216 – Ace and Aro Representation

The Mythcreant Podcast
Queer representation is a critical issue in storytelling, so today we’re giving the floor to guest host Kristin for a discussion of asexual and aromantic characters on TV. As a pleasant surprise, there are more of them than you might expect! Not nearly enough of course, but a start. We’ll talk about how these characters are portrayed, how subtle differences can change their identity, and what it means to be ace or aro before those terms were in common usage.

Download Episode 216 Subscription Feed 

Opening and closing theme: The Princess Who Saved Herself by Jonathan Coulton. Used with permission.

Show Notes:

The Asexuality Visibility and Education Network



The Mortal Instruments

Shadow Hunters

Raphael Santiago

Rose Nylund

Todd Chavez

Shortland Street

Gerald Tippett

The Tick

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  1. Fay Onyx

    My understanding is that it is usually spelled “aro” rather than “arrow” as it is an shortening of aromantic.

  2. Alejandro A Zarate

    Hey. As a former AVEN admin (who has long since stopped caring about labels AND is happily monogamous in a boring straight relationship), it’s pretty cool that you’re tackling this topic. That said…

    1) For the most part, it’s an exaggeration to call asexuals a marginalized group. Sure, representation Is pretty crear and might help people understand themselves better, but it’s not like asexuals are being stoned to death, threatened with jail or denied their names and identities. Sure, there’s real distress when you don’t conform to societal norms (I still get angry at my aunt when she mentions how glad I am that I’m no longer perpetually single), but it’s nowhere as bad as others have it. Most of the shit ace/aro people deal with has to do with other overlapping causes of opression.

    2) Regarding whether privileged people should tell stories about “marginalized” people: in this case, please do. I don’t want to tell those stories, I’d much rather write rather sexless stories about robots and mutants and wizards and dragons. Because sex and romance are so omnipresent in the current cultural landscape, I tend to gravitate towards stories that are about OTHER things. Like, you know, crime stories that are actually about catching a murderer. Or horror stories that are actually about the monster.

    3) On explicit labeling: I’m not against it, but it doesn’t always make sense. I mean, I don’t do it IRL, why would I do it in fiction? Unless your story IS specifically about an ace/aro main character dealing with societal expectations, it’s proably goong to be rather clunky to out them. In the end, what’s important Is to normalize the idea that liking sex less than average or not at all is OK, and that being single Is not a tragedy. As long as your ace/aro characters are helping these goals, they’re fine with me.

    Of course, I’m just one guy, and I’ve been disconnected from the larger asexual community for about a decade or longer, so… Yeah. Just offering my two copper pieces

    • Winter

      I write this reply for people that may not know, so they can avoid misinformation: “the shit ace/aro people have to deal with” is not just other forms of oppression overlapping, it includes many issues specific to these identites and Ace/Aro people are in fact a marginalized group who do face oppression and yes, even violence.

      • Alejandro A Zarate

        That’s why I said MOST shit, not THE shit. I can’t speak for everyone (as I said on my first comment), and I’ve had to deal with stuff too, but I’m also conscious that other groups face far, far worse levels of opression.

    • E. H.

      I think asexuals are marginalized in many social settings.

      1)Cultures and subcultures that are big proponents of marriage and usually reproduction for everyone except sometimes members of of celibate religious orders.

      2) Subcultures where a person is expected to try to have lots of recreational sex and talk about it (and their sexual desires and goals) a lot.

      3) The large number of people who don’t recognize asexuality as a “real thing” leading to having to try to get others to recognise one’s existence.

      Not that I have a problem with anyone who has PREFERENCES (not demands) based on 1) or 2), but combined with 3) easily leads to harrassment or even coersion.

  3. Winter

    Do you have transcripts for the podcasts?

    • Oren Ashkenazi

      Unfortunately not at the moment. That’s something we’d really like to have, but it just doesn’t fit in our budget right now.

      • seri

        same! I need a transcript too!

  4. SunlessNick

    Regarding Game of Thrones, Varys is not the only castrated character. There is also Grey Worm, the leader of the Unsullied – as he adjusts to freedom and learning building his own identity, he develops sexual and romantic feelings another character. So Varys’s ongoing lack of interest has less of a direct line his physical condition.

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