Like the star rating, the “ace rating” is out of five. Three is a neutral rating; higher ratings are for films that actively address asexuality or asexual issues; lower ratings are for films that seem hostile to asexuality or just include a lot of sex.
Coming up with ratings can be a complicated task. Here, in descending order of importance, are the factors I will be taking into consideration:
Asexual Characters – Obviously the most “ace friendly” film would be one that explicitly portrayed human asexuality, and did so in a positive light. Unfortunately, I have yet to see such a movie.
Sex – Movies that show a lot of sex or that make it important to the plot are generally going to get lower ratings. That’s not because sex is bad, but because sex is of less importance and interest to asexuals than most movie-makers seem to think it should be.
Other Ace-Relevant Themes – There are many other concepts to come out of the asexual community besides that of human asexuality. A film that revolves around a queerplatonic partnership, that acknowledges the difference between romance and sexuality, or that questions erotonormativity, may qualify for a higher rating, even if it doesn’t deal with asexuality directly.
Romance – Romance is a tricky one. On the one hand, romance in movies is generally associated, implicitly or explicitly, with sex. On the other hand, romance is not the same as sex, and it is possible to be very romantic and still be asexual. Over-all, romantic storylines count against a film, but not as much as explicitly sexual ones. Moreover, the less sexual a romance seems to be, the more positively it will be viewed, and a relationship that is romantic without being sexual may actually count in a film’s favour.
Demisexuality/Graysexuality – Characters who are demi- or gray may be regarded more favourably than more conventionally sexual characters, especially if their demi-/graysexuality is explicitly acknowledged.
Celibacy – Although celibacy is not the same as asexuality, asexuals are more likely to lead celibate lives. Therefore, films that portray celibacy in a positive light may get higher ratings.
Feminism/Queer-Friendliness/Trans-Friendliness/etc. – Because feminist, queer, and trans perspectives also challenge erotonormativity, they often share goals with asexuality. Thus, films that treat these perspectives positively may get slightly higher ratings, but this depends on the other factors involved.
What the ace rating is not:
A judgement of the film’s artistic or entertainment value – That’s what the star rating is for. A movie may get a high ace rating and still suck, or get a low one and still be brilliant.
A measure of how much asexual people will enjoy it – Just as women can enjoy films with all-male casts, asexuals can enjoy movies with lots of sex in them. It’s just that these films may be less personally relevant to them.
Representative of the opinion of the whole asexual community – Like the star rating, the ace rating is subjective and reflects my own personal opinions. Just as five different film critics may disagree on a film’s quality, five different ace people may disagree on how “ace-friendly” it is. See About Me for more on my particular perspective.
The last word – My purpose in rating films is to start a conversation. If you disagree with any of my evaluations, please post comments! Discuss! Start your own blog! The more we talk about asexuality and its portrayal in pop culture, the better!