Where is all the asexual or ace representation in YA books? Specifically, aces as main characters. While I do believe there are some out there already (though I have yet to read any myself), there needs to—obviously–be more written and published. And who should write these books? Not discrediting those that might be able to correctly or rather respectfully write good (as in not writing stereotypical versions of what they think asexuals are) stories. Aces should also write stories—and that’s not limited to contemporary. How awesome would an ace heroine be in fantasy? Pretty amazing if you ask me. As someone struggling with identity for years, and now can say without hesitance that I am ace, I’m more than a little tired of reading the same old, same old..
Lately, there has been some talk—though as always I was late seeing it and it didn’t seem as widespread as some other discussions—about ace representation. To sum up the discussion, it was about a young adult book called “Vanilla.” Upon first glance, Vanilla seems like another coming of age type of thing. But the synopsis, at least on Goodreads, rubbed a lot of people—aces and including myself—the wrong way. It might just be the poorly worded synopsis and not the story itself, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t the case here. Some non-aces will probably love it no matter the case.
“Hunter and Van become boyfriends before they’re even teenagers, and stay a couple even when adolescence intervenes. But in high school, conflict arises — mostly because Hunter is much more comfortable with the sex part of sexual identity. As the two boys start to realize that loving someone doesn’t guarantee they will always be with you, they find out more about their own identities — with Hunter striking out on his own while Van begins to understand his own asexuality.
In poems that are romantic and poems that are heartbreaking, Vanilla explores all the flavors of the spectrum — and how romance and love aren’t always the same thing.”
Why should aces—who are no doubt dealing with real life issues that arise because of their asexuality—want the whole “if you’re ace you’re going to be a burden/never good enough in a relationship to the other person” shoved in their face? Also, the ‘romance and love aren’t always the same thing’ is just..okay..right..sure.
Also “Vanilla” and “Hunter” are bad character names. At least for this kind of story.
Some common misconceptions about aces:
- They don’t want love, relationships, or physical affection. -NOT TRUE.
- They are broken as a result of past relationships or trauma. – Also not true in most cases, though I can’t speak for everyone. I’ve gotten asked countless times by guys if I or someone I know was mistreated–as if that was the only logical conclusion.
- They are burdens/selfish. -No.
- They don’t exist. -I always confused when some people say this.
What I would prefer to read when it comes to ace rep:
- Anything but using a character’s identity as ace as a conflict in the story.
- Aces that have happy relationships.
- Characters that just happen to be ace without the plot being all about that aspect of their lives.
Would you like to see more asexual main characters in YA Fantasy(or in general)? Going to write a blog post later. #bookbloggers
— 🕯Christina🕯 (@kychick92) April 9, 2017
So there weren’t many votes, but overall people agreed they would like to see more ace representation depending on who writes these stories. When I made the poll, I was diehard on yes. Now, after seeing the discussion, I agree that it should be certain people who won’t misrepresent what asexuality is or what asexuals are like (of course, we have differences). Someone voted no, which I don’t even know what that was about.
I’ve tried to be as coherent here as possible. This is not an easy thing to talk about. I am in no way an expert or can speak for all aces, this is only my thoughts.
How do you guys feel about ace rep in YA or in general?