Can We Stop Dehumanising Aromantic People?!

I understand that the majority of things that I will discuss are probably things that alloromantic people may not realise are harmful towards aromantic people. I’ll be discussing various ways within and outside the queer community where aromantic people are often dehumanised. And I hope that it will educate someone on harmful things that dehumanise aromantic people. A lot of points I’ll be making will be repetition of things I’ve said in previous posts but I feel I need to emphasis them once again.

I want to start off within our own community, many of us (not all) are also apart of the asexual community or aromantic people have found safety and safe spaces within the asexual community, even if they are not because sometimes our communities intersect. There’s a common theme I’ve seen amongst some asexual, whom are alloromantic. I’ve noticed that allo aces who emphasise their romantic attraction to allo queer people or to allo cis straight people to say “look I date too I’m just like you”, “look I fall in love I’m ~human~”. That in itself should explain how this dehumanises aromantic people, especially those who don’t date.

My next point connects with the point above where people say romantic love is what makes us human. That not falling in love is the worst thing that could ever happen to someone. And that being single until you die is a ~bad~ thing. I’ve noticed that characters, especially female characters, are branded as unrelatable because they haven’t been in a romantic or sexual relationship. By saying romance makes us human you are telling people who don’t experience romantic attraction and don’t want to be in a romantic relationship that they are not human, that they have no reason to live because they won’t experience the “epicness” that is this version of love. It gives off the impression that you believe that romantic love is the meaning to life and that people who don’t experience romantic attraction or don’t want to date have no meaning in life.

I think by now mostly is aware of people viewing platonic relationships as lesser than romantic relationships, and the damages it can do to not just aromantic people. I’ve talked about this many times before both on this blog and on other social network platforms but I can’t stress this enough about how damaging this is. As an aromantic person my friendships are my world, they are my strength. They are a source of happiness for me. It links with the idea that most people view soulmates as romantic. For me my soulmate(s) are my friends. The people I feel I can trust with 100% of myself, that I can go to no matter what. My friendships are just as important as a romantic relationship is shown to be. Your friends are most likely going to be there for you your whole life, romantic love can come and go but your friends are there through thick and thin (most of the time. Value your friends as much as you value your partner. Friendships, both good and bad, have probably shaped you as much as your partner has.

In addition to this, the idea that everyone wants to get married (romantically). I feel like this idea is “taught” to us at a young age. When I was younger I always wanted to get married because that’s what I was told I should want but as I grew older I began to understand that no this isn’t what I want. I want to be surrounded by my friends. Marriages are great, but they aren’t for me. And it shouldn’t be taught to kids that this is something you should aim for in life, because that child doesn’t really know what they want at a young age, they are experiencing the world for the first time so allow them to make their own decisions and discover who they are. Allow your child to make their decisions on their future. (I realise I haven’t talked about arranged marriage here and I’m 100% not trying to demoralise them. Personally I don’t know much about arranged marriage and I definitely do not have the right to talk about them here. I do know that for some/most people arranged marriages are great and that they are one of the best things in their lives.)

I touched on characters earlier on about how characters are branded as unrelatable if they are aromantic but another thing I see is people say characters who aren’t in a relationship or don’t end up having one throughout the whole book/show/movie etc. are boring. That they are hard to write. I think this angers me the most because I’m dying to read a story, watch a show, etc. where a character isn’t put into a romantic relationship to drive the plot, I can’t relate to most canon couples because that’s not who I am. It’s not just aromantic people this affects because not every person has a romantic relationship during their teenage years or even in the early stages of adulthood. I’m 100% certain that romantic love isn’t what drives a person 100% of the time, why should this be the same for characters?

In relation to this there’s something both myself and many people both aromantic and not need to stop doing. And that’s headcanoning non-human and/or villains as aromantic. I understand, because I’ve personally done it many times, that non-human characters like Angels or Demons are very easy to connect with on an aromantic level (I headcanon Castiel from Supernatural, Crowley from Supernatural, and Lucifer Morningstar from Lucifer as aromantic/Arospec). Headcanoning mostly non-human characters, which I’ve done, says that aromantic people aren’t human and that they just “need to learn to love” and that they “don’t understand” humanity. And headcanoning villains as aromantic tells us that we are bad people, that the reason we are aromantic is because we “don’t deserve” love.

The next thing is alloromantic people denying aromantic headcanons because of their shipping “rights”. What I mean by this is someone telling another who headcanons let’s say Sam Winchester from Supernatural as aromantic (which I do) that they can’t because of their non-canon ship. Yes there may be many ways that this can be invalidated but using shipping as the reason isn’t okay. If you won’t invalidate another headcanon don’t invalidate ours. We find comfort with our headcanons because we have little to no canon representation (and the ones we do have a stripped of their aro identity *cough* Jughead Jones *cough* Raphael Santiago *cough*).

And lastly I can’t end this post without talking about aro erasure with in fandoms, yes this is about both the Riverdale fandom and Shadowhunters fandom. I’ve talked about this many many many times before, but I have to keep repeating myself because we are still being erased by both fandom and writers. By erasing an aromantic characters aroness you are telling hundreds of aromantic people that we are “abnormal”, that we “don’t deserve” representation. And by taking that character and making them alloromantic you are telling us that you’ve “fixed” the character by stripping them of who they are. Aromantic characters are just as important as any other character. Put yourself in our shoes, if you saw a character that was like you stripped of that part how would you feel? Pretty awful right? Stop doing it to aromantic characters. And stop with the “but aromantic people can still date” rhetoric because that dehumanises aromantic people who don’t date.

I most likely missed something but I’ve talked about the majority of things I’ve noticed a lot of the time.

If you would like to read more about this topic or aromantic posts that relate to this topic here are a few of my previous posts.

Categories with many posts:

Advertisements

Let’s Talk: “Just Friends”

There’s nothing I hate more, actually this is probably a lie but go with it, the phrase and the tone of voice that comes with the phrase that has the words “just friends” in it. What I mean is it’s usually used in a phrase similar to “they aren’t ~just friends~” (I hope you read that in the same tone of voice that I was thinking it in) or “we are just friends”. The phrase or even just the two words themselves give me a negative vibe towards platonic relationships. It’s as if the person saying them is saying “oh no they aren’t friends, they are something better, something more.” It’s a phrase that implies that friendships are lesser than romantic relationships.

Saying two people (usually two cisgendered, heterosexual, heteroromantic and white) aren’t “just friends” or that they’re “more than friends” not only has an arophobic undertone to it but is also used to force heteronormativity. This is because people, mostly the older generations, see two people who they think are male and female who are most likely have a platonic relationship but they view it as something romantic, because of their views on what they think is “opposite gender”, when in fact there’s more than two genders and no opposite gender, and how they have probably been taught or have “learnt” that being straight is the “default sexuality”, which again isn’t true because there is no default sexuality. Due to this they’ll always see two people they perceive as male and female as something other than platonic. Because girls and boys can’t “just be friends”.

Not only does this phrase belittle and invalidate most friendships but it also usually invalidates people’s sexualities and genders. I know many of you reading this could be thinking that I’m reaching here. But as someone who is constantly misgendered and perceived as female and straight I have a little experience. Because whenever I had a guy friends, which was always platonic, people always said or thought there was “something more” between us. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this term used when two girls are friends, or two boys are friends. Why? Homophobia/Biphobia/Panphobia etc and heteronormativity.

As an aromantic person who values xir friendships a lot, calling them something “lesser than” romantic relationship offends me and belittles the importance of my friendships to me. For one person their romantic partner may be the most important person in that person’s life. But for me it’s my friends. I wouldn’t be where I am now without my friends, even the ones I’m no longer friends with. Platonic relationships are so important and you shouldn’t undermine the value of them. No matter what you’ll always have you friends, they may come and go but they are some of the most important people in your life. Value them. Value them as much as you would value someone who is your romantic partner. Because your romantic partner hasn’t always been there like your friends have.

Here’s a list of the phrases that are similar to “just friends” that really need to go:

  • “They are more than just friends”
  • “They aren’t just friends.”
  • “There’s something more between them.”

There’s probably a dozen more that I’ve forgotten but you’ve gotten the idea of what I’m trying to say.

It’s 2017 can we stop belittling friendships and stop saying that romantic relationships are something more than platonic relationships. They aren’t. End of story.