I just wanna say my own bit of why representation is important in media, because it’s been on my mind a lot lately.
As an aromantic asexual, growing up was very confusing, for years I didn’t even know there was a term for it, and instead simply thought I was “broken”. I never once saw a relatable example of how I felt, and instead only ever saw thousands upon thousands of examples saying, “guys wanna fuck EVERYTHING” or “every seven seconds a dude thinks about sex”. Those were the good guys, the heroes, what media said I should strive to be. And the examples of characters who felt like I did? Robots. Serial killers. Monsters. All things that were supposed to be less than human. This messed me up as a kid. I was terrified to talk about it. It was more terrifying to me than the idea of my southern Christian family thinking I was gay. And to give you scope on that, my dad has told me if I ever turned out to be gay, he’d kick me out. I was 13 when he said that. But in my head, I was even worse. At least gay people felt love. Over time, I saw more and more positive examples of homosexual and bisexual people. But I still never saw asexuals. As I got further into my teens, I got even more scared. Shows like Dexter were airing, and even then, this sociopathic serial killer could find love, and to me the concept was so, unknowable. I didn’t understand it. Hell, I was worried if anybody found out how I felt, they’d think I was some kind of serial killer.
Everyone I knew was finding themselves. I had a childhood friend come out as gay, a girl I was pals with was bi, my family that was only two years older than me had a kid! Someone in my generation I grew up with had a kid, and I was still terrified of the fact I couldn’t feel that way for people. I couldn’t even comprehend it!
I’m 22 at this point in my life. I didn’t find out asexuality was even a thing until I was 19. I’ve spent three years trying to understand myself with this new terminology, but even still, I still always feel like I’m “less than human”. I still lie when people ask me why I don’t have a relationship. All those years of being only able to relate to monsters, it’s done its damage to me. I find myself looking at people in confusion when they use words like “love”.
I’m not saying that life would be perfect if I’d been able to relate properly to media I consumed growing up. But I do think it’d be better. I would have been so much less afraid to talk about it, maybe I could have found others like me, back when I needed it most, just so I could have known I wasn’t alone.