Tuesday, March 24, 2009

BBC Program(me) Features Asexuals

Ahh, some pop culture to write about. On March 19th, a group of asexuals (most or all of them AVEN members, I believe) were featured on a BBC 3 show called Natalie Cassidy's Real Britain. Apparently, the theme of the show was "sexual taboos" (in our case, not having it) and also featured (in a separate storyline) a man with Down's Syndrome seeking a romantic partner (what is taboo about this, I don't know). An AVENite was nice enough to post the ace-related segments on Youtube for us folks outside the UK. Here's part one of the program, part two, and part three.

And of course, my comments:

All in all, I liked this program. I was surprised at the complexity of some of the topics it discussed, such as asexuals with different levels of libido. Most media spots don't go too far beyond "they (might) exist", and I was glad that this one seemed to go a bit further. One really interesting thing about this piece was its use of haters. "Haters" might be too strong a word for the disbelieving people that appeared. They were all people that the asexuals knew in real life, such as friends and co-workers. We'd see the asexual in question convincing these people that yes, they were content without sex. I liked this, because while we got the disbelievers that we apparently need to show, they weren't speaking from any "expertise", and it was a realistic portrayal of what an out asexual sometimes deals with. Another good thing was that they showed aces being happy and having fun. That really doesn't happen enough, and it can only happen when we're away from "DO YOU MASTURBATE?!?!?!" -style interrogations. (Those were mecifully absent here.)
I didn't like two things the narrator said. Why not split a few hairs? First of all, "They all believe they're asexual" is not a good way to put it; we don't "believe" we're gay or straight. It also didn't fit into the tone of the piece, where asexuality as a reality didn't seem to be questioned by the filmmakers. I also didn't like "For most of us, asexuality is an alien concept". I just said to myself, "Well...if you put it that way..."

Of course, I have to applaud the four aces involved. Always, whether a piece is good or bad, any asexuals being filmed work it as best they can. This one was no exception, and the people involved were eloquent and informative. Way to go, folks.


Anonymous said...

It'd be fun to split a few more hairs over the decision to zoom in on the lone, sad-eyed woman cradling a glass of wine (at 8:11 in Pt. 2/3), but I can't. If anything, that shot perfectly underscored Tessa's happiness.

Ily said...

Please do-- I hadn't noticed that shot, so I went back and looked out for it. It seems like sort of a odd choice to me-- you hear Tessa and Elijah(?) talking about libido while we see this random woman sitting at a table. You may be right that it was intended to underscore Tessa's happiness, but I wouldn't approve of the implication there that people by themselves are unhappy. For all I know, that woman was psyched to have a few minutes to enjoy some wine in peace.

Wow, a lot of analysis for 2 seconds of film...!

Anonymous said...

I don't claim that it was intended to underscore her happiness, merely that the contrast struck me as such. Also, in the spirit of over-analysis, there was another empty wine glass on the table, as well as a second full glass of water. I doubt the woman was alone for long. In fact, near the start of the segment, she can be seen craning her neck around the corner, as if waiting for someone else to return.

As for Elijah's part in the conversation, he almost came to be filling the role of an interviewer. I'm not sure about his, "it can turn me on" statement, though. There seemed to me to be something more that Elijah left unsaid, as if he were hoping for Tessa to reciprocate. Then again, maybe that's reading too much into a person I only know from a minute or two of heavily edited footage.

Yes, a lot of analysis, indeed!

Ily said...

Haha, you win at overanalysis.
But that is, afterall, the whole purpose of this blog :-)