Popular media is having a lack of asexual characters. Usually, if there is a character, it is full of stereotypes. Asexuals are depicted as cold, mindless, killers and villains if they get any representation. Or they are used as a prop as foodie friends like Jugheads in Archies comic series. I have written asexual characters in my first book, Marriage Of Convenience which has drawn attention to many people on how to write asexual characters.
Growing up as an asexual, I had no one that I can find relatable in the popular media. It made me felt like something is wrong with me. I grew up with that thought and it made me feel terrible. There are plenty of Asexual people like me who feels the same way.
I have written asexual characters in my first book, Marriage Of Convenience which has drawn attention to many people on how to write asexual characters.
Things one should keep in mind before writing about asexual characters
- Asexuality is not a disability.
- Asexuality is not a punchline.
- Asexuality is a sexual orientation like heterosexuality.
- Asexuality is not “caused” by something like an accident or sexual abuse.
- Asexual people have emotions like other human beings.
- Asexuality is not celibacy.
These are the things Asexual Community want you to know when you write about them-
1. Do not create a stereotypical character out of the asexual community
Do not create a stereotypical character out of the asexual characters or the community. Asexuals are people with diverse interests and hobbies. Do not stick to the shy, nerd or prudish woman stereotype to describe your character.
It does more harm than good to asexual people in the long run. People often form an opinion about who should be asexual and what an Asexual person should look like. Not every, asexual, is a bookworm, not every asexual is a thin woman who cannot cater to the male gaze or not every asexual is an introvert.
It is essential to avoid writing characters as black and white and show realistic things in your stories. Asexuals are people like everyone else having various behaviors like everyone else.
2. Humanize your Asexual Character
If you are writing a villain or a negative character, avoid making them Asexual. It spread misinformation about asexual people as “cold” people who feel nothing. It is essential to avoid writing characters as black and white and show realistic things in your stories. Asexuals are people like everyone else having various behaviors like everyone else.
If you are planning to write an Asexual character, make sure to show them as a human. Their orientation is a minor part of their life not their entire definition. Ensure that they are like everyone else, having emotions, thoughts, beliefs, and feelings.
3. Asexual people cannot be “cured” by having sex
Remember, Asexuality is not an ailment that can be cured by having sex. If you are planning to write a story of an asexual person, especially of their love life, make sure you are not obsessing over their sexual orientation and using it as a trivial issue or something that could be sorted out or is a problem that needs a solution.
Having narratives where an asexual person becomes heterosexual/homosexual by having sex is problematic and a-phobic. It further fuels myth related to the asexual community such as “asexuality is just a phase”.
4. Every Asexual isn’t an aromantic or sex-repulsed Asexual
Asexuality has a wide spectrum and some asexuals are aromantic too. Some asexual people are sex-repulsed. Do not try to use their orientation as a punchline or a tragedy. While writing, you can explore more orientations within the asexuality spectrum to write about. Also, Writing about Aro-Ace people as friends, leads is as important as writing them as villains.
Asexuals have human interactions with each other. Asexuals are capable of loving, being friends, being parents, teachers, etc and this side should be explored more while writing them.
5. Try to show struggles of the Asexual community instead of treating their orientation as a problem
There are many asexual people who are married or in loving relationships and there are many asexuals who are happily single. Do not create a stereotype of “lonely depressed asexuals”. Your character can be happy and their happiness is not related to their love life.
Asexual people have their own struggles. They could be having bad grades or losing a job. They could be struggling to pay the rent, try to write more humane struggles than not finding love. And do not make your characters have sex for the sake of love. It promotes coercion in real life.
6. Do not make it all about their asexuality
Lastly, do not make everything about your character’s asexuality. Do you write heterosexual characters and then focus on only that element of their life? Obviously not! Then why should it be different for any other characters that you are going to write?
Remember, representation matters, but what matters the most while writing them is how you depict them, what you are trying to convey and how your character develops with the storyline.
Featured Image Source: Teen Talk