The asexual ‘awkward nerd’ stereotype reflects a broader prejudice that exists against people who are socially atypical.
Sociability and sexuality are inextricably linked – in Western societies that promote ‘The Extrovert Ideal’.
E.g. – someone who is socially ‘atypical’ is less likely to be considered sexual / sexually desirable.
Media culture sends the message – if you’re not socially competent / confident – then you’re not going to be sexually ‘competent’ either.
See – the stereotype of the geeky guy or girl (though usually guy) in glasses who’s never-had-a-boy/girl-friend,
Who’s ‘still’ a virgin.
Such stereotypes are based on the idea that humans are inherently social beings – and that sex forms a part of our innate sociality.
Therefore, if you have social ‘deficits’, it’s likely you’ll have sexual ‘deficits’ as well.
You won’t be sexually desirable.
You won’t have any experience of sex.
You won’t desire sex.
A lack of sexual attraction / desire is easier to fathom in the shy / socially anxious / autistic person.
Hence the stereotype of the asexual as a ‘socially awkward nerd’, a loser-loner-virgin.
The conflation of asexuality with asociality in the media / online – is intended to disparage / dismiss asexuality.
Hence why the asexual community considers the stereotype of the asexual ‘nerd’ to be demeaning / derogatory.
But this sort of stereotype also reveals a broader prejudice that exists against people who are not social ‘enough’, or not social in the ‘right’ way.
The socially awkward asexual is meant to be ridiculed / rejected – not only because they’ve ‘failed’ sexually, but because they’ve failed socially as well.
And this prejudice against the less socially confident / competent can sometimes be seen within the asexual community as well.
The asexual community does not want a lack of sexual attraction to be equated to a lack of sociabillity.
It seeks to put distance between the asexual’s non-conformity to sexual norms,
And behaviours / presentations / personalities that are socially atypical.
The attempts to create such distance are understandable – in that it’s literally inaccurate to say asexual = introverted / socially awkward / anxious.
However – there’s also the sense that asexuality shouldn’t be associated with ‘nerdiness’ / shyness / social awkwardness, not only because it gives a false impression of asexual people,
But because it gives an unappealing impression as well.
Because – less social / socially awkward / socially anxious / autistic people
Are inferior / abnormal / strange / embarrassing / ridiculous / pitiful.
The kind of people you don’t want to be seen with – in case they ruin your image / ‘kill’ your ‘cool’.
In rushing to decry the ‘asexual = shy awkward loser’ memes, as part of the community’s efforts to shore up greater awareness and acceptance of asexual people,
Derogatory / discriminatory ideas about socially awkward / anxious / atypical people are also shored up,
The same ones perpetuated by mainstream – extrovert-dominant – society.
And yet – some of these people might actually be asexual.
2 responses to “(A)Sexual / (A)Social”
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Ace Week 2022
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