A Columbia University scholar recently published her Ph.D thesis on “asexual microaggressions,” claiming that it is a form of discrimination against people who don’t form romantic relationships with others. It’s an all new way to be oppressed.
Aasha Foster, a Counseling Psychology grad student invented an “Asexual Microaggressions Scale” designed to determine the frequency of microaggressions faced by people who don’t date. According to a Campus Reform article, these microaggressions include being told that asexuality is “just a phase” or being called prudish.
Other microaggressions include being told that discrimination against asexual people doesn’t exist, or that they will live alone for the rest of their lives.
In total, Foster outlined 24 different “asexual microaggressions,” and developed a questionnaire for researchers to gauge the preference of test subjects. Participants were recruited online from sites like Facebook, Tumblr, Reddit, and one called the “Asexuality Education and Visibility Network.” The majority of participants (67.07 percent) hailed from Tumblr.
For those unable to get over their romantic failures, an embrace of the asexual label allows them to find solace with like-minded individuals.
Foster called the sites “key to recruitment in the study of asexuality” but admitted that the data compiled from such participants tends to skew “towards people who have found an online community of people who think or feel similarly and have access to more information about asexual community issues.”
In other words, recruiting from an ideological echo chamber tends to color the results.
According to Foster, the research is important because microaggressions, she claims, cause “psychological distress,” “emotional difficulty,” and “depressive symptoms.” She adds that asexual individuals deal with higher rates of anxiety and stress than heterosexual people due to stigma and marginalization.
To fight against this, Foster is advocating for the normalization of asexuality, stating that “further study of the impact of these microaggressions and macroaggressive experiences would be another area of next steps.”
The researcher also calls on researchers to embrace an “intersectional” approach that incorporates other venues of oppression, as most of her research candidates were “young white women” who may not share the experiences of others.
Feature Image via Columbia University, Psychology