OMG… today at school I asked to use the bathroom because i HATE MATH CLASS!! and im wasting time and after 5 minutes of taking selfies and blogging on my tumblr blog my teacher walks into the bathroom and says “What are you doing?” And I accidentally said “None of your business, Cumberbitch!” and he stood there shocked but then he said “Who do you ship?” and now we follow each other on tumblr!
That’s what I hear when people mock and attack labels. No matter how little it has anything to do with them, certain types of people see or hear a word they don’t understand (like “demisexual”), immediately squawk about its uselessness, and somehow spin over to screaming “YOU’RE NOT OPPRESSED” and “YOU THINK YOU’RE A SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE.”
So let me go against my usual inclinations and try to say this concisely, so you won’t lose patience with me as I try to explain this to you. I will use demisexuality as an example but expect that you can generalize.
People who use words you’re not familiar with to discuss an experience they’re having are not therefore claiming to be oppressed or even necessarily misunderstood or hurt. They’re using (and in some cases, creating) words to DISCUSS THEIR EXPERIENCE. That’s IT. You have NO REASON to ask them to stop doing this. They are not asking for your permission, or for anything from you besides being left in peace.
- When you say “WTF LOL demisexuality why do u need that ur not oppressed,” you’re suggesting that the only reason to name an experience is to claim special rights or fight terrible oppression. It’s really not difficult to understand why someone whose sexual attraction experiences don’t match the experiences we’re led to believe are normal MIGHT want to talk about it with others who have the same experiences.
- When you say “WTF LOL demisexuality people will do anything 2 seem speshul,” you’re suggesting that their orientation is about you—and about getting attention from you—not about them. By accusing them of acting out with attention-getting behavior, you’re saying speaking about their lives is all about having your eyes on them. Which, in case you haven’t noticed as you dish it out, seems to result in mocking and harassment, so why would anyone want that? Very self-centered of you, isn’t it? Just like marriage equality isn’t about wrecking anyone else’s marriage, discussing one’s experience isn’t commentary on someone else’s. Occam’s Razor suggests people talk about their experiences because connecting with others who understand is comforting, so why would you invent a muddy motive to take legitimacy away from their desire to connect? And if it so eats at your guts that they might get attention for it, why don’t you stop giving it to them?
- When you say “WTF LOL demisexuality THAT’S JUST HOW PEOPLE NORMALLY ARE,” okay, well the asexual community disagrees since in OUR experience sexual attraction to strangers is expected, is common, and is normalized, but if you really think it’s normal to be sexually attracted to someone ONLY after months or years of developing other positive feelings toward them, and even then ONLY once in a while, I’m not going to argue with you. I AM going to say “so what?” If it’s “normal,” it can still have a name to describe that specific experience. Calling oneself demisexual is in no way an attempt to divorce oneself completely from “normality” (in pursuit of “specialness,” of course).
- When you say “WTF LOL demisexuality, an unnecessary word for having sex ONLY when ur in love” or “WTF LOL demisexuality, people trying to make an orientation out of not being a slut,” you’re not even listening to the people who used the word to try to communicate with you, because you are DEFINING IT WRONG. You are making assumptions, and you are mocking a claim that the people who are using the word aren’t even making. In the case of demisexuality, they are saying they DON’T FEEL SEXUAL ATTRACTION outside the described circumstances. They are not saying they WON’T SLEEP WITH SOMEONE if these terms aren’t met, nor are they describing any system of ethics/morals, nor are they shaming people who do not experience attraction the way they do. If you are re-describing their orientation in ways that make it easier for you to mock them and call them slut-shamers or what have you, look at what you’re doing. If you have to change what they’re saying to make it ridiculous, who’s really in the wrong here?
- When you say “WTF LOL demisexuality, that’s a made-up word,” what the hell is your point? Every word was invented at some point to describe something someone needed to say, and when you start hearing it more, that kind of suggests that LOTS of people wanted a word for this experience. Who are you to LAUGH and say they should STOP because that word isn’t in a dictionary or isn’t widespread yet? Really, you’re going to tell someone the fact that they had to “make up” a word for their experience has anything to do with whether they should be talking about it?
Please stop WTF LOLing other people’s conversations about themselves. Please stop rewriting what they’re saying so you can slam them for claiming oppression, specialness, or moral positions they are NOT claiming. Please stop using the fact that you don’t relate to or understand someone else’s orientation as an excuse for making an active attempt to limit their conversations. And please stop acting like you’re the arbiter for what experiences are “serious,” “real,” “oppressive,” or “common” enough to warrant terminology.
Author’s note: I am not demisexual. I have no horse in this race. I just have no problem LISTENING TO WHAT DEMISEXUAL PEOPLE HAVE SAID ABOUT THEMSELVES and understanding/agreeing that they are experiencing something that sounds distinct enough from how most people experience it that having a word makes sense.