The Fan Meta Reader

“why is it always sun and/or capheus getting headcanoned as aro and/or ace by allo people?” by queerhawkeye



why is it always sun and/or capheus getting headcanoned as aro and/or ace by allo people??? i mean, i know why, but have you analyzed it???

like i don’t think we can criticize every individual headcanon because i think at heart most of these headcanons are well-intended! but there is a pattern of allo people headcanoning the characters of color (specially east-asian people and dark skinned black people!!!) as aro and/or ace. i say allo people because, of course, just like i project parts of my identity on a character’s ethnicity, sexuality or even mental health; aro and ace people might see themselves in certain characters and project their own identity on them and that’s cool.

but, seeing that both canon and fanon are mainly driven by romantic plots, the fact that alloromantic people -who focus most of their attention and their creative energy towards romantic/sexual plots- constantly decide (consciously or not) to headcanon characters of color (and, in sense8’s case, the two characters of color that have been presented in sorta “protectors” roles) as aro/ace can be read as a way to relegate them to props for the white characters’ (lito is played by a white spanish actor, so yeah, white characters) plots. 

allo fandom headcanoning characters of color as aro and/or ace isn’t writing long and detailed meta on how being aro/ace affects their world, it isn’t writing fic of them in ace or queerplatonic relationships, nor writing fic of them in gen context. white allo fandom headcanoning characters of color as aro/ace is usually a way to justify their constant erasure of these characters, one passing mention of ’nomi suspects capheus might be asexual’ and that’s it, now we can go back to the truly important romantic plot between white character one and white character two.

not to mention that these headcanons are generally based on ugly stereotypes of aro people (a shallow analysis of sun might present her as represed, unemotional, lonely, cold) or ace people (many people interpret capheus as childish, naïve and innocent), which detracts from the character and also harm actual people.

and, also, we need to discuss the way that characters of color are usually only headcanoned as non-cishet in these ways: as aro or ace, never as the main gay/bi/pan character in a fanfiction, not as trans and/or nonbinary in headcanons or fanart. because saying ’oh, in this fanfiction about [the white characters]’ approach to sex and romance we don’t include [A] and [B] because they’re ace and/or aro’ is easier than actually dedicating thought, time and effort to the stories of people of color. because queerness is a white thing.

on that point, we can’t forget how often dark skinned native cultures are regarded as ‘not knowing’ that queerness is a thing, that even sex is a thing!

like the way kala is written as a wilting flower and 90% of the fics about her are kala/wolfgang, driven by wolfgang’s sexuality first and foremost. kala is allowed to be allo by fandom because allo fandom uses romance as a way to ‘humanize’ wolfgang, and kala serves to that purpose. but even in that way i’ve seen her often placed in a ’protector/healer’ role, she’s there to tend to wolfgang’s literal and metaphorical wounds, as a romantic prop and barely anything else. there are, of course, exceptions, but you can’t ignore this trend.

sun and capheus, on the other hand, don’t serve a particular romantic or sexual purpose on canon (and this is also a problem on the show! the show dedicates them the least of the overall screentime, and they -sun specially- are often there to be the saviors or the emotional support of the white characters! we know least about them -not just their plots but they as people, what they like, the people in their lives, what they dream of- than we know about anyone else in the main eight, and that is a problem of the show too! and this makes it easier for white fandom to push them aside, to keep them in these positions, to leave them stuck as fighters and optimists and barely anything else) so fanon doesn’t make the effort of giving them these plots.

riley/capheus or riley/sun would make perfect sense with what we’ve seen of their interactions on-screen, but she already has a white man to occupy the central romantic/sexual position in her plot so there is no way that will would be pushed aside in favor of two characters of color. everyone is already paired off and fandom can’t think of writing romantic stories that don’t involve white people at all, so –aside from one lonely capheus/sun fic in the entire ao3 tag and two sun/soo-jin drabbles– fandom would prefer to write them as aro&ace than dedicate actual time to their stories. canon doesn’t matter when it comes to shipping will/wolfgang -though their interaction is barely there- but when it comes to characters of color fandom suddenly runs out of imagination.

and, one last point! characters of color are as hypersexualized (femme fatales, cheaters, ignorant&promiscuous side characters, charmers, and reckless irresponsible idiots who only think with their genitals; generally Bad For The White Character) as they are desexualized (the best friend/sibling from another mother, the therapist/psychologist/emotional support, the one that is too independent and strong to care about such things) in favor of propping up white characters. this colonial approach to how people of color approach sex is alive and well today, and white LGBTQIA people often ignore this when discussing the way people of color can or can’t approach sex or romance, universalizing white perspectives of sexuality in a way that only furthers queer people of color’s oppression.

what i’m saying is, it’s cool if you personally headcanon sun and/or capheus as aro and/or ace, but the thing is that it’s never just one, it’s never just You. and, with a tiny and just-starting-to-grow fandom, you can already see the comments in fic, the tags in posts, the anonymous messages sent to multiple bloggers: “you can’t ship [poc] with [white person] because they are straight, because they are aro, because they are aceand i choose to ignore this or criticize this or downright hate on this because [this poc] is not interested in sex and/or romance with anyone/with [white character]”. that is a problem that has manifested many times in many fandoms, and i’m starting to see it in sense8 fandom already.

why is it always sun and/or capheus getting headcanoned…” ©queerhawkeye, originally posted 12 July 2015


2 comments on ““why is it always sun and/or capheus getting headcanoned as aro and/or ace by allo people?” by queerhawkeye

  1. luvtheheaven
    August 17, 2015

    This is really important. I’m a white aro ace person who’s only seen the pilot of Sense8 so far but I’m thinking of getting into the fandom and I will try to keep this in mind as I do anstill make a conscious effort not to perpetuate these problematic things.


  2. Pingback: The Fan Meta Reader 2015 Masterpost | The Fan Meta Reader

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