Monday, July 7, 2008

Back That Ase Up


So, I know I've talked about this before, probably at some length. But it bears repeating. The fact that the word "gay" pisses off homophobes, who would prefer that such people be known as "homosexuals" proves that unscientific,"friendly" nicknames send an orientation on its way. Here's a new exposure of possible asexual shorthand:

A
Pros: It's simple, sounds good to say aloud, is intuitive.
Cons: It's hard to write, because you have to capitalize it to differentiate it from "a", and that's a little strange. It's also impossible to clearly pluralize in writing.
Ace
Pros: It's slang for "cool/great", it's catchy, it already comes with a symbol.
Cons: It's not intuitive, it sounds silly (although, this could just be my lack of familiarity with using it).
Ase
Pros: It's more intuitive than "ace". I found out about this one from Emma, and I think it's very clever and the best of both worlds. It has a precedent in "bi" and "trans".
Cons: Again, written language. Ase is fine, but pluralize it and it looks uncomfortably like "asses". This could also relate to my unfamiliarity with the term. I mean, people don't look at the word "duck" and feel offended by the possibility of substituting an "f".

I don't think enough people read this blog to enable me to coin a phrase, so I think I'm just going to use all of these interchangeably. Choose which one you like best, use it, and maybe our answer will occur organically. If you're interested (I was), Wikipedia tells us where the term "gay" came from. The fact that we don't really need a secret language might make this process a little more...forced...

11 comments:

rainbowamoeba said...

I like "A" and "Ace". I have used "A" before because it works in French too, but saying "I'm an Ace" in French would sound really ridiculous - the French word for "ace" meant something like "the best" in slang but that was a while ago (it reminds me of French action movies from the 1980s - well, it's not that old in fact, it just seems so to me).

I don't mind using simply a capital A. I actually like it, in fact. It stands out, and using a capital letter is a mark of pride in a way. But I admit I don't really use it in writing (I mostly use "asexual").

I think that many asexual people don't like being compared to amoebas, but if I had to choose a nickname to describe myself, I'd probably use that. Of course, it's not accurate because we don't clone ourselves and multiply that way, but well, I was fascinated with amoebas long before I heard of asexuality.

I think (correct me if I'm wrong, English isn't my first language) that "queer" was a pejorative word to refer to gay people at first, but now some gay (or, rather, non-straight) people us it (as in "queer studies" for instance). Maybe we could claim "amoeba" back that way.

Ily said...

Hey, it's good to get a response from someone who speaks another language. My Spanish is nowhere near good enough to tackle intricacies of sexuality. You're right about "queer"-- I certainly use the word to refer to myself. It's a nice umbrella term. I know aces have a history of aligning ourselves with amoebas among ourselves (and I don't mind being called one, as long as it's affectionate) but I don't think I'd want to call us amoebas in a public context, because it might be too confusing.

grasexuality said...

You know, I think the Japanese really have us English-speaking folk beat when it comes to nicknames. They're already used to shortening pretty much everything, so their nickname for asexuality (Aセク / A-seku) is already intuitive, in speaking and writing, and it actually sounds weirder to say the whole word than to just use the nickname.

In English, though... I guess I would prefer A or ace, and I might use those in a casual conversation, but in writing? I dunno, I just don't usually use it. They both sound a little bit awkward, but I guess it's just because the usage is so new.

Ily said...

Yep, gotta love Japanese versions of English words-- mirukusheki (milkshake) anyone?

Bri said...

I tend to use both A and Ace, though I think I use Ace more in reference to the people and A more as an adjective (like with the A Team).

Now that I know about it, I really wanna start using the Japanese nickname. I don't suppose it'd lend itself as well to everyday conversations in English, but it just seems like fun.

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emma-rainbow said...

I've started using 'ase' all over the place in the last two months or so (making sure I intersperse it with asexual so people know what I mean)... it's rather scary and awesome at how quickly it's been picked up. On all the other forums I'm a member of it's now used in discussion, my friends use it, and I've never had to explain it.
So yay!

It did feel a little odd at first, but the second other people start using it it becomes second nature. And aloud, it's fine to intersperse ase/ace.

Hmms, never thought about pluralising it. Ah well.

(Also, I went mildly fangirly when you mentioned my blog in yours. Heehee.)

Queers United said...

Hey Ily gave u a shout on my blog for Asexy Beast. Hopefully you get some traffic redirected.

Have a great day,
Eric

Cap'n Cosmo said...

I like to say "A" because it rhymes with so many things, personally. (^^)

Since Grasexuality brought up Aセク, it's really interesting to notice, all the other ~sexualities have been completely transliterated, but the asexual community chose to keep the "A" in Roman letters. (Well, and, also, a lot of people just use the full English word.)

(Although, they do have a nuanced differentiation between Nonsexual(非性愛)/WSD/Asexual(無性愛) that we in English haven't really established. ...Not that I think we should, because it's really confusing, and also because apparently everyone ignores it in favor of just saying "Asexual," which the wikipedia article would be happy to rant to you in great detail about. And those are my unsolicited thoughts on the Japanese Asexual community, sorry to just pop in like this (^^;))

Ily said...

Boo, I can't seem to view Japanese characters on my computer! Stick around, Cap'n Cosmo, and thanks Queers United!

Gatto said...

Hmmm. Ase makes me think of enzymes in biology. I don't like it. Ace on the other hand, I think is cool. Ace means the best. I think I'll stick with being an asexy flying ace.