Pretending You’re Oppressed: The New Internet Fad

On top blogging sites like Tumblr and Livejournal, the biggest new fandom is no longer anime or evening fantasy drama, but that of “SJ,” a nickname for “social justice,” which refers to discourse on equal rights and how to, essentially, be kind and respectful to all people. As a trans person of color, I have used these platforms as a means of communication, of activism, and a way to maintain my own sanity in one of the rare environments in which I can sometimes feel both safe and totally myself.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are many cases where it’s definitely needed. The recent shooting and death of Trayvon Martin at the hands of George Zimmerman, who was initially let go on self-defense despite a recording of Martin screaming for his life and well-documented violence and racist comments, would be one of those cases. The still-existing legislation in the U.S. that makes it possible to fire transgender individuals for their gender identity would be another. There are legitimate issues that need to be addressed in our society, there’s no denying that. The need spawned things like Occupy Wall Street and SlutWalk, major movements evolving out of small internet conversations.

But as everyone on the internet knows, where there is light, there is dark.

What started as a movement by people who are suffering to try to help those of us who are privileged to understand their struggle has now become a mockery, hijacked by people whose only tangible shared problem could be described — and recognized by anyone with common sense — as social ineptitude.

They sit, watching equal rights discussions, hearing the terminology and logic, and take it for their own purposes. They quote famous activists far out of context to add that elusive air of legitimacy where it just doesn’t exist. By carefully and secretly treating their “fight” as equal to racism, transphobia, homophobia and classism, they worm their way into the real issues and cleverly tilt words designed to protect to disregard those who are at actual risk for losing their jobs and their lives.

The base of this false movement is “identity.” You’ve probably heard the term “identity politics” used to refer to people who believe that identity colors one’s experiences, and this idea is not without merit. Identity is an important concept, and is essential to the fighting of bigoted stereotypes and ideas about marginalized groups. It is very easy for people who have never lived or seen a certain kind of oppression personally to believe that it just doesn’t happen, even despite statistics. But people who seek to misuse the term take that concept all the way down the slippery slope. According to them, as long as someone identifies as something, it is true. No exceptions.

Think about that for a minute.

Do you identify as a butterfly? Then you are one. Do you identify as a pie? Then you are full of buttery, fruitilicious goodness. If you follow the “to each their own” philosophy, one could almost wave the basic idea as long as it didn’t interfere with, you know, reality. But this is the dark side of the internet, and it devours all common sense like a black hole eats light. And we’ve already crossed the event horizon. Anything not mainstream is “oppressed” in this wonderland. Wielding identity as a weapon, one can entirely remove themselves from personal responsibility for their part in harming others, and ultimately, any negativity at all.

Ever hear of otherkin, or otakukin? They refer to people who “identify” as animals or anime characters. I’m pretty open, do whatever you want as long as you’re not bugging me. According to some, though, lack of widespread acceptance of otherkin is contributing to mass otherkin oppression. Oh? Otherkin are being rounded up from their homes and killed? No? Are they being fired from jobs for being otherkin? Not that either, huh? Are they at least being disproportionately arrested and thrown in jail with sentences 60% longer than non-otherkin? Well then what IS going on? They’re… being ostracized on the internet. Oh.

But otherkin and their ilk have been around for ever. Try googling “Final Fantasy VII House.” Pick a time to read when you have a few free hours and a lot of booze. Now, there are newer, even more mockable “oppressions” coming out. You’ve heard of transgender and transsexual, let me introduce you to the new trans people: transabled and transethnic. Transabled people are disabled people hiding out in perfectly working bodies. They “identify” as blind, deaf, paraplegic and quadriplegic despite having never been so a day in their entire lives, and are well-known for talking about how hard it is to want to be disabled but unable to be. Transethnic people are white people who “identify” as a non-white race or ethnicity. They’re weeaboos multiplied by a million, with bonus “I learned about your culture in a book I read once so I know more than you.”

But not all the ridiculous “oppressions” are this out there. What normal people call “mild inconveniences,” some have blown up into full scale witch hunts. Like “kinky oppression.” The belief that people thinking your love of handcuffs in the bedroom is weird is exactly the same as getting beaten in the street for being gay, which leads to the coined term “vanilla privilege,” the preference and favoring of those who don’t engage in any kind of kink in society. Or “body mod oppression” and “goth oppression.” Oppression is just as easy as shopping for overpriced skull-themed clothing at Hot Topic, hopping down to the local tattoo parlor, and getting that box of two dollar head dye from the corner shop!

My personal favorite of these new, ridiculous “oppressions” is when people cross so far into this realm that, to them, the norm is oppressed. Fundamentalist Christians have been complaining about their supposed oppression for years, how they are now the ostracized and marginalized in our harsh modern society, and some people have decided to take a page out of their book.

“Demisexuality” is part of the “asexual” grouping. I’d tell you what it means, but demisexual people are confused about it too (and you’ll find about 100 conflicting definitions out there), so I’ll give my understanding. Demisexuality is when people only feel sexual desire for those whose personality they like, or to whom they are emotionally attracted. In other words, they make up most of the population. But they’re very oppressed, if you ask some of them. Oppressed how, exactly? No one knows, but you can’t expect them to provide any evidence. That would be wrong.

Personally, I think they all suffer from plain old “being boring” oppression. You know, the kind where you’re dull and you watch too much TV and you feel a desperate need to be cool, different, part of a group. One could almost say that “interesting” people are oppressive, flaunting their interestingness in your face, telling stories of suffering and pain, while you know you live in a comfortable 2-bedroom apartment your mom and dad paid for, drive in a car that you’ve never had to personally get fixed, and the most harassment you ever received in your life was being told you were weird that one time you wore neon orange lipstick and spandex to your junior prom in high school.

But besides being all very ridiculous, it does have a clear-cut, damaging effect to legitimate oppression, those where people are actually dying, becoming homeless, being forced into prostitution, and living in dire poverty, unable to get a hand up. When you take the words of those who truly suffer, not because they feel emotions while sitting in their middle-class home behind their thousand dollar computer, but because they spent 15 years in jail on a trumped up charge they didn’t even commit, and are now unable to get a job due to stigmatization that doesn’t apply across the board, those people now receive less of the sympathy and help they need to survive. For every person that complains that a disagreement on the internet about their catbunnyanimusparklegirl status triggers them (despite them continuing the argument until the wee hours of the morning), someone who is so triggered they can barely breathe, curled up, reliving trauma, is invalidated, ignored, and not provided what they need.

Ridicule the silly internet people, make fun of and dismiss their claims of oppression as not worth your time, but remember as you do that they’ve stolen from people who do need your help. Just because everyone is shouting at once doesn’t mean there aren’t still real voices to be heard. TC mark


image – Frank O’Connor


More From Thought Catalog

  • Nina


  • Roasted Keyboard

    This is spot on!

  • lindsay

    Great writing, really hit the nail on the head with this one.

    • David Futrelle

      As a Nailian otherkin, I am deeply offended by your anti-nailite remark.

  • P

    Very true. I agree, cent percent.

  • S.Jones

    I remember a few uears back when I was in Jr. hs/ hs, and every girl had an ‘eating disorder’ or ‘cut themselves’, that entailed countless bulletin posts on myspace/blog posts about how tortured they were, when, in fact most of them werenust preteens looking for some kind of identity.
    Someone put it here as this sort of stuff, having something to bitch about/ being DARK*~~*~ was a form of social currency.
    Like that chick is American Beauty said, there’s nothing worse than being ordinary.

    • lilithing

      uh, eating disorders and self-harm are very real. please don’t lump them in with this imaginary crap.

      • Kelly

        they weren’t saying eating disorders and self-harm aren’t real, of course they are. but i, too, knew many girls in high school who were perfectly fine but cut a little bit anyway so they could show everyone at lunch and talk about how dark and tortured they were. meanwhile, there was a girl i always saw in my english class who was very quiet and wore dozens of bracelets that hid her scars (though not always perfectly – i caught a glimpse of them sometimes). my point is that there ARE people out there who self-harm and practice anorexic behavior simply so that they can say that they do and looks interesting in the process. but there are REAL SUFFERERS out there, some of who don’t get the help they need because the fakers are always louder.

      • Hurr durr

        The thing is, quite a few of these things are real, (most noticeablly triggers) it’s just that a large amount of tumblr people don’t actually have them and just make shit up.

        If you just mean ‘imaginary crap’ as in mental disorders in general, well then you’re just plain stupid.

    • Domino

      yes! the girls at my high school did it too, hell, one of my best friends did it. showing tiny little cuts and telling EVERYONE about how she was throwing up after every meal. meanwhile, you notice that the people with actual eating disorders or who self-harm are actually keeping all this to themselves and suffering quietly.

  • B

    this wonderful tumblr post really embodies this post (in a more roundabout sarcastic manner)

    “kyle, 21 year old untransabled, pansexual achromatic, trans-ethics rights enthusiast, soft grunge blog, pastel goth blog, genderqueer digital rights activist, checked privilege, robotic arm transspecies cyborg rights believer, multiple personality sympathizer, asexual psychic medium pet butch feminist lifestyle, quasiqueer back to school looks, raw foods demi-vegan, justice for queer animal rights, spirituality, thin acceptance, aromatic love”
    hah, tumblr is a strange place

    • futuresushi

      kyle is one of my favourite people on tumblr i’m really glad i’m friends with people who used to go on a sims 2 forum with him

    • Emma

      ….aromatic? so like, love that smells good?

  • Alex

    Are they at least being disproportionately arrested and thrown in jail with sentences 60% longer than non-otherkin?

    …wait, are we talking about men here?

    • Jo

      Probably Black men, specifically, who are arrested ten times more than white men and when convicted serve 60% longer sentences for the same crime. But Black women also are arrested more and serve longer sentences than white women.

    • Ash

      Males commit 90% of violent crime, without bringing up anything about patriarchy or male privilege. So, uh, I hope you’re not crying oppression.

      • J. Pigeau

        Nah, it’s definately a white man/black man comparison. The stats match much better.

  • SK

    Wasn’t expecting to see the excerpt about demisexuals in there, but then I also didn’t know that there are demisexuals who claim to be oppressed. Otherkin being oppressed is definitely something I’ve tired of lately and Christian oppression is the biggest non-event I’ve ever seen. I think body-mod oppression exists in minor forms – people with an extensive number of tattoos or piercings are often discriminated against in the street, by police and when apply for jobs, but they are in no way attacked or given harsher punishments in a court of law. ‘Kinky oppression’ is blown WAAAAY out of proportion on the internet – the point of having preference for a specific act or group of acts in the bedroom is that you are attracted to it, and if people can’t accept that there will be other people who aren’t attracted to that same act or group of acts then they need a reality check.

    Actually, all the people mentioned here need a reality check.

    Beautifully written, well done.

    • KT

      Yeah, the demisexual bit is out of place. I have never seen demisexuals claim to be oppressed, however I’ve seen a lot of high and mighty people talk about “those demisexuals who claim to be so oppressed.” Nope. This is just a derailing technique. Plus demisexuals are not the majority of the population, they’re asexual people who have experienced sexual attraction inside of relationships (or similar) so don’t feel entitled to just call themselves straight up asexual. But they’re more asexual than not.

      • Fiver

        Yeah, the demisexual bit kind of threw me. I was with them up until there, but as a demisexual who’s never seen any posts about being oppressed (and never felt oppressed personally, for that part of sexuality at least) it made me question how much research they’ve actually done into some of these groups and their claims of oppression. Is this a reaction post to something specific, or one that legitimately wants to help weed out the bored from the oppressed?

        Likewise to claim that all oppression comes with poverty or homelessness discounts social oppression like sexism and the largest manifestation of homophobia. Yes, some people experience physical harassment for being a feminist or a LGBTQ person, but the majority of people experience their oppression in the small daily things, like being denied the right to marry, being paid half of what men are paid for the exact same job, being told you’re worth less than a straight white male in countless small, unconscious ways through media and through interactions with people, ect. To state that oppression automatically equals low economic status is to ignore the multifaceted existence of oppression itself.

        To be clear though, low economic status almost always goes hand in hand with oppression (and this means that the groups that need the most help are always the ones treated like shit by society because our culture likes to blame the poor for all its faults and problems), but oppression doesn’t always go hand in hand with low economic status. And this is coming from someone with a low economic status. I was raised by a single mother and we’ve never gone past an annual income of $13000 a year. I’ve been homeless, I’ve been harassed for being an LGBTQ person among other reasons, I’ve been beaten up for being different, I’ve lived as -and among- the oppressed my entire life, but that doesn’t mean I can’t recognize it in other masks.

      • Jo

        Huh? Where did you get the idea that this says that all oppression comes with poverty and homelessness? I think the point is that oppression comes with more than people saying nasty things about you online.

      • HannahJ

        “demisexuals are not the majority of the population, they’re asexual people who have experienced sexual attraction inside of relationships (or similar) so don’t feel entitled to just call themselves straight up asexual” <- Precisely! I thought bringing up demi- and asexuality was pretty out of place in this argument. Yeah, there'll be people appropriating that stuff to gain "special snowflake" status, but there are plenty of us for whom this is a valid expression of identity, and we're not looking for fucking cookies for it. Sometimes it's just nice to have a word for yourself when you've been wondering whether you're just malfunctioning.

    • Jay

      Bad reactions to body mods are most likely an extension of classism, as they are highly connected to the working class. It is not itself an oppression.

      There are demisexuals who claim to be oppressed, straight ones who claim to be oppressed by “sexual” LGBTQ, no less. It is perhaps a new movement, but one taking hold on Tumblr. I’m glad to see them mentioned.

    • xenon

      wouldn’t body-mod oppression be… an outlier, though? unlike ability, race, orientation or gender, you aren’t born with body-mods and while it’s unfortunate that you may not get employed / get dirty looks for them, their existence and placement on your body is your choice.

  • Brandon Humphries

    I thought this was going into another direction and was ready to say “oh god, not another Butler/Foucault-esque lecture about privlege and oppression”, but you didn’t go there. Kudo’s, great article! Boring people need to own it, they will enjoy life more if they did.

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  • Sarah

    i think i just shatted my pants when i read this. a part of me is in disbelief at the mockery of social justice. however, i am not surprised.

    • suicidebombs

      Calm down you big fat bitch. ;)

  • Shimmer

    I don’t know where you’re seeing Otherkin claiming they are oppressed. They have a tag on Tumblr to discuss their things, but the only people who have claimed they are oppressed are trolls who come in telling them to “get help” and all that bullshit. They always respond to this saying things along the lines of “We’re not oppressed and you’re a jerk”. I’d like to see some links please, because I’ve never met an Otherkin that considers hirself oppressed.

  • David Trahan (@brooklyknight)

    [Standing ovation]. This is one of the best pieces of writing, on or off Thought Catalog, that I’ve seen in a while. Kudos.

  • SuperHyuga Yoshi-chan

    Great article! We need to know WHO to listen to and how oppression actually works.

  • Shosh (@shoshkabob)

    My personal favorite is the people I found telling the Jewish population of Tumblr to check our white privilege… when Jewish people were ACTUALLY oppressed and we don’t even complain endlessly about it on the internet.

    • Froyo

      A lot of Jewish people are white, though.

    • bebezeva

      But Jewish people are a “model” minority — they don’t experience systematic oppression in the United States because they’ve assimilated to a class structure and ‘pass’ as white people. There would be no reason for a Jewish person to complain endlessly about oppression.

      • bebezeva

        *Today, in America, I should note.

      • L.

        Wow, thanks for telling me anti-Semitism doesn’t exist anymore in America. I’ll be sure to remember that next time someone thinks it’s funny to start telling me Jewish jokes or tell me to straighten my hair so I look less bagel-y. And I’m sure my Yemenite parents would love to hear that they’re white, because they, like a big proportion of Jewish people, sure as fuck can’t tell that by looking at a mirror, being of North African/Middle Eastern origin. You also don’t seem to know what the fuck a model minority is, because it doesn’t imply assimilation, it implies economic privilege, and it generally refers to Asian Americans. Sit your ass down.

  • susie


    • Fiver

      I think you mean #boredpeople

      Not every person who’s white and claims oppression is just bored. Take a look at homophobia, sexism, and the oppression of low income or single parent families across the race spectrum. If you’ve ever been to the south (an especially obvious example, though not the only area in the country), been through those communities that are made up of poor people (white and black alike) and seen the kind of social oppression and all-our-countries-ills blame that they get, you’d understand that this is so much more than just a race issue. Yes, race is a factor, but our system is fucked up and it’s more about class and legal rights/justice than it is about race. There are POC with money and in the “right” class that experience far less oppression than their poor counterparts, or their poor white counterparts.

      • KT

        Nope, Fiver. As a white person I’ve got to come and get you here. You made some good points with the a/demisexuality comment above, but even though this isn’t an explicit discussion about whiteness and privilege it still isn’t a situation where “don’t you mean SOME white people?”-esque commentary is called for. Be wary of comparing oppressions. It’s not up to you to pass judgement on who is more oppressed, poor white people or well-to-do black people. Money does not undo oppressions, just as poverty does not undo other privileges.

      • Mara

        Your comments are so wrong and it’s sad.

  • Glen Gaylor

    For the most part, I agree with this. But: When someone claims to be oppressed, we need to listen to what they’re saying, even if their oppression seems like BS. Of course demisexuals are oppressed—they’re LGBT*. Not understanding them is no reason to lump them in with “transethnic” people. Similarily, kinky people are oppressed: their kinkiness could lose them their job and their children. Just because they’re less oppressed than others doesn’t mean that their oppression isn’t real.

    Also, people who claim to be oppressed may just be misinformed. Someone who is otherkin may legitimately feel that their life is harder than others, and assume that this makes them oppressed. This is an opportunity to educate them about oppression (and, again, listen to what they’re saying rather than dismissing them).

    • litemagic

      hypothetical oppression is not oppression

      ps demisexuals are only LGBT if they’re homo/biromantic

      • Glen Gaylor

        Nothing I said was hypothetical. And I said LGBT* for a reason. (There’s usually an A in that acronym for asexual.)

    • miss (^._.^)ノ andry (@saturniinae)

      oh my god you are proving the authors point exactly

      ~demisexuality~ is completely normative sexual behavior, and it is an insult to queer people to lump it into the LGBTQ acronym

      STFU plz

      • Fiver

        Did you even read their entire post? They’re specifically saying that people who claim oppression and aren’t might need some education about oppression (rather than being told to STFU). And yes, demisexuals CAN be oppressed, if they’re in the LGBTQ spectrum (though not all demi’s are).

        And how about the bisexuals who get laughed out of the LGBTQ community when they have a straight partner? Is being in a hetero relationship when you’re bi make you automatically “normative”? Many bisexuals who are involved in hetero relationships get shit from within the LGBTQ community because they’re not “really” queer (at that moment). And when they are in a homosexual relationship (or not in a relationship at all), many are told “you’re probably just gay/lez and you just can’t come out of the closet all the way yet” or “you’re just a straight person who likes the attention”, which completely discounts their identity as bisexual or biromantic.

      • Glen Gaylor

        Wow. So much demisexual hate. I expected better from people who care about social justice issues.

      • Glen Gaylor

        Fiver, it seems like the author is making fun of various groups (not to mention devaluing the oppression of others) rather than taking them seriously. I think that people who claim oppression deserve to be respected and taken seriously, unless their claim of oppression is seriously hurting another group (i.e. “transethnic” people).

        Also, demisexuals are LGBT*: there is an A in that acronym for asexual. It doesn’t make sense to say that someone who is practically asexual isn’t LGBT* just because they’re only attracted to the opposite gender.

      • fever.

        because that’s not at all limiting a demisexual’s right to identify as queer when it’s actually not completely normative at all. if anyone on this page had at least some semblance of what demisexuality is, they would know that for all intents and purposes DEMISEXUALS ARE ASEXUAL. there is occasional sexual attraction, and it only happens if there’s an emotional bond. that doesn’t mean it always happens with a connection, it just means that if two people forge a strong emotional connection then they might feel sexual attraction. that’s it, plain and simple. denying that it’s at least a little bit queer in all circumstances just because of the romantic preference is ridiculous.

        speaking of the whole LGBT acronym debacle, isn’t it pointless to put trans* in there seeing as *it’s not even a sexuality?*

      • bananas (@duckydame)

        omg no
        see, it seems to me that most people, even if they are monogamous, are/can still become sexually attracted to people who they haven’t formed a strong emotional connection with. therefore, demisexuality is not normative.

    • pistachiocaity

      “It doesn’t make sense to say that someone who is practically asexual isn’t LGBT* just because they’re only attracted to the opposite gender” It does make sense in the context that many LGBTQ people don’t accept that A on the end of the acronym.

      • Glen Gaylor

        Man, all I’ve learned from this article and the comments is that LGBT* and other oppressed people can be dicks to each other.

      • chexuma (@chexuma)

        Demisexual people are not “practically asexual”. Asexual people are asexual. Those who seek out romantic relationships but don’t have sex (except, perhaps, to have kids) probably ought to be considered asexual. Those who don’t have sex on the first date but go on to develop sexual attraction are certainly *not* asexual. The “asexual spectrum” concept bothers me. Sexual behavior that falls beneath the meaty portion of the sexuality bell curve doesn’t need a special title.

  • Jamie

    There’s a difference between experiencing sexual desire and acting on sexual desire. People who aren’t asexual/demisexual/etc. are those who experience sexual desire independent of a specific person–that is, they’ll fantasize about some cute person and masturbate. That’s normal. Asexual/demi/etc. are those who don’t do that, at all. At least, that’s how I think of it. If someone calls themselves demisexual but masturbates while fantasizing about Christina Hendricks or something, I really don’t get the point.

    I’m asexual myself, but I’m not really an activist about it. I do think there are difficulties that asexual people, and particularly aromantic people, go through that should maybe be acknowledged, but it’s not “oppression”. For example, in this economy, every young person I know that moved out of their parents’ house was able to afford doing so only when they had a significant other to help pay the rent. People like me don’t have that support. I do feel that it limits me. But, again, this is not oppression. It’s just unfortunate.

    I do think maybe some sympathy for those whose main form of communication is on the internet, due to crippling social anxiety outside of it, is due. . .but again, I’m not mistaking this for oppression. I don’t know, it’s very awkward. I absolutely know the difference between getting murdered, kicked out on to the streets, etc., and being disrespected on the internet. I don’t mean to compare my experiences with those of LGBTQ people (which is where asexuals tend to try and shoulder their way in). But I feel like, when they’re feeling frustrated with asexuals crying about oppression, a lot of people act as though asexual people experience no difficulties related to their sexual identity whatsoever. Being socially ostracized isn’t just hurtful, though, it can actively stilt someone’s capacity to live independently, to feel confident in pursuing work, etc.. And I guess I feel that that’s not acknowledged by people who usually pride themselves on being compassionate. Again–I’m not saying “people being mean” is comparable to getting murdered, arrested, assaulted, etc.. But it’s not a picnic, either.

    I hope this doesn’t qualify as poking into a space for the oppressed and making it all about me. . .I just want it to be known where asexual people might be coming from. I don’t talk about it often because in some spaces, it’s an endless stream of “lol so ur a plant?”, and “you’re not asexual, you just say that because no one wants to fuck you”, and in others, it’s “oh boo hoo, people are mean! Our people are dying in the streets!”. It feels like there’s no appropriate space to vent about how it’s hard sometimes, without being silenced with close-minded bullying, or silenced with “that’s nothing compared with what happens to us”. I’m not trying to say it is. It’s just something that’s hard.

  • Bree.

    I agree with the majority of this. However, I’m a little iffy on the demisexual part. Being demi is similar to being pan/bisexual, but with emphasis on the ‘personality’ bit. It gets put into the queer category, and you’re essentially denying that oppression doesn’t exist for demisexuals, and by default, a whole sector of people who identify as queer. Harassment exists for people who identify as demi. If you’re a demi girl out with a girl, you’re subject to harassment the same as anyone else. If you’re seen with a male, well, you’re not. But that’s not the only case.

    • miss (^._.^)ノ andry (@saturniinae)

      this is a load of crap, sorry, nice try but you failed

    • AnQueerWhoWouldBeQueerRegardlessOfHowMuchSexIHave

      Being demisexual by itself is not queer. Being demisexual by itself does not mean you experience oppression. When you experience oppression for being a girl walking down the street with another girl, you are getting it because you are queer, not because you are demisexual. Harassment may exist for people who ID as demisexual, but that does not mean they are being harassed BECAUSE they are demisexual.

    • Eli

      yyyyeah, demisexuality is not really close to being pan/bisexual. Being demisexual (to me!) means that you don’t experience sexual attraction to someone unless you’ve had a deeper emotional connection to them. Harassment for being demisexual: A thing. Definitely a thing. But many, many queer groups don’t recognize demisexuality or the gray spectrum to be a thing at all, even if they’re definitely part of the group. I don’t believe that harassment goes in the same place as oppression. Is harassment a horrible awful thing that needs to stop? Yes. Is it the same as oppression? Reread the article where it talks about being triggered, not getting help, being beaten up, getting threats of death because of who you are. Because you are associated with a queer group doesn’t mean that the same thing that happens to others in that group can happen to you.

  • dr. doom

    As The Dude might say: Fuckin’ A, man.

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  • Emma

    An excellent article, but I have to agree with the earlier comments about demisexuality. I don’t ever feel, or claim, to be oppressed, but lumping it in with such bogus things as transabled and kinky oppression rubs me the wrong way a bit. I don’t consider myself to be anywhere close to ‘sexually normative’,but am uncomfortable identifying as completely asexual. Like someone said, most demisexuals would say they fall closer to asexual than not. It’s really just a ‘gray area’ term, and I would say it’s a very real thing. Of course, if someone said they faced oppression because of it, I would probably have to side-eye, but I think that it’s a completely valid thing and has brought a lot of relief to people who’ve felt confused about their lack of sexual desire.

  • Eli

    like pretty much everyone else, I’m making serious side-eyes at the demisexual/asexual slam. do you want to cite some actual sources where people have been claiming to be oppressed, and not just sharing their unfortunate circumstances? because someone is sharing their story on the internet and how they are experiencing trouble, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re saying they’re oppressed. I’m asexual myself! I have a good friend who is demisexual! There are varying definitions for what it could mean, because there are varying definitions depending on who you are. This doesn’t make the group of asexual/demisexual people a “confused” group. Asexual/demisexual people get harassed quite frequently, but not oppressed in the same way that a Trans* person might be. I understand that. But lumping them into a category with people pretending they have huge problems is a pretty low blow, and I think you should reconsider what you’ve written unless you’re willing to acknowledge that it, to me, seems like you’re pulling that out as just another technique to add to the list of things people don’t understand and will agree with you on. Thank you for this article, you did make many good points in it!

    • pistachiocaity
      • Eli

        Um, no. This doesn’t really prove the point at all. Like KT said, there’s hardly an discussion about asexuals or demisexuals involved in this at all. Thanks for trying, though. Any of the discussion that DOES involve asexuals or demisexuals make extremely valid points: there is identity erasure going on, and that’s a pretty good definition of oppression. Not sure what you’re trying to get here.

      • pistachiocaity

        You asked for examples of asexuals saying they were oppressed because you didn’t believe asexuals claimed to be oppressed and now you’re claiming asexuals are oppressed? LOL.

      • KT

        Don’t bother, Eli. It’s never worth engaging.

        Pistachio, Identity erasure may not equal oppression, but it’s derailing and it’s a dick move. If you see someone using the word oppressive to describe their experience of something negative that isn’t full-on oppression, you might want to take issue with their word choice (perhaps even engage with them directly, if you find you can comport yourself like an adult, and I don’t mean like a paternalistic adult. I mean like an adult addressing a fellow adult) rather than their negative experiences and the audacity they have at sharing them.

        Of course I’m taking you at your word that somewhere in that link there is discussion of demisexuality and asexuality. I tried to go back to the start of the discussion, where you claim these multiple mentions are, and I got “page not found.”

        Either way, I’m dropping out of this circle-jerk now because I have better things to do. Lemon out!

    • who?
      this thread talks about asexual oppression, but personally I agree with everyting said

  • Isadora

    I can’t really comment on most of this essay because they cover topics that I haven’t really studied in detail yet. But I know enough about demisexuality and sexual desire to realize that your explanation is misleading, because it seems you’re confusing HAVING sexual desire and ACTING on that desire.

    “Demisexuality is when people only feel sexual desire for those whose personality they like, or to whom they are emotionally attracted.” You got that much right. But they do not “make up most of the population”, because – unlike most of the population – they DO NOT have sexual desires for a person without first having a strong emotional connection with them.

    To illustrate this difference: if a particularly handsome man or woman walked by me on the street, I would probably think something like ‘wow, that person is very handsome and I would be very happy if this person agreed to have sex with me’. This is because I’m bisexual and I’m experiencing sexual desire for this random stranger. I don’t ACT on this sexual desire because I prefer not to have sex with people outside relationships. This does not erase the fact that I did, indeed, experience sexual desire for this random stranger.

    If a person who identifies as demisexual was in the same situation, they would probably think something like ‘wow, that person is very handsome!’ That’s it. No impromptu daydreams, no awkward boners, no suspicious wetness, no sexual desire. The random stranger is just that – a handsome stranger. This is because a person who is demisexual generally can not experience sexual desire for someone without an intimate emotional connection first. So, no, they don’t “make up most of the population”.

    You’ve made some interesting points in this article but please do your research more carefully next time, as making false blanket statements can hurt your arguments.


    • Mara

      I don’t ID as demisexual or asexual but I do NOT walk down the street or watch TV and see people and go “Oh boy, I’d love to have sex with that person”. I don’t think about having sex with people I don’t know very closely because I have no interest in it. Many women feel this way, without the special label, including me. This is what society DESIRES of women, too, and that people need to attach a special word to it is ridiculous.

      • Isadora

        I was exaggerating for effect, because I wanted to illustrate the differences between sexuals and demisexuals, and how they experience sexual attraction. I used myself as an example so as to avoid making assumptions about other people, but it seems I did anyway. I’m very sorry and I hope you’ll accept my apologies. I will do my best to be more considerate in the future.

        However, I don’t think you understand what demisexuality is about. It’s not a choice or giving in to what society wants. It’s what people ARE. If someone wants to label or not label their feelings, that’s their decision. I myself don’t like labels, but I understand why other people may need them and, while I find the notion foreign, I don’t denounce their reasons as ridiculous.

        Several people on this post have made thoughtful comments about what demisexuality is and how people can participate in its erasure as an identity. I’m probably in over my head trying to explain this topic in a coherent fashion, so I hope you will read them and the articles I linked above when you have the time.

  • Claw

    It’s amusing that exactly what the original poster says here is verefied in the comments, particularly about demi-sexuals. How many definitions have we had here? about 5 or 6.

    • Mara


      • Not By Half

        Uh…no. This is not a Webster’s dictionary. No two people here are going to give you two word-for-word identical definitions of demisexuality (or, more broadly, asexuality). The comments here have each addressed different, highly personal aspects of it. Nothing said in any of these comments validates the OP’s argument that 1) the majority of the population is demisexual, 2) demisexuals claim to be oppressed, and 3) demisexuals who claim to be oppressed can’t provide any examples of discriminatory behavior directed towards them.

      • WayToProveThePoint

        Yeah where are you reading because there are links here in which demisexuals say just that, and their “proof of being oppressed” is basically “people don’t like me on the internet and my partners are demanding sexual compatibility of me which is completely normal in all relationships!”

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