It’s been a few days, but I feel the need to address this post because I can’t stop thinking about it, and what it means to me as an aromantic person.

The purpose of the quote (which comes from a blog post called “Down with Love”), is to explain how romance and romantic feelings don’t ruin a female character. I understand the intentions of this post are to combat harmful stereotypes about what a female character should look like, but what it actually does is harm people in my community including myself. 

To start, I am an aromantic asexual woman. I don’t experience romantic feelings or feel romantically attracted to someone, nor do I experience sexual attraction. I don’t feel the need for it. That’s okay! However, this doesn’t mean I don’t experience other forms of love, such as caring deeply for friends and family in an unconditional manner. This doesn’t mean I don’t experience any vulnerabilities or emotions, as I have my own vulnerabilities and insecurities. This doesn’t make me a robot. This doesn’t mean I’m less human. People experience emotions differently

As I’m not particularly invested in the specific subject matter of the original blog post (Game of Thrones), I’m just going to address parts of the quote that harm me, and people like me. 

Repeat after me, folks: romantic plotlines don’t ruin female characters.

I agree with this, but also consider that romantic love isn’t the only thing a female character is capable of and can feel. The idea that everyone must experience romantic love and that this makes us normal and human, is called amatonormativity. It’s an inaccurate understanding of human experiences, and while romantic plotlines don’t ruin female characters (depending on how they’re structured), neither do non-romantic plotlines!

A female character isn’t weak because she has normal human emotions. She isn’t anti-feminist because she has vulnerabilities. 

Once again, I agree. However, being that this quote is centered on romantic feelings, the implication here is that if she doesn’t experience romantic feelings, she has no normal human emotions nor vulnerabilities. That then makes her less human. I understand and agree with the following sentiment:

There’s a difference between a female character existing entirely to be in love with the male character and a female character who happens to have a romantic subplot as part of her story.

…but then the next part bolsters my feelings that this quote upholds an inaccurate and problematic amatonormative perspective on humanity:

It isn’t feminist to insist that female characters have to be “badass” unfeeling robots, detached from absolutely anything considered “feminine,” including, apparently, emotions.

If you’re trying to argue that romance doesn’t hurt female characters, by suggesting that not having romantic feelings makes you less human, you’re still hurting female characters! A woman who rejects femininity, and romantic feelings, is no less human or robotic. (And really, if you think humans have to be hard wired for romance, that seems very robotic to me.)

Even then, femininity does not equal “romance,” though it might more often be associated with tender emotions. People who are aromantic, including myself, can still be feminine. Rejecting romance does not mean rejecting femininity. Rejecting romance and femininity, does not mean rejecting human emotions or simply not having them. I have many human emotions, they’re just incredibly devalued by a society whose emphasis on my worth as a human is placed on my ability to experience romantic love and sexual attraction. 

Sure, we don’t want female characters to be damsels in distress, but swinging in the other direction, to cardboard-cutout-badass-making-quips, isn’t much better. 

Women who are in distress and need help are still women. Women who can stand on their own, and don’t need help are still women. Insisting that women be one thing and one thing only or idealizing what women should look and act like is still problematic and a huge issue with feminism today! What we need to do, is to focus more on challenging problematic perspectives that force women into boxes - that limit what they can be. We’re not going to do that if we insist that women can’t be a damsel in distress or a “badass.”

Also, I appreciate it, but not being able to experience romantic feelings doesn’t necessarily make someone a “badass.” It just happens to be how some of us are. We can do “badass” things, and be anywhere on the spectrum of experiences in regards to love. That’s part of acknowledging that women can be many things all at once. They can be complex, whether they experience romantic feelings or not. 

Good female characters appear human. And sorry, romance-haters, but love is a part of that

This is really the straw that broke the camel’s back for me, because it proves to me that this is an amatonormative analysis of female characters. No no no, good female characters can be anything!What matters is how they are positioned within the structure of a story and how we choose to view them as a society based on the restrictive values we’ve grown up with (but seldom challenged). 

Sorry, people who would rather dehumanize aromantic people in order to argue the importance of a romantic plotline, but romantic love is not the end all be all and aromantic women exist



(Source: 2dwaifu)



Reblog if you would watch a show with an openly aromantic protagonist who stays aromantic and doesn’t eventually meet the ‘one’ and fall in love because fuck that.

oh hell yes finally a show that wouldn’t be stifled by romantic plot cancers


I was thinking about my aromantic representation post, and I’d like to expand on it a little.

Some narratives already have protagonists who never fall in love or have romantic relationships of any kind and it’s not treated as a big deal, which is awesome. I’m 100% on board with this. 

But I want more. I don’t just want characters who could technically be read as aromantic. I want a character who outright states ‘I’m aromantic. (Possibly followed by ‘look it up’.) I don’t get attracted to people romantically. I don’t fall in love ”that way.” And this is not a problem.’ And I want that character’s narrative arc to stay true to their identity.

That would leave no room for ambiguity. The audience wouldn’t be able to think ‘Well, maybe they just haven’t met the right person yet.’ (well, I know some still would, but… *shrugs helplessly*) It wouldn’t be like one of those narratives where a character has yet another break-up and reflects in an angsty way that maybe they’re just not cut out for this romance thing; but then they overcome some personal hurdle or meet a specific person and…. LOOK AT THEM WITH THEIR NEW LOVE INTEREST THEY’RE SO IN LOVE THEY JUST NEEDED TO MEET THE RIGHT ONE ALL ALONG.

Their aromanticism wouldn’t have to be the main focus of their narrative arc (it’s always good to have queer characters who aren’t reduced to their sexualities, and it would be good to have a narrative arc focused on the individual character rather than their orientation.) It would be great to have a storyline which focused on the character coming to terms with their aromanticism, or the people around them coming to understand it, but in addition just having a character say ‘Gosh, I’m flattered by your interest, but I’m aromantic. Now, let’s go fight that zombie dragon’ would be worth something. (On a side note it’s one of my life goals to persuade as many people as possible to see the movie ParaNorman.)

Of course it doesn’t stop at aromanticism. We need diverse representation of all kinds of gender and sexual/romantic identities. But I’m choosing to focus on aromanticism specifically in these posts because most media is still so geared towards the idea that romance is the best, most important kind of relationship anyone can possibly aspire to, that you’re not ‘complete’ without a romantic partner, that everyone really wants to fall in love and if they say they don’t then sshhh they do really, that it’s an important concept to bring out into the open.


I get really frustrated by how difficult it is to find or even headcanon aromantic or asexual female characters.

The ace or aro blogs I check on will often reblog or make posts about what characters can be interpreted as either, but almost without exception they’re all male (you might see the occassional Katniss Everdeen pop up but that’s about it).  Even my own list of ace or aro headcanons has only a few women on it, unless I outright ignore select bits of canon.  It’s upsetting because I know that a lot of the difficulties I went through coming to terms with my own aromanticism and asexuality could have been made easier if I’d had more female characters I could identify with on those levels, but even now when I”m out looking for them it’s so damn hard to find.

There’s two main reasons for this.  

1)  Mainstream media tends to include women only if they can “rent” their space by being a love interest or a sexual object to the male characters.  She’s barely allowed agency in responding to (or, as it’s often shown, caving in to) his interests, so forget about a female character included that exhibits no romantic or sexual attraction at all.  There’s a shitton of heteronormativity and racism wrapped up in here too, but others have done a much better job delving into that than I could.

2)  Mainstream sex-positive feminism tends to glorify an extremely specific, extremely narrow idea of “empowerment,” at the core of which is compulsory sexuality.  The measure of a [white] woman’s freedom, agency, and legitimacy all gets bound up in how frequently she has sex (and, for some reason, how often she punches people in the face, but that’s another issue).  This particular angle isn’t as anti-aro as it is anti-ace, but the message is still the same—there’s no room for women with no sexual attraction here, either, unless shown in an extremely negative, oppressive way.  Frequently, a shy or less sexually experienced woman will be added to the mix, only for the more sexually active woman to “free” and [insert naughty giggle here] ~corrupt~ her.  

In both categories, every positive attribute about them is often framed with the phrase “____ is sexy.”  Intelligence is sexy.  Toughness is sexy.  Reading is sexy.  Loneliness is sexy.  Punching bad guys in the face is sexy.  Being a world-destroying villainness is sexy.  On and on and on and on.  Not only is it extremely alienating to someone who never cared about being sexually attractive in the first place, but it’s all from the perspective of an external [male] gaze judging how appealing the female character is to them.  It’s a measuring stick with units of sexiness.

In the past I’ve gone into how damaging this can be and has been for ace women, but another thing in the end is how even when you’re looking for someone to identify with it’s “disproved” at every turn by the canon itself.  The precious few female characters that don’t end up in a romantic/sexual relationship are often given tons of lines about how much casual sex they have and often shame women who have less.  The ones that seem like they could be aro or ace at first get pulled away from us with a twist that oh, no, her heart was just broken, this dude will heal her and teach her to love again <3  Women in sexual or romantic relationships isn’t inherently problematic in the least, but when there’s nothing but that out there, what does that say to us aro ace women?

That’s why I sometimes get prickly when I see the lists of possibly aro or ace characters going around and there’s nothing but men on there.  We need to take a long hard look at the reasons behind why that’s the case, cause that’s just not good enough for me anymore.  I’m tired of having to look to only male characters for traits I can identify with.  I’m tired of the feeling I don’t belong in my own gender because I’m not willing to accept someone else’s sexual interest or summon up interest of my own.


Tanith’s Sky is my short story about the aro-ace psychic who saved the world and the mathematician who mourns her.

Was love less important than the form it took, the term for it? Would our lives have been more fulfilling if she’d been interested in cuddling, moving in or sleeping together? Had our relationship been lacking? Wasn’t this another way of blaming her, lamenting she wasn’t what she couldn’t be, clutching at the notion that she’d still be here if we’d been something else? She’d accepted when I said I was neither a woman nor a man; why couldn’t I cope with us being between friendship and romance?

(It was interesting to write about the aro character for once, rather than from their POV like I usually do!)


The thing about aromantic representation in media — or maybe representation’s not the right word, but certainly about making media that doesn’t continue to diminish and erase aromantics — is that it’s not just about making aromantic characters (who aren’t villainous or inhuman), although that’s certainly nice to have. It’s also about not presenting romance as essential to happiness or essential to humanity, and about presenting romance as equal to other types of relationship rather than romance as the peak of emotional intimacy and affection. (Making it clear that there are other kinds of love than romantic love will go a long way.)

A friendship turning romantic is not an upgrade; there’s nothing lesser about friendship. It’s just a change. It might lead to the characters becoming closer and caring more for each other than they previously did, but a switch from friendship to romance is not a prerequisite for this increase in closeness. It’s just different, not better. This is why “they’re too close to be JUST friends” is so aggravating to hear. If you want to convince me that the relationship between two characters is romantic or proto-romantic rather than platonic, come up with an argument for it being qualitatively different, because even The Sims knows that you need to do more than max out your relationship meter to turn a relationship romantic.

It’s not just about having aromantic characters, it’s about having an atmosphere that isn’t hostile to aromantics. Things like the message that you can’t have a close relationship (or a close relationship between non-relatives) without it either eventually turning romantic or being romantic all along, and that romance is something everyone wants or needs even if they aren’t currently pursuing it: these are what make for such a hostile atmosphere.

Mikael Blomkvist from the Millenium series

Thank you anon :)

Anonymous said: Hi, you may have heard this one before, but there's a webcomic with an aro-ace main character, it's called Supernormal Step and it's pretty great.

I haven’t, but thank you so much for the recommendation. :)



People who identify as ace or aromantic, please message me privately(i will retain anonymity)! Im writing a script right now in which the main character is ace and learns to accept her differences instead of give into pressures of society. I want to give you a voice on stage, but dont want to do it wrong. Any experiences or stories would be greatly appreciated, lovelies!


(Source: littlewillownymph)

Tags: aromantic