How is Asexuality a Social Movement?
A social movement is defined by Della & Diani as networks of informal interactions between a plurality of actors (i.e. individuals, groups, and/or organizations) engaged in political or cultural conflicts on the basis of a collective identity. What does this mean? What specifically are the characteristics of a social movement and how does this apply to asexuality awareness/visibility?
1) informal networks of people: The Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN), HotPiecesofAce, SwankIvy, LiveJournal Asexuality Group, and biologistblackbelt are just a few of the actors in an ever growing asexual community
2) based on shared beliefs, identity, and solidarity: not to oversimplify, but essentially the root of the movement is the solidarity of an asexual identity as an orientation with the shared belief that this is a healthy lifestyle with no “repairs” necessary.
3) mobilize over conflictual issues: although conflictual issues may shift over time and space as there is increased awareness which may lead to the resolution of some and the development of others, some conflictual issues leading to mobilzation include the recognition of asexuality’s existence, debates such as whether asexuals are members or allies of the LGBTQ community, terminology, inclusion, and representation particularly in media among others.
4) frequent use of various forms of protest: the actors within the asexuality movement use various forms of protest, a large portion of which are forms of social media such as vlogs, blogs, youtube, vimeo, forums, articles etc. Media attention through appearances on television shows may reach audiences outside the grasp of many forms of social media as a form of protest against the “invisibility” or denial of asexuality. Participation in pride parades, adoption of symbols such as the flag and the black ring, and art can all be used as forms of protest against discrimination and marginalization of the asexual community.
5) the intent to change something that is status quo: the current discourse of sexuality is problematic and exclusive. We are living in a hypersexualized world with heteronormative and sexualnormative assumptions about sexuality and gender. The goal of asexual awareness is to talk about asexuality and its implications for sexuality and sexual orientation discourse.