there’s a panphobic article going around about how hyperpersonalized sexual identities are bad and I just. I’ve blocked a bunch of people for reblogging it uncritically and I’m not sure if it’s that I’m following a bunch of panphobes, or if genuinely like 5 blogs I’ve followed for years, including aroace positivity blogs, read a post claiming that pansexuals were oppressing bisexuals by having a label that has overlap with bisexuality, and literally like. either didn’t read it or could not pick up on the massive ideological problems that come with supporting the idea that there are uneccessary labels. I absolutely support the right of anyone to avoid using a hyperspecific label. I will be the first person to defend anyone who is being forced to adopt labels when they’d really rather just be queer, or who is being forced out of a community for not quite fitting the accepted definition.
(for example, someone who identifies as asexual because they have trauma and don’t want to have sexual relationships because of it. is the definition of asexual separate from the definition of celibate? Yes. Should people conflate asexuality with celibacy? No. Is it the end of the world for people who are celibate but who do still experience sexual attraction to identify as asexual? NO. As long as they’re not telling other asexuals they’re wrong to ID as ace, I don’t have a problem with this hypothetical and neither should anybody else because people have a right to identify themselves as a way to access communities that they feel are helpful to them. What the fuck is the state of discourse that this has to be said. Stop letting essentialism into your hearts--enforcing identity labels on the basis that absolutely everyone who uses them must use them to expose inherent, immutable qualities about themselves is INVASIVE AS HELL and also NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS just let people use words they like to use. for the love of fuck. the language we use to describe ourselves may have personal or community significance but it is not the height of activism to Use The Most Correct Definitions.)
I also recognize that the bi/pan discourse was and continues to be incredibly damaging. Most of the bisexual AND pansexual people that I know in real life have been affected by this discourse and are now afraid to talk about their identities in real life or online because they’re afraid of being misunderstood or mischaracterized. However. Acting like we got here because the label pansexual existed and some people used it is just ridiculous. THE DISCOURSE IS HOW WE GOT HERE. The insistence that since there are multiple labels, they must be oppositional and have 100% distinct definitions is how we got here. The actual bloggers who actually decided to send death threats, suicide baiting, and to publicly mischaracterize pansexual and bisexual as labels--those are all real problems that need to be addressed.
Essentialism--the idea that there are innate, immutable qualities about you that you have always had and always will have--is the bane of community building, not hyperspecific microlabels. Oppositional thinking (this might be the wrong term for it)--the idea that there are totally separate distinct ideas and labels, the idea that contradictions cannot exist, the insistence on forcing everyone under a label to identify using the exact same definition rather than recognizing the nebulous, contradictory, messy realities of life and queerness and feminism and community building--that is stopping people from building communities.
anyway if anybody has recommendations for post-modernist/post-structuralist feminist literature that embraces intersectionality please let me know. There are so many people who have written academically and can explain this better than me but genuinely, genuinely until intersectionality stops being a buzzword and starts making its way into an actual, widespread understanding of the world, these definition wars are going to keep happening and they’re going to keep destroying communities and reducing the number of microlabels won’t do jack shit about it because the labels. are. not. the. problem. the problem is the understanding of the world that allows people to try and stamp out contradictions and attack multilateral viewpoints until each community is One Single Idea. If you’re going to talk about how “we have to be able to criticize labels’ you better make damn sure that your criticism actually involves thinking and being able to back up your positions instead of acting like people have a duty to avoid contradictions and to abandon identities that you, personally, are uncomfortable with. And I am in fact mad that apparently a number of people that I follow seem totally down with the idea that hating microlabels is totally woke and 100% fine as long as it’s couched in academic sounding language and the OP is bi. Stop that.