Cultural and Museum Studies, University of Birmingham
Asexuality – referring to people who experience little-to-no sexual attraction is often considered to be the ‘invisible orientation’ for its lack of visibility in society. Similarly, asexuality has been invisible within the media, although in recent years a handful of asexual representations on British television have appeared. These representations often stereotype and misrepresent asexuality, typically offering asexual narratives limited screen time, and restricting asexual characters to young, white, cisgender people who are interested in romance, and ignoring other asexual possibilities. Nonetheless, these representations are meaningful to audiences watching them, be it non-asexual audiences who may be learning about asexuality for the first time, or asexuals seeing themselves represented on screen.
Representations of minority groups have always been important, and the impact these representations have on the communities they are representing is even more so, shaping both how a minority group views themselves, as well as how others view them. However, whilst audience research has been conducted within the queer community, asexual audiences again have remained almost invisible. My research, therefore, proposes to be the first empirical study of asexual audience perspectives regarding asexual representations through exploratory mixed methods research (questionnaires and interviews).
Through this research, I aim to explore how asexual representations have impacted asexual communities by analysing asexual representations and experiences and offering a voice to an underrepresented community – a community that I identify within.