Pre-Assignment Questions

Instead of downloading the pre-assignment survey and turning it in to your teacher (since these questions are more about personal reflection and helping me modify my curriculum for future classes) please complete the following questions using the Survey Monkey links below. This way I will be able to anonymously collect and analyze feedback. Once you’ve completed the questionnaire you will be given a randomly assigned completion code which you can include with your journal entry which you will turn in to your professor so that she knows you have completed this part of the assignment.

If your professor is Dr. Justine Shuey use one of the following links:

This link is for her class at Montgomery County Community College

This link is for her Middlesex County College Monday/Wednesday Class

This link is for her Middlesex County College Friday Class

If you’re taking a class not taught by Dr. Shuey please use this link.

These questions are to be completed BEFORE even looking at the rest of the assignment!

Before you look at any of the other material in this packet, please answer the following questions to the best of your ability:

  1. What labels do you use to describe yourself? (Gender, Sex, Ethnicity, any and all):
  2. What are your orientations?
  3. A person who says that they are “asexual” probably means:
  4. Reasons a person might identify as “asexual” are:
  5. What I know about asexuality (you can prioritize, I don’t need a novel) :
  6. Places I’ve heard/read about asexuality (fiction, non-fiction, TV, anything):

Continue on to Notes about Language in this Assignment —>

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5 Responses to Pre-Assignment Questions

  1. Anonymous says:

    I dont know if iam suppose to log in but iam
    efaye

  2. JW says:

    In regards to the last question – I don’t think I’ve ever heard about it in fiction or TV or movies. I’m not even aware of fiction that addresses it, to the extent that when I was working recently on a story and had the option of… I want to say “making” one of my own characters asexual, but in actuality, it was more like “allowing” because he finally made more emotional sense that way (it’s… complicated. Let’s just say that when a character develops to a certain point, they start to surprise me, and he was either surprising me in a bad way or a good way, and allowing him to be – “ace” you’d call it? That’s awesome and reminds me of Doctor Who so I’ll go with it – allowed it to be a good way).

    In any case, I did to some level at least consciously choose to have him be asexual in part because I NEVER seem to see it. I know asexual people exist, and I know there’s nothing “wrong” with them – any more than there is anything “wrong” with say, being gay or bi or straight, it’s just a way to be – so it seemed to me that the lack of them was, well… a lack. (Likewise, when I had the option of creating a transgender character, I went with it, because, again, I personally have not seen it very often). That, and it actually made one of the main couples sort of more adorable, since he was always into her because of “her”… not because he wanted to get into her pants. And when he’s finally honest about that with her, it actually brings them closer. And that just… completely derailed the original intended plot, actually, but felt much more natural and right, so I’m kind of letting it write itself at this point. But anyway.

    Back to my original point: I’m not really aware of much fiction that features asexuals. So, when you asked that question, it actually surprised me – made me wonder if it was a trick question or whether I was just unaware of some perfectly interesting fiction.

    So… IS there some interesting fiction about asexuals? That you as an “ace” would find realistic on top of worth reading/watching?

    I do think question 2 is problematic though… many of us aren’t sure what “orientation” we are, or are fluid (I’m sure you’ve heard of at least one study that found that women, at least, are likely to change their conception of their own “orientation” over the course of their life, or that otherwise heterosexually-identified men or women will sometimes engage in “situational” same-sex activities, etc.)… for instance, I’m generally more attracted (mentally/emotionally and to a slightly lesser extent physically) to women… except for one guy who I’m mentally attracted to, and another that I’m emotionally/physically attracted to, slightly, maybe, I dunno. What the hell am I supposed to be? I guess I’d say “homoflexible” – but that’s only because I’ve run across the term on the internet from lots of reading of random sexology-related articles and posts and Wikipedia articles (that last one is actually where I found it, though I’m not sure the article even exists anymore, as there was quite a lot of infighting about “neologisms” at the time). And, you know, it’s kind of goofy-sounding, so it doesn’t work in every context. Maybe indicating that “unsure/don’t know” is an okay answer would be a good idea?

    -JW

    • This is not the response you deserve because it’s been a really, really long day. That said, These are all open-ended questions, none of them have answers from which people are supposed to choose- everyone can write in their own answers. I like your feedback about question 2 and if I re-wrote it I might phrase it more along the lines of “what are words or labels you use to describe your orientations?” or something like that.

      As for representations of aces in fiction – there is the rather infamous House episode where he *cures* not one but TWO aces! There’s also quite a bit of fan-fic with ace characters found over at “AO3” (Archive of Our Own). I particularly enjoy the White Collar fanfic called “Sex is Just a Word” (or something like that, I’ll dig up a link for it later).

      I’m going to try and remember to answer more later when I’m all awake, and stuff. 🙂

      • JW says:

        Thanks for responding! 🙂

        I do think that would be a good way to do question 2 – it allows room for fluidity and complexity without being too complicated I think.

        RE; representations in fiction, oh dear, I haven’t come across that episode but it doesn’t surprise me, because of course I can see how that would get produced. It does seem like the sort of twist they would favor; “oh that thing you think is just part of who you are? It’s secretly a symptom!”. They’ve done it before, including of all things, with altruism, so doing it with asexuality is really not surprising to me. It is rather eyeroll-worthy though.

        I’m somehow not surprised to find that aces are more common in fanfiction than “mainstream” fiction; I have noticed that at least in Western, English-speaking fiction (written by Americans, Canadians, Aussies, Brits, etc.), you get more representation of a variety of minorities, particularly LGBTQI categories of such – yes, you get the expected Porn Without Plot fantasy from people who find it “naughty”, but you also have legitimate non-PWP, (both in and out of erotica genres), where characters realize they’re gay or lesbian or bi, or characters have genders or sexes flipped. In fact, you get similar representation in webcomics now that I think of it – I don’t even know if I could count the number of comics I’ve seen or heard of that have gay, lesbian, bi, transgender or even intersex individuals; and sometimes, they’re surprisingly good. Of course, mainstream fiction has started including more gay/lesbian/bi characters – there’s even a couple or so on Doctor Who, which in Britain is considered family fare! – and of course, those categories are especially popular in fan fiction and have been for years before it become cool to do in mainstream fiction, so it makes one wonder – if you looked, could you in hindsight see the tipping point where it went from underground to mainstream? Do such things exist because creators nowadays are more savvy and realize a lot of fans are not only okay with it but interested in it? Will similar things happen for other minority groups?

        I don’t know… one wonders. We get better representation of LGBT folks nowadays, but it will take realizing that asexuality isn’t a dysfunction to have people treat it well – otherwise you just get things like that House episode.

        It does make me more sure I did the right thing “allowing” my character to be ace though; I feel like my instinct is right, that in the mainstream at least you just don’t see it well-represented while being represented well.

        Thank you very much for the recommendation of that archive and fic; I will have to check them out 🙂 Sorry for being so wordy! Topics like this really get my brain going…

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