I wasn’t originally planning on writing anything for this month’s Carnival. I’m a pretty new blogger, having been at it for less than two years, and participating in the CoA about a dozen times. What could I possibly say about it that would be insightful or interesting?
Probably nothing. But, after reading some of the other contributions, I’ve decided to share some of my experience anyway. After all, this blog may be young, but the Carnival of Aces has had a huge impact on its history.
If you’re familiar with this blog, you know that it basically comprises two kinds of posts. One: my bi-weekly reviews of movies from an ace perspective. And two: editorials about asexuality and my own experiences as an ace person. When I started blogging, I assumed the reviews would generate the most traffic, and that the personal writings would appeal only to select readers. After all, everyone likes movies, but who’d want to read about me??!!
So I was quite surprised that, while the reviews tended to get only a few views apiece, many editorials became quite popular. As of this writing, the top twelve most viewed articles of this blog are all editorials. And of those twelve, ten were written for the Carnival!
I’ve got mixed feelings about this. I’m a bit sad that my mission to educate people about asexuality through film criticism hasn’t been more successful. On the other hand, sharing my experiences has enabled me to participate in the larger ace conversation, and knowing that people are interested in them has given me a sense of validation and community. And without the Carnival I might never have gotten around to writing about those experiences.
In fact, over the last two years the Carnival has repeatedly given me a much-needed push to write about things that I really wanted or needed to express. My first ever contribution was to the January 2017 Carnival, where the theme was “Many Ways to Be Ace”. I took the opportunity to clarify my own demisexuality and ambiguous position within the asexual community – something I felt was important to do on a blog that claimed to offer an “asexual perspective”. The August 2017 Carnival, about “Asexuality and Academia”, coincided neatly with the one-year anniversary of my M.A., and allowed me to reminisce about the experience. The May 2018 Carnival gave me the chance to express my conflicted feelings about my own celibacy. And, when I felt that that post left a lot unsaid, the June 2018 Carnival came along and allowed me to describe my feelings of sexual shame in more depth.
I’ve hosted the Carnival twice now, in January and September 2018. Although in both cases I basically had my contribution already written and hosted the Carnival as an excuse to publish it, I did also enjoy reading what other people had to say on the topics. The September topic especially, “Asexuality Before AVEN”, is one I find fascinating, and I wish more people had contributed to it.
Finally, the Carnival has given me an opportunity to publish a series of posts on platoniromanticism. The content of these posts has been a bit haphazard, since I only publish if and when a compatible Carnival theme comes up. But between them they’ve enabled me to describe an identity that still isn’t much talked about, and to share experiences that many might find unfamiliar. Probably the most significant of these was published for the October 2017 Carnival. The theme was “Asexuality in Fandom”, and so I shared some of my feelings about shipping and about its role in the X-Files fandom. In order to write the post, I re-watched one episode of The X-Files, and that started me down the path of re-watching the series, writing reviews, and, eventually, starting a whole second blog!
So, yes, the Carnival of Aces has been very important to me and to my writing, and I hope it continues for many years to come.
In conclusion, I would like to re-share some of my favourite CoA posts from the last two years. (N.B.: This list is highly biased towards posts published on WordPress, just because those were the ones I could most easily keep track of.)
- “Being A-spec and Christian” by Danielle – As an ace-spec Christian I found it comforting to read about another ace-spec Christian reconciling themself to their asexual identity and coming into a better relationship with God.
- “An Asexual Virginity (or Lack Thereof?)” by luvtheheaven – Some great thoughts on the meaning of the “virginity” label and how the issue of virginity vs. non-virginity isn’t always clear-cut.
- “Being Bi/Ace, Part Two: Aesthetic Attraction and the Visual-Aural Gender Split” by Elizabeth – Elizabeth writes about how they experience attraction not only based on looks but also on voices – making the important point that models of attraction that equate “aesthetics” with what can be seen are ableist and ignore other physical characteristics that may be attractive.
- “Building a Mosaic from a Shattered Future” by Elizabeth – A heavy but hopeful article about living with brokenness and rebuilding oneself after a traumatic experience.
- “To build an unimaginable future (or, Queenie is way too jazzed about queer futurity)” by Queenie – A really great essay about how even people who don’t reproduce can make the future better by teaching and guiding those who come after us.
- “Asexuality and Poisonous Body Positivity” by Rachel – Some really good thoughts about why body positivity that seeks to affirm people’s beauty and sexuality can actually be damaging.
- “Missing a Permission Slip” by AsexualityArchive – A great post describing the writer’s conflicted feelings about having a libido while being asexual. I particularly enjoyed the discussion of sex toys and how they’re not really marketed to asexuals. (CW: Lots of talk about masturbation.)
- “Viewing Shipping, Sex Scenes, even Friendship through Asexual Eyes: a Privilege and a Curse since 2013” by luvtheheaven – A lot of thoughts about shipping, which is, as you may know, a topic I have some strong feelings about. luvtheheaven’s perspective is a bit different from mine, but I still relate to a lot of what they say.
- “Asex Ed?” by Kasey Weird – An outline of how to do better, more ace-friendly sex ed.
- “Please Don’t Extrapolate My Asexual Experiences” by luvtheheaven – An important reminder that no one ace’s experience should be assumed to represent all aces’ experience.