When you take away sex as a driving motivator, can you still enjoy fashion and care about your style?
I admit that the question is not a valid one and more of a rhetorical device to make this blog more interesting. Because, of course, you can enjoy fashion and style if you’re asexual. But I feel like I present as a sexual, straight woman merely because I pay attention to my grooming, makeup, and clothes.
This is a privilege and a curse. A privilege because I pass and will never experience as much stigma and discrimination that I would actually experience if a stranger knew all of my identities. A curse because I expect be under the sexual gaze at all times, with varying degrees of horribleness.
However, I view fashion and style as being essential to my identity as being a cis woman. I think fashion can indicate social cues other than sex, like power and social status. I’m much more interested in projecting power and social status in my presentation than being sexually attractive. I’m a lawyer so I’m sure my career influences my choices. Marlene Dietrich, Katherine Hepburn, Kate Middleton, and Helen Mirren are my fashion muses.
If someone asked me years ago what the stereotype of an Ace person was, I would have said a socially awkward computer nerd who doesn’t get out the house much. This very image prevented me from attending Ace Meetup events for a long time. In my mind, I was obviously not that person. This kind of thinking is destructive to people who are struggling with their Ace identity. It’s also harmful when you’re trying to come out as Ace. Common responses seem to be, “Well, you’re too pretty to be Ace.” and “You don’t look asexual.”
If more people come out as asexual and there’s more Ace representation in the media, I’m sure the image of Ace people will change. I think it’s harder to have set ideas against a group of people once you know someone who identifies that way, similarly to how societal attitudes changed once gays and lesbians started to come out.