There’s a way that our society understands sexuality, and it’s flawed. I think most people are aware of this if they pay the slightest attention to what they ingest via the media. But it’s not just one thing that the media screws up on—it’s the whole damn theory of sexuality itself.
See, popular culture would have you believe that sexuality only belongs to the elect privileged few. And of course, in the eyes of the media, “sexuality” is another word for “libido”. As if that’s all the word means. But leaving aside that point for the moment, the media makes it clear that only some are allowed to desire sex. The young, the thin-but-proportionate, the white (unless you’re a very special WOC), the people who fit into that category of youthful and pretty.
Fat people aren’t allowed to have sex, according to the media and the parts of society that have drunk its koolaid. That’s just “gross”. And not just having sex, they aren’t even allowed to want sex. Disabled people, whether physical or mental, are also not allowed to have libidos. People with “weird” medical conditions, people who are socially awkward, people who are old enough to have adult children of their own, people who are religious, people who are too thin or too flat or too scrawny or too ugly. Sometimes anyone non-white, if you find the extremes of the media. Sexuality is denied these people. They are shamed and dismissed if they even attempt to express desire or act on it, and we go back to our worship of the youthful pretty
heterosexualpeople having sex like bunnies.
And that would be bad enough, if the problem ended there. But remember before, when I said that the media treats “sexuality” as another word for libido? Turns out, that’s not what the word covers. There are those who desire sex, whether with men and/or women and/or everyone who doesn’t ascribe to those binary labels. But there are also those to whom sexuality isn’t actually about sex. The demisexual and the asexual, who have complex identities of their own that are simply ignored by the mass media.
Unless, of course, you fit into the privileged category of People Allowed To Have Sex. If you’re young and pretty and not a weirdo, you’re not only allowed to have sex but you’re required to. Being asexual would simply be a waste, according to popular culture. Sex matters. Only sex. Beautiful people having sex makes the world go round, right? Of course, ugly people are allowed to be asexuals. Disabled people are just assumed to be so. And even in fandom, try to say that a certain character played by a “beautiful” actor might not care about sex, and you can almost hear everyone’s gasp of shock.
Popular culture, as instructed by the media, is flawed. In fandom at least I hope we all know that (a vain hope, but indulge me). But it’s not a simple matter. If the fucked up “theory” of sexuality is a sword then it is a double-edged one. With one side it cuts down those who have desires but aren’t supposed to (and aren’t supposed to be desirable either), and with the other it cuts down those who don’t have desires but are supposed to.
I know, I know - you’re asking, “what does sexuality have to do with fandom?” It has a lot to do with fandom, it isn’t something that’s simple and can lead to an all out, fandom civil war here and there. Read it, absorb it and ponder on it - besides, it’s always fun to learn something new.
WHO KNOWS IT MIGHT EVEN OFFER A TWIST FOR YOUR BRAIN AND LEAD TO AN INTERESTING FIC!