not ignoring it” I’m not 100% sure that they said trans characters, and I think they said something about ace/aro people “being straight”, and their username was proof that the comment was aphobic, but because I blocked them and I can’t remember exactly what their username was I can no longer see the comment on my post thankfully.

I’ve seen more people use “cishet” against non cis people, and aroaces more than I do towards actual allo cis straight people. The fact is that cisgendered heteroromantic asexual exist, and cisgendered heterosexual aromantics exist and the usage of “cishet” really invalidates their experiences as either an asexual or an aromantic person. “Cishet” is hardly ever used against allo cis straight people, it’s used against aromantics, asexuals, and aroaces more than anything. It’s used to invalidate, and gatekeep all and every aro, ace, and aroaces from the LGBTQIA+ community. I’ve seen non LGBTQIA+ people gatekeep aros, aces, and aroaces from the community, which makes no sense.

I’m really sorry if I’ve repeated myself, but I really needed to get this off of my chest. I will clear one thing up, if I ever use the word “cishet” I’m usually speaking out against it and I’ll always use quotation marks to show that I don’t mean it in an aphobic manner, and I will never use it casually in a conversation to talk about all cis straight people. I probably missed some key points as well, but just being on tumblr alone can show you how easily it’s weaponised against the aro and ace communities.

Stop using “cishet” to invalidate non cisgendered, heteroromantic, and heterosexual people.