On Schizoid Personality

Earlier, I wrote an article on low emotionality, and I heard from a handful of readers with similar experiences.  However, one reader response caused me some chagrin.  They pointed out the similarity to Schizoid Personality Disorder, and I immediately regretted not mentioning it, since it’s the one that actually fits me best. It’s a bit embarrassing to figure out this stuff in real time while I’m blogging about it. But I want to do right by the readers who related to my article, so here we are.

So, Schizoid Personality Disorder (SPD). Perhaps the best way to briefly describe it is to cite the DSM-V diagnostic criteria:

  1. Neither desires nor enjoys close relationships, including being part of a family.
  2. Almost always chooses solitary activities.
  3. Has little, if any, interest in having sexual experiences with another person.
  4. Takes pleasure in few, if any, activities.
  5. Lacks close friends or confidants other than first-degree relatives.
  6. Appears indifferent to the praise or criticism of others.
  7. Shows emotional coldness, detachment, or flattened affectivity.

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Living gay (and ace)

This is a repost of an article I published in 2015 on The Asexual Agenda.  It was originally written for a blogging carnival on the theme of “living asexuality”, thus the title.

Recently, there was a very short documentary entitled “I’m Graysexual” (no longer available), featuring a man about my age, and using the same identity as I do: gay and greysexual.  He does nothing more than briefly explain his personal experience, which is somewhat different from my own, and as I said, it’s very short.

What was particularly significant to me was not what was said, but what was unsaid.  Specifically, the documentarian chose a stream of clips that imply close interaction with urban gay culture.  He walks around what appears to be West Hollywood (the gay neighborhood in Los Angeles).  He hangs out at gay nightclubs, watching go-go boys.  He looks quizzically at packaged dildos, racks of porn videos, Grindr.  This is all incredibly familiar to me.

I often feel like I’m the only ace who interacts with that kind of gay male culture.  This is not surprising: this is only one of many gay cultures, the ace community is dominated by women, and not all ace men are homoromantic, gay, or bi.  But even among those in the right demographics, I often hear that ace men simply aren’t willing to put up with it.

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Low emotionality

In a recent post, I said I’m a very unenthusiastic person. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m never enthusiastic. But my husband says it took a while for him to internalize that e.g. when I say “yes” to a choice of restaurant, I really mean it, even if I don’t express enthusiasm. And that’s not a matter of communication style; if I appear unenthusiastic, I feel like I’ve communicated my internal state accurately.

Enthusiasm isn’t unique.  I feel like most of my emotions are muted relative to the norm.  Another really noticeable one is anger. My “anger”, such as it is, rarely rises above what I would call irritation. It’s not very visible. And I find it very difficult to maintain a grudge, even when I know intellectually that I should.

In short, I’ve always felt like I must be experiencing emotions differently from most people–not necessarily in a neurodivergent way, but just somewhat outside the norm.  I don’t know of any preexisting term for this, so I’m dubbing it “low emotionality”.  Wikipedia describes “emotionality” as emotional reactivity to a stimulus, so I think the term fits.  I never see anyone talk about low emotionality, so I’m being the change I want to see.
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I hate this blue gay flag

cn: This was imported directly from my tumblr, and therefore has unsafe levels of tumblr politics.  I feel bad just mentioning this flag outside of tumblr, lest I spread it further.

I saw a flag with stripes of many shades of blue, and I looked up what it meant. Apparently it was proposed for gay men. Thanks, I hate it.

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Link Roundup: March 2019

First, a plug: Carnival of Aros.  For readers interested in loads of aromantic-spectrum discussion.

h/H i s t o r y – Vesper explains why they’ve never been a fan of history.  Basically, history is always about the dominant group.  And even, say, Black history or LGBT history tend to focus on certain groups therein, and it can be hard to find a history of people at the intersections.  I really appreciate this article.

The Emoji Movie, Adorno and the Culture Industry (video) – Cuck Philosophy talks about Adorno’s criticism of the kind of media that gets incentivized by capitalism.  This is relevant to my interests, but he gives waaay more credit to Adorno than I would.  Any critique of cultural production needs to grapple with the fact that successful media is successful because it is, after all, popular.  That is to say, it provides a lot of people with value.  I think any reasonable economic system will produce media that tries to provide people with value; any reasonable economic system damn well should.  I think a better system could produce more niche media of little value to most people, but that’s not the same as saying it would not produce popular media.

When someone like Adorno criticizes popular culture, the danger is that he is simply criticizing “low” culture, from his own ivory tower.  Although I know little about Adorno, the mockery he receives for his jazz-hating seems well-deserved.  The lack of class-consciousness is just embarrassing coming from a Marxist theorist.

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I can’t take Slavoj Zizek seriously

cn: apologetics for sexual violence

I don’t know why, but YouTube keeps on recommending me videos about philosopher Slavoj Zizek.  For some reason as of late he has been held up as a great leftist thinker, the anti-Jordan Peterson.  No, seriously, he’s apparently planning to debate Jordan Peterson or something.  Hard pass.

Honestly, I hate the guy.  The first and only time I had cause to encounter Slavoj Zizek, was in relation to the controversy over Avital Ronell.  (I don’t feel like finding all the relevant links, so you’ll have to accept my own disjointed commentary and the links therein.)  Avital Ronell sexually harassed students for years, and when someone stepped forward, Slavoj Zizek was one of many academics signing a petition defending her, basically on the grounds that it would be such a shame if someone so important as Ronell were to face consequences.

The petition got leaked to the public, along with some rather damning evidence against Ronell, and many of the signatories (including Judith Butler) backed off.  Not Zizek!  He continued to defend Ronell in several editorials, claiming he was privy to additional evidence, that he refused to share.  I speculated that his “additional evidence” was that the victim reciprocated–which is irrelevant, the victim was coerced by the power imbalance.  Zizek later revealed that this was exactly his reasoning.

Sorry, I cannot take seriously a Marxist theorist, of all people, who cannot recognize a power imbalance right under his nose.  How can a professor who studies power be so ignorant of the sheer power that professors have over grad students?

I’m not enthusiastic about enthusiastic consent

In my guide to sexual violence terminology, I mention that “enthusiastic consent” is an unpopular model in ace communities. Why is that? And who else might have issues with it?

When I search for “enthusiastic consent”, the first result is Yes Means Yes (YMY), which emphasizes that consent is given “without manipulation, threats, or head games.” It’s a “whole body experience” and not just a verbal yes or no. It’s mutual and can be withdrawn at any time. I’m on board with all that stuff.

But when it comes to the “enthusiastic” part of enthusiastic consent, YMY describes it as both partners being mutually “excited”. And then it links to an old Feministing article, which talks about “the hotness of getting (and giving!) a ‘hell, yes!'” And here we have more of a problem. Because I can’t imagine ever literally shouting, “hell, yes!”

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