Q&A: “…the way mainstream media sexualizes wlw relationships so dramatically is making it really hard for me to figure out…”
Hi. I’m pretty sure I’m bi, but I’m on the ace spectrum and the way mainstream media sexualizes wlw relationships so dramatically is making it really hard for me to figure everything out. Does anyone else struggle with this? How do I get past it?
i can’t speak for anyone else but myself, but at the same time i am fairly certain that many people (ace spectrum or not, woman themself or not) struggle with the hypersexualization of women in general in the media and trying to figure out one’s own feelings in spite of that hypersexualization.
however, you’re not just anyone. trying to figure out your feelings in the midst of all this hypersexualization as a woman loving woman (wlw) yourself (or so i assume; apologies if i’m wrong) makes the stuff in the media feel all the more potent and difficult to navigate, i think.
wlw relationships are generally marketed specifically at male viewers, usually specifically as ‘lesbian relationships’ (because, you know, the only wlw are lesbians, unless it involves a threesome– yaaay sapphobia!) is an additional level of hypersexualization. combine that with the stigma & taboo surrounding wlw relationships not intended for the male gaze and that makes things even more difficult to navigate for real life wlw.
on top of that, as someone who is also bi and ace myself (although admittedly not a woman), i think that being ace spectrum compounds upon all of the above because not only do you have to navigate the hypersexualization / stigma / taboo part of it, it’s likely that you’re also having to navigate sexnormativity and what that means in regards to your aceness all at the same time.
as for how to get past that, i’m not entirely sure….. i think in order to get past it, one must realize the fictitious nature of the media in general and how it is so far removed from reality at times. hypersexualized wlw relationships in the media are a marketing device; a source of revenue and entertainment. they are not at all reflective of actual wlw relationships.
actually, having said that, i think a good way to help divorce the hypersexualization and stereotypes of wlw in the media (be it relationships or wlw themselves) from wlw in real life in one’s mind is to interact with more wlw in real life. if you can’t do that, then just find examples of real life wlw and wlw relationships wherever you can, be it celebrities, real life activists or otherwise. try to consume media made for wlw (and i don’t mean “The L Word”). this can be especially hard as someone who is ace because so often LGBT movies, even if not hypersexualized, still have a sexual component to them, which can be a turn off even if one isn’t sex averse.
if anyone else has any suggestions, please feel free to add them!