Date of Award

May 2020

Degree Type

Dissertation/Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Media Studies

Advisor(s)

Carol Liebler

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Abstract

Asexuality remains an under-researched topic in media, gender & sexualities studies. Previous research has explored definitional questions of asexuality, interviews and surveys of asexual people, and consideration of asexuality’s place within queer and feminist communities. However, research has not yet fully explored the issue of asexuality invisibility in the media, which currently amounts to symbolic annihilation. While representation of asexuality is nearly non-existent in mainstream and traditional media, digital spaces have been the location of visibility and self-expression for asexuals. In examining how queer representation of asexuality is seen and made visible online, this textual analysis study examined the content created by ten asexuality-focused subdivisions (“subreddits”) of the social media site Reddit. This study found that asexual subreddits serve as areas of community, pride, and discussion on the concept of asexuality for asexual individuals, while they serve as resources and locations of support for those in the early stages of questioning or understanding their own asexuality. These efforts fight symbolic annihilation of asexuality to these groups of people, though whether these sites combat larger invisibilities is unclear.

Access

Open Access

Available for download on Sunday, August 15, 2021

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