What Is Demisexuality?

What Is Demisexuality?

I’m demisexual, but three years ago I’d never even heard the word…
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When I wrote about privilege a few months ago, I mentioned that I’m demisexual. While the LGBTQIA community is generally becoming more visible, and many non-heterosexual terms are now common knowledge, “demisexual” is still a mostly unknown term. I didn’t even know it until a few years ago, and since having a word that describes my experiences has improved my life, I’d like to explain it to you.

Unlike most of my classmates in junior high, who seemed constantly interested in how attractive they found movie stars, I have never in my life looked at a complete stranger and thought, “Damn. You are hot.” Like many demisexual people, I can count the number of people I’ve ever been sexually attracted to on one hand.

Demisexual is an asexual-spectrum label, which means it’s related to asexuality, or lack of sexual attraction. Demisexual people usually don’t experience sexual attraction, but can become sexually attracted to a specific person after we’ve formed an emotional attachment.

That’s not to say that I can’t “see” that a stranger is physically attractive. I mean that when I look at someone with sculpted features, rather than desiring to be intimate with them, I’m more likely to think, “Huh, that person has physical features that our society deems ‘attractive,’” and then move on with my day. I watch rom-coms and fail to engage with the characters’ plight. Usually I end up shouting at the movie screen, “That person’s a jerk! Sure, they’re pretty, but you two have nothing in common! Why do you want to have sex with them?!”

I’m like Mr. Spock from Star Trek, able to make observations but nearly always disengaged from the desires that most people would insist that all humans have. And that insistence that all people experience sexual attraction all the time is why the demisexuality label is so important to me.

In seventh grade, I had to make up a crush so that the other girls would stop asking me who my crush was. I didn’t have a crush on anyone. I never had. But everyone else had, and no one would believe that I didn’t. I started questioning myself. Did I really not have a crush on anyone? If everyone gets attracted to people, and I didn’t, was there something wrong with me?

Eventually I learned the word “asexual” and thought, “Hey, maybe not having crushes is natural after all.” But then things got complicated: I did become sexually attracted to someone. Was I not really asexual? Was this my sexual awakening? But no, it was just that person, and as my emotional attachment to them faded, so did my attraction to them. I thought that something must really be wrong with me, if I was neither asexual nor not-asexual.

Not everyone sees labels as important or useful, but for me they beat the alternative. People who fit into categories that go unacknowledged are stuck with the awful notion that there’s something fundamentally wrong with them, that they’re broken and need to be fixed. But when something has a name, it has a kind of validity that silence and confusion could never give it. When I first saw the word “demisexuality” in a Tumblr post, I Googled it out of pure curiosity, and after I read the definition, I had to remind myself to breathe. “Oh my god,” I thought, “this is me. There’s a word for what I am. Other people experience the world the way I do. I’m different, but there’s nothing wrong with me.”

I know I wouldn’t have had the awful idea that there was something wrong with how I experienced sexual attraction if earlier in my life I’d seen or read an experience I could relate to. Though rom-com characters are found relatable by people who experience sexual attraction regardless of emotional attachment, they don’t fit my experience. My experience is that I spend several months learning about a person’s virtues and what we have in common and gradually fall in love with them and only then do I find them sexually attractive. Then, when I fall out of love with them, I suddenly no longer find them sexually attractive. I’ve never seen this scenario depicted in a movie. And when I fail to react with as much excitement as the people around me to a hot celebrity, or when I “fall out of attraction” with someone, I still have to remind myself that I know it’s normal, because for the first eighteen years of my life, I had no reason to think that it was normal.

If demisexuality becomes common knowledge, then there will be one more group of kids in the next generation who won’t grow up thinking they’re broken. I hope this article will help.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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Should We Forgive The Racist Pasts Of Jeffree Star And James Charles?

When is it "acceptable" to move on from the past, if at all?

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The online beauty community is no stranger to scandal. Whether it's a problematic shade range or a site-wide hack that robbed customers of their money, brands make waves all the time. But what about the influencers, i.e. the beauty gurus — the people who post makeup tutorials, swatches, reviews, etc. onto Instagram, YouTube and Twitter?

They're pretty problematic, too. Let's break down some of the most famous and most infamous beauty gurus.

1. Jeffree Star

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Jeffree Star, or Jeffrey Steininger, is the over-the-top, former-pop-singer, wildly popular male beauty guru. He launched his own makeup brand, Jeffree Star Cosmetics, in 2014.

Star, though notably accepting of the LGBT+ community (which, as an openly gay man, he should be), has a long term history of making derogatory and racist comments.

At first glance, he seems to own up to his past racial slurs and racist comments (like telling a black woman that he wanted to throw battery acid on her skin and using the N-words) in an apology video where he declares that "the person that said those horrible, vile things... that person was depressed, that person was just angry at the world, that person felt like they were not accepted, that person was seeking attention."

He blames his past actions on depression and anger. We can kind of accept that, right?

That is, until more slurs come to light.

Jackie Aina, another beauty guru who is well known for her outspoken nature, took to Twitter in September of 2018 to say that she would no longer support Star as a black woman. Her Tweet featured an open letter to Star.

"I have not and will not excuse his blatantly racist behavior and — not his past references to me in derogatory terms, his use of the N words nor his efforts to eliminate spaces and opportunities for people of color," Ms. Aina wrote.

Around the same time, Star's former hairdresser posted photos of conversations he'd had with him in which he used the N-word, along with a video of him referring to Jackie Aina as a "gorilla" in 2017.

Back to the apology video: Star claims that those videos that showed him in an angry depression were taken 12 years ago. "I look at them and it just makes me sick to my stomach because I don't know who that person was," he said in reference to these old videos.

Well, Jeffree, I think that person is the same one that referred to a black woman as a gorilla and other derogatory terms.

2. James Charles

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James Charles Dickinson skyrocketed to popularity when his senior photos didn't properly accentuate his highlighter and he had them retaken with his own ring light. Shortly afterward, he became CoverGirl's first CoverBoy.

His first scandal happened in 2017 when he posted a now-deleted Tweet prior to a trip to Africa. "I can't believe we're going to Africa today omg what if we get Ebola?"

James deleted the Tweet almost immediately.

About nine months later, he took to Twitter again to make a formal apology video, in which he also apologized for other, older Tweets from when he was 13 that were also racist and, as he put it, ignorant.

"They did not come from a place of hate, they came from me being a really ignorant 13 year old that shouldn't have had a Twitter account," he said in the video.

Since James' 2017 public apology, he has been a proud advocate for inclusivity in the beauty community.

When the Tarte Shape Tape Foundation launched, James gave a review that called out the brand on their poor shade range.

When James released his eyeshadow palette collaboration with Morphe, he featured four distinctly different makeup artists on his channel to use his palette.

When James launched his line of athleisure, Sisters Apparel, he kept it size and gender inclusive with unisex clothes all available in sizes XS through 3XL.

So, where do we all draw the lines here?

Do we forgive James' and Jeffree's pasts? Do we call them out? Do we "cancel" them?

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