23 9 / 2014
Anonymous said: I'm sorry but what "institutionalised" oppression have asexuals endured? maybe my definition of insitutionalised is wrong, but I personally can't think of any examples so I was wondering if you could help me understand, thank you!!
well, the first thing to keep in mind is that the privilege/oppression model is just that—a model. it’s quite useful for groups to use when talking about their experiences, but in many cases may does not translate quite so dichotomous-ly (is that even a word? lol) into reality. the second thing to keep in mind is that institutionalized oppression is a result not an intent—politicians and religious leaders and HR people don’t have to be sitting around twirling their mustaches and muttering “how can i fuck over asexuals” for systematic oppression to occur. what this means is that some groups experience oppression in basically all major institutions; some experience it in only a few; some groups experience is as a direct result of legislation/policy/attitudes/etc. against them, while other groups experience it as an externality due to legislation/policy/attitudes against or for other groups. basically, institutionalized oppression can mean a lot of different things, and show itself in a lot of different ways.
so a couple of examples—first, health care. health care is an institution, and it is highly biased towards allosexuality, and more broadly, heterosexuality. a lack of desire to have sex is pathologised in medicine. thus, the sexuality of asexuals—especially of neuro-atypical asexuals—is attributed as a symptom of something being “wrong” with them, rather than a legitimate sexual orientation. this can be pretty damning for asexuals with ptsd or depression who are getting counseling, as their therapist may connect a desire to have sex with recovery.
it also means that asexuals can be pressured into types of (sometimes invasive) medical testing because people who say they haven’t had sex are often subject to scrutiny. take for example an asexual person who is using hormonal birth control. hormonal birth control has a variety of non-sexual medical purposes, and using it actually lowers your risk of some types of cancer. however, many doctors require their patients on hormonal birth control to have pap smears, even if they are not sexually active, and thus not going to get HPV, which causes almost all types of cervical cancer.
religion is another institution which is biased towards heterosexuality. in a lot of denominations of christianity, while premarital sex is a big no, couples are expected to have sex after marriage—1 corinthians 7: 1-5. and furthermore, if one person in the marriage isn’t really interested in sex, and the other is—too fucking bad, basically. this can definitely present problems for asexuals in mixed-orientation relationships.
addressing a slightly different issue, let’s look at the institution of marriage and aromanticism. marriage has become an institution with a myriad of legal and economic benefits—there’s something like over a thousand. however, it’s primary connotation in society is that of a romantic relationship. as a result, some aro people feel uncomfortable with the assumed symbolic meaning of getting married to someone, even if they do so because “hey this person is kind of cool and now they can adopt my children more easily and inherit my shit without paying an inheritance tax”. like, there are tons of privileges that being married provides (it’s actually legal in most places to deny housing to people if they’re not married), and you have aro people who may not be interested in marriage at all but either have to deal with it or forgo those privileges entirely.
a lot of these types of things aren’t actually directed at asexual people—they’re directed at people in same-gender relationships, or at “sexual promiscuity”, or they’re meant to help people but end up only really helping allosexuals. but again, institutional oppression isn’t about intent, it’s about results, and the results of a lot of ways our society and culture is structured is that asexual and aromantic people get screwed over.
Actually, being sexually active is not the only reason why you need pap smears; there are non-HPV cancers, for instance.
It’s also important to screen for PCOS, ovarian cysts, or other genetic disorders, and develop a baseline for a woman’s healthy cells since some women are more prone to non-cancerous abnormal cells than others, which is important to know when screening for cancer throughout a woman’s lifetime.
So I really disagree with you there, and think this actually shows there’s a bias towards thinking “sex = health implications, no sex = healthier and disease-free” which communicates that sex is unclean and is a big cultural problem we still need to overcome.
Just because some people have no or little sex drive or less sexual activity than what is thought of as normative in our culture doesn’t mean their health isn’t important or their sexual organs are somehow in mint condition .
22 9 / 2014
"The frightening thing is that, like most of their other campaigns against women, they see themselves as just warriors fighting for what’s right. This is primarily because they firmly believe that any woman who speaks up on women’s issues is completely disingenuous and only doing it for the purposes of self-promotion, and that any man who does is looking to get laid, because they actually cannot possibly imagine a scenario in which someone would genuinely give a shit about women.
Members of this board, as well as “Men’s Rights Activists” in general, tend to go apoplectic at even the most mild implications that women might be human beings. For them, this is simply “not allowed” and must be punished swiftly and severely, as they appear to believe that feminism is the one obstacle in the way of all these pathetic neckbeards getting their pick of supermodel girlfriends who obey their every whim. The goal is to make it as uncomfortable to speak out about misogyny and women’s issues as possible, which is why they go to the wall in terms of harassing women like Emma Watson. At the end of the day, this is the crux of it. It would be sad if it weren’t so vile."
Because of course she was.