In the last two posts I’ve outlined two of the major ways in which ace survivors are used as rhetorical devices--by using them to win political arguments and by creating a monolithic narrative of The Way Sexual Violence Happens to Aces. If you’ve read this far, you might be worrying about whether you’ve done either of these things in your own writing. You might be wondering how to avoid using aces as rhetorical devices while still writing forceful, argumentative pieces. This part is for you.
Ace Survivors as Rhetorical Devices (part three): The One True Narrative of Sexual Violence Against Aces
In this post I’m going to discuss the way bloggers construct The One True Narrative of The Way Sexual Violence Happens to Aces. This can take several forms. First, the author may assume that all ace survivors fit into a particular narrative of sexual violence (usually corrective rape by an allosexual romantic partner). Second, the author may acknowledge that sexual violence against aces may happen in multiple ways, but may highlight one way as more important or “real” than the rest.
Can you replace ace survivors in your arguments with an Oppressed Lamp—i.e. is your argument drawing on something specific about the experiences and feelings of ace survivors or is it using ace survivors as short-hand for “oppressed, beaten, helpless things you should pity”? If you’re using “ace survivors” to mean “super oppressed aces you should feel really bad for,” you’re probably using ace survivors as rhetorical devices.
The only reason they found out that I have hypothyroidism at all is because I decided to try some medication for PTSD, so they screened me for it. PTSD shares some of the same symptoms—poor memory and concentration, depression, and fatigue (from PTSD affecting the quality of sleep). Some of my other symptoms could have been explained by other factors, too. So I think it went undiagnosed for a long time.
I am allowed to occupy space in the universe, regardless of how “difficult” or “complicated” or “messy” I may be. I am allowed to identify as a survivor or a victim or something else entirely. I am allowed to identify as asexual, even if I don’t know whether past experiences “caused” or “contributed to” my asexuality. I am allowed to use the words that work best for me. I am not required to defend my sexual orientation because of my status as a survivor. I am not required to defend my status as a survivor because of my sexual orientation.
This series focuses on awful things people say to asexual spectrum survivors, sometimes out of spite, sometimes out of concern, and sometimes out of ignorance. Each section has a quote (or collection of related quotes) followed by a "translation" of the quote (or a distillation of the essence of the argument, if you will) and then commentary on why this is an awful thing to say.
This series focuses on awful things people say to asexual spectrum survivors of sexual violence, sometimes out of spite, sometimes out of concern, and sometimes out of ignorance. Each section has a quote (or collection of related quotes) followed by a "translation" of the quote (or a distillation of the essence of the argument, if you will) and then commentary on why this is an awful thing to say (and suggestions for things you can say instead).