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.
This series is about the way ace survivors are used as rhetorical devices in ace communities. I will be directly quoting ace bloggers, deconstructing their statements, and pointing out how they are using ace survivors as rhetorical devices. I’ve been very deliberate in who I quote; I decided from the start that I would only quote bloggers who have repeatedly made the same sort of problematic statements about ace survivors, operating off the assumption that while someone might easily say something clueless about ace survivors once accidentally, if there’s a pattern to it, there is probably an underlying belief structure that needs to be addressed.