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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Why AroAce Jughead Is Important: A Sixth Update.

I wonder how many of these I’m going to have to do before we actually get acknowledged. So this week a podcast came out with one of the writers of Riverdale and let’s just say I’m not very happy with what was said during this podcast.

The first thing I want to discuss is that fact that we were referred to as “Riverdale discourse”. When it comes to fandom, or LGBTQIA+ issues “discourse” is always used badly. The movement #AroAceJugheadOrBust is not discourse, it’s a movement. We are here to speak up about the wrong doing of a show that is actively erasing our identities. Of course we aren’t going to stay silent about it, we want to be heard, we want to be represented, we want Jughead to be the character he is, not this imposter. When it comes to fandom the word “discourse” is the equivalent to calling us haters. Yes we may hate Riverdale but we have a valid reason. No one wants to see the only rep they have taken away from them.

Next I want to talk about the part that really fueled my anger and it’s the fact that another writer, the one with the most influence, knows about asexual Jughead and knows the comic writer (Chip Zdarsky) who properly canonised asexual Jughead by using the word (I’m not sure if the writer knows about Jughead’s aromanticism but if they personally know Zdarsky it must’ve come up once at least). And as well as all of this they have decided to ignore it in season 1 and don’t even have plans for it in season 2. I would’ve been angry if they didn’t know but then discovered about it, but the fact they knew from the beginning and still chose to ignore it deliberately, makes my anger harder to place into words. They decided from day 1 that they would take this aromantic asexual character, who many people really connected with, and thought the best way would be to destroy everything he is just to force him in a relationship with Betty.

If I wasn’t angry with what I said above I was definitely angry now. The writer in the podcast confirmed that they’ve heard or read about the #AroAceJugheadOrBust movement/seen our concerns about the erasure and are actively ignoring us over it. They are ignoring us, this isn’t a question, it’s a fact. Instead of acknowledging the pain of two communities they would rather keep us hurting. They would rather us suffer the loss of our only representative, who is unapologetically aroace, than acknowledge their wrong doings. Who does this? Who would rather their viewers suffer with harmful erasure, than do something that was canon from the first place. It’s disgusting.

The writer did suggest that we keep voicing our anger but we’ve been doing it for months now, and we are continuously being ignore. They are hearing us, seeing us but they don’t care enough to acknowledge us. Why is it only okay to erase aromantic and asexual characters? Since when has it been okay to erase canon LGBTQIA+ characters? How long am I going to have to face my representation stripped away from me?

Respect characters who are LGBQIA+ in canon. Respect them. Don’t erase them.

Let’s Talk: That Scene in Shadowhunters 2×10. [Ace/Aro Rep]

So 2×10 of Freeform’s TV show Shadowhunters aired last night and I want to discuss one certain scene. The scene is the “coming out” scene between characters Raphael Santiago and Isabelle Lightwood.

Raphael Santiago before the show is/was what you call “word of God” or “post-it representation” because author of The Mortal Instruments series confirmed that Raphael was both aromantic and asexual in two different tweets. For years this was always a taboo subject within The Shadowhunter Chronicles fandom because people who weren’t aromantic and/or asexual would say this didn’t count as canon because it wasn’t “explicitly stated in the books”.

Now to my actual point, in 2×10 Raphael somewhat comes out as asexual, and in my opinion aromantic too. I’ve discussed this both on Twitter and Tumblr but I want to talk about it in more detail. The scene plays out like this:

It begins with Izzy is lying in Raphael’s arms & he’s stroking her hair, they’re talking about Alec at first.
Then Raphael says “Your happiness, your well being is all I care about.”
Isabelle: “That sounds like the Shadowhunter blood talking.”
Raphael: “It’s true. I haven’t felt this way about anyone in a long long time.”
Isabelle goes in for a kiss Raphael looks away, avoiding it, and tries to drink the blood from her wrist instead
Isabelle:“Kiss me”
Raphael:“It’s not like that. I’m not like that. I’m just not interested in sex.”
Isabelle: “Being a vampire made you this way?”
Raphael:“No. I’ve always been like this.”
*Raphael goes to say something else but gets interrupted by Isabelle’s phone ringing.*

First I’m going to start with the first 3 lines focusing mostly on “that sounds like the Shadowhunter blood talking” said by Isabelle and Raphael’s response “that’s true. I haven’t felt this way about anyone in a long long time.” This is aro coding. Whether it was intentional or not I don’t know but this is very obviously aro coded. The reason is because with Isabelle’s statement it implies that Raphael drinking Isabelle’s Shadowhunter blood is being used as a stimulant and symbol for romantic attraction. There’s two ways you can look at this statement. 1) He’s talking about being demiromantic (an identity on the aromantic spectrum) or 2) He’s saying that the blood is like a drug that has allowed him to feel something that he didn’t before.

Secondly, the most obvious part, is the ace coding from the minute he shows his disdain towards Isabelle’s kiss it shows asexuality and what really puts the cherry on top of the cake is when he says “It’s not like that. I’m not like that. I’m just not interested in sex.” Honestly they could’ve stopped there and I would’ve been satisfied but the best part of all of this is the fact that Isabelle asked him if was because he became a vampire and his answer was “no I’ve always been like this”. I can’t put it into words what this response means to me. The fact that it wasn’t caused by his vampirism is so important. It’s so important that they emphasised this, and that becoming a vampire didn’t change him. This part, about how he’s always been like this, is also slightly aro coded as well.

The issue I have overall with this scene is the lack of labels and the arophobia that is coming from it. I’m so thankful that people are emphasising and celebrating the fact that this obviously shouts that Raphael is asexual. But there is a lot of aromantic erasure happening in the fandom both deliberately and accidentally. I’ve seen a lot of people not realise that the scene was also aro coded because the first bit goes by so fast and the fact that just after he emphasises his disinterest in sex. But people have also deliberately denied Raphael’s aromanticism because of shipping. And saying things like “he can’t be aromantic because he’s in love with [insert character here]”, which hasn’t actually been stated in canon.

I have another issue with how allorom aces are celebrating and also ignoring the aromantic side of Raphael. Yes we should celebrate but this is very harmful erasure for the aromantic community. I’m both aroace, like Raphael, and even though I’m really excited and happy about this scene, the lack of acknowledgement of his aromanticism is damaging and upsetting. Because he was confirmed aroace by Cassandra Clare. Please don’t throw aromantic aces under the bus, because this was our representation. He’s always been aromantic and asexual, not one, both.

I want to end on a positive note and this scene was really beautiful, they handled it really well and I couldn’t have asked for anything better to be honest (except the labels being mentioned). I’m glad that the writers decided to keep this important part of Raphael’s character in the show and that they had always planned to do this. From the bottom of my heart thank you for doing something that other shows decided to ignore. Thank you so much. I’m really interested in seeing how they handle this. I feel like the scene was definitely unfinished so I can’t wait to see how they’ll handle it when the show returns in June. They’ve handled sexuality really well in the show so far and I’m so excited to see the rest of Raphael’s story.

I will be honest when my friend who was watching the show live told me that this scene happened I cried. This meant so much to me as both an aromantic and asexual person, this week wasn’t nice towards aromantics especially with a certain article that came out about a certain show about a certain character who was aroace in the canon by a certain actor who plays the character. And just getting this made my week so much better. It’s only up from here, one step at a time.

Raphael Santiago is canon asexual (and hopefully aromantic) in Shadowhunters. There’s a canon asexual character on my TV screen. I honestly can’t believe it’s happened.

Why AroAce Jughead Is Important: A Second Update.

I’m here again with a second update on all things aroace Jughead Jones and the wonderful erasure that The CW’s Riverdale is giving us every Thursday night (note: sarcasm), or Friday morning if you’re like me and live in the U.K. I honestly can’t believe I am here again writing about this topic, especially after the amount of people tweeting, and posting about this erasure. Here’s the first post I wrote about this topic, and the update that followed.

But once again we are still being ignored. Which is honestly so disgusting. I’ve said this many times, but there is no way that they (@CW_Riverdale on Twitter) couldn’t have at least seen ONE #AroAceJugheadOrBust tweets in their mentions, I doubt their show viewers are tweeting them daily about the show, especially at the mass the aro and ace communities are tweeting them.

The reason why I decided to write another post about this is to expand on everything I couldn’t put into 140 characters on Twitter (even with the threads). During the week this erasure really affected me because I decided to check my tumblr mutuals (people you follow and they follow you) to see who supports the show that erases my identity and I follow at least 800 blogs on tumblr and I was flabbergasted with how many people, whom I unfollowed, that supported this show that erases my identity. It made me feel so invalid, so invisible. And the fact that they also followed me hit me really hard, because they had to have seen my tumblr posts about it, because lately that’s all I had been posting about. People I called my tumblr friends even post and support the show and that was the biggest kick in the gut. Supporting and ignoring the fact that Riverdale is actively erasing Jughead’s canon aroaceness is aphobic by both the writers and the viewers. I understand that some people may not know about Jughead’s aromanticism and asexuality. I had an experience with a fellow mutual who came to me and apologised about it (after they read a very long and personal post that I wrote about exactly how the show’s erasure was affecting me) and said they would no longer support the show. And honestly that one interaction made my day 100x better than it was. I am here to educate people on this matter, and I understand that maybe some people might have not seen my posts because of school, work etc and I full on accept that.

I accept if you support the show yet you don’t support the side to the show that is erasing a queer identity and actively speak out about it. What I won’t, can’t accept is the people who see my tweets and/or tumblr posts and continue to ignore this matter and celebrate the show, especially if we are friends.

Please don’t ignore the erasure that Riverdale is participating in, it is harmful for the aro and ace communities because we are fighting so hard for this representation that was always ours. We are not fighting for a character who maybe aroace, Jughead Jones is aroace. Don’t ignore it! Please. You don’t have to be aro, ace, or aroace to stand up for what is right. We want more allies to stand with us, to prove to us that we deserve to be represented, that we are valid, and we aren’t in visible. What Riverdale is doing is so harmful and I wish that it wasn’t praised as much as it was.

At times this topic makes me feel so helpless, because no matter what I try to do it seems only a small amount of people care. It’s hard to get celebrities to talk about it because they either don’t care about aroace representation or they don’t watch the show at all.

It’s shows like Riverdale that 1) give me motivation to write my own novel with an aroace main character but 2) make me scared of that “what if”. Like “what if my novel does well and it gets an adaptation and this happens to my character”. As someone who is writing an aroace character as an aroace the character means so much to me, that if this ever happened to my character I would be furious of this change. I don’t know the Archie comics writer, but he must not have this deep connection that aroaces do with aroace Jughead because he would’ve fought with us, instead of ignoring us as well.

I want to expand on my tweet, which said the following “#JugheadRepresents a reminder that we are 100% valid, there are other people like us, & it’s okay to love being aroace #AroAceJugheadOrBust”. How can Riverdale not want to promote something that would help someone feel valid? Loved? Understood? Accepted? I don’t understand. It took me a long time to get to where I am now with my aroaceness and having a character like Jughead, who is aroace, on-screen would’ve helped me so much more and probably learned to love myself quicker than it took me without him. I can’t speak for everyone but I believe the majority of us when they hear (at least) “canon asexual character” their minds automatically go to Jughead Jones.

To be honest I’m getting to the stage where I am just repeating myself in different ways, and I’m sorry for that. But I feel like if I don’t stress this topic out, if I don’t stand up for what I believe in I will regret it, and this erasure will become the “norm” and other shows/movies/media will do it. And I don’t want that to happen, I don’t want another Riverdale.

So please stand with us, stop this erasure of queer identies. And maybe I’ll see you in another week with update number three.

Why AroAce Jughead Is Important: A Message To The Riverdale Writers

There’s a new upcoming show coming on The CW called RiverdaleRiverdale is, and I say loosely, based off of Archie Comics. In these comics character “Jughead Jones” is canonically asexual, and as of a few days ago I found out is also aromantic and touch adverse.

I will be honest I have never read the Archie comics, but I do plan to. But the one thing I do know is that Jughead Jones is unapologetically aroace, and is touch adverse. As I came to terms with being aroace myself the first ever canon aroace character I knew of was Jughead Jones. And of course when I heard that there was going to be a TV adaption of the comics called Riverdale I flocked to the idea that finally there was going to be a character on TV just like me. And well…

This is what this blog post is about. From what I’ve gathered from trailers and actor Cole Sprouse’s interviews, the actor playing Jughead Jones, is that Jughead Jones will not be aroace in Season 1. Especially with the amount that they have changed. From the trailers it portrays a more “sexy” and “horror” like tone, which I believe is quite different from the comics themselves. But if something, as big as aroace!Jughead, is canon it should stay canon.

Aroace Jughead means a lot to a lot of people. Why? Because at the moment I know of zero characters that are aromantic, or asexual, or touch adversed, let alone all three at once on mainstream American TV. I want to put something in perspective for a moment. Imagine growing up in a world that focuses on the “importance” of finding love, finding your soulmate, and sex. And then to find out that you are different from these people. That you don’t experience any of these. How would you feel? Because for me I grew up knowing of 3 sexualities: straight, gay, and bisexual. And these three were represented on TV, bisexuality not so much but I had heard of it.  I grew up thinking that there was something wrong with me, that I was broken. Now imagine how I felt when I discovered that I wasn’t? Basically what I am trying to say is by having Jughead Jones canonically aromantic and asexual on mainstream TV will prevent more people from feeling the way I did. And to show that romance and sex are not the be all and end all. It will do something that no other show, that I watch, has ever done before. It would educate people, and it would finally give the aromantic and asexual communities their chance at representation on the small screen.

How hard is it to keep a canon aroace character canon in your adaption? Especially if you are showing canonically comic straight girls kissing in one of the trailers. If Riverdale is going to change their sexuality, which I’m not 100% sure on, it could be queerbaiting, how can you not keep the canon aroace character in your show. It isn’t hard. I’ve been thinking for a couple of days know to the reasoning behind it and the only things I can come up with is that they think having an aroace character will prevent them from getting high ratings because of the “sexiness” of their adaption, in which is aphobic. In all honesty I think having canon aroace Jughead would increase the ratings because I know of many aro/ace people who are dying to finally see a character like them on screen, so many of us would flock to watch the show. I thought finally, finally a character like me would be on TV. But I guess I got my hopes up too much.

It’s happened so many times where I’ve watched a show and characters that have described themselves as either aromantic and/or asexual without using the words “asexual” and/or “aromantic” have then been forced into a sexual or romantic relationship to “fix” the characters that haven’t felt this feeling that they “should” because it’s “normal”. And if Riverdale is doing this too, to an actual canon aroace character, you are showing us, the aromantic and asexual communities that we are broken and that we need fixing. And that’s the most unhealthiest thing to do, especially when some of us are just coming to accept ourselves for who we are.

I want to thank Cole Sprouse for the amount of fighting he is doing for the aroace communities, and him seeing the importance of this part of Jughead’s character. Many actors would probably have ignored it and probably pretended that this part didn’t exist. So thank you Cole Sprouse for fighting for us.

This has disappointed me so much that I really don’t feel like watching it anymore, I was going to watch it for aroace Jughead, but now that we probably don’t have it what is the point?

If anyone has any ideas on how we can inform the Riverdale writers and the CW on why it’s important to keep Jughead aroace please feel free to message me. Because I don’t want this to be something that is ignored. Aro erasure and ace erasure shouldn’t be ignored.

Shadowhunters TV: Why I Need You To Properly Canonize Asexual Raphael.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about I’m referring to this tweet by Cassandra Clare, author of The Mortal Instruments.

Screen-Shot-2016-02-04-at-16.06.03This is the confirmation that Clare tweeted about the sexuality of The Mortal Instruments character “Raphael Santiago”. In the novel series his sexuality is never stated unlike Magnus Bane’s, Alec Lightwood’s, Helen Blackthorn, and Aline Penhallow’s just to name a few. This tweet is a massive breakthrough for the asexual community and our lack of asexual characters in the media. But back to my point.

As The Mortal Instruments is now a TV show named Shadowhunters, airing on what is now called Freeform (previously known as ABC Family) and available Netflix for anyone outside of the United States, I would like the show to one up the author. Have the character canonize himself. Don’t leave it to speculation or tweet confirmations.

TV SPOILERS: In the recent episode of Shadowhunters 1×04 named Raising Hell there are subtle hints towards Magnus Bane’s bisexuality, through his links to former lover Camille Belcourt (said by Hodge Starkweather) and Magnus’ constant flirting with Alec. As well as Alec’s homosexuality through the scene with the memory demon where the demon needs to take a memory of the person they love the most. And for Alec this person is is his Parabatai Jace Wayland, which is shown to both Jace and the audience as his memory is ripped out, surprising and outing Alec in the process. Another hint towards Alec being gay is when Magnus approaches him after the stressful scene with the memory demon and telling Alec that “there’s nothing to be ashamed of.”  

How does any of this relate to Raphael Santiago and his asexuality? Well there are many fun creative ways in which Raphael could casually throw his sexuality into a conversation. My personal favourite, and one I myself have used in a lot of situations, is maybe Raphael could be witnessing a scene between Magnus and Alec or Clary and Jace where the sexual tension is high and Raphael could say, in his sassy snarky way, “I’m too ace for this” before walking out of the scene. Or you could have him respond to Magnus or Simon or another character asking him how he is by “I’m ace” and winking. Just having Raphael use either of the words “asexual” or “ace” in a casual conversation would be enough. You don’t have to make it a big deal. Just like Bellamy Blake in the CWs The 100 didn’t when he casually included into the conversation that Nathan Miller had a boyfriend.

This is so important to the ace community and I because there is so very few canon asexual characters. This would benefit the show even more with it’s diverse cast and characters. Plus showing that there’s more than 2 sexualities. Shadowhunters could be one of the first shows to have more than one character within the LGBTQIA community and having them all be different sexualitys. It would be the first show that I know of to include a bisexual character, a gay character, and an asexual character. I know if I wasn’t already a fan of Shadowhunters and I found out they canonized and asexual character I would start watching it in a heartbeat. And I know some of the fellow ace community would too.